The dazzling Mi MIX 2 is sure to catch your eye. About 80% of the fascia is all display, with a minimal bezel. Not many phone makers use ceramic, but Xiaomi does, and the back panel looks gorgeous. It’s a tad slippery, though scratch-resistant too. A gold-plated ring around the camera module adds some glitter. If you thought the Samsung Galaxy S8 looked unique, this just shifts the goalpost.

The 5.99-inch IPS display (2,160x1,080 resolution) has good brightness levels that mask the slight reflectiveness of the glass. The colours look rich, but never oversaturated. The only aspect where Xiaomi can perhaps be faulted is the resolution— the Samsung Galaxy S8 with a 5.8-inch screen has, for instance, 2,960x1,440 resolution.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with 6 GB RAM results in smooth performance, even if a dozen apps are running in the background. There is no heating either during gaming. The 3,400 mAh battery lasts a day-and-a-half with ease, which should work well for most users even on a heavy workday.

The Mi MIX 2 supports as many as 43 mobile network bands globally, the most in a phone—the Samsung Galaxy S8 supports 30. The Mi MIX 2 will most likely work with mobile networks in all countries

The 12-megapixel camera is, however, inconsistent. Daytime photographs are really good, but significant distortion creeps in when there are shadows or inconsistent ambient lighting. This is probably more of a software issue because on paper, there is good camera hardware in place, including 4-axis optical stabilization and large 1.25 um pixels (the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a 1.22 um pixel size).

While Android is making a transition to more rounded icons, the MIUI software still has square icons (there is a horrible white frame around the Instagram and Google Maps icons, for instance), with customization limited.

The Mi MIX 2 is an ideal showcase of Xiaomi’s prowess. The guided-design earpiece, for instance, is placed higher than it normally is on phones and the audio is routed through a tube—the result is loud and crisp acoustics. The Ultrasonic proximity sensor sits behind the screen (it’s usually placed above the screen), and does an accurate job of turning off the display when you hold the phone against the ear.

The Mi MIX 2 isn’t just about beauty, its performance befits a flagship phone. However, while the last year’s Mi MIX didn’t have to contend with much competition, the Mi MIX 2 has strong “bezel-less" rivals in the Galaxy S8 (Rs53,900), the LG G6 (Rs33,980) and the forthcoming Google Pixel 2 (Rs61,000 onwards). For Xiaomi, then, pricing is the key advantage.

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