Home > technology > gadgets > Mi Mix 3 launched in China, flags off 5G smartphone race

The Qualcomm Summit 2018 unveiled one of the most anticipated additions to modern smartphones— the inclusion of 5G capabilities. Qualcomm on Tuesday said the first 5G smartphone would come out in the first quarter of 2019, but it wasn’t clear who would be the first player to get their hands on the technology.

Two days later, Xiaomi launched the Mi Mix 3, the most premium smartphone in its lineup with 5G. The phone boasts several firsts for Xiaomi—a nearly bezel-less 6.4-inch OLED display with 93.4% screen-to-body ratio, four cameras with slider mechanism and Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. It comes in three storage and memory variants with up to 10GB RAM and 256GB internal storage.

But hang on a second, how can a Snapdragon 845 processor have 5G capabilities?

The answer is, it doesn’t. That’s because the 5G enabled Mi Mix 3 will start rolling out next year and it will be very different under the hood. It will be powered by the Snapdragon 845’s successor (which hasn’t been named yet) and will have a Qualcomm’s X50 modem that will allow 5G operations.

The modem will provide up to 5 gigabits per second download speed and will support advanced mobility features, including beam forming, beam steering and beam tracking. Qualcomm claims in fixed wireless applications the modem can replace fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) installations with wireless 5G connections.

Xiaomi’s unveiling also hints at how Samsung is starting to lose the power of being the first smartphone maker to incorporate the best and latest chipsets Qualcomm has to offer in it’s Galaxy S lineup. There was a time when the chaebol hoarded Qualcomm’s supply of Snapdragon 835 chipsets, forcing the LG G7 to use Snapdragon 821.

Coming back to the novelties of the Mi Mix 3, the slider mechanism is different from that found on the Oppo Find X and Vivo Nex. It’s not a motorised slider and it requires the user to exert physical force downwards on the screen—much like the sliding mechanism found on the Nokia 5300 and N81. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun suggests that it’ll be relaxing just to play with.

The slider module holds four cameras—two front facing cameras with a 24MP+2MP configuration while the rear has wide-angle and telephone modules with a 12MP+24MP configuration.

The Mi Mix 3 starts at 3,299 Yuan (about 39,000) for the 6GB/128GB variant. The 8GB/256GB variant is priced at 3,999 yuan (about 42,000) while 5G enabled “Forbidden City Palace Museum" edition with 10GB RAM and 256GB storage will sell for 4,999 yuan (about 53,000). It will go on sale from 1 November in China.

The Indian availability of the Mi Mix 3 is not known yet.

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