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Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S Review: All Praises Go To Snapdragon 845

In September, Xiaomi released the second-gen Mi MIX 2 handset. In comparison to the first-gen model, it focuses on practicality. The company has also made many improvements concerning the screen size, feel, headset, photography, etc. However, it continues providing trendy features and being a leader in the market. That’s why many influences have been recommending it to their customers. Six months later, the upgraded variant in face of the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S was uncovered. The latter comes with the same philosophy by focusing on practicality, but customers paid more attention to the camera and performance.

Must Read: Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 Review

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S Appearance

The appearance and craftsmanship are the biggest selling points of the previous two generations of MIX, but it is the most ‘boring’ part of the MIX 2S. The latter basically reuses the appearance and craftsmanship of the MIX 2. The front carries a 5.99-inch 18:9 LCD full-screen with a resolution of 2160X1080. The top, left, and right sides have narrow borders. The opening for the speaker is located in the upper border. There is also a small chin with a 5MP front camera still located in the lower right corner.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

To make its full-screen phone perform better, Xiaomi made a couple of improvements in the software. Recently, the company pushed out an MIUI update that brought full-screen gestures to some Mi phones. The Mi MIX 2S comes with them pre-installed. They are the best way to interact with a large-screen full-screen smartphone. The second improvement refers to the front camera. As the chin is too narrow, the manufacturer can’t use a larger sensor for the front camera. So it has to stuck at 5MP resolution. That’s why Xiaomi paid more attention to the algorithm improvements as well as added some AI elements to the beautification. Moreover, maybe it sounds a bit odd, but this device supports face unlock at a quite acceptable speed and accuracy. Actually, there is no obvious difference in comparison to the models with a camera on the top.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

By the way, as we have been talking about AI, the manufacturer has added a voice assistant just like the one on its Smart Love AI Speaker. So you can interact with your phone via voice commands and learn the weather, set reminders, and so on.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

The phone comes with a frame made of a 7-series aluminum alloy. Its surface has been frosted to make the transition smooth.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

The back uses a quad-curved ceramic that provides a soft and comfortable touch. The ceramic body is easily distinguished from common 3D glasses.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

In comparison to the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2, the most obvious change is the back camera. As we knew, this is the first Mi MIX-series handset with a dual-camera. Moreover, its position has been moved from the middle to the left. But the fingerprint scanner is where it’s been earlier.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

In addition to the black version, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S also added a white version. Thus the company has refused the all-ceramic variant seen on the previous model. However, if taking into account this is an ‘S’ product, use of the Mi MIX 2’s appearance is no surprise.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S Hardware

Not surprisingly, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S is equipped with a new generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 mobile SoC, and there is a higher variant with an 8+256GB storage option. Compared with the Snapdragon 835, the Snapdragon 845 provides about 30% better CPU performance, while the power consumption under the same performance is also reduced. Plus, there is a certain improvement in ISP, DSP, baseband, and process.

In addition to the individual upgrades of the different components, the Snapdragon 845 has an important upgrade in face of the native AI computing power. Different from the additional NPU chips used by Kirin 970, Qualcomm chose to use existing CPUs, GPUs, and DSP chips, as well as the supporting NPE software framework to select the most suitable hardware.

According to data provided by Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 845’s performance in local AI calculations is 3 times of the Snapdragon 835. In other words, the mobile phone manufacturers can use Qualcomm’s AI engine (Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine, AIEngine) to achieve more complex mobile-based local AI operations. And the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S fully utilizes these functions in the camera section.

When it comes to the benchmarks, the Snapdragon 845 sees no rivals. At the release conference, the manufacturer announced the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S reaches up to 277K at AnTuTu v.7. Though out result is a bit lower, it’s still unreachable.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

This handset provides an excellent and smoothest performance handling any kind of heavy apps and games. Even in terms of single-core performance, it can walk along with the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and Samsung Galaxy S9 without being ashamed of its country of origin. It provides a quite fast multi-tasking switch, and even with up to 10 apps in the background it won’t feel inconvenienced.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S Camera

We said this is the first Mi MIX handset with a dual-camera. But we also said the main improvements refer to this feature as well. So don’t you think we are so naïve and we’d think it’s an improvement to add the second lens?

Actually, the phone adopts the Sony IMX363 CMOS, which is a relatively new high-end sensor that Sony has introduced not that long ago. It was adopted by many flagships. Shortly, it’s the upgraded version of the IMX 362 with a sensor size of 1/2.55 inch, 12MP resolution, a single pixel area of 1.4 micrometers, full-pixel focusing support (each pixel can be split into two photosensitive elements to participate in focusing), an aperture of f/1.9, and 6P lens.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

In addition to this one-size luxury sensor, the Mi MIX 2S is also equipped with a 12MP secondary camera. The program should be similar to Xiaomi Mi Note 3 and Xiaomi Mi 6, and its equivalent focal length is about 50mm.

From the point of view of parameters, the MIX 2S can be said to be full of sincerity, but historical experience has told us something else for countless times: ‘If you want to take a good picture, ‘stacking’ is not enough, and what’s more important is the algorithm it uses. The good news is that the MIX 2S has a lot of highlights in the algorithm.

Here we have to recall the Snapdragon 845 again. Thanks to the Snapdragon 845’s advancements in ISP, DSP, and local AI performance, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S camera incorporates two important algorithms: multi-frame noise reduction and AI scenarios.

Among them, the multi-frame noise reduction helps us to take multiple shots and synthesize in order to improve the imaging quality when the shutter is pressed. For a mobile phone with a small photosensitive element, the multi-frame noise reduction is a very effective way to improve the low-light imaging quality. The AI scene camera can intelligently identify the corresponding scene when shooting and automatically optimize using various parameters.

Strictly speaking, the multi-frame noise reduction and AI scene cameras are not new, and many phones have used similar functions before the Mi MIX 2S. Of course, the function is not only a basis, what is important is how it can be used, and this is where we are most surprised at the MIX 2S’s camera.

As for the AI scene camera, according to Xiaomi, MIX 2S can identify 25 kinds of labels, including 206 fine-grained specific scenes. When the corresponding scene is detected, the phone automatically ‘beautizes’ the photo to make the flowers and the sky more vivid.

Talking critically, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S scene cameras occasionally have the same problems as other top brands with similar functions. Of course, these problems will be improved with the iteration of the later software.

In terms of the camera experience, the performance of the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S reflects the standard of a domestic flagship machine. The focusing and metering see no problems. Especially, this refers to the former one. Thanks to the full-pixel dual-camera focus and Snapdragon 845 powerful ISP, the MIX 2S’s low-light focusing speed is very close to the industry represented by the Galaxy Note 8/S9 and it’s way stronger than the iPhone X.

In this group of night shots, the Mi MIX 2S shows a surprising degree of tolerance through a multi-frame synthesis of violence. The buildings on both sides of the picture are clearly visible. The details of the shadows are even better than the iPhone X’s and the ‘night vision monitor’ of the Samsung Galaxy S9.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

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Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

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With the help of excellent hardware and multi-frame synthesis algorithms, the MIX 2S’ night shoot has almost a quantum leap compared to the previous Mi MIX 2 and other mobile phones.

In one sentence, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S is the best Xiaomi phone in history, and it is also the first Xiaomi smartphone that can be used by professional photographers.

At the same time, Xiaomi also announced the score of the MIX 2S on DxOMark. On the single shot, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S got 101 points. This score has already outrun the iPhone X. It’s the third after the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and the Huawei P20 Pro.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S Battery

As for the battery, the capacity remains the same at 3400mAh. But as said, the Snapdragon 845 comes with a better power consumption system. But there is a new feature in this handset concerning the charging. As rumored, the phone supports a wireless charging.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

In order to cooperate with wireless charging, Xiaomi also introduced a wireless charging board made by itself. The latter comes in a disc shape in black or white. The surface is made of silicone material. And it comes with an USB Type-C interface supporting input power of 5V2A and 9V2.

Xiaomi wireless charger

Thanks to the QC3.0 fast charge support, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S can achieve 7.5W wireless fast charge. Measured in case of 10% remaining battery power, the phone can charge up to 65% in an hour. But you can use the USB Type-C interface and the original 18W charging head to fully charge in the same 1 hour.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

Conclusion

The original Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 owners can be confused when looking at the Mi MIX 2S for the first time. Of course, it’s related to the appearance both of them use. But when you start using the upgraded version, you understand what great improvements have been made in it. The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S is considered not only the most powerful phone of Xiaomi but also one of the best models in the world. The OnePlus 6 has not been launched yet. So the Mi MIX 2S can grab the first position.

At last, there are many variants – 6+64GB, 6+128GB, and 8+256GB storage options. They come at price tags if 3299 yuan, 3599 yuan, and 3999 yuan respectively. They will go on sale on April 3.

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Argam Artashyan

Back in 2010, he was dismissed from his position as a lecturer at the university. This made him get another job at his friend’s digital marketing company as a blog writer. After a few years, when he was thinking the article writing is his mission, Google pushed the Panda update and affected the company and websites he was working at. (Un)fortunately and surprisingly, he got an offer to head a large knitting factory. In 2016, he got his Ph.D. and resumed teaching at the University … and writing tech-related articles following his passion.

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