Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 Review

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 has achieved one of the highest screen-to-body ratios a smartphone can have right now, sharing the top spot with the Honor's Magic 2. To get rid of the chin that stood in the way of perfection, the maker moved all the essentials on a slider. This means the dual-selfie camera, its LED flash, and the earpiece are all on the mechanical slider.

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Introduction

Once a prop for the communicating devices in sci-fi flicks, today the edge-to-edge screen has become a must-have feature for any flagship smartphone. It was Xiaomi who made the first steps in this direction back with their original Mi Mix phone a year before Apple came up with their notched iPhone X. The Xiaomi proves once again that nothing is impossible and delivers a truly bezel-less screen with a twist (or rather, with a slide).

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 has achieved one of the highest screen-to-body ratios a smartphone can have right now, sharing the top spot with the Honor’s Magic 2. To get rid of the chin that stood in the way of perfection, the maker moved all the essentials on a slider. This means the dual-selfie camera, its LED flash, and the earpiece are all on the mechanical slider.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

Because of this slider you can fully enjoy the 6.39″ Super AMOLED screen, notch-less and well, almost bezel-less. But that’s not the only eye-catcher you’ll see on the Mix 3. Xiaomi has made the phone’s shell from bent ceramic and polished aluminum, and that’s quite a stunning combo.

The Mix 3 comes with the latest available Snapdragon 845 chipset coupled with either 8 or 10 gigs of RAM. Xiaomi has confirmed a model with Snapdragon 855 chip and 5G modem is in the works but is yet to be officially announced and will surely cost more.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

Mi Mix 3 and Magic 2

The Mix 3 has an impressive dual-camera setup on the back – it’s the same pair we saw on the Mi 8 series with 12MP regular and telephoto snappers and 4-axis OIS, but on the Mi Mix 3 you also get the newly developed Night mode for better low-light shots and 4K at 60fps video recording.

The selfie experience has been vastly improved since the previous Mixes, probably thanks to the available space in the slider. Another dual-camera is on selfie duty, with a 24MP main snapper and 2MP depth sensor. There is also a LED fill-flash to help in low-light situations.

Another upgrade over the Mi Mix 2S is the added support for 10W wireless charging. The battery has shrunk a bit though – it’s now 3,200 mAh in capacity, 200mAh less than on the 2S.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 specs

  • Body: Slider, 7000-series aluminum, ceramic back
  • Screen: 6.39″ Super AMOLED, 1,080 x 2,340px (403ppi), 19.5:9 aspect ratio, HDR
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 845: octa-core Kryo 385 CPU (4×2.8GHz + 4×1.7GHz); Adreno 630 GPU
  • Memory: 6/8GB of RAM (LPDDR4X), 128/256GB storage (UFS 2.1); 10/256GB special edition
  • OS: Android 9.0 Pie; MIUI 10
  • Camera: 12MP f/1.8 (1.4µm) + 12MP f/2.4 (1.0µm); 4K video capture at 60fps; 1080p at 240fps and 960fps
  • Camera features: 2x telephoto, Dual Pixel AF, 4-axis OIS
  • Selfie cam: 24MP (0.9µm) + 2MP depth sensor, LED flash
  • Battery: 3,200mAh; 18W QuickCharge 4.0+ supported; 10W wireless charging (charger included in box)
  • Security: fingerprint reader on the back;
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM, dual VoLTE; 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD, dual band GPS/Galileo, also single-band GLONASS/Beidou;

There is little missing on the Mix 3 specs sheet, with the most notable absence being the water-proofing. Then again Xiaomi has never had an IP-rated phone before, so even if it weren’t for the slider, the Mix 3 would have still been prone to water damage.

Unboxing the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 retail package is nothing short of impressive and that’s how any company should treat its flagship phones. The Mi Mix 3 is bundled with an 18W charger and USB-C cable, both white.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

There is also a very thin plastic case and USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter inside the big black box.

But that’s not all. Xiaomi also bundles one very compact 10W wireless charger, so wireless charging is no longer an extra. And you won’t have to choose which charger to put in your luggage as both are petite in size.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

Sure, the Mix 3 box omits headphones, but looking once again at those contents – we think we got more than what we expected.

Design

The Mi Mix 3 is one stunning smartphone, front to back, top to bottom. Xiaomi has put some great attention to detail when designing this phone. And their efforts have paid off.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The previous Mixes tried to impress with edge-to-edge screens, but the chin has always been quite the eyesore. While the earpiece was easier to hide, the selfie camera had to be put somewhere at the front and one way to do it was to move it on the chin – the hideout of the LCD controller.

So, to go bezel-less, Xiaomi got rid of the LCD controller and the selfie camera. The first one was achieved by opting for a Samsung-made AMOLED panel. While the selfie camera was moved to its new home – a platform, which mechanically slides up along with the entire back.

This has allowed the entire front of the Mi Mix 3 to be occupied by only the 6.39″ AMOLED screen. It’s not bezel-less per se, but it’s the most bezel-less thing money can buy today. There is one very tiny chin, though it is not even close to the black bars we’ve seen on the old Mi Mixes.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The earpiece grill, which pretty much masks a hole, is etched at the far top end of the front glass (a piece of Gorilla Glass 5). The earpiece itself is on the slider and sits under that hole in the closed position. You can answer and then end a call by using that slider, which is very cool and brings back this cool retro vibe.

There is a tiny white LED light left of the earpiece grille, so in spite of all design changes and bezel shrinkage, the LED has made the cut.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

Now, let’s talk about the slider. It uses neodymium magnets to lock the phone in the open and closed positions, but it also provides the springy feel in between. Xiaomi says this is a more durable solution than actual springs and the mechanism has been tested through 300,000 open/close cycles. You can safely use it as a fidget toy (you bet we did) through the lifecycle of the phone without breaking anything. Fingers crossed!

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The slider contains the whole selfie setup – the 24MP main snapper and its 2MP depth sensor, as well as the LED flash, and, of course, the earpiece.

The Mi Mix 3 has a curved frame made out of 7000-series aluminum. It’s slippery because of the glossy finish, but when it’s clean – it’s almost a perfect mirror and looks great.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The Mi Mix 3 has a dedicated AI key on its left side and it launches Google Assistant. For now, you can’t assign different functionally or disable it.

But the real show stopper is at the back. The Mi Mix 3 rear panel is made of ceramic, bent towards its long sides. The black version we have here, when not covered in fingerprints, is one giant mirror. But what a stunning mirror it is!

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The ceramic is much tougher to scratch than any Gorilla Glass, which means the back has every chance to remain in pristine condition for much longer than the glass normally used for screens. That is unless you drop it.

Anyway, we felt safe to leave the Mix 3 on various desks and tables case-free and after a week of usage it did not have a single scratch on its back.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

Still, Xiaomi is bundling a slider-friendly case if you still want to use one.

The rear camera, quite reminiscent of the iPhone X, is at the back humping a little bit. The always-on fingerprint sensor is also around, comfortably positioned for your index finger.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The Mix 3 is available in Onyx Black (ours), Sapphire Blue (available), and Jade Green (yet to be released). And all three are as slippery and as mirrory as they look. So, it’s either dazzling looks, or safety, and we all know what the smart choice is here.

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 spreads at 157.9 x 74.7 x 8.5 mm, which is about as tall and thin as the original Mi Mix, but 6mm narrower. The Mix 3 weighs 218g, 9g up from the first Mix.

The Mix 3 is a beautiful smartphone, and because of its slider – one that many will actually remember. It lacks water-proofing as is the case with any other Xiaomi, but we doubt it was even possible with that sliding part anyway. So, as far as design goes – the Mix 3 is great, but handling is a bity compromised by the extra slippery panels.

Display

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is a great-looking smartphone – that’s for sure. But the thing you’ll spend the most time looking at is the 6.39″ Super AMOLED screen. Notch-less. Bezel-less. Yes, it’s all that – at least by the most current industry standards.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

Anyway, the OLED screen has an expanded 1080p resolution – meaning 1,080 x 2,340 pixels or 403 ppi. The screen aspect ratio is 19.5:9 – among the widest, the mobile market has to offer today. While this is not the highest resolution we’ve encountered, at 403ppi the screen is as sharp as a flagship needs to be. And the pixels density is high enough for the PenTile matrix to be unnoticeable for the naked eye.

Xiaomi is promising 430 nits of typical and 600 nits of maximum brightness for the Mix 3 screen. And we can confirm those numbers – we measured 445 nits of brightness at the far right of the brightness scrubber and 2.1 nits at the far left. The screen can also achieve 633 nits on Auto mode when the ambient light is bright enough.

There is no light bleed – when the screen is showing black it’s not lit at all.

Display test100% brightness
Black, cd/m2White, cd/m2Contrast ratio
Xiaomi Mi Mix 30445
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 (Max Auto)0633
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S0.3754531208
Xiaomi MI Mix 2S (Increased Contrast)0.4095191269
Xiaomi Mi Mix0.455891309
Xiaomi Mi Mix (auto contrast)0.375511489
Honor Magic 20433
Samsung Galaxy Note90367
Samsung Galaxy Note9 (Max Auto)0658
Samsung Galaxy S9+0376
Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Max Auto)0631
Apple iPhone XS Max0653
Oppo Find X0426
OnePlus 6T0453
OnePlus 6T (Max Auto)0455
Oppo RX17 Pro0455

In our sunlight legibility test, the Mi Mix 3 posted a respectable score for contrast, towards the top for its class.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Samsung Galaxy S9+4.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Note94.531
  • Apple iPhone XS Max4.516
  • Oppo RX17 Pro4.434
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 34.291
  • OnePlus 6T4.138
  • Honor Magic 24.01
  • Oppo Find X3.954
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix2.658

Color reproduction can be very accurate if that’s your thing. Going for the ‘Standard contrast’ mode you’d be getting an average DeltaE of 2.3 (when compared against the sRGB color space) and the most accurate whites of all modes. Out of the box, the Mi Mix is in ‘Automatic contrast’ mode. That corresponds to DCI-P3 colors space and gives an average DeltaE of 4.5 – decent – but with an added blue tint in white and all shades of gray.

Battery life

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is powered by a 3,200 mAh Li-ion battery. It’s not the largest by any means, but that’s not always as important. The Mix 3 supports Quick Charge 3.0 and 4.0+ and its supplied 18W charger fills 54% of a depleted battery in 30 mins.

The Mix 3 also comes bundled with a 10W wireless charger, which can replenish 0 to 32% in half an hour – really impressive! The charger is rather small and has a soft finish that is really nice on touch. The pad gets a bit warm during the first stages of charging, but it’s nothing really worrying.

We ran our battery tests, and the Mi Mix 3 posted an overall score of 84 hours. That’s a huge improvement over the Mi Mix 2 and 2S, and about as much as the Mi 8 got – all three of them running on the same Snapdragon 845 chip and powered by 3,400 mAh batteries.

The Mix 3 actually did great in our screen-on-tests – the web and video playback times are impressive for a screen of this caliber, while the 3G talk time is more than enough. The standby performance is about the average, though, and it’s what stopped the final endurance rating from going north of the 100 hours mark.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSer App. The endurance rating above denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We’ve established this usage pattern so that our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you’re interested in the nitty-gritty. You can check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we’ve tested will compare under your own typical use.

Speaker

There’s a single bottom-firing loudspeaker on the Mi Mix 3 – it’s decently loud and scored a Good mark on our test. The output is excellent – there is rich sound and no distortion.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Xiaomi Mi Mix 367.971.673.7Good
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S68.170.181.5Very Good
Xiaomi Mi Mix 267.671.082.7Very Good
Samsung Galaxy S9+68.474.080.1Very Good
Xiaomi Mi 868.172.382.2Very Good
Xiaomi Mi Mix64.272.886.0Very Good
Oppo Find X70.775.281.2Very Good
Apple iPhone XS Max70.574.084.7Excellent
Xiaomi Mi 8 SE70.574.185.2Excellent
Honor Magic 272.573.685.2Excellent
vivo NEX S71.374.591.0Excellent

Audio quality

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 did excellently when plugged into an active external amplifier, delivering perfectly accurate audio reproduction and volume levels well above average.

Headphones didn’t cause too much damage – volume dropped a tiny bit but remained in the upper half of tested phones, while the hike in stereo crosstalk was also lower than average. There’s a tiny bit of intermodulation distortion here too, but nothing to worry about. A solid if not necessarily chart-topping performance.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3+0.02, -0.02-93.293.20.00140.072-90.6
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 (headphones)+0.09, -0.07-92.792.60.00330.151-60.9
Huawei Mate 20+0.02, -0.16-92.192.00.00170.013-85.6
Huawei Mate 20 (headphones)+0.07, -0.07-92.192.40.00210.106-66.5
OnePlus 6T+0.03, -0.05-93.493.30.00100.0070-93.8
OnePlus 6T (headphones)+0.17, -0.15-93.293.10.00560.245-61.1
Sony Xperia XZ3+0.01, -0.02-91.293.20.00240.0080-88.7
Sony Xperia XZ3 (headphones)+0.38, -0.21-93.192.50.00490.233-61.7
Samsung Galaxy Note9+0.01, -0.03-93.793.70.00170.0074-94.1
Samsung Galaxy Note9 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-93.693.50.00330.046-93.2
Xiaomi

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 frequency response

Android Pie and MIUI 10

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 runs on the latest MIUI 10 launcher on top of Android 9 Pie. MIUI 10 improves further the system looks, gestures, and performance, though introduces no major changes to the MIUI logic and any returning users would feel right at home. But while lightweight and intuitive, MIUI is no vanilla Android, so it will take a couple of hours for the purists to get the handle of it.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The most notable visual changes in MIUI 10 include refined system icons, Android Pie-styled volume sliders and brightness sliders, notification shade, and quick shortcuts.

MIUI 10 also brings a few functional additions – native support for navigation gestures, a brand new Recents menu – also with gesture support, Picture-In-Picture mode (for certain compatible apps), native autofill support, enhanced AI (but of course!), improved screen recording and better app management.

We’ve already seen those system navigation gestures – swipe for Home, swipe and pause for Recents, swipe from the edge for Back. You can also swipe and hold from the edge to go back to the previous app. Those work buttery-smooth on MIUI 10, sure, but most of us still prefer the onscreen keys. Still, if you like them, they are on the Mix 3.

Another new feature – the Picture in Picture mode – has to be enabled for each compatible app from the Additional Privacy Settings. Currently it works on Google Chrome, Movies, Maps, YouTube, Duo, and VLC.

New icons - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Notification shade - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Gesture settings - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Gestures - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Recents - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Sound scrubber - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

     
New icons • Notification shade • Gesture settings • Gestures • Recents • Sound scrubber

There is no app drawer in MIUI, and there’s never really been one except for a few custom themes that offer the shortcut. Of course, you can always install a third-party launcher if you really miss the app drawer.

You can unlock the screen via the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner – it’s always-on, blazing-fast, and accurate. There is no Face Unlock option on the Mix 3.

Here are the default home screens on Mi Mix 3. There’s a weather widget in the upper right corner across from a large clock widget. There is a Quick Card pane, the leftmost one. It contains different cards with relevant information – recent apps, step counter, notes, calendar events, the weather, and favorites, among others. You can configure what shows up here, or you can disable this altogether.

Lockscreen - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Homescreen - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Homescreen - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Quick Card - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Quick Card - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Settings - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

     
Lockscreen • Homescreen • Homescreen • Quick Card • Quick Card • Settings

The brand-new task switcher felt a bit awkward at first, but we’ve grown to like it. It shows all of your recent apps in two columns. Tap and hold on a card for the split-screen shortcut, of just swipe it left or right to close the app.

Recents - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Recents - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

 
Recents

Themes are supported on the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, but the app appears only when the phone is set to a supported region, say India.

Themes - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Themes - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Themes - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Themes - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
Themes

MIUI also offers a Security app. It can scan your phone for malware, manage your blacklist, manage or restrict your data usage, configure battery behavior, and free up some RAM. It can also manage the permissions of your installed apps and allows you to define the battery behavior of selected apps and applies restrictions only to the apps you choose.

MIUI also offers proprietary Gallery, Music, and Video player. In some regions the music and video app may include paid streaming options.

Security app - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Security app - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Gallery - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Music - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Video - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
File Manager - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

     
Security app • Security app • Gallery • Music • Video • File Manager

Slider options

The basic function of the slider is to bring out the dual front-facing cam so you can snap a selfie – the camera launches automatically. If you are not that keen on selfies, you can assign a different function to the slider – open a certain app, show the so-called Tools menu with various shortcuts to helpful apps, or just do nothing.

Slider settings - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Tools menu - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Open an app - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

  
Slider settings • Tools menu • Open an app

There is also another thing you can do with the slider – if your phone is ringing, you can slide it up to answer and then close it down to hang up.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The phone plays sound effects as you open and close the phone. You can choose between five sound schemes or just mute it.

Slider sounds - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review


Slider sounds

Performance and benchmarks

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is powered by a Snapdragon 845 chip. It is still top of the line but not for long – devices that will utilize the 7nm Snapdragon 855 chipset are just around the corner. Anyway, the Snapdragon 845 is a highly capable chipset and we’re quite familiar with its performance. The unit we have here is Mi Mix 3 with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, though there is a model with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, too.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

First, as usual, we ran Geekbench. In its processor tests, the Mi Mix 3 scored in line with its S845 peers. The Kryo 385 core is among the top performers on the market right now, bested only Samsung’s Mongoose M3 and Apple’s Vortex.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone XS Max11432
  • Honor Magic 29887
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro9712
  • vivo NEX S9160
  • Xiaomi Mi MIx 2S9158
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 39065
  • Samsung Galaxy Note99026
  • Xiaomi Pocophone F19003
  • OnePlus 6T8977
  • Sony Xperia XZ38607
  • LG V40 ThinQ8568
  • Xiaomi Mi 88494
  • Google Pixel 38146
  • Oppo Find X8018
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 26234

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone XS Max4777
  • Samsung Galaxy Note93642
  • Honor Magic 23316
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro3291
  • Sony Xperia XZ32486
  • Xiaomi Mi MIx 2S2468
  • vivo NEX S2466
  • Xiaomi Pocophone F12438
  • Xiaomi Mi 82431
  • OnePlus 6T2431
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 32429
  • LG V40 ThinQ2408
  • Google Pixel 32377
  • Oppo Find X2322
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 21924

The Adreno 630 GPU, just like the processor, is also among the best mobile GPUs right now, handling everything effortlessly. The Mix 3 has an edge over the 1440p phones with its 1080p screen.

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone XS Max60
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 335
  • Xiaomi Mi MIx 2S35
  • Xiaomi Pocophone F135
  • vivo NEX S35
  • Google Pixel 335
  • Sony Xperia XZ335
  • OnePlus 6T35
  • Oppo Find X35
  • LG V40 ThinQ34
  • Xiaomi Mi 833
  • Honor Magic 230
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro29
  • Samsung Galaxy Note928
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 225
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix18

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone XS Max47
  • Xiaomi Mi MIx 2S34
  • vivo NEX S34
  • Xiaomi Mi 833
  • Google Pixel 333
  • Xiaomi Pocophone F131
  • OnePlus 6T31
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 330
  • Oppo Find X28
  • Honor Magic 226
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 224
  • Sony Xperia XZ319
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix17
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro17
  • LG V40 ThinQ16
  • Samsung Galaxy Note915

Antutu is among the more popular tests as a single tell-all number, and in our run the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 scored the same as the OnePlus 6T and they share the first spot among the whole Android gang.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone XS Max353210
  • OnePlus 6T293994
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 3292353
  • vivo NEX Dual Display292042
  • Oppo Find X291218
  • vivo NEX S287081
  • Sony Xperia XZ3284555
  • Honor Magic 2274466
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro273913
  • Xiaomi Mi MIx 2S270814
  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1265314
  • LG V40 ThinQ254304
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9248823
  • Google Pixel 3233699
  • Xiaomi Mi 8217298

As it often happens with Xiaomi phones, we have only praises for the Mi Mix 3’s superb sustained performance. MIUI is well optimized and doesn’t bog down Android since it is lean and smooth. Running a benchmark repeatedly doesn’t slow the phone at all.

The Mix 3 has the fastest chip available today and even though it’s soon to be dethroned from its class-leading spot, the Snapdragon 845 is still a future-proof hardware worthy of having. The Mix 3 runs smooth and lag-free, the interface is snappy, and there is no throttling and overheating.

The Mix 3 with four cameras

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 has two dual cameras – one at the front and one at the back, so let’s look at them one at a time.

The rear camera brings the same hardware as on the Mi 8. The main module has a 12MP Sony IMX363 image sensor with large 1.4µm pixels and Dual Pixel autofocus. The lens has an f/1.8 aperture and 4-axis Optical Image Stabilization. The other module has a 54mm telephoto lens and uses a 12MP Samsung S5K3M3+ sensor with 1.0µm pixels.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The Mi Mix 3 has the new Night Mode – it captures 8 photos at different exposures and merges them into a brighter shot. It’s not exclusive to the Mix though – the Mi 8, Mi 8 Pro, and Mi Mix 2S already got it via an update.

The camera has the modes arranged side by side for you to change by swiping left and right. A 1x/2x button toggles between the main and telephoto cameras. There are toggles for flash mode, HDR, and AI, a set of filters and a hamburger shortcut to the settings.

Camera app - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Portrait effects - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Manual - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Manual (telephoto) - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Video - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Video settings - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

     
Camera app • Portrait effects • Manual • Manual (telephoto) • Video • Video settings

A manual mode is at your disposal too, and in here you can adjust white balance (presets and light temperature), pick a shutter speed (1/1000s to 16s) and ISO (100-1600). You can also set your own focus (in 1-100 ‘units’ between close-up and infinity) and there’s focus peaking to help you with that. A ‘lens’ selector with ‘wide’ and ‘tele’ options has replaced the not-‘manual’-enough 1x/2x button.

The Mi Mix 3 also has a dual-camera setup on its slider that handles the selfies. It has a 24MP main snapper and a 2MP depth sensor.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The main selfie module has f/2.2 aperture and fixed focus. Just don’t be fooled by the 1.8µm pixel size mentioned in promo materials – that’s the effective size with the 4-in-1 binning in action – but as far as the real pixel size is concerned – it’s 0.9µm.

Image quality

The photos from the main camera come out nicely detailed, but there is noticeable noisy grain even at low ISOs. Colors are true to life before the AI camera is engaged, at which point the saturation goes a bit overboard.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/3918s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/5112s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/4282s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/3586s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1844s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/4219s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/3093s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2633s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
   
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples

The dynamic range is quite good and only the most challenging high-contrast scenes end up with clipped highlights. In case you are shooting such scenes, you can rely on the Auto HDR to trigger the HDR mode – it will fix the clipped highlights with very little to none changes for the rest of the image.

HDR off - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/4891s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
HDR on - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/5189s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
HDR off - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1567s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
HDR on - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1456s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
HDR off • HDR on • HDR off • HDR on

Turning on the AI gives a boost in colors and amps up the contrast for some extra pop. The flipside is that you can generally expect to lose more detail in the extremes of the tonal range. Once again, as was the case on the recent Huawei phones, you’d be wise to steer clear of AI unless, of course, you’re a fan of the ‘Instagram look’ on all your photos.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples with AI - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/3918s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples with AI - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/5266s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples with AI - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/4410s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples with AI - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/3748s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples with AI - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1817s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples with AI - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/4219s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples with AI - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/3048s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples with AI - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2629s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
   
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP camera samples with AI

The secondary 12MP camera is a proper telephoto one and it takes some good images too, provided there’s plenty of light and no handshake since there is no optical stabilization for this one. Sharpness and detail are great, colors are similarly on point as with the main cam, and dynamic range is quite wide.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/2124s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/2690s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/1887s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/1323s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/701s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/2499s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/1343s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/1211s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
   
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP telephoto camera samples

The low-light photos we took with the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 are sharp enough with well-preserved colors and while noisy, the levels are not that high to get in the way.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light photos - f/1.8, ISO 1693, 1/17s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light photos - f/1.8, ISO 1505, 1/17s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light photos - f/1.8, ISO 1462, 1/17s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light photos - f/1.8, ISO 1893, 1/10s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light photos

If you have the AI camera enabled, a night mode kicks in (not the same as the dedicated Night mode, go figure). The results between the modes only differ in the color saturation, with AI meaning more of it.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light photos with AI - f/1.8, ISO 1505, 1/17s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light photos with AI - f/1.8, ISO 1292, 1/17s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light photos with AI - f/1.8, ISO 1347, 1/25s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light photos with AI - f/1.8, ISO 1950, 1/10s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light photos with AI

The telephoto snapper, just like on any other smartphone, doesn’t kick in when there is not enough light and the 2X photos are shot with the main camera and then digitally zoomed and cropped.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light 2X photos - f/1.8, ISO 1034, 1/17s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light 2X photos - f/1.8, ISO 673, 1/17s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light 2X photos - f/1.8, ISO 1024, 1/17s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

  
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP low-light 2X photos

Xiaomi has also come up with its own Night Mode, a camera feature Huawei introduced first with the P20 Pro last March. But while Huawei’s implementation takes about 3 to 5 seconds, Xiaomi’s require only 1 or 2 seconds. The maker has improved its image processing and the mode is not exclusive to the Mix 3 – the older Mix and Mi 8 phones are getting it, as well as the Pocophone.

The Night photos we took with the Mix 3 are indeed much brighter than the regular ones and you can see more detail popping everywhere – skies, buildings, ground. Noise is still present but once again doesn’t ruin the overall quality. A watercolor painting-like effect is also noticeable across the samples, but that’s a common issue with all Night modes we’ve seen – Huawei, Oppo, OnePlus and now Xiaomi.

Thanks to the fast speed of the Night mode, we’d highly recommend using it when possible – you won’t regret the results.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP Night Mode photos - f/1.8, ISO 3840, 1/10s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP Night Mode photos - f/1.8, ISO 3552, 1/10s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP Night Mode photos - f/1.8, ISO 4000, 1/10s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP Night Mode photos - f/1.8, ISO 7584, 1/10s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP Night Mode photos

Once you’re done looking at our real-life samples, be sure to check out how the Mi Mix 3 renders our test posters in the studio.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

  
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 against the Mi 8 and the Galaxy S9+ in our Photo compare tool

Portraits

Portraits taken with the rear camera of the Mi Mix 3 are highly dependent on the light conditions since those are taken with the telephoto snapper that has smaller pixels and narrower aperture. But that’s valid for any similar telephoto camera on a smartphone.

So, when the light is right, and you take several shots just in case, you will get some good portraits, detailed, with excellent subject separation and convincing faux blur.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP portrait samples - f/2.4, ISO 190, 1/100s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP portrait samples - f/2.4, ISO 196, 1/100s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP portrait samples - f/2.4, ISO 231, 1/50s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP portrait samples - f/2.4, ISO 656, 1/50s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP portrait samples - f/2.4, ISO 531, 1/50s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

    
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 12MP portrait samples

Portrait Lightning is available, too, and you have eight options to choose from. The thing is the camera spits smaller than 12MP photos when using these effects, and then it upscales them back to 12MP. And you can tell that when you zoom at 100%. Still, the options are there for anyone who likes using them.

Portrait Lightning photos - f/2.4, ISO 209, 1/100s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Portrait Lightning photos - f/2.4, ISO 209, 1/100s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Portrait Lightning photos - f/2.4, ISO 209, 1/100s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Portrait Lightning photos - f/2.4, ISO 209, 1/100s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Portrait Lightning photos - f/2.4, ISO 206, 1/100s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Portrait Lightning photos - f/2.4, ISO 206, 1/100s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Portrait Lightning photos - f/2.4, ISO 206, 1/100s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Portrait Lightning photos - f/2.4, ISO 206, 1/100s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
   
Portrait Lightning photos

Selfies

The 24MP selfie camera is a massive improvement over the old Mi Mixes and it does an excellent job at that. There is more than enough detail, the colors are nice, and the images are sharp enough. Sure, you have a limited range for the focus sweetspot, but with enough leeway to cover the different arm lengths and those who prefer closeup shots.

The dynamic range is not impressive but leave the Auto HDR on and it will improve things a lot.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 24MP selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 211, 1/33s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 24MP selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 238, 1/33s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 24MP selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/121s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 24MP selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 160, 1/50s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 24MP selfie samples

It can also take blurred background selfies and does it quite proficiently thanks to the 2MP depth sensor. There is a minor drop in the sharpness, though.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 24MP portrait selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/79s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 24MP portrait selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/34s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 24MP portrait selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/323s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 24MP portrait selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/89s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

   
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 24MP portrait selfie samples

And, if Portrait Lightning is your thing, it’s available for selfies as well. The photos looked upscaled, just like was the case with the regular Portrait Lightning mode.

Selfie Portrait Lightning - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/76s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Selfie Portrait Lightning - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/78s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Selfie Portrait Lightning - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/77s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Selfie Portrait Lightning - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/80s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Selfie Portrait Lightning - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/82s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
Selfie Portrait Lightning - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/76s - Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

     
Selfie Portrait Lightning

Video recording

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 captures video up to 4K @ 60fps, and all other common modes are available – [email protected] and [email protected] You also can’t record zoomed in videos, though. Well, technically you can zoom in with a pinch gesture, but even when you hit the 2x spot, it still won’t switch to the tele camera, so that’s a ‘no’ in our book.

Slow-mo video are available – 1080 @120 and @240fps, and 720p @960fps.

The video bit rate is 40-42Mbps in 4K – both 30 and 60 fps, and about 20Mbps in 1080p – once again both 30 and 60 fps. Audio is recorded in stereo with a 192Kbps bit rate. That’s when using the h.264 codec, though you do have the option to switch to the more efficient h.265.

We found 4K videos sharp and detailed, though not class-leading when you stare on a pixel level. Noise wasn’t an issue either. Contrast is excellent and color rendition is pleasantly vivid, without being over the top. That is if you shoot subjects close enough – as seen in our video compare tool below. The clips we shot from the balcony aren’t that good, but we can’t be sure if that’s lens issue or a software one. Still, for all intents and purposes – the Mi Mix 3 shoots great videos – just check it out over in our video compare tool.

The 1080p capture is excellent, and this is one area, where the Mix 3 could possibly outperform many competitors – all too often we see 1080p video recording optimizations neglected by manufacturers.

Both 4K and 1080p videos at 60fps are negligibly less detailed than their 30fps versions, but they share the rest of their good qualities.

There is electronic stabilization on top of the optical one and looking at the menus, it seems it should be available in 4K as well – the option doesn’t get grayed out when you select 4K resolution. However, the shaky footage and the lack of any difference in coverage with the toggle in the Off and On positions makes us believe there is no EIS in 4K. We’d assume it’s only OIS that helps smooth out clips in this case.

The stabilized 1080p videos, on the other hand, are super smooth and we didn’t observe any issues like wobbling.

As usual, we’re providing you with unedited short samples to download and examine – [email protected] (10s, 53MB)[email protected] (10s, 53MB)[email protected] (10s, 25MB), and [email protected] (10s, 26MB).

Finally, be sure to check out how the Mi Mix 3 rendition of our studio charts compares to that of other phones we’ve tested.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

  
2160p: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 against the Mi 8 and the Galaxy S9+ in our Video compare tool

The Competition

Once a concept, the true bezel-less screen is now within our reach. Thanks to Xiaomi and the Mi Mix series, the whole market has moved towards edge-to-edge screens. And now we can only hope the companies would once again take note and make the next leap for a notch-less smartphone world.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

The Mi Mix 3 has solved the problem with the bezels with a sliding platform. Is it the best solution – probably not – but it’s really close to the real deal. Better than the NEX S pop-up selfie camera, better than the Find X pop-up module, and a lot better than the NEX Dual Display.

The Mix 3 was announced before the Honor Magic 2, which uses pretty much the same 6.39″ AMOLED screen and a similar slider solution. We can’t be sure who came up with this idea first, but the Mi Mix 3 is available in quite a few markets officially – including Europe, while the Magic 2 is a tough one to find so we’d give the win to Xiaomi.

The Honor Magic 2 also failed to impress with camera quality, even though it has six of those. Still, it’s one truly unique phone to have and experience.

And that was the only real threat to the Mix 3.

Xiaomi has launched the Mi Mix 3 officially in Europe and the first markets to get it are Spain and Italy. It costs about €500 or cheaper – depending on the ongoing promotions. And that’s a tough proposition to beat even without taking into account the unique sliding form factor.

The Galaxy S9+ is a bit more expensive, but also offers a notch-free AMOLED, higher-res at that. Its camera setup is quite capable, while the glass design is as stunning as they come. The Mix 3 has a ceramic back and Night mode to offer over the S9+, while the water-proofing and connectivity points go to the Samsung.

OnePlus 6T is another flagship that comes to mind in the €500-600 range. It has the Snapdragon 845 and very handsome design, it does the trending Night Mode, too, and its OLED screen is excellent, waterdrop-like notch or not. It lacks a telephoto camera, but the Oxygen OS and its fluidness have already won millions of users.

And finally, if you are only after the slider and don’t care much for the rest of the specs, you may want to consider the Lenovo Z5 Pro. It has the same 6.39″ Super AMOLED screen, a similar slider as the Mix 3 and Magic 2 but it runs on the upper midrange Snapdragon 710 and isn’t as skilled in the camera department. Then again, it may cost as low as half the Mi Mix 3 price depending on where you live, so it’s worth mentioning here.

Huawei Honor Magic 2
Samsung Galaxy S9+
OnePlus 6T
Lenovo Z5 Pro

   
Huawei Honor Magic 2 • Samsung Galaxy S9+ • OnePlus 6T • Lenovo Z5 Pro

The Verdict

The Mi Mix 3 is an excellent offer coming just before the next flagship season. Xiaomi will be upgrading the phone in a month or two with the next 5G-capable Snapdragon chipset, but the price will go north of the current €500 mark.

But today the Mix 3 is one of the best smartphones you can get if you want a unique, no-nonsense experience, and it’s rather cheap at that. The cutout-free AMOLED screen is great, the performance is flagship worthy and will continue to be for at least one or two years, the camera is great, too, and the battery life turned out pretty good.

Sure, the Mix 3 omits a thing or two, but it’s a very solid device worth having and a needed break of those notched smartphones. And if you aren’t convinced yet, you just have to go and try it yourself and see how the retro slider came back to kill the notorious notch.

Pros

  • Great 6.39″ Super AMOLED screen
  • A unique slider, feels secure enough
  • Flagship performance
  • Good battery life given the 3,200 mAh capacity
  • All-round good camera experience
  • MIUI 10 and Android Pie out of the box
  • Rich retail box with fast wireless charger inside

Cons

  • Lacks water-proofing
  • Very slippery
  • Single loudspeaker
  • EIS available only for 1080p capturing
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review

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