Xiaomi

Xiaomi

Xiaomi sold over 2 million smartphones in India in Q3

Behind China, India is the most important market for Xiaomi. In each of the first two quarters of the year, the company managed to sell between 1 and 1.5 million smartphones in the country. In the third quarter, however, the Chinese manufacturer took it up a notch.

Recently, Xiaomi announced via a tweet that it sold more than 2 million smartphones in India in Q3. This is a record for the company and represents a 150 percent increase when compared to the same period last year. The Chinese manufacturer, best known for its devices that offer a great price-performance ratio, was able to increase its sales drastically by expanding into the offline retail market.

With the help of Indian distributors like Redington, Innocomm, StoreKing, and Just By Live, Xiaomi was able to get its devices in more than 8,500 retail stores across the country this year. In addition, it also sells devices through its own website and on partner sites like Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal.

See also:

Hugo Barra: “Xiaomi could sell 10 billion smartphones and not make a profit”

3 days ago

According to the report published by IDC, Xiaomi is currently the fourth biggest player in India, with a market share of 7.5 percent. But when taking only online sales into account, the company gets bumped up to second place, behinds Lenovo.

Xiaomi is on track for a great fourth quarter as well. The company managed to sell over 500,000 smartphones in the first three days of October and over a million combined in the same month. Its most popular models have been the affordable Redmi Note 3 and the Redmi 3S series.

So, any thoughts on Xiaomi’s success in India? Are you surprised by it, or did you see this one coming?

Hugo Barra: “Xiaomi could sell 10 billion smartphones and not make a profit”

0

Xiaomi’s plummeting smartphone sales are of little concern to the company’s bottom line because, according to Xiaomi global vp Hugo Barra: “We could sell 10 billion smartphones and we wouldn’t make a single dime in profits. Basically we’re giving them to you without making any money… we care about the recurring revenue streams over many years”.

There’s not many smartphone makers that couldn’t care less about declining smartphone sales, but Xiaomi makes its money from connected home devices and its software ecosystem. Smartphone sales are, of course, important to the company, but they are not a financial imperative as with most companies.

See also:

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review

1 week ago

Despite recent poor performance in the smartphone division, Xiaomi’s vp Liu De said in April that the company expected sales of smart home devices to double to 10 billion yuan (~$1.5 billion) this year.

With multiple new phones rumored to launch in the very near future, including a possible device targeted at the U.S. market to be announced at CES 2017, Xiaomi’s phone sales may well recover from their current slump. As we reported recently though, Xiaomi’s foray into India has produced a lot of fans, but alienated a lot of folks at the same time.

Would you buy a U.S. Xiaomi phone? What about other Xiaomi products?

Hugo Barra: “Xiaomi could sell 10 billion smartphones and not make a profit”

0

Xiaomi’s plummeting smartphone sales are of little concern to the company’s bottom line because, according to Xiaomi global vp Hugo Barra: “We could sell 10 billion smartphones and we wouldn’t make a single dime in profits. Basically we’re giving them to you without making any money… we care about the recurring revenue streams over many years”.

There’s not many smartphone makers that couldn’t care less about declining smartphone sales, but Xiaomi makes its money from connected home devices and its software ecosystem. Smartphone sales are, of course, important to the company, but they are not a financial imperative as with most companies.

See also:

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review

1 week ago

Despite recent poor performance in the smartphone division, Xiaomi’s vp Liu De said in April that the company expected sales of smart home devices to double to 10 billion yuan (~$1.5 billion) this year.

With multiple new phones rumored to launch in the very near future, including a possible device targeted at the U.S. market to be announced at CES 2017, Xiaomi’s phone sales may well recover from their current slump. As we reported recently though, Xiaomi’s foray into India has produced a lot of fans, but alienated a lot of folks at the same time.

Would you buy a U.S. Xiaomi phone? What about other Xiaomi products?

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Update, November 22: The second and final Android 7.1 developer preview has now rolled out for supported Nexus devices, which this time includes the Nexus 9. Meanwhile, multiple Nougat betas have been announced while some lucky device owners have already received the official Nougat update.

Google gave itself a couple of months head start on getting Nougat ready by releasing the first beta release on March 9. But it also gave app developers and manufacturers an even earlier look at what to expect from Android 7.0 Nougat and additional time to get the update ball rolling.

When Android 7.0 landed in its final form on August 22, it was actually slightly ahead of schedule. But that now leaves us with the question: when will Nougat hit our devices? The answer to this varies wildly depending on the OEM in question, so head to your OEM section below for our estimated arrival date.

Latest Android Nougat news

On November 22, the second and final Android 7.1 Nougat developer preview rolled out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C and Nexus 9. There was nothing really new in the builds other than “near-final system behaviors and UI”. The public release of Android 7.1 Nougat is due in early December.

As always, you can find factory images and over-the-air (OTA) images on the Android Developers blog:

If you’ve never flashed a factory image, you can follow our guide here.

See also:

Android Nougat: all the features you need to know

October 21, 2016

On November 20, the Sprint LG G5 became the first major flagship to receive the official update to Android 7.0 Nougat.

On October 19, the first developer preview of Android 7.1 Nougat went out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Pixel C, after being teased on the Android Developer’s blog in early October.

Android 7.0 Nougat formally arrived on August 22nd. The first official version of Nougat didn’t bring anything notably different from the final Android 7.0 developer preview, although a ton of bugs were squashed in order to bring the most stable experience possible.

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Nexus Nougat update situation

While the new Google Pixel phones ran Android 7.1 out of the box – along with several Pixel-only features – Android 7.1 will be coming to supported devices in its final version in “early December”.

The phones getting the Android 7.1 update at that time include the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and supported Android One devices. Developer preview builds of Android 7.1 began rolling out on October 19 with the final preview arriving on November 22.

As always, the beta program is the easiest method for getting the latest and greatest Android version as quickly as possible via OTA, but you can also flash the factory images if you’re not in the beta program (see links above).

On August 22nd, Android 7.0 OTAs began for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One). The Nexus 5 did not join in on the fun, though that’s of little surprise considering Google’s usual device update support patterns. The factory images can be found here.

Android 7.0 update: when will I get it?

Samsung Android 7.0 update

Even though Samsung isn’t exactly speedy when it comes to rolling out Android updates, there’s at least some good news where the Samsung Android 7.0 update is concerned.

The first Galaxy beta Nougat firmware arrived for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge on November 9 for U.S., UK and South Korean participants, with a second build coming soon. When the final release will arrive we can’t yet say but Samsung has said the program will run until mid-December.

For reference, there was a five-month timeframe between the Android 6.0 launch on September 29, 2015 and the first U.S. update to Marshmallow with the Verizon Galaxy Note 5 on March 3, 2016. Using that as a benchmark, Galaxy owners could easily be waiting until some time in January 2017 for the first Samsung Android 7.0 update.

Following the Note 7 recall, however, Samsung might try to get Nougat out for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge before the end of the year with the Note 5, Galaxy Tab S2, Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+ after them. The Note 5 and Tab S2 update is currently underway and an S6 running Nougat appeared on GFXBench recently.

The Galaxy S8 will arrive in early 2017 running at least Android 7.0 and maybe even Android 7.1 out of the box.

Best case scenario: 5 months after Android 7.0 launch (January 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

LG Android 7.0 update

With Android Nougat, LG took just 78 days to update its first device to Android 7.0 (the South Korean LG G5 on November 8) – the fastest of all OEMs. In the U.S., the Sprint LG G5 got Nougat on November 20, making the LG G5 the first major U.S. flagship to receive the official Android Nougat update as well.

LG was pretty good with its update speed for Marshmallow too, with less than two months separating the release of Android 6.0 and the first LG handset to receive it (the Sprint LG G4 on December 21, 2015).

In fact, LG was the first OEM to get a carrier-based Marshmallow update out after Google. The LG V10 eventually got the update internationally in early March 2016, after the LG G3 and LG G Stylo already had Marshmallow in the U.S..

Of course, the LG V20 had the honor of being the first phone to arrive with Android 7.0 out of the box, beating even the Nexus range to the punch (much to the irritation of Nexus owners everywhere).

Best case scenario: 2 months after Android 7.0 release (November 2016) – CONFIRMED

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Sony Android 7.0 update

This year, certain Sony Xperia owners were treated to an Android N preview build just as they were last year with Android M. Sony’s Nougat Concept rolled out on November 1 for the Xperia X Performance. Then, on November 21, the Xperia X assumed the top spot for future Sony Concept builds, and received the latest beta from Sony on that date.

However, for those of you not interested in installing a non-final developer version, the official Sony Android 7.0 update has already been confirmed for the Xperia X, XA, XA Ultra, X Performance, XZ, X Compact, Z5, Z5 Compact, Z5 Premium, Z3+ and Z4 Tablet.

The exact date for the first Sony Nougat update is less certain though. If we look at Sony’s efforts with Marshmallow last year, our predictions aren’t very optimistic.

Based on the Xperia Z5 series, Z4 Tablet and Xperia Z3+ all getting the Marshmallow update five months after Google first pushed it out, we wouldn’t expect any Xperias to see Nougat until mid-January 2017. Sony has undergone some pretty serious changes internally in the last year though, so let’s just hope Sony is aiming to up its game with the Nougat rollout.

Best case scenario: 5 months after Android 7.0 release (January 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Motorola Android 7.0 update

For a little while it looked like Motorola had toppled LG as the first OEM to get a new Android version out, but reports of an October 21 release for the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus in India turned out not to be the case.

Moto owners had to wait almost another whole month to see the first official Nougat update, with the Verizon Moto Z and Moto Z Force getting the update on November 18. Motorola ultimately took 88 days to get Nougat out for its first devices.

Looking at Moto’s past efforts, the Moto X Style got Marshmallow first, on November 12, 2015 and the Moto X Pure Edition got the first U.S. Moto update to Marshmallow on December 7, 2015. Marshmallow arrived from Google on October 5, 2015, but most Moto devices had to wait at least two months to get Marshmallow.

Lenovo has confirmed a list of devices confirmed to get Android Nougat and we know the new near-stock Moto devices will receive both the Android N and Android O releases.

Best case scenario: 2 months after Android 7.0 arrives (October 2016) – DELAYED

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

HTC Android 7.0 update

HTC developer @LlabTooFeR has claimed the HTC Nougat update is scheduled for late-November for the HTC 10. The developer later posted screenshots of Nougat on the HTC 10, claiming it was stable and almost ready.

As you may recall, HTC did pretty well with its first update to Marshmallow. The unlocked Developer Edition HTC One M9 and all variants of the HTC One A9 got the Marshmallow update in December 2015. The HTC 10 arrived in April running Android Marshmallow out of the box and will be the first HTC device to receive Nougat.

HTC’s next flagship, presumably the HTC 11, should arrive with Android 7.0 at launch (if not Android 7.1). HTC has already confirmed several devices (10, M9, A9) to be on the update train and T-Mobile has the HTC 10 and HTC One M9 on its own update list.

Best case scenario: 3 months after Android 7.0 unveiling (November 2016)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Huawei Android 7.0 update

The Huawei Mate 9 arrived recently running Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. Huawei pulled the same “latest version” rabbit out of its hat with the Mate 8 in November 2015, which ran Marshmallow out of the box just weeks after Google released it.

Meanwhile, a beta preview of Nougat for the Huawei P9 appeared as far back as July, a whole month before Google officially released it for Nexus devices. Update news for the P9 has been suspiciously quiet ever since though, even if the P9 series along with the Nova and Nova Plus are likely to be the first Huawei phones to get updated (as opposed to arriving with Nougat).

As far as honor devices are concerned, last year, the honor 7 Enhanced Edition arrived on December 14, 2015 with Android Marshmallow on board and the honor 5X and honor 7 followed with the Marshmallow update at the end of February. The honor 8 has a Nougat beta available, but we’ve no information on when the official update will arrive.

Best case scenario: Mate 9 running Android 7.0 at launch (November 2016), honor updates in January 2017

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

OnePlus Android 7.0 update

OnePlus has promised to have a Nougat “community build” for the OnePlus 3 out by the end of November. Both the OnePlus 3 and newer OnePlus 3T are due for the official OnePlus Nougat update in December. Furthermore, OnePlus has confirmed that the OnePlus 3 will get every Android update the OnePlus 3T gets, effectively adding an extra six months to its support shelf life.

OnePlus isn’t exactly renowned for its software updates, seriously dropping the ball on the OnePlus 2 and taking forever to deliver Marshmallow to the OnePlus X. With those updates coming June 5 and September 28 respectively, that equates to a full 245 days and 360 days after Google first made Marshmallow available on October 5, 2015.

Nevertheless, OnePlus has promised to get its update game in shape and has combined its software teams to streamline Android updates from here on out. Even if the Nougat update arrives on the last day of 2016, OnePlus will have shaved more than 100 days off its Marshmallow effort.

Best case scenario: 4 months after Google (December 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Xiaomi Android 7.0 update

Xiaomi had a pretty bad case of the hiccups when it came to the Marshmallow update, so it may not be entirely representative to base assumptions about the Xiaomi Android 7.0 update based on its most recent update performance.

As you may remember, despite announcing Marshmallow was in the final stages of testing back in December 2015, it wasn’t until early April that the Mi 4, Mi 3 and Mi Note finally got Android 6.0.

Perhaps learning from this mistake, Xiaomi hasn’t made any Nougat promises this time around, but began looking for Mi 5 Nougat beta testers on November 18. With a Nougat beta starting just now, it will likely be a few months before we see the Xiaomi Nougat update rolling out.

In the worst case scenario, Xiaomi suffers similar problems with Android 7.0 and users won’t see it until six months after Google releases it. In the best case scenario, Xiaomi has a successful public beta and has the update out in December 2016 or January 2017. But no matter when the update comes, we’ll likely see a Xiaomi device launch with Nougat out of the box first.

Best case scenario: 4-5 months after Google (December 2016/January 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Android One Android 7.0 update

Android One devices occupy a particular sweet spot when it comes to Android updates. Because they run stock Android, Google handles firmware updates, meaning the Android One Android 7.0 update will always arrive at the same time as it does for Nexus devices with both OTA and flashable factory image options.

OTAs will likely take at least a few weeks or more to reach all Android One devices getting the upgrade, and as always, the factory images will be right around the corner. Note that not all Android One devices make the initial rollout alongside Nexus devices though.

When do you expect your manufacturer and carrier to get Android 7.0 into your hands?

Huami’s GPS-equipped Amazfit PACE smartwatch coming to the US for just $129

If you’ve been eyeing that affordable, GPS-equipped Amazfit PACE smartwatch that was unveiled a few months ago, we’re happy to say that you’ll be able to get your hands (well, wrists) on one soon. Huami, a sub-brand of Xiaomi, has just announced that the Amazfit PACE is headed to the United States. It’s now available for the promotional price of $129 throughout Cyber Monday on Amazfit.com in both Black and Red color options. It will jump up to its standard MSRP of $159 following Cyber Monday, and will also be available on Amazon at that point.

See also:

Best smartwatches

2 weeks ago

What makes this new smartwatch so special? For starters, the Amazfit PACE is packed with features we normally don’t see in this price range. Since this is a smartwatch, it will of course be able to tell the time and display weather information. It runs on a proprietary operating system (aka not Android Wear or Tizen), but will be able to interact with your Android or iOS device via its own app. You’ll be able to get email, text notifications and more.

The Amazfit PACE will provide weather, email, text notifications and more

The smartwatch sports a 1.34-inch circular display with a 320 x 300 resolution, a 1.2GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. There’s also 4GB of on-board storage, which is enough to store a few music playlists for listening on the go with some Bluetooth headphones. The Amazfit PACE isn’t just a smartwatch, though – it also has a bevy of fitness tracking features. For starters, it has a built-in GPS, which Xiaomi says is using the world’s first 28nm GPS sensor. Not only that, it also comes with a heart rate sensor and an IP67 water resistance rating. It basically has all the features we like to see in a smartwatch and fitness tracker.

As mentioned, this smartwatch is on sale from today at Amazfit.com for $129. If you’re interested, head to the link attached below.

Buy now from Amazfit

Xiaomi will make its CES debut in January with a global product launch

0

Xiaomi has announced its first attendance at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, along with a global product launch. The Chinese manufacturer made the announcement on Twitter yesterday but didn’t reveal what the upcoming product would be.

CES 2017 will take place between January 5 – January 8 and is expected to see thousands of exhibitors display new and upcoming consumer tech products across a variety of industries. Though Xiaomi is known to many as the manufacturer of smartphones, the company has a number of other consumer electronics products in its catalog, including smart home devices, fitness bands, TVs and laptops.

Xiaomi is yet to officially launch a smartphone in the US and this is often the source of speculation. In August, Vice President of Xiaomi International Hugo Barra told Bloomberg: “Of course, everyone expects us to launch smartphones [in the US] in the near future. We don’t have a date set for that yet but we are in the process of launching a few products in the US market.”

When asked why Xiaomi wouldn’t enter the US on a larger scale, Barra said “We have to take things slowly,” stating that Xiaomi is still a small company and had to be careful on how it approached its international expansion.

See also:

Xiaomi is a huge hit in India, but not everyone is happy

23 hours ago

What product do you think Xiaomi will launch at CES 2017? Let us know in the comments.

Xiaomi is a huge hit in India, but not everyone is happy

0

If you’re a numbers person, Xiaomi is killing it in India. Last month, the company announced it had sold more than 500,000 smartphones in less than three days between October 1 to 3, an industry-first milestone. Later in the month, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun published a note on Xiaomi India’s Facebook page announcing the company’s latest milestone having sold 1 million smartphones in just 18 days as the online retailers in the country went on an overdrive for the festive season.

India is an extremely important market in Xiaomi’s globalization strategy and their largest market outside of mainland China, and per Lei Jun’s post, Xiaomi aims to capture the largest market share in India within 3-5 years.

Yet, all is not well. My Twitter and Facebook timeline is full of rants against what are great devices. Poor after-sales support experience, non-availability of spare parts, and long wait times for getting devices serviced have hurt customer experience and brand reputation. In an informal poll I did on Twitter asking about issues with Xiaomi in India, ‘after-sales service’ garnered over 40% of votes.

According to a Xiaomi spokesperson, the company is transitioning the most critical parts of our after-sales operations in-house, aiming for a significant improvement in the service. As part of this transition, Xiaomi is updating its processes further to ensure the quick resolution of complaints, and has already initiated a dedicated spare parts warehouse in Bangalore.

“We believe that this will result in a significant increase in customer satisfaction. We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in our India business and we have never been shy in acknowledging that a significant portion has been dedicated to after-sales. Within two years of operation, the company has more than 100 service centers in the country, of which 70+ are exclusive service centers. I am positive that all our efforts will result in a much better after-sales and customer care experience to our users in the next few weeks.”

Xiaomi is a huge hit in India, but not everyone is happy

One of the constant cribs about Xiaomi comes from geeky audience who keeps a tab on global news and trends. A lot of Xiaomi devices never make it to India despite generating a lot of buzz. Not just smartphones, Mi Band and Mi Air Purifier are the only two smart home products from the Chinese company to be officially launched in India. Incidentally, a lot of that annoyance is caused by the regional media. Because it’s a popular brand, publications in India are happy to cover devices launched in China knowing well that they are not making their way to India. By privileged access, a lot of us acquire those devices and publish features around them generating interest amongst Indian consumers.

The Xiaomi spokesperson clarified that the company has a strategy of launching one flagship per year and this year it is Mi 5 and next year they will have another flagship phone. The flagship phone market in India is still very small and they intend to keep flagship portfolio very tight in India.

“Xiaomi is still new and learning in India with a small team and we need to plan our portfolio very cautiously. In our home market – It is extremely well known and quite popular and we are able to launch a diverse portfolio of devices.”

But the ‘availability’ issue is not just limited to limited devices being launched in the country, but also getting your hands on one of their devices after you’ve made the buying decision. Xiaomi entered the Indian market in July 2014 with a unique ‘Flash Sale’ model with Flipkart. While the entire stocks got sold out in seconds, and the company sent gloating press releases about it, it increasingly became hard to buy a Mi smartphone. The flash sales evolved into open sales, and Xiaomi extended its partnership with Amazon and Snapdeal as well, but limited stocks and no offline availability irks a lot of potential buyers. For people like me, it’s hard to recommend a device to a reader or a friend that is hard to procure.

Even in their home country, Vivo and OPPO recently edged out Xiaomi as China’s top phone makers. The former top smartphone maker, Xiaomi has dropped down to number four with a market share of 10.6 percent.

“Xiaomi needs a hero flagship device in premium to drive mindshare to compete with much more focused R&D and manufacturing driven brands such as Oppo, Vivo, Apple and Huawei. Also, lack of presence in offline space has been one of the determinants for Xiaomi’s slowing growth as its e-commerce driven business model has hit a ceiling.”

– Meng Zhang, Senior Analyst, Counterpoint Research

Xiaomi is a huge hit in India, but not everyone is happy

Despite the popularity of Xiaomi smartphones in India, and in other markets, a lot of users aren’t too happy with MIUI, the company’s proprietary Android customization. It’s a well thought out UI, and packs in a lot of neat utility features and advanced capabilities, but the Android layer underneath isn’t updated as quickly as users would like. There are a lot of MIUI fans, mind you, and the company does a better job at custom skin than most smartphone manufacturers, but MIUI lives on a dated Android version far too long than one would like.

With grand visions for the Indian market, and upcoming entry into the unforgiving US market next year, Xiaomi needs to iron out these issues if they want to build a brand and not just be contented with sales numbers. It’s a crowded market out there, and people are happy to jump ships for better value and experience, and rightly so.

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

Xiaomi made quite a splash with what they called a ‘concept phone”; a phone that, they hope, will give us a glimpse into a future where smartphones are slabs of glass that project the magic that lies within. Considering we don’t have the technology (yet) that can make our phones achieve this, they went with the best we can do right now – a phone that is all display, all the time.

I’ve been using it for some time now, trying to figure out if a phone that is basically entire display actually makes sense for our daily lives. After all, doing this to a phone means that some changes have to be made to the very way that we see and use our smartphones. Does it work and is this the future of smartphones? Let’s find out in this, our Xiaomi Mi MIX review.

This concept phone is only available in China and this means certain parts of the phone will only work in that market and were not applicable to our review process as a whole. These differences will be called out in their respective areas. Also, the phone is only made in small batches, so its availability is limited, which means the majority of you readers probably won’t be able to buy one. With that in mind, this review will focus less on how this particular phone would work on the daily and instead how the features that are being introduced by this phone might actually factor into what could be our smartphone future.
Show More

Design

To make room for the massive display, Xiaomi had to move many of the current conventions of the smartphone around, but to make the shell holding it all together just as appealing, the company made this large 6.4-inch phone utilize full ceramic for its material. The result is a very shiny, very sleek block that is highly eye-catching and, honestly, really slippery. I’ve almost dropped the phone multiple times as a result. It seems a little ironic to me that this phone is supposed to be all about the display yet it can be broken quite easily due to its large size and slippery body.

Luckily, there is a premium leather case that Xiaomi made a big deal of, citing its high quality and the premium price for it. Even more luckily, it is included in the box. There was little time between my actually using the phone and then sliding it in the case for safety.

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

That said, plenty of what makes a smartphone recognizable remains, at least on the sides and the back. Prominent power and volume buttons on the side are easy to feel for, and the rear elements of the camera and the fingerprint reader are a bit lower on the upper third than might be typical. This phone does come with a headphone jack up top and the USB-C port on the bottom is flanked by the microphone and surprisingly good speaker.

It’s when we get to the front of the phone that we see where things have been shifted around. The top of the device is where some of the magic of the display takes place, as there is virtually no bezel around three sides of the screen. The parts of a phone that we are used to seeing up there are moved either underneath the screen or to the bottom. And below the screen is, mainly, the front facing camera – the location of this camera is not the most ideal, not only because the upward angle isn’t the most flattering for selfies, but also because thumbs and palms might show up in the corner of the frame.

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

Otherwise, the proximity sensor is now sonar based, which will figure when the top of the phone is close to a subject. And the phone speaker is now a piece of ceramic just below the screen that emits sound through vibrations. Both of these will be considered further in the hardware section.

it seems like this phone is a great concept for not just phones but also for tablets

Overall, this is a sleek device that is brought down in the handling department mostly by its size. The phone is very hard to use comfortably in one hand, and the ceramic exacerbates this even when using both hands. For that reason, it seems like this phone is a great concept for not just phones but also for tablets – this is a point that we’ll get into when we talk about this massive, beautiful display.

Display

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

The IPS near bezel-less display has one big caveat right off the bat – it is only a 1080p display. Technically, it is actually 2040×1080, which makes it have an aspect ratio of 17:9 and slightly wider than the typical video frame. Though this almost Full HD is not bad by any means, flagship devices have made this kind of choice feel like more of an aberration than it probably should be. For a phone like the Xiaomi Mi MIX, Quad HD would have really elevated what is already a sight to behold.

With a 91.3% screen to body ratio, there is so much real estate for just about any form of entertainment – or work, if that is what you want to do – and everything displays really well. The IPS screen gets quite bright even under daylight, but there is also a lot of control over the backlight that Xiaomi put in because bringing the brightness down to 0 seemingly shuts it completely off. Its saturation has also been bumped up a bit to make it a little more pleasing to the eye. As a result, gaming and streaming YouTube videos on the Xiaomi Mi MIX has been very enjoyable, to a fault.

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

Let’s go back, for a second, to the resolution and some of the issues that it presents. As mentioned before, Full HD is not bad, but 17:9 has proved to be a little problematic. Videos are, typically, 16:9 aspect ratio and when they are viewed on any display that is higher in ratio, letterboxing occurs. This is the case and problem I found on the MIX. YouTube videos, in particular, show small black bars on the sides of the video, taking away from the immersion that the bezel-less construction is supposed to provide. So, with that in mind, the magic of having almost no bezel is replaced by the simple but common enjoyment of having a large screen.

The opposite is true for many games that I played on the MIX, because they are coded to ‘best-fit’ the aspect ratio the display – and in most cases, the elements on the very edges of the HUD bleed just past the boundaries of the screen.

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

And finally, having a 1080p display on such a large display makes for a lower overall pixel density, which means a bit of loss in sharpness. This is less a problem for static content and more of an issue with motion, as there is an apparent motion blur as text scrolls and in many videos and games there is just enough of it to remind me that this is not a Quad HD screen. Again, there is no problem with having Full HD in general, but the MIX seems to have missed an opportunity by omitting it.

Does this kind of screen really work for a smartphone? It totally can, but the compromises that it requires are the pain points. Without a phone speaker, the vibrating ceramic underneath was Xiaomi’s alternative and it honestly does not do the job nearly as well. The proximity sensor becoming a sonar sensor works pretty well, and the bottom mounted front facing camera is a compromise that can be solved by holding the phone upside down.

But for a whole different segment of the space – the tablet – the bezel-less display could be one of the best and widely sought after features. A tablet doesn’t quite need all of these features that had to be shifted around in a smartphone – the entire front of a tablet can become ‘all display, all the time’ when the proximity sensor, the phone speaker, and even the front facing camera can all be left out. Perhaps Xiaomi had this in mind when designing this phone – after all, they believe that if this phone is successful, the concept can become real for future devices. Not just their phones, but their future devices.

Performance

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

Despite all that this phone is trying to introduce outside of the typical smartphone box, much of what we would expect remains. The Xiaomi Mi MIX (and the Mi Note 2) sports the Snapdragon 821 and either 4 or 6GB of RAM depending on the version (and price). As a result, the MIUI speeds through all of elements smoothly and without stutters or issues in and out of applications. Though MIUI (and – if I may have some candor – many Chinese Android iterations) is not my favorite experience, I cannot deny how well it is presented and how easy it is to enjoy all of my apps despite the Xiaomi UI that splatters it all over its homescreens and not in an app drawer.

As a small aside, I would like to give credit to Xiaomi – and, indeed, to Chinese manufacturers at large these days – for putting higher capacities of RAM in their new phones. Though the version that I have is the 4GB RAM edition, having a couple more should only mean better performance in terms of recent apps caching and multitasking.

Hardware

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

And to that end, the higher capacity for the RAM is helped by another big addition – larger storage. The base model of the MIX comes with an 128GB of onboard storage to make up for the fact that it does not have a microSD card slot. Go up to the more premium 6GB edition and that amount gets even larger at 256GB! This is something that definitely needs to become more common, even in this current landscape where microSD cards are more common and Google wants to make you pay for more storage or just use their cloud backup services.

Another good portion to the hardware was a little surprising – the speaker. Audio through the headphone jack is already standardly good, without the extra power of an amp or the customization options that can come with a dedicated DAC. However, I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that the bottom mounted speaker next to the USB-C port was pretty loud and had some body to the sound. While this is not a particularly common situation, I found myself watching or playing content on the MIX without any headphones connected, simply because the screen was the focus of my testing. But when doing so, I got accustomed to just relying on the speaker and didn’t find myself really reaching for my earbuds. It isn’t super loud and won’t do particularly well in very high noise environments, but indoors and in typical situations at home it was definitely more than adequate.

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

Speaking of the USB-C port, charging the massive 4400mAh battery that comes in the MIX is a pretty standard, fast charging affair. Despite the claims of the phone getting up to 83% in about half an hour, the reality for me was actually closer to 70% with a full charging time of around 2 and a half hours. However, the big story here is that huge battery, which is helped primarily by the Full HD resolution in the screen.

Despite the very large display, the big battery does a great job of making the phone go the distance, as I found my typical usage (a lot of audio playing, some YouTube, GPS navigation, a bit of gaming, and a lot of productivity app usage) to yield up to 7 hours of screen on time. In our testing using the Android Authority Battery Tester, the Xiaomi Mi MIX scored a very respectable 9 hours SOT in our gaming test. Battery life is one of the best parts of this phone, even if it is partly due to the Full HD display and the fact that this phone does not connect to LTE networks in the States (or pretty much anywhere in the West, really).

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

Which finally brings us to the main hardware changes in this phone, the phone speaker and the proximity sensor. As mentioned earlier, I did not find any issues with the sonar detector that replaces the usual proximity sensor – the phone performed properly during calls, as the screen turns off when the phone is at my ear.  Speaking of calls, there is really no other way to put it – the ceramic vibration that replaces the phone speaker is just not a good alternative. Not only because of the nature having just one piece of vibrating material, but also because it is tucked below the layer of screen and ceramic.

There is simply not enough sound emitting from the top of the phone to make calls comfortable to listen to, much less in loud environments. I moved the phone around a lot because I thought I was just landing it improperly on my ear, but it was just not loud enough for my calls. Though the sonar worked well and the bottom mounted front facing camera can be made to work, this vibrating ceramic needs to go back to the drawing board or there must be a better way to make calls work on a device like this. (If anything, see my previous remarks about this bezel-less concept working on a tablet.)

Camera

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

The camera spec of the Mi MIX are less important for this concept phone compared to where they were located, at least in the case of the front facing camera, as we have mentioned it a few times already in this review. That said, the specs are nothing to snooze on – the main camera is a 16MP shooter at f/2.0 aperture while the front facing camera is a 5MP shooter and is located below the screen this time.

We have had a couple examples in the past of bottom mounted cameras, so this isn’t exactly a new thing. However, the tradeoffs for this location are apparent the moment the camera is opened – an upward angle is just not great for selfies. And even then, when reaching with, in particular, one’s right hand in order to hit the shutter button, one’s thumb gets right in the field of view and ruins the picture. These are annoyances, sure, but at least Xiaomi understood this and made the camera app always reversible. Just turn the phone upside down and it’s like a regular smartphone for selfies. All things said, the front facing camera is decent, not very high achieving, and has the pretty aggressive beauty mode on at default.

The app, in general, is a pretty standard affair – some controls are available and there are quite a few modes that can help the creative smartphone photographer. HDR is auto-capable, though its effect is not too aggressive and does more to add a little saturation to the photo rather than really bringing back the highlights in an otherwise blown out shot.

With so many good cameras coming out this year, it is harder to excuse a camera that does a good job rather than a great job. The picture quality of the MIX is adequate but definitely didn’t blow me away. The app and the processing is, as usual, the achilles heel for this camera because it tends toward pretty flat colors and lacks detail in even well lit situations.

Getting closer into the pictures shows that there is a significant noise reduction that makes photos lose their sharpness and this only gets much worse in lower light situations. Videos don’t seem to suffer from these issues, since that software processing is not something that can be done on the fly during recording – at 4K, I actually thought the videos looked better than the photos.

Also, it still looks pretty damn cool when the viewfinder shows up across the entirety of the screen.

Xiaomi Mi MIX camera samples:

This review is supposed to posit the potential for the new concepts as the future of smartphones, but it is disappointing that the camera is still a sore point for Xiaomi. Perhaps if the ‘all display, all the time’ concept becomes a reality for more phones, the next step is for these companies to really up their game in the camera department.

Software

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

And finally, we have software, which is actually very much affected by the fact that this phone is only available in China. Not only did that mean HSPA+ for my mobile data, but also a translated but not localized version of the MIUI. Xiaomi was able to get Google Play Services installed on this and any other Western review units, but because the phone is not meant for our markets, there will be no global MIUI to review here.

With that in mind, we take a look at what we can in the MIUI – the app drawer-less version of Android that is actually very popular in the Chinese market. Xiaomi evolves their operating system based on user feedback quite frequently, and the result seems to be a pretty smooth iteration of the Android ecosystem. While the tedium of putting all my applications in folders strewn about the homescreens is something I may never get used to, actually getting around the interface was a largely painless experience.

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

The notification dropdown shows the quick settings on the side and provides a lot of options, while the setting area is robust and includes a number of features that we don’t get in Western UIs. For example, the Dual App feature which virtualizes a second space or account and allows certain applications to be accessed in two different states. Using Facebook as an example, one can be signed into the app with one account and then turn it on via the Dual App area – another iteration of the Facebook icon shows up in the homescreens (which means more organization required, ugh) and when opened, it is like a freshly installed version of the app.

This, interestingly enough, can be done with many applications and is a small taste of a bigger feature called the Second Space. Instead of just one application being duplicated, one can create a whole new interface much like the Spaces in Windows or the Workspaces in Mac OS, in which one can have certain apps and setting put into one and other available in the other. The Second Space can be accessed and moved out of via a notification in the dropdown, and it’s an interesting take on dual accounts without actually having dual accounts installed in Android at large.

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

As far as other features go, it is important to note that while a screen like this (and the curved display of the Mi Note 2, for that matter) can mean new and different features that leverage their construction, there are none found in their newest phones. Xiaomi did say that this can change in the near future, however.

Overall, the MIUI is a different take on Android that doesn’t hinder or really add too much to the experience of Google’s OS as a whole. While there are a couple features that MIUI users (and users of other Chinese interfaces) enjoy compared to their Western counterparts, they do not make or break what is otherwise a standardly useful affair.

Specifications

 OnePlus 3T
Display6.4-inch IPS display
1920 x 1080 resolution, 362ppi
Processor2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
GPUAdreno 530
RAM4GB / 6GB
Storage128GB with 4GB RAM
256GB with 6GB RAM
MicroSDNo
PortsUSB Type-C
Dual nano-SIM slot
3.5 mm audio jack
AudioSpeakers: Bottom-facing speaker
CamerasRear: 16MP, f/2.0 aperture, EIS (gyro), phase detection autofocus, dual-LED flash

Front: 5MP
SensorsFingerprint, Accelerometor, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
BatteryNon-removable 4,400mAh
Quick Charge 3.0: 83% charge in 30 mins
SoftwareAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
MIUI
ColorsBlack
Dimensions and weight158.8 x 81.9 x 7.9mm
209g

Gallery

Conclusion

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

So, does this mean that the MIX is the future of smartphones, or perhaps the future of personal devices? Yes and no.

Chinese users will get a big kick out of using this phone on the daily, especially those that consume and stream media a lot (a highly common occurrence in the East). And for a concept phone, it is surprisingly affordable – the RMB price roughly converts to just over $500 in the base model. This is mostly due to the small quantities that Xiaomi is actually manufacturing – they want to get the phone in as many hands as possible without creating so many that the price needs be higher to cover those costs.

A global version of a phone like the MIX could indeed make a splash here, but this one in particular has a few too many tradeoffs.

But for everyone else, this phone is nothing more than a glimpse into the kind of out-of-the-box thinking Chinese companies tend to have, despite never really penetrating the Western market. A global version of a phone like the MIX could indeed make a splash here, but this one in particular has a few too many tradeoffs.

There are definitely some great experiences to be had with the MIX, especially from a media consumption standpoint. The bezel-less screen is a sight to behold and still proves to be rather exciting even after the time I have used it. But there are some drawbacks that affect its nature as a smartphone – the phone speaker is the biggest pain point, because the alternative presented by Xiaomi is simply not good enough. And because media at large is set up in a particular way, the immersion factor of the big screen can break rather easily. And finally the sheer size of this phone makes it rather impractical for anyone that does not enjoy hand gymnastics.

The Xiaomi Mi MIX is, at best, a glimpse into our future. At worst, it might be a look into how that future is further than we hope.

We, like Xiaomi, long for the future when the entire slab of technology in our hands is, itself, also the entire display. Had this phone been instead a 7 inch tablet that made the rather bold move of omitting the front facing camera, this probably could have been realized, albeit not in the right competitive space. The Xiaomi Mi MIX is, at best, a glimpse into our future. At worst, it might be a look into how that future is further than we hope.

Xiaomi gets sued in Beijing for delaying NFC support on Mi 5s Plus

0

With the introduction of Xiaomi’s very own mobile payment platform Mi Pay, NFC became an essential feature for the Chinese company. Mi Pay is particularly useful in its home turf since it can be used for public transport such as buses and metro. And that’s why when Xiaomi unveiled the Mi 5s and the Mi 5s Plus back in September, they made sure to explain that full NFC capabilities would be coming to those devices by the end of October. Well, that most definitely did not happen, and now an upset Mi 5s Plus user is suing the Chinese company for false information.

See also:

A Xiaomi Mi Note 2 variant with a flat screen could be on its way

1 week ago

Mobile payment is a growing sector. We already have Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, and Android Pay. And rumor has it, LG is looking to join in on the fun. That’s why Mi Pay is particularly important for Xiaomi. It differentiates itself by allowing customers in China to use it as bus and metro cards. Well, all that depends on a pretty big assumption: that Xiaomi will enable NFC support on its devices with a software update.

At the September event where Xiaomi unveiled the Mi 5s and the Mi 5s Plus, it promised that these features would be enabled with the MIUI 8 update by the end of October. We are now half way through November, and the update is nowhere to be found.

According to a Beijing court, a man named Zhang, who bought the Mi 5s Plus thinking he could use Mi Pay starting November, is now suing the Chinese company for false advertising, and the court has already accepted his case. Apparently, Zhang asked for a refund and compensation after realizing that the MIUI 8 update was delayed but was unsuccessful and is now taking legal action against the company.

Apparently, Zhang asked for a refund and compensation after realizing that the MIUI 8 update was delayed but was unsuccessful and is now taking legal action against the company.

This isn’t the first time that Xiaomi got in a bit of trouble for false information and misleading advertisement. Two years ago, it was fined in Taiwan for giving an incorrect number of devices sold during its flash sales, and just last year, Xiaomi was found to have violated China’s strict advertising law prohibiting the use of superlatives. Though we will have to wait to see how Xiaomi will respond to the lawsuit, it’s definitely not good news for a company who’s been struggling to compete with companies like Huawei and Oppo.