With Mix 2, Ulefone put the new successor of Mix on the market. However, the Chinese manufacturer changes the design and build quality so radically that we are actually dealing with a completely new device. Instead of the Tri-Bezelless design of Mix, Ulefone orientated its Mix 2 on the design of Samsung Galaxy S8 and tries to convince us with a 5.7-inch display with an 18: 9 ratio and a dual camera. We already saw something like that in Doogee smartphones :).
The data sheet with 2GB of RAM and a Quad-core SoC, called MTK6737 by Mediatek also suggests that this smartphone is clearly inferior to Mix and underlines the impression that the device is a new low-budget smartphone in the 100€ range.
Discover in our review how Mix 2 does compared to competitors like Cubot Note Plus or Xiaomi Redmi 5a, and why the device appears like a copy of Galaxy S8 only in the advertising photos.
Ulefone Mix 2 scope of delivery
In Ulefone Mix 2’s white box, we find a silicone protective cover, a screen protector, a ring holder, a Micro-USB cable, and an EU power plug. The charger delivers 1A at 5V and has no Quick Charge function. Ulefone behaves like many Chinese manufacturers and delivers Mix 2 with various accessories.
Design and build quality
Ulefone Mix 2 consists of a mix of glass, aluminum, and plastic and its build quality is on a good level. On the front, there is an unspecified glass protecting the display, which has a so-called 2.5D rounding at the edges and thus makes the transition to the frame appear more fluid. There are no soft-touch buttons, in fact, Ulefone Mix 2 is operated only via on-screen buttons. Unfortunately, the very thin display edges and the rounded corners we see in the advertising photos do not correspond to reality. Mix 2 has instead rectangular display corners and slightly bigger bezels, which is not a negative point, but differ widely from the advertisement. This fact makes Mix 2 much more similar to a OnePlus 5T model than to a Galaxy S8. Measuring 152.5mm in length, 71.6mm in width and 8.9mm in thickness, Ulefone Mix 2 is very handy for a device with a 5.7-inch display and also its weight of 177g is very comfortable.
The device has a shiny black painted aluminum frame, which is partly interrupted by matt black antenna strips. At the bottom, there is a Micro-USB port, while at the top, we can find the speakers and the 3.5mm headphone jack. Unfortunately, Ulefone uses a Micro-USB port, which is a little outdated, we would have preferred a modern USB-C connection.
On the right side, there are the volume control buttons and the power button, which sit well in the casing and have a good feedback.
On the rounded rear, you will find the scratch-sensitive plastic cover, under which there are the replaceable battery and the Dual-Sim and Micro-SD slots. In addition, the rear has a shiny black color, so that fingerprints are always very visible on the device. Furthermore, here we find the dual camera, together with a single LED flash and the fingerprint scanner. The latter unlocks the device in 9/10 attempts and is one of the better of its category with this result.
The build quality of Mix 2 is really good, there is nothing left to be desired. On the contrary, the device looks completely stable! With the rounded design, Mix 2 fits well in the hand and gives a high-quality feeling. Unfortunately, the outdated Micro-USB port and the lack of a notification LED are the negative points of this smartphone.
The IPS display of Mix 2 has a modern 18:9 ratio and an HD resolution of 1440×720 pixels with a screen diagonal of 5.7-inches. This results in 282ppi, which, in comparison to some competitors’ devices (e.g. Cubot Note Plus), does not sound like much at first, but is absolutely sufficient in daily use. Only with a closer examination, individual pixels are visible. But this has also a nice side effect: the GPU has to calculate fewer pixels and animations thus run smoother than in devices with similar technology and higher resolution. For games or elaborate animations, this can be a decisive advantage.
Apart from that, the display always represents colors naturally and with rich contrasts, which is maintained even when the device is shifted. Unfortunately, during the test phase, we found several dead pixels on the display of our test model. These are particularly noticeable in the representation of black. We can not say whether this error is only present on our test device, or if it is a common error. If you own a Mix 2, we would be happy to read your comment on this matter!
The brightness of the display is not very high and the difference between the levels is barely noticeable. However, readability is still good outside and the user is not disadvantaged. The touchscreen always responded quickly and reliably in the test and registers up to 5 points of contact at the same time. On board, Ulefone Mix 2 also has various extra functions that are summarized under the menu item “Gesture Unlock”. Among the gestures you find the tapping on the screen for unlocking (tap-to-wake function) and various gesture controls. Mix 2 automatically wakes up from standby and, for example, opens the browser when the letter “e” is drawn on the deactivated display.
Mix 2 has a powerful MT6737 Quadcore processor by MediaTek, which clocks at 4×1.3GHz, and it can also rely on 2GB of RAM. Therefore, Mix 2 is clearly inferior to its predecessor – this is also underlined by the results in Antutu and Geekbench Benchmark. Nevertheless, the chips deliver enough power for daily tasks like Youtube, WhatsApp, and surfing. Simple games are not a problem for Mix 2. Even demanding 3D games like Asphalt 8 are playable, but you’ll have to reduce the graphic details. The phone never overheats or exceeds 40°.
The storage is on average with its speed of 2.7GB/s, but the reading and writing speeds of only 96MB/s and 41MB/s are, unfortunately, not enough. In addition, the storage is already heavily used and is not particularly big with only 2GB. Mix 2, therefore, loads apps very slowly and thus the user will have to wait for a few seconds when switching between various apps.
In a price range of about 100€, the expectations are of course not too high and Mix 2 masters daily tasks fast enough. Nevertheless, we should mention that the competitors, such as Vernee with its M5 or Cubot with its Note Plus, installed noticeably faster hardware, and you can get these devices for a similar price.
Our test device runs on Android 7.0 and has the security patches of November 5, 2017. Ulefone updates Mix 2 via OTA (over-the-air), but we do not have any information about future updates. Visually, the interface seems like an unmodified Android. Apart from a file manager and a link to the manufacturer’s website, no other apps were pre-installed. The latter can also be quickly and easily deactivated in the settings.
The system is free from bloatware and was always performing well in the test. We did not find any bugs or mistakes!
Dual cameras are recently very popular within Chinese manufacturers. Theoretically, they should offer features such as dual-optical-zoom or bokeh-effect. In practice, however, we have noticed that in the low-budget area (with the exception of Xiaomi smartphones), the second lens is just a dummy. This is also the case with Ulefone Mix 2, dual-camera functions should not be expected. The double zoom and the Bokeh-effect, which consists of an sharp circular area surrounding the subject, are added later by the software and are purely digital. We are definitely not dealing with DSLR-level features, contrary to what Ulefone claims.
Mix 2’s main camera on the rear has a Sony IMX135 sensor with 13 megapixels and a F/2.0 aperture and a 5-megapixel sensor with a F/2.4 aperture on the front camera. Both are also followed by a single LED flash to lighten shots in the dark.
The test pictures are quite neat and thus better than those of the predecessor. In particular, the heavily frayed edges are now history and the recordings look clearer all around. But this is still not enough to catch up with the top devices in the low budget range. In particular, the color representation is way too weak in comparison, and looking closely, the pictures are also more blurred than those of a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5a. Two enormous problems of Mix 2 are certainly the overexposure of bright areas and the autofocus. The advertised HDR live mode, which could perhaps provide a solution, seems not to exist on the smartphone. In the menu, we could only find an HDR mode, which exposes the images even more. A software update might fix this error.
Furthermore, you should not expect great shots in bad light conditions. Not even the flash could help in this situation.
In regard to the front camera, everything stays the same. The shots are pale and blurry and could not convince us. However, the flash helps to maintain a video conversation with appropriate lighting conditions. Unfortunately, this is all the camera can offer.
Unfortunately, the camera app is not very simple to use. By changing the mode, the display moved jerkily. In addition to that, between one shot and the other passes always a long time, which takes away the fun of taking spontaneous photos.
Videos are recorded in Full HD (1920×1080) at 30 fps but, sadly, the quality is quite bad. The lack of stabilization causes the recordings to be very confused.
Even if Ulefone has partly learned from the mistakes of Mix, the competition delivers totally better pictures! For occasional snapshots and video calls, Mix 2 is surely sufficient, but if you want more, you should have a look at other devices.
Ulefone supports all 2G (1900/1800/850/900), 3G (2100/900) and 4G (2100/1800/2600/900/800) networks and all relevant frequencies. The voice quality during calls is good, my interlocutor could always hear me very clearly and I also had no problem. In contrast to Mix, this time Ulefone also installed a proximity sensor on its Mix 2, which deactivates the display when the device is brought to the ear during calls. However, the speaker does not have basses and its sound is not very pleasant. The quality of the headphone jack is much better and is convincing even via in-ears. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to distinguish the single instruments, but we wouldn’t expect that from a device in this price range.
For navigation, Ulefone Mix 2 relies on a GPS (Glonass) and a digital compass. The GPS showed no flaws in our test (after a few starting difficulties) and the compass turned out to be extremely helpful during pedestrian navigation. The signal is stable enough to navigate with the phone occasionally, but other smartphones surely have a stronger signal.
Furthermore, the phone supports WIFI a/b/g/n with dual-band (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz), Bluetooth in version 4.1 and can count on the standard sensors (acceleration and brightness).
When it comes to connectivity, Mix 2 has no problems and shows its strong points. We really appreciated the vast range of sensors and the possibility to use two SIMs and a Micro-SD card simultaneously. Nevertheless, Ulefone could surely improve the quality of the speaker!
The replaceable battery of Mix 2 has a capacity of 3300mAh and therefore, reached 6 ½ hours in the PCMark battery test. Depending on the use one makes of the device, the smartphone will last more or less one day. The errors in the percentage of the battery that occurred in Mix now belong to the past.
Unfortunately, since Mix 2 does not have a Quick Charge function, you will need 3.5h to completely charge the phone.