The hype around Xiaomi gets bigger and bigger and so the Mix 2S actually gets more attention than it deserves. Xiaomi Mix 2S is, as the “S” already reveals, only a “small” face-lift of Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, so you shouldn’t overreact, but rather consider carefully whether the few advantages are really worth the significant extra charge. In the review, we put Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S through its paces and tried to find an answer to this question. A new processor, a better camera and Qi Wireless Charging should bring Xiaomi new sales, at least in China, the business runs already bombastic.
Design and build quality
With 151 x 75 x 8.2mm, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S is almost completely identical to Mix 2. The weight is still quite high with 194g. One millimetre shorter, one millimetre narrower and 0.2mm thinner can easily be neglected. This also clearly shows why the device bears the name -S. With the exception of the newly placed dual rear camera, the design is unchanged compared to the normal Mix 2, nevertheless, Xiaomi sets the standards for premium design and build quality across the entire mobile phone market. We would like to thank Xiaomi not only for the invention of the Tri-Bezel-less design, but also for the super scratch-resistant ceramic rear. A unibody ceramic case is still only available in the special edition of the Mix 2S (only available with 8/256GB).
The rear reflects strongly and the smartphone is quite slippery, but not as bad as it was the case with the first mix smartphone. Build quality and design are simply perfect, but you could have done without the dual camera in iPhone style. On the front, they also prove that they prefer to place the front camera at the bottom rather than press the nonsensical notch into the display. The camera protrudes one millimetre from the rear. As soon as you put on the supplied cover, the camera fits perfectly. The cover fits very well and also feels quite high-quality, nevertheless, I must say that the quality of the supplied cover decreases. The Xiaomi Mix had a real leather cover, then a very high-quality plastic cover and now an almost cheap looking plastic cover.
The phone is available in black and white with 6/64 or 6/128Gb storage. The All-Ceramic Special Edition is only available with 8/256GB storage. The Mix 2S is surrounded by a stable and painted metal frame. On the right side, you will find the power button and the volume control. Both fit perfectly in the casing and provide good feedback when pressing. On the left side of the frame, you can insert 2 Nano-SIM cards into the Dual-SIM smartphone. A Micro-SD for memory expansion is not supported. On the bottom, there is a Type-C connector, together with microphone and loudspeaker. When listening to music, the auricle supports the sound, albeit it produces a somewhat weak stereo sound. Our point of criticism here is that the sound at high volume is a bit distorted and too flat. Too bad, because a Mi6 definitely does that better and the sound quality of Mix 2S as a whole is only on average. The microphone at the bottom is supported by an additional noise-cancelling microphone at the top of the phone. A classic 3.5mm jack connector is no longer available, but there is an adapter provided in the scope of delivery that delivers first-class sound when headphones are connected.
A notification LED located below the display indicates missed calls and messages and shines in white. A lightning-fast and very accurate fingerprint sensor is available for unlocking on the rear. Face-Unlock is now also available, although the fingerprint reacts much faster in most cases. The Face-Unlock cannot be tricked by a simple photo, but Xiaomi explicitly points out that the locking method is not “safe”. Compared to the iPhone X, the face unlock on Xiaomi is a bit faster, but the Mix 2S can’t keep up with the unlock speed of Oneplus 5T. Even budget smartphones like Redmi Note 5 have mastered the Face-Unlock since the MIUI 9.5 update and it will probably be able to Mix 2 soon, too, if this feature affects your purchase decision. Xiaomi, like almost every manufacturer, uses on-screen buttons for control. In the options menu, the functions can also be switched to 4 practical gestures.
Apart from the optically recognizable dual camera, nothing has really changed in terms of design. As it is proper for an S-Update, it is rather the inner values that make a difference. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S remains the mass-market smartphone, albeit the very special one on the mobile phone market.
For a 6-inch device, Mi Mix 2S is very handy. This is due to the edgeless display, which leaves only a 3mm bezel above the display. But here, too, everything actually remains as it was. An FHD+ resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels at 403 pixels per inch provides the necessary sharpness. The IPS display has stable viewing angles and accurate colour representation. In the options menu, the colour temperature can be adjusted naturally and Xiaomi’s automatic contrast ensures, among other things, very good readability outdoors. The typical Xiaomi-reading mode and the double-tap-to-wake-up feature are also included as usual. Xiaomi indicates the contrast with 1500:1 and this is fine for an IPS display in practice. There is no real black like with an AMOLED, but you have natural colours.
The display registers up to 10 simultaneous touches and works quickly and precisely. As with the Mix 2, the display is protected by Gorilla Glas 4, if someone is interested in brand names. Otherwise, the Mix 2S’s display is just as good as that of Mix 2, if not completely identical. The display surface is pleasantly slippery and also halfway resistant to fingerprints, which can definitely not be said of the rear.
System and performance
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S houses the latest and most powerful mobile phone processor on the market. It is difficult to get your hands on Qualcomm’s current SoC anyway, because Galaxy S9 is delivered in Europe with their own Exynos. The Snapdragon 845 in combination with the MIUI operating system makes Mi Mix 2S one of the fastest smartphones in the world. Not only the benchmark values are extraordinary, the performance in the operating system is also a bit faster. This is ensured by an up-to-date UFS 2.1 storage with transfer rates of 725/202MB/s reading/writing speed. Also the 6GB LPDDR4x RAM are super fast with 16GB/s. Despite the high clock frequency of maximum 2.8GHz, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s always stays cool when playing. As expected, the Adreno 630 GPU reels off any demanding 3D game as if it were Tetris from 1984, and gamers and absolute power users, in particular, will appreciate the fast memory performance and short loading times. Filling the 6GB RAM (2.5GB available) with apps is not that easy. Even if the system automatically closes apps in the cache, they are reloaded so quickly that you hardly feel a difference. Also the 8/256GB version is available for “real power users”.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result 3D Mark Result
Of course, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S runs with the latest Android 8.1 Oreo. But you don’t see any of that under the MIUI disguise. Thanks to the extremely powerful system, the split-screen mode, in particular, makes sense and is also fun. Apart from that MIUI has been dealt with so often, but once again a few words about my personal favourite system. MIUI is visually and in terms of content strongly adapted and does without an app drawer (overview page with all apps). The latter can be easily installed from the Play Store and the appearance can be completely redesigned via the Theme App.
Up to now, apps could be given specific permissions via various items in the options menu and in the Security Center. In the last MIUI version, the whole procedure was not very clear and annoyed me. Under MIUI 9.5 you only have to go to the Security Center and click on “Manage Apps”. There you can enter the corresponding app into the search field and control everything from there. First, you can see how much storage and data is used and how much battery power is needed. Furthermore, it can be set whether the app is allowed to start right away (auto-start), which notifications the app may use and whether mobile data or only Wi-Fi is allowed. The access rights to the system can also be defined.
The speed in the MIUI system is unparalleled, only Oneplus 6 will probably be able to keep up again. However, we still have to wait a little longer for the Global ROM. If you do not want to or cannot wait, you should apply for the UNLOCK as soon as you receive it. The China ROM can be equipped with Play Store and G-Apps, but the system does not run perfectly well. Before you can unlock your device, you now have to wait 15 days.
The most striking and most expected innovation on Mi Mix 2S is the dual camera on the rear. Xiaomi has been very good with Bokeh Shots (images with depth of field) especially since the introduction of this feature. The camera set-up in Mi Mix 2S consists of 2×12-megapixel sensors. For standard images and videos, a Sony IMX363 sensor is used, which is clearly superior to the old Mix 2 and Mi6 sensor, at least on paper. Larger 1.4µm pixels and a wide f/1.8 aperture should theoretically result in more light and less image noise in low light conditions (indoor and at night). For video fans, there is an OIS and EIS (optical and electronic image stabilizer) in combination with a great working dual-pixel autofocus. Worth mentioning is also the artificial intelligence of the camera, which should gradually provide for better bokeh and other shots. Also the Beauty Mode should be better than ever and of course also super smart. The Beauty Mode is more of a feature for the Asian continent. Beauty apps that conjure up big eyes and pure skin are extremely popular there, which is why Xiaomi’s beauty function will also be very popular in Asia. For other users, these pictures are mostly unusable or rather embarrassing, but maybe I can also judge that simply badly as a man.
The second sensor of the dual camera is equipped with a 12-megapixel Samsung S5k3m3 sensor with a telephoto lens. The front camera was made by OmniVision, an OV5675 sensor with 5 megapixels.
Dual Camera Features
In addition to bokeh shots, Mix 2S can also take photos with an optical 2x zoom. While the bokeh shots succeed very well in most cases, you have to make cuts in the double-zoom shots. The second sensor can also only take photos. Videos with the telephoto lens are unfortunately not possible.
The photos are usually sharp and detailed, but not always perfect due to the missing OIS. Also, the colours are often oversaturated with the second sensor. In bokeh shots, however, Xiaomi can shine with a very precise separation of the person from the background. For portrait pictures of this quality, you normally have to dig much deeper into your pocket and Xiaomi shines here with excellent pictures.
Selfie camera + main camera
Since the front camera is located below the display, you have to turn Mix 2S around to take appropriate pictures. The selfie camera tends to overexpose images, but the number of details and sharpness are OK for a 5-megapixel sensor. Nevertheless, a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 takes more detailed and (I would even say) nicer selfies. Like Note 5, a bokeh mode for the front camera is now included and can convince just like the bokeh mode of the rear camera. The face is cut out of the background and the pictures are refreshingly new.
The autofocus works fast and accurately. The trigger time is no longer perceptible. The main camera impresses with an impeccable white balance and delivers vivid, still sufficiently realistic colours. The number of details of the images in good lighting conditions is convincing and image noise is hardly perceptible even at the edges. Even close-ups are excellent. Mix 2S delivers the greatest progress in camera performance in low light conditions. Of course, details are lost here and the ISO value is sometimes set too high. But, especially in poor lighting conditions, like indoors, Xiaomi can finally catch up with other flagships, or at least approach them. This is sometimes ensured by the OIS, which works clearly in low light. The auto HDR mode is back and the images offer a clear added value. Having the auto-HDR permanently activated usually leads to better images. With the AI mode, no added value can be recognized, as soon as an object is detected, the image simply becomes more colourful (the contrast is increased), otherwise, nothing happens. However, since the AI software learns in theory over time, a noticeable improvement may be expected with future updates.
Video recording is possible with up to 4K and 30 FPS. The videos are sharp and full of details, but the EIS stabilization only works at 1080p, so 4K shots are clearly blurred. Unfortunately, this makes a Redmi Note 5 already better, as you can also take 4K recordings with the open camera app and the EIS works without problems. However, Xiaomi should fix this disadvantage with an update. The sound quality of Mix 2S is also not that good for video recordings. Again, a mid-range device like Redmi Note 5 wins.
Xiaomi works its way to the top when it comes to camera performance, but it hasn’t reached the top yet. The camera of Mix 2S has more features and takes slightly better pictures than a Mix 2. The difference to a Mi Note 3 or Mi6 is only clearly perceptible in low-light shots.
Connectivity and communication
According to the manufacturer, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S can be used in 226 countries and regions. The reason for this is the extremely good equipment with frequencies of all kinds, nevertheless, you must differentiate 2 versions. There is no extra China version with regard to the power frequencies:
GSM B2 / B3 / B5 / B8
CDMA1X / EVDO BC0 / BC1 / BC6 / BC10
WCDMA B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B8 / B9 / B19
TD-SCDMA B34 / B39
TD-LTE B34 / B38 / B39 / B40 / B41
FDD-LTE B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B7 / B8 / B12 /
B13 / B17 / B18 / B19 / B20 / B25 / B26 /
GSM B2 / B3 / B5 / B8
CDMA1X / EVDO BC0
WCDMA B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B8
TD-SCDMA B34 / B39
TD-LTE B34 / B38 / B39 / B40 / B41
FDD-LTE B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B7 /
B8 / B12 / B17 / B20
Band 20 is supported in both versions. The call quality is excellent and the proximity sensor works without problems. During the call, a high volume is particularly noticeable and VoLTE can be activated with the following code: “*#*#86583#*#*”. The SAR radiation values of Mi Mix 2S are at head: 0.542 W/kg and body: 1.593 W/kg. Conversations with the speakerphone are suppressed a little too much by the second microphone and thus appear somewhat dull.
WiFi is supported with .ac standard and 2.4 and 5GHz network are no problem. With 2 x 2 MIMO (MU-MIMO) Xiaomi enters new territory. This allows 2 router streams to be assigned to Mi Mix 2S simultaneously. Of course, the router must also support MIMO. With my Xiaomi HD-Pro router, this is no problem and transfer rates and range are constant and limited only by my 50mbit line. Bluetooth 5.0 works without problems with a wide range and aptX-HD is also supported. NFC and OTG are supported as well.
Mi Mix 2S also does a nice job in terms of GPS reception. The package consists of GPS, Galileo, Glonass, AGPS and Beidou. This allows you to navigate worldwide without restrictions. The position is determined at fast and always very precisely. A GPS fix is even possible indoors and in buildings. Mix 2S has everything to offer in terms of sensors. In addition to the 3 standards (accelerometer, proximity and brightness sensor), a compass, gyroscope, hall sensor (for smart covers) and a barometer (for gliders) are included. There is no infrared transmitter.
Despite the unbridled performance of the Snapdragon 845, the processor is energy efficient. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S houses a 3400 mAh battery, which is just enough for a 6-inch device. In the PC Mark battery test, Mix 2S delivers 2 hours less than its predecessor. In practice, however, you don’t really notice that. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S had to be plugged in every 2 days with 6-7 hours DOT (time with display switched on). The battery life is appropriate for such a powerful device and Xiaomi can further optimize the software and the battery life is likely to improve over time.Battery lifetime Result Unit: hours
Mix 2S also supports Quick Charge 3.0, so the device charges from 0 to 100% in just one hour and 15 minutes. If you want to recharge in between, you get 25% battery power in 15 minutes, in 30 minutes 50% battery power, under 20 and over 80% charging is slower. As a “new” feature, the Mix 2S now supports wireless charging. This makes it the first ceramic-based Qi Wireless Charging device. The charging time of 3 hours is significantly slower than that with cable, although also 7.5W Quick-Charge is supported here. If you buy the Special Edition, you will receive your own Xiaomi charging pad directly with it. Everyone else can order the chic Xiaomi charging pad for 15€.
Conclusion and alternative
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*Prices include shipping and toll. Intermediate changes of prices, ranking, delivery time and costs possible. Prices last updated on 15.11.2018