Mi Mix 3: we tested the Xiaomi smartphone which “slide”

Image 5 : Mi Mix 3 : on a testé le smartphone Xiaomi qui « slide »

WE love

  • The binder design
  • The slider you get used to very quickly
  • The performance of the Snapdragon 845
  • The improving picture

We don’t like

  • The weight
  • The price a little high compared to the Pocophone F1


With the exception of its weight, this smartphone offers everything one would expect from a latest generation smartphone: a pleasant design, impeccable performance, a dual rear sensor that improves and a small technological innovation which consists in hide the front photo sensor in a sliding panel. And for the price, Xiaomi even offers you an induction charger in the box. An initiative so rare that it deserved to be reported (it is even the first time that we see it). We can just blame him that it costs 140 euros more than the Pocophone F1 when it comes out. It is the fault of Xiaomi too, which had accustomed us to lower its prices at all costs. But do not sulk our pleasure, because the device is still a very good surprise.

Read the test

Well, after the Mi 8 and the Pocophone F1, here is another smartphone Xiaomi based on Snapdragon 845. Yes, but the Mi Mix 3 is the first smartphone of the brand to integrate a small cosmetic innovation, since it benefits from a sliding panel (or slider or slide, the choice is yours) dedicated to the front photo sensor. Which ultimately gives it a larger display area than the brand’s other models. Announced and marketed since last November in China, the device only arrives today in France. Why this short delay? Mainly because the manufacturer had to agree with Google to fully integrate Google Assistant to the small button on the left of the screen in order to reach the international market. In China, Xiao AI acts as voice assistant, but the application does not exist in languages ​​other than Chinese. And then we must admit that we are now so used to Google Assistant, with its qualities and faults, that it would have been disturbing to have to accommodate yet another assistant. But is this smartphone the essential model of the beginning of the year? Can it compete with the competing flagship that are the S9 (pending the S10), the OnePlus 6T or the P20 and Mate20 from Huawei? Should we fall for the Mi Mix 3? Five-point answer.

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1 – Yes, because we love its design

With a 6.39 ″ screen, the Mi Mix 3 is a fairly classy smartphone. The device is marketed in three colors: sapphire blue, onyx black and jade green, the latter being exclusive to the SFR.fr site for 15 days. For our part, we had in our hands the black onyx version. The shiny back of the device contains the fingerprint sensor (suitably located in the upper central part of the smartphone) as well as the photo sensors and the Flash. We can blame it for a small protuberance from these same photo sensors, making the device a bit wobbly when placed on a table. The problem is more and more common on smartphones recently released and is resolved by adding a small protective shell to the device. The rounded edges of the Mi Mix 3 give it a certain grace and a nice grip, despite its weight. The device indeed weighs 218 grams, or 33 grams more than a OnePlus 6T and 17 grams more than a Galaxy Note9.

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But the main innovation of the device lies in the placement of its front photo sensor. Rather than integrating it into a notch (great fashion for some time), Xiaomi has taken the initiative to house it in a sliding panel, which is deployed and retracted at leisure. And the bet is successful, since you get used to this kind of manipulation very quickly and you gain visual comfort. Note that the Chinese manufacturer is not the only one to bet on the retractable photo sensor, since Oppo did the same last year with its Find X. Except that that of the Mi Mix 3 is manual (you have to “Slider” from bottom to top to open it), while Find X is automatically triggered when opening it from the photo application or from an attempt to unlock the device. Finally, note that it is possible to configure the application which launches instantly when the sliding panel opens. We can for example make sure that the phone function is launched, or that dedicated to instant messaging software, or that allowing to consult the latest news… However, it does not close when we close the sign.

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Finally, we will also note the presence of a button on its left side dedicated to call the voice assistant. Discreet, it allows you to open Google Assistant without having to fully unlock the device. As a safety measure, the device must nevertheless recognize you, otherwise the assistant will not launch.

2 – Yes, because the performances are there

With a Snapdragon 845, 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage space, the device is in the middle high in terms of components. As mentioned above, this is the 3rd Xiaomi smartphone to benefit from this type of processor. No surprise therefore on this side: the manufacturer did not skimp on the hardware components.

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For autonomy, the device has a 3700 mAh battery. We subjected it to our usual battery of tests, which consists in using the device on a daily basis, by mixing GPS use for 1 hour, watching videos streamed over the same duration, frequent consultation of emails and web browser, calls regular, etc. The aircraft lasted just over a day and a half in such conditions. Again, he is in the high middle, but does not compete with his brother, the Pocophone F1 from the same manufacturer. For the record, this device is able to last almost two days under the same conditions, as explained in our test.

Geekbench 4 Multicore 3DMark Slingshot Extreme
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 (Snadragon 845) 8430 4131
PocoPhone F1 (Snapdragon 845) 9033 4000
OnePlus 6T (Snapdragon 845) 8948 4655
Huawei P20 Pro (Kirin 980) 9718 3578
Samsung Galaxy S9 (Exynos 9810) 8756 3236
Oppo RX17 (Snapdragon 710) 5952 1855

3 – Yes and no, because we are still not fans of the overlay

The device comes with Android 9 and the house overlay MIUI, here present in version 10.0. The overlay in question has its qualities, but also some faults. Nothing is provided for example to modify the navigation buttons, which are obviously not placed in the usual order. In addition, some features do not seem to take into account left-handers. To delete a notification, for example, you have to slide from left to right. The opposite operation has the effect of making the parameters of said notification appear, unlike a classic Android where one sliders indifferently from left to right or from right to left to erase a modification.

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4 – Yes, because Xiaomi has made great efforts for the photo

The Mi Mix 3 is a smartphone that has a double photo sensor on the back: 12 MP (aperture of f / 1.8) + 12 MP (aperture 1 / 3.4). So far, nothing extraordinary, but it is undeniable that in terms of shooting, the Mi Mix 3 shows qualities rather welcome. The photo improves a little more with each new device from Xiaomi, even if the brand can not pretend to match what is on the side of the competition under Android, especially at Huawei (with its now famous P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro) or at OnePlus (with its unstoppable 6T). The photos in broad daylight are frankly very beautiful, but it is especially in low light, that the camera is doing really well.

In such situations, the camera delivers clear, clean shots. Admittedly, they undergo a little noise in the really very dark zones, but the unit is perfectly exploitable. Activating the night mode does not bring any real innovation, and we can perfectly use the classic Photo mode to take pictures. In short, we were not disappointed with the quality of the camera’s shots, and Xiaomi has improved on this point compared to the Pocophone F1 or the Mi 8 released last year.

As for the front sensor (24 MP + 2 MP), it also delivers clear and precise photos. In the end, it is almost flawless, even if the pictures suffer from a slightly too high contrast. But it may just be a matter of taste…

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5 – Yes and no for the price

Marketed € 499.90, there is no doubt that the Mi Mix 3 is placed in front of the OnePlus 6T, Asus ZenFone 5Z and other Xperia XZ2 Compact. It can even compete with the Samsung Galaxy S9, which can now be found at less than € 500 (while waiting for the S10 which should be significantly more expensive). So what is the Mi Mix 3 worth compared to the competition or even against the Pocophone F1 from Xiaomi? In the first case, there is no doubt that the Mi Mix 3 has some under the hood and that it is a serious rival for the competition. In the second case, we are entitled to wonder if the Mi Mix 3 really has essential advantages: when you already have a Pocophone, what advantages do you have to migrate to the new Xiaomi device. Not sure that the slider or the improvement of the shooting in low light (which was not so bad on the Pocophone F1) are real selling points. But in the end, this is a smartphone that turns out to be a good surprise and risks being noticed at the start of the year.

The device will be on sale from January 18 in the Champs-Elysées shop of Xiaomi. Online and in other stores of the brand, it will take 3 more days to get it. Finally, note that the version equipped with 10 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage space will not be sold in France.

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