WTF?! Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Alpha concept takes another spin on putting as much screen on a smartphone as possible. While it’s not a foldable design, the “Surround Screen” that wraps around the entire body makes for an insane 180.6% screen-to-body ratio. The company is touting this new design as one of its key innovations in the industry, after it introduced the “revolutionary Full Screen Display smartphone concept” in 2016 and pioneered the technology that’s now become the standard for most smartphones. The Mi Mix Alpha is how Xiaomi envisions smartphone design for the 5G era.
One can never have too much screen real estate. That’s what smartphone manufactures like to think who, over the years, have given us phones with shrinking bezels, notches, all-screen displays and even an expensive, risky return to the foldables category.
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has been pushing the envelope of smartphone design with its Mi Mix phones for a few years now, and the latest Mi Mix Alpha is a case in point on how the company looks to revolutionize industrial design as it enters the 5G era.
Starting with the “Surround Screen” display, the phone comes with Xiaomi’s “Mis-touch detection” technology, which, according to the company, enables “precise screen usage detection, deactivates inactive areas” and features “dynamic allocation of touch commands,” something that needs to work perfectly given the design choice that’s resulted in a crazy 180.6 percent screen-to-body ratio.
Xiaomi points to a series of groundbreaking technologies that went into making the phone. The process starts with its internal assembly followed by one-by-one lamination and stacking of the display layer, touch panel and a durable protection layer that deals with the internal stress caused by the bending of the display.
A new “display acoustic” technology replaces the earpiece and proximity sensor on the front to make for minimal bezels while the sides get pressure-sensitive sensors that use motors to simulate physical button presses.
The rear of the phone that makes up most of its body is made with ceramic embedded sapphire to protect the triple-camera setup. That includes a four-axis optically stabilized 108MP main shooter with a large 1/1.33-inch sensor co-developed with Samsung for capturing super-high resolution photos at 12,032 x 9,024 pixels and support for four-in-one Super Pixel to produce large 1.6μm pixels under low-light conditions.
The other two cameras include a 20MP ultra wide-angle and a 12MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom and Dual PD focus. Interestingly, Xiaomi also advises to use the rear camera and display for taking selfies as there’s no shooter on the front, under-screen or otherwise.
Between the titanium alloy top and bottom frame of the Mi Mix Alpha is a Snapdragon 855+ SoC, 12GB RAM, 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage, and a 4,050mAh battery with support for 40W wired fast charging.
“The mission of Mi MIX concept smartphone is to make a truly disruptive product without considering the costs and return, and without considering mass production,” says Xiaomi. The company plans to sell the device in limited quantities for the Chinese market where it will support 5G bands of three major carriers.
The phone ships in Mainland China at the end of this December with a steep price tag of RMB 19,999 ($2,800).