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Xiaomi's Mi Mix Alpha is 180% screen, and it's crazy

Oh, and it has a 108-megapixel camera.

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The Mi Mix Alpha display wraps all the way around the back.

Screencap by Daniel Van Boom/CNET

Screen-to-body ratio is used to denote the amount of screen compared to the size of the phone chassis itself. The higher the screen-to-body ratio, the smaller the bezel. The iPhone 11 Pro has a screen-to-body ratio of 82.1% thanks to its big ol' notch. Huawei's Mate 30 Pro's ratio is 94.1%. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus? 91%. On Monday, Chinese company Xiaomi unveiled the Mi Mix Alpha, a phone it says has a screen-to-body ratio of 180.6%.

Yep, you read that right.

The concept phone's display wraps around the sides of the phone and extends aaaaaaall the way to the back. The only bezel on the phone is a narrow strip on the back which houses the camera setup. Oh, and that camera setup? It combines a 108-megapixel shooter with a 12-megapixel telephoto lens (for 2x optical zoom) and a 20-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera.

One hundred. And eight. Megapixels.

The camera shoots 12,032 by 9,024 resolution photos, Xiaomi says. That's a lot of pixels. More megapixels doesn't always mean better photos -- the Huawei P20 Pro takes excellent photos with a 40-megapixel lens, but the Google Pixel 3 takes equally-if-not-better photos with a 12.2-megapixel lens -- but it's hard not to be intrigued by 108 megapixels. To show off its prowess, Xiaomi demoed a photo taken with the camera and then showed that you can zoom in up to 8x without losing much detail at all.

The sides of the phone will show reminders and notifications. The back will be dormant when you're using the phone as usual (i.e. using the front screen), but will turn on when you flip the phone around. There you'll have a display which has shortcuts to your most used apps.

And your selfie game is about to be stronger than ever. When you turn the Mix Alpha around, the rear camera becomes a front camera. You'll use that, all 108 megapixels of it, to shoot your selfies.

The phone runs on the premium hardware you'd expect. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus CPU, 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. That's the guts as the Mi 9 Pro 5G, which Xiaomi announced alongside the Mi Mix Alpha.

The Mi Mix Alpha is a concept phone, but it will actually come to market. However, only a small number of units will be made. And they'll cost 20,000 yuan, which converts to $2,815, AU$4,150 and £2,265. Who ever said the future would be cheap?

Xiaomi made its name for being an Apple clone, but is responsible for some serious innovation. Not only is it making this absolutely insane phone, its first Mi Mix in 2016 introduced the idea of a no-bezel display -- which is now common among all Android brands.

Key specifications

  • Wraparound display with 180.6% screen-to-body ratio
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • 12GB, 512GB storage
  • 108-megapixel camera + 20-megapixel wide-angle shooter + 12-megapixel telephoto sensor
  • 4,050mAh battery
  • 40W wired fast charging
  • Android-based MIUI 11 operating system