Once again, Xiaomi has proven that you don't have to pay your body weight in gold to get a quality, feature-packed phone -- so long as you aren't looking for cutting-edge features.
And for the first time ever, Android fans will be able to use a Xiaomi phone on LTE no matter where they live. The snappy, all-screen Mi Mix 2 ($330 at Amazon) includes the right radios to latch onto the fastest networks in the US and other countries across Europe. Before this, Xiaomi phones would ride slower 3G networks outside their home countries, which typically included China, India and Brazil, if they worked at all.
Although the Mi Mix 2 will still only sell in those limited markets and a few more besides, the fact that this high-value handset will work wherever it goes, is a step in the right direction for fans or the Xiaomi-curious that are resourceful enough to get their hands on one.
Still, don't think of this as a phone intended for the US or UK, though its dual SIM capabilities mean you'll be able to use it there if you frequently swap carriers or travel internationally. Any Mi Mix 2s bought in China will come without Google Play Services installed, but those sold through India's retail and online outlets should come with Google apps right out of the box; you'll want to play it safe and double check.
Though the Mi Mix 2 falls at the pricy end of Xiaomi's spectrum, it comes in below handsets such as the Galaxy S8 Plus ($550 at Amazon Marketplace). The base 6GB RAM, 64GB onboard storage model costs 3,299 yuan, which converts to about $535, £405 or AU$665. There are configurations with more storage that cost more (128GB, 256GB), with the most expensive special edition priced at 4,699 yuan, which converts to $720, £545 or AU$895.
Mi Mix 2 brings the goods
As with the iPhone X ($1,099 at Walmart) and , the Mi Mix 2 has a dazzling, edge-to-edge screen. Its 6-inch, 2,080x1,080-pixel resolution display is smaller than last year's 6.4-incher. This gives you a slightly less immersive feel, which I noticed right away, even though it's easier to hold. Its cool ceramic backing hangs on to fingerprints, but it also resists scratches and feels great in the hand.
The Mi Mix 2 doesn't have the dual cameras we're now seeing on almost all flagship phones, but the lone 12-megapixel shooter at the rear does a good job of taking bright, colorful and detailed images in full lighting all the way down to low light. Front-facing photos were at best decent, and comes with Xiaomi's beauty modes to make you look better. One major downside: You'll have to flip the phone upside down, which is a pain if you're a selfie fanatic.