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Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is my almost-perfect phone

The Mi Mix 3 is the perfect phone for a notch-free future.

Aloysius Low Senior Editor
Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.
Aloysius Low
4 min read

I've yet to find the perfect phone, but Xiaomi's Mi Mix 3 comes closer than anything I've used in years.


Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

The Good

The Mi Mix 3 is absolutely gorgeous and its sliding mechanism makes a satisfying click. The camera takes great shots as well and battery life is fantastic.

The Bad

The phone can be a fingerprint magnet, it's not waterproof and the front cameras don't do secure 3D face unlocking.

The Bottom Line

Xiaomi's flagship phone is almost the perfect phone, and the company's making it available in even more countries. The bad news is the US isn't one of them.

The Mi Mix 3 is a full-screen display phone without a notch. Its hidden front camera is revealed when you slide down the display, which moves on a unique magnetic slider and makes a satisfying click as it locks into place.

Using the slider is unexpectedly satisfying and I can't stop playing with it. The screen lights up and a buzz-like chime plays when you slide it open, like a mini reward. And you don't need to worry that using the slider will break the screen. Xiaomi says it's rated for 300,000 cycles, with opening and closing it counts as one cycle. Even with my newfound addiction, I found myself sliding fewer than 50 times a day.


The front cameras uses a 24-megapixel and 2-megapixel setup.

Aloysius Low/CNET

The Mi Mix 3 is a fantastic device with the best hardware available. It's got Qualcomm's current Snapdragon 845 chip (though the Snapdragon 855 is due to arrive soon), a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED full HD+ display, dual 12-megapixel rear cameras with 2x optical zoom and wireless charging. It even has a wireless charging pad in the box.

The cheapest Mi Mix 3, with 6GB RAM and 128GB onboard storage, sells for around $490, £375 or AU$680 converted from its 3,299 Chinese yuan price. The version with 10GB RAM and 256GB of onboard storage costs 4,999 Chinese yuan, or about $845.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 dazzles with a ceramic rear

See all photos

While the cheapest version is a steal, the top-end model is still cheaper than the cheapest iPhone XS Max, by about $250. The only question is where to get one. You can buy the Mi Mix 3 in most parts of Asia, as well Spain and Italy, but Xiaomi doesn't currently sell phones in the US. 

Almost perfect

I told you earlier that the Mi Mix 3 is almost perfect, and I wasn't kidding. Sure, it's missing a few things, such as waterproofing -- which I'm guessing is almost impossible with the sliding mechanism -- and secure 3D face unlocking, but I can live without those features. Here's why:

The Mix 3 looks amazing

The shiny signature ceramic rear shimmers in the light. And while ceramic backing is acclaimed for resisting fingerprint grease, you'll still see plenty. The darker color of the phone does hide the ugly marks somewhat. The phone is comfortable to hold, and while it's slightly heavier than the iPhone XS Max on paper, I didn't notice the difference.


The rear is made of ceramic and is supposedly fingerprint and scratch resistant (but you'll still see prints, in case you're wondering).

Aloysius Low/CNET

The 6.4-inch display is bright, and colors pop out, even outdoors in sunlight. The Mix 3 also supports wireless charging, which is nice to have, and as mentioned earlier, you don't have to buy a charging pad since it comes in the box.

The MIUI 10 software ties it all together

The Android experience feels somewhat like iOS, but it's definitely Android. By default, the Mix 3 uses onscreen buttons, but you can switch it to a gesture based control that's similar to iOS -- swipe up to exit an app, swipe the sides to go back or forth, and swipe and hold to bring up all the currently open apps on the phone.

One of the new features that takes advantage of the slider mechanism is to bring up a customizable quick menu that lets you quickly access apps such as a recorder, stopwatch or your notes. You can also set it to just take a picture with the front selfie camera.


The phone can be used normally even if the screen has been slid down.

Aloysius Low/CNET

There's a dedicated Google Assistant button on the side

But that means you can't lay the phone on its side to take a stable picture -- you'll accidentally depress the button. 

Unlock the phone with a fingerprint sensor at the back

Or you can slide the screen down to use the front cameras. But this isn't as secure as the iPhone -- or even the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, which has 3D face unlocking.

Taking great-looking shots


The rear dual shooters feature a 12-megapixel and 12-megapixel combo.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Xiaomi's Mi 8 has great cameras, and the Mix 3 uses the same camera setup for equally good shots. I love the phone's night mode, which takes multiple shots and combines them together for a bright and detailed picture. Sound familiar? That's because it's a trendy feature among today's top phones. The Mix 3's version works well.

Even without night mode turned on, the camera still takes good lowlight shots.The camera also turns in a great job in daylight, with pictures sporting lots of detail and colors popping on the Mix 3's screen.

The front selfie camera has a built-in beauty mode. You can judge how effective it is in my sample photo below. But you can turn it off, unlike similar features on other Chinese phones. It also has a secondary depth sensor for portrait mode shots.

Check out the rest of the shots below.

Enlarge Image

Outdoor shots looked great, with colors that popped.

Aloysius Low/CNET
Enlarge Image

There's plenty of detail even in the shadowed area right at the top of this outdoor test shot. 

Aloysius Low/CNET

The front selfie camera can take pretty good shots, but you can see the effect of the beauty mode -- my face looks way too smooth to be real.

Aloysius Low/CNET
Enlarge Image

Night mode takes multiple shots and combines it into one picture. The lights aren't overexposed and you can see plenty of detail compared with the same shot with the feature turned off. 

Aloysius Low/CNET
Enlarge Image

Night mode really helps when taking low-light shots.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Battery and performance

The Mix 3 breezed through a day of use thanks to its 3,200-mAh battery. In our CNET Video Labs test, the phone easily lasted 17 hours and 48 minutes. The Mi Mix 3 delivers similar performance to other Qualcomm Snapdragon 845-powered phones, as you can see from our benchmark testing graphs below. I tried out games such as Asphalt 8, Marvel Strike Force and even Maplestory Mobile and found the experience to be pretty smooth. We'll probably see better performance numbers when the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855-powered phones are announced at Mobile World Congress next month.

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 4,961Huawei Mate 20 Pro 4,938Google Pixel 3 XL 5,946Samsung Galaxy Note 9 6,344
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance.

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 55,892Huawei Mate 20 Pro 56,876Google Pixel 3 XL 62,199Samsung Galaxy Note 9 58,832
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v4.0 Single-Core

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 2,378Huawei Mate 20 Pro 3,341Google Pixel 3 XL 2,386Samsung Galaxy Note 9 2,406
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

GeekBench v4.0 multi-core

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 8,363Huawei Mate 20 Pro 10,026Google Pixel 3 XL 8,388Samsung Galaxy Note 9 8,827
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Hardware specs comparison

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3Huawei Mate 20 ProGoogle Pixel 3 XLSamsung Galaxy Note 9
Display size, resolution 6.39-inch AMOLED, 2,340x1,080 pixels6.39-inch AMOLED, 3,120x1,440 pixels6.3-inch "flexible" OLED, 2,960x1,440 pixels6.4-inch Super AMOLED, 2,960x1,440 pixels
Pixel density 403ppi538ppi522 ppi516ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.22x2.94x0.33 in6.21x2.85x0.34 in 6.2x3x.03 in6.37x3.01x0.35 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 157.89x74.69x8.46 mm157.8x72.3x8.6 mm158x76.7x7.9 mm161.9x76.4x8.8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 7.69 oz; 218g6.67 oz; 189g 6.5 oz; 184g7.09 oz.; 201g
Mobile software Android 9.0 Pie; MIUI 10Android 9 PieAndroid 9 PieAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Camera Dual 12-megapixel rear40-megapixel, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 20-megapixel, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide), 8 MP, f/2.4, 80mm (telephoto), OIS12.2-megapixelDual 12-megapixel (wide and telephoto)
Front-facing camera 24-megapixel, 2-megapixel depth sensor24 MP, f/2.0, 26mmDual 8-megapixel8-megapixel
Video capture 4K4K4K4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.8GHz)Kirin 980 (octa-core) Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.5GHz octa-core)Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (2.8GHz + 1.7GHz), or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810 (2.7 GHz + 1.7 GHz)
Storage 128GB, 256GB128GB64GB, 128GB128GB, 512GB
Expandable storage NoneNanoSD (not microSD) up to 256GBNone512GB
Battery 3,200-mAh4,200-mAh3,430-mAh4,000-mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back coverIn-displayBack coverBack of phone
Headphone jack NoNoNoYes
Special features Wireless charging, sliderIn-display fingerprint sensor, two-way wireless charging, water resistant, super-fast chargingIPX8, wireless charging support, Pixel Buds USB-C headphones in the boxWater resistant (IP68); wireless charging; S-Pen; Iris and facial scanning, Animoji
Price off-contract (USD) Converts to $490 (6GB RAM, 128GB), Converts to $845 (10GB RAM, 256GB)converts to $1,167$899 (64GB); $999 (128GB)$1,000 (128GB), $1,250 (512GB)
Price (GBP) Converts to £375 (6GB RAM, 128GB), Converts to £655 (10GB RAM, 256GB)£899 £869 (64GB); £969 (128GB)£899 (128GB), £1,099 (512GB)
Price (AUD) Converts to $680 (6GB RAM, 128GB), Converts to AU$1,180 (10GB RAM, 256GB)AU$1,599AU$1,349 (64GB); AU$1,499 (128GB)AU$1,499 (128GB), AU$1,799 (512GB)

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 8Performance 8Camera 9Battery 10