Xiaomi's new Mi Mix 2S adds dual AI-powered cameras

The Chinese smartphone maker shows off its new flagship that comes sporting Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 845 chip. And hey, it doesn't have a top notch.

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
3 min read

The Mi Mix 2S comes with dual cameras now.

Aloysius Low/CNET

The Xiaomi Mi 8 has been officially revealed. It has a 6.21-inch AMOLED screen and dual 12-megapixel rear cameras.

Xiaomi's new Mi Mix 2S is an update to last year's Mi Mix 2 , and it comes with updated hardware to compete with a whole new generation of all-screen flagship phones. Oh, and it doesn't have an iPhone-style notch

Announced in Shanghai Tuesday, the Mix 2S comes with new dual 12-megapixel rear cameras at the back, featuring an AI-powered wide angle and a telephoto lens combo. The Mix 2S uses Sony's new IMX636 sensor, featuring larger 1.4um pixels and dual-pixel technology, which allows for better low-light shots. We'll be sure to test this out in our hands-on.

Otherwise, the phone looks exactly the same, and shares some of the same specs as the Mi Mix 2. There's an all-screen 5.99-inch Full-HD+ display (2,160x1,080 pixels), a ceramic rear and a front 5-megapixel selfie camera at the bottom right corner of the phone.

Thanks to machine learning, the Mix 2S has a camera that can properly detect stray hair or accessories to ensure they don't get blurred when taking portrait-mode pictures. The phone can seamlessly take five different shots and combine them together to reduce noise in low-light photos.

Xiaomi's Mi Mix 2S looks mostly the same

See all photos

Another cool feature is optical character recognition (OCR). It can detect when you're taking a picture of a presentation, for instance, and use OCR to transcribe Mandarin or English text, so when you zoom into the picture, the text remains clear. It's not yet known if this will be available in global models.

I like how the phone feels in my hand, like the Mix 2, the 2S has a smooth curved corners that sits nicely in the hand. It also feels a bit heavier compared to the Mix 2, but I'll have to wait for exact specs to confirm this.

That said, I'm not exactly a fan of the white model, the front selfie camera is very prominent, and mars an otherwise clean look of the phone. On the black model, this is hidden away, with Xiaomi using an extra step to make the camera invisible by slightly tinting the lens. It's also the same thing with the speaker hole at the top of the phone, perhaps Xiaomi could have made it white to hide it better.

Besides the new camera, the Mix 2S also packs Qualcomm's  snappy new Snapdragon 845 processor, as well as dual nano-SIM card slots. One key new feature is wireless charging using the Qi standard, which makes its debut in the Mix 2S. There's still no word on water resistance, but that's never been a priority for Chinese phone makers.

The Mix 2S will come in three versions: A 6GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage model, a 6GB RAM and 128GB onboard storage model and an ultimate version with 8GB and 256GB of onboard storage. The phone will come in two colors, black or white. And unlike the Mi Mix 2, it doesn't seem to have a Special Edition model with a ceramic unibody this time around.

The base model will sell for 3,299 Chinese yuan -- about $530, £370 or AU$680 -- while the top-end model goes for 3,999 yuan, which is about $640, £450 or AU$830. The middle sibling will cost you 3,599 yuan -- about $575, £405 or AU$745. Global availability of the phone has not been disclosed, but it'll go on sale in China on April 3.

Xiaomi also added that if you want to use the Mix 2S anywhere in the world, you'll have to get the top-end model, which supports all global LTE bands. All models should work across the US, UK and Australia.

Watch this: Xiaomi's gorgeous Mi Mix 2S now packs dual AI-powered cameras

Quick specs

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Memory: 6GB RAM with 64GB storage, 6GB RAM with 128GB storage, 8GB RAM with 256GB storage
  • Display: 5.99-inch Full-HD+ (2,160 x 1,080 pixels)
  • Battery: 3,400mAh, wireless charging
  • Camera: Rear dual 12-megapixel cameras