Should you buy the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 in the U.S.?
Best answer: Absolutely! The Mi Mix 3 has a unique slider mechanism where the entire screen slides down on magnetic rails. The hardware is also some of the best you'll find on a $500 phone today, and the all-screen front with ultra-thin bezels makes for an immersive experience when viewing content.
- Sliders are cool again: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 (opens in new tab) ($500 at Amazon)
Mechanical sliders are back
Xiaomi phones are primarily known for the value they offer, and the Mi Mix 3 is no different. The phone costs just $500, and you get the Snapdragon 845 chipset along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. You get a 3200mAh battery that delivers a full day's worth of usage, and the phone has 10W wireless charging and 18W wired charging.
There's a 6.39-inch Super AMOLED FHD+ display, and as there are no cutouts, you get an all-screen front. The marquee feature, however, is the sliding screen, which is mounted on magnetic rails. The entire screen slides down to reveal the front cameras, and the effect is pretty cool. Not only that, it's durable after several months of usage — I used the sliding mechanism hundreds of times over the last four months, and it is still just as stable as it was on day one.
The sliding mechanism makes the Mi Mix 3 stand out in a sea of phones that sport a cutout, and the hardware on offer makes it one of the fastest $500 phones around. The phone runs MIUI 10 based on Android 9.0 Pie out of the box, and I'm yet to see a slowdown or stutter after four months of usage. The Mi Mix 3 is a particularly great device for playing games because of that bezel-less screen.
Gorgeous ceramic design with wireless charging
Unlike most phones in the market today, the Mi Mix 3 features a ceramic chassis at the back. Xiaomi has been offering the material from the first-gen Mi Mix, and it now signifies the lineup. Previous versions of the Mi Mix have featured camera sensors on the bottom bezel, but with the module now hidden beneath the display, the Mi Mix 3 has a 93.4% screen-to-body ratio.
The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, and the Super AMOLED panel is one of the best you'll find at this price point. The phone is also one of very few devices at the $500 price point that offers wireless charging, and you get Xiaomi's 10W wireless charger bundled in the box.
All the LTE bands you need for T-Mobile and AT&T
Although the Mi Mix 3 isn't officially available in the U.S., it has global LTE bands: 1/2/3/4/5/7/812/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/34/38/39/40/41/66. The wide range of LTE bands makes it compatible with GSM carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T in the U.S. The Mi Mix 3 also comes with a dual SIM card slot, giving you the option of adding another SIM when going overseas.
Sure, you miss out on the warranty as the phone isn't officially sold in the U.S., but the sheer amount of features on offer for $500 make it more than worth the risk.
Fantastic value, unique design
The Mi Mix 3 is a great phone just on the merits of its hardware, but the fact that it has a sliding mechanism and an all-screen front elevates the device. The unique design combined with a ceramic chassis, wireless charging, and dual front cameras hidden beneath the slider makes it one of the best $500 phones you can get today.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.