The Galaxy S8+ is still the best Android phone available today, but the Mi Mix 2 has a lot going for it.
The Galaxy S8+ is going strong five months after its release, with the phone breaking Samsung's sales records. The South Korean manufacturer introduced the Infinity View display with the Galaxy S8 series, offering a dual curved display with minimal bezels at the top and bottom. The 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display on the phone is one of the best available on a phone today, and coupled with a class-leading camera, it's easy to see why the S8+ is so popular.
Xiaomi, for its part, attracted considerable attention with the Mi Mix last year, and the company has refined the bezel-less formula with the Mi Mix 2. Xiaomi retained the razor-thin bezels, but tweaked the overall design aesthetic to make the Mi Mix 2 much more conducive for everyday usage. The phone will also see a wider release this year, and with 42 LTE bands onboard, it will work on all major carriers around the globe. Let's find out how the Mi Mix 2 fares next to one of the best phones in the market.
What's the same
Both the Mi Mix 2 and the Galaxy S8+ have top-notch hardware in the form of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (Exynos 8895 in the international variants of the S8+), along with ample amounts of memory and storage. The Mi Mix 2 has a slight edge when it comes to memory options, with the base variant offering 6GB of RAM. The Galaxy S8+, meanwhile, has 4GB of RAM. That said, you're not going to run into any bottlenecks on the Galaxy S8+.
Samsung's flagship wins out on the storage front thanks to the presence of a microSD slot, but both phones come with 64GB of internal storage as standard. When it comes to the software side of things, both phones are running Nougat. The Mi Mix 2 features the newer 7.1.1 build whereas the S8+ is still on Android 7.0 Nougat.
Where the Mi Mix 2 wins
There are plenty of options available if you're looking for a phone with minimal bezels — including the Galaxy S8+, Galaxy Note 8, LG G6, V30, and the Essential Phone — but Xiaomi's implementation is one of the best out there. Last year's Mi Mix was certainly not the first phone with thin bezels, but the overall design and top-notch internals resonated with the enthusiast community.
That's true with the Mi Mix 2 as well, but this time around, Xiaomi is making the device much more accessible to a mainstream audience. The design aesthetic of the phone is a significant improvement over its predecessor, with Xiaomi decreasing the screen size to a manageable 5.9 inches.
The company's decision to move the front camera to the bottom bar means three sides of the Mi Mix 2 have ultra-thin bezels, which leads to a highly immersive experience when viewing videos or reading text. With the Mi Mix 2, the content is always front and center.
If you're looking for a phone that will turn heads, get the Mi Mix 2.
The Galaxy S8+, Note 8, and LG's offerings are commonplace in Western markets, but if you're looking for a device with a more radical design language, the Mi Mix 2 is the ideal phone to get. The fact that it now has 42 LTE bands make it that much easier to recommend.
The rounded corners and curving sides make it easy to hold and use the phone, and the ceramic back holds up to tumbles far better than glass-backed designs. Furthermore, the fit and finish are right up there with the likes of the Galaxy S8+.
Another area where the Mi Mix 2 handily beats the Galaxy S8+ is in terms of battery life. Xiaomi phones are known for their battery prowess, and a lot of that has to do with MIUI's memory management. I routinely got over a day's worth of usage out of the Mi Mix 2, even in scenarios when I was using cellular data for the better part of a day. In the same conditions, the S8+ barely made it through until the evening. This is in spite of the Mi Mix 2 sporting a slightly smaller 3400mAh battery (versus the 3500mAh battery on the S8+).
Where the Galaxy S8+ wins
Samsung has been the industry leader in display segment for a few generations now, and its Super AMOLED panels are the best displays you'll find on a phone today (they're "great enough" to be on the iPhone). The Quad HD panel on the S8+ — with a resolution of 2960 x 1440 — is amazing: you get saturated colors, deep blacks, outstanding brightness levels, and an HDR mode for Netflix and Prime Video.
The Galaxy S8+ nails the basics, and has a ton of fringe features.
The S8+ is one of the most feature-packed phones available today: you get IP68 dust and water resistance, wireless charging, and a traditional headphone jack (something that's becoming less and less common on high-end devices). Then there's Samsung Pay, which makes mobile payments incredibly convenient. The S8+ also wins out when it comes to the software side of things (as long as you ignore Bixby).
Another area where the S8+ excels is the imaging department. The 12MP camera at the back takes consistently great photos, and as you'd expect from a Samsung flagship, there are plenty of shooting modes and effects to choose from. Photos taken with the S8+ tend to be more saturated, and the phone does a much better job in low-light scenarios.
Mi Mix 2 to the left, Galaxy S8+ on the right.
Which should you buy?
The Mi Mix 2 offers an exciting design in a ceramic body, and you'll easily get more than a day's worth of battery life consistently. One of the key features on the Mi Mix 2 is the fact that it has 42 LTE bands, making it compatible with carriers around the world.
The Galaxy S8+, meanwhile, has an outstanding display and a camera that's in a league of its own. The S8+ also wins out when it comes to the software side of things. MIUI 9 offers a ton of customization options, but it'll be a while before we see a stable global ROM.
While the Mi Mix 2 is a compelling option — particularly with global LTE connectivity — it doesn't make much sense to pick up the phone in the U.S., where the Galaxy S8+ can be bought for as low as $600. Xiaomi isn't ready to enter the U.S. market for another year or two, and even if you pick up the Mi Mix 2 from a reseller, you're on your own when it comes to after-sales service. When you consider the fact that the phone will run up to as much as $530 after duties, you're better off with the Galaxy S8+.
The Mi Mix 2 is a much more enticing phone in the 30 or so odd countries where Xiaomi will officially release it. The Galaxy S8+ retails for the equivalent of $1,000 in most of these markets, and the Mi Mix 2 will be sold at around the $500-$600 price point. Right now, all we know is that the phone will be making its way to India — Xiaomi's second-largest market — sometime later this month, which is likely to be followed up by launches in other Asian markets.