The Mi Mix from Xiaomi was on the edge of tomorrow. It was commendable how a company, known largely for its value for money offerings, could think so out of the box and build a phone like it: a limited edition concept that wasn’t just a lab experiment, but, out there for people to buy. It was, at the same time, a top-tier phone that also delivered in actual user case scenarios. But it was still pretty much a concept phone. It wasn’t launched anywhere else but China.This year’s Mi Mix 2 changes all that. Not only is the Mi Mix 2 a far cry from the unwieldy slab of a design of last year’s Mi Mix, it also comes with a better screen and a better rear camera. But more importantly, it comes with broader availability and support for more global LTE bands as well.Design and build qualityJust like the Mi Mix, the Mi Mix 2 also comes with a full ceramic body – with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the front — and an outer frame that’s carved out of 7-series aluminum alloy. While the ceramic back protects against scratches, the curved aluminum frame enhances grip and all-round experience.There are a few downsides as expected. (a) The Mi Mix 2 is as glossy (and slippery) as they get (b) It is also very prone to fingerprints. The good thing about ceramic, as opposed to regular glass, is that you can gently wipe it with a cloth and all those fingerprints wipe off like they weren’t even there (c) Ceramic is one of the most brittle materials around so make sure whatever you do, don’t drop it.advertisementJust like the Mi Mix, the Mi Mix 2 also boasts of an impressive screen-to-body ratio offering more screen without occupying a larger footprint. Because the Mi Mix 2 offers an unusual aspect ratio of 18:9 — last year’s Mi Mix came with 17:9 — it is longer than it is wider. The Mi Mix 2 is a 5.99-inch phone but because Xiaomi has shaved off much of the bezels, it appears smaller when in the hands. Just like the Mi Mix, the Mi Mix 2 also doesn’t have a forehead, but only the chin. Xiaomi, this time round, has reduced the size of the chin though. The front camera — a 5-megapixel — is still tucked away at the bottom and also it works in a similar fashion. When you’re taking a selfie, you look down or simply flip the phone around. The under-screen ultrasonic proximity sensor understands that you flipped the phone, and changes the orientation of the front camera accordingly.Unlike last year when Xiaomi used a piezoelectric ceramic driver for the earpiece — so the earpiece was also hidden underneath the glass — the Mi Mix 2 has a tiny slit up top that serves as the earpiece/secondary speaker.All this when taken into account entails in a phone that isn’t necessarily as bezel-less as the original, but, certainly more accessible.The Mi Mix 2 isn’t necessarily as bezel-less as the original Mi Mix, but, certainly more accessible There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on-board the Mi Mix though which means the same connectivity port — USB Type-C — will be used for audio out, charging and data syncing. Xiaomi ships a USB Type-C to 3.5mm dongle in the box which is nice. The rear mounted fingerprint scanner, meanwhile, could give Apple’s Touch ID a run for its money with its speed and accuracy. This certainly wasn’t the case with last year’s Mi Mix.Also Read: Mi Mix 2 is proof that Xiaomi isn’t just about the RedmiThe Mi Mix 2, in a nutshell, builds upon the original Mi Mix and introduces subtle changes to the all-round design to make it more mainstream. The first step was to bring the overall size down to 5.99-inch. The next step was bringing in rounded edges. The aftermath is a phone that’s a pleasure to hold and maneuver, while retaining the original’s all screen and no bezel philosophy. If the original Mi Mix was all about the big screen, this year’s Mi Mix 2 is all about making that big screen experience count.DisplayThe 6.4-inch screen of the Mi Mix may have been an engineering marvel, but, it did leave you asking for more on paper, and actual usage in some scenarios. The IPS LCD on-board the Mi Mix came with a 1080×2040 pixel resolution and an unusual aspect ratio of 17:9. Although the unusual aspect ratio was nothing to worry about as the Mi Mix had absolutely no app layout issues, its 1080p resolution was a little on the anemic side with respect to peak brightness. The Mi Mix handled — and reproduced — colours well but it wasn’t as bright as the company’s other flagship phones. The Mi Mix’s barely adequate brightness levels felt lacking especially in outdoor sunny environment.advertisementThe 5.99-inch FHD+ 18:9 display of the Mi Mix 2 still boasts of a 2160×1080 pixel resolution but because it has a smaller screen, it offers slightly better pixel density in comparison. The Mi Mix 2 may not have a breathtaking display but it certainly trumps the Mi Mix in this regard. The screen can get really bright (and dim) at will and viewing angles are at par with the best in the business.Colours on-board the Mi Mix 2 are fairly spot on and there’s also a manual mode — in addition to a built-in reading mode that turns them to the warmer end of the spectrum for night-time usage — that helps bump up saturation should you be looking for more punch. Still, it would be nice to see Xiaomi make the plunge to OLED at some point of time.CameraThe Mi Mix’s 16-megapixel rear camera — assisted with phase detection autofocus, f/2.0 aperture and dual-LED (dual-tone) flash — was the most disappointing aspect of the phone. In fact, it was the weakest link on an otherwise fairly thought-out device. Although photos clicked in good light came out nice, metering issues — overexposure — and excessive image sharpening often resulted in blown out highlights. Also, dynamic range was something that left a lot to be desired on the Mi Mix. Low light photos, on most counts, were blurry and had excessive noise. The Mi Mix 2 it seemed was designed more to please the eyes and senses than anything else. It seemed it wasn’t designed for prime-time which is probably why Xiaomi decided to manufacture it in limited quantitiesThe Mi Mix 2 comes with outstanding camera credentials, at least on paper. In fact, it sports the same IMX 386 image sensor as the company’s flagship Mi 6. As far as specifics are concerned, the Mi Mix 2 sports a 12-megapixel camera on the rear with Phase Detection Autofocus, 4-axis OIS and a dual-LED (dual-tone) flash. It is capable of recording 4K videos as well.The Mi Mix 2 is more or less on similar lines as the Mi Mix, only overall, I feel it does a better job, at least in good lighting conditions. The phone captures some good-looking photos — with occasional softness — in good light with good amount of detail and mostly spot-on colours. Also, the Mi Mix 2, surprisingly, does well in macro photography scenarios which means close-up shots come out well (enough) when the light is adequate. Low light photos still leave a lot to be desired though.Broader availabilityThe Mi Mix was gorgeous and the screen gradually wrapping around the sides was a sight to behold, but, it seemed it was designed more to please the eyes and senses than anything else. It seemed it wasn’t designed for prime-time which is probably why Xiaomi decided to manufacture it in limited quantities. The Mi Mix, as a result, never made it to India.advertisementThe Mi Mix 2 carries forward the trend started by last year’s Mi Mix which is why it also aspires to offer more screen real estate in a compact pint-sized form factor. At the same time, the Mi Mix 2 aspires to correct some of the grueling shortcomings that made the original a lot less accessible for the general audience. This includes broader availability and support for more global LTE bands as well.