Technophile

Mi Mix Alpha: A wrap-around display concept from Xiaomi

Mala Bhargava | Updated on January 16, 2020 Published on January 16, 2020

It may or may not come to India, but for now, this one-of-a-kind phone defies imagination

Thinking out of the box takes guts. And for this never-imagined-before smartphone, Xiaomi jumped right out of the box and straight to the moon. Their moonshot, called the Mi Mix Alpha, is really all display. In a way that’s difficult to dream up, the screen goes right round from the front to the edge to the back and to the other edge. Xiaomi calls it Surround Display and says it has a 180.6% screen to body ratio — though where the body is, is not clear. Needless to say, there are no bezels.

For now, the Alpha is a concept phone though there are apparently some 500 of them in existence. Where they’ll sell and whether they’ll bring it into India is not yet fully decided, but if they do, one would be paying upwards of Rs 2.5 Lakhs for it. So, think again.

 

 

What would occur to just about anyone looking at the Alpha’s design is how one is meant to carry it or put it down on a surface. Well, obviously very very carefully, but Xiaomi says it has used the very strongest material including ceramic for the strip and a and titanium frame to create it. And you have a specially designed case to slip it into to keep the flexible OLED safer. Sapphire glass protects the cameras.

On the front, the device is all uninterrupted screen. It continues that way on the sides. On the back, there is one interrupted strip vertically to one side on the screen. Components have to go somewhere. There are actually no physical buttons on this jaw-dropping device — everything is on-screen, including the volume control which is activated with a swipe across the pressure-sensitive edge. Information that you normally see on the top of the screen — battery status, connectivity etc — will display on one edge as these are thick enough to accommodate information such as notifications.

 

 

There are actually no physical buttons on this jaw-dropping device — everything is on-screen, including the volume control which is activated with a swipe across the edge. The unlock button is virtual. There is no headphone jack. Xiaomi is using acoustic technology to turn the display into an earpiece and to use as a proximity sensor. The antennas are where the fingers won’t touch them when holding the phone. When plugged in for charging, the entire display becomes a status indicator, turning from red to orange to blue to green when fully charged. The screen switches when turning the phone around. AI is used to detect what screen is being used to reject unwanted or ghost touches elsewhere. With all that screen, you would think there’d be some compromise on sensors but in fact there are more than usual including air quality and humidity sensors.

The Alpha is essentially a 5G phone. It supports all carriers in China at any rate. It works with the Snapdragon 855+, with 12GB of RAM and has 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage. It comes with a 4,050mAh nano silicon cathode battery with 40W wired fast charging. The device has Samsung’s 108MP camera and is capable of zooming right in to a point we may soon see on Samsung’s own flagships in the S20 series.

 

 

 

Xiaomi has concentrated its efforts in India, in the affordable smartphone segment, where the maximum gains are. The company has occasionally brought in more expensive phones and also has offerings in the smart home segment touching more affluent customers. By considering the launch of the Mi Mix Alpha in India, Xiaomi would make a firm statement about also being present in the premium products segment.

Published on January 16, 2020
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