Xiaomi concept phone sports wraparound screen, 108-MP camera
Just last week we were lauding the Vivo Nex 3 phone for being almost entirely display, with a screen-to-body ratio of 99.6 percent. We expected it to hold the crown for a little while at least, but it looks like it’s already been lost – and in a big way. Xiaomi has now unveiled the Mi Mix Alpha, with a screen-to-body ratio of more than 180 percent. How is that possible? By wrapping it around the back. And as if that wasn’t enough, it also has a frankly-ridiculous 108-megapixel camera crammed in.
Xiaomi calls this screen a Surround Display, and with good reason: it runs across the whole front of the device, around both sides, and across most of the back. The two edges meet about a quarter of the way across the back, at a thick strip that runs top to bottom and houses the cameras.
Though it looks impressive, it’s easy to wonder what you’d actually do with all that extra screen real estate. Xiaomi has some ideas though: the narrow screen on the back, for example, lets you take selfies with the rear camera. There isn’t one on the front, after all.
Even the sides don’t go to waste. The small icons normally seen along the top of a phone screen – like remaining battery, Wi-Fi, alarms and Bluetooth – are displayed down the sides, like in Samsung’s Edge devices. The physical unlock and volume buttons on the sides have been replaced with pressure-sensitive on-screen versions, and the edges themselves can also be squeezed like other phones.
The traditional earpiece receiver has also been switched out for what Xiaomi calls “a brand-new display acoustic technology.”
Of course, with so much more screen comes more anxiety of cracking it – and that’s made worse by the fact that it’s harder to wrap the phone in a case. Xiaomi says that the Mi Mix Alpha is made with a durable protective layer, but we’re not sure how much we’d really trust that.
For those few parts of the phone that aren’t screen, Xiaomi has made them out of a strong but lightweight, aerospace-grade titanium alloy. The strip on the back is made of ceramic, covered in a single piece of sapphire glass.
As if the wraparound screen wasn’t enough, Xiaomi has also seen fit to cram the world’s most powerful smartphone camera into the Mi Mix Alpha. The main camera sports 108 MP with a 1/1.33-in sensor, snapping shots with a resolution of 12,032 x 9,024 pixels. On top of that, there’s also a 20-MP ultra-wide angle and a 12-MP telephoto camera in there.
The rest of the specs are equally beefy. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 855+ processor, 12 GB of RAM, a 4,050 mAh battery, and comes with 512 GB of storage. While that last number sounds like a lot, we have to wonder how quickly it would fill up given the huge file size of the photos from that beast of a camera. Capping it all off, the phone is also 5G compatible.
While Xiaomi calls the Mi Mix Alpha a concept phone, it does look like it plans to sell them – albeit not many. A small production run is due to start by the end of the year, and the handset will carry a hefty price tag of RMB 19,999, which roughly converts to a little over US$2,800.