Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 Review: in a Battle with Samsung?

935 unlocks

The thinnest among the folding mobiles, Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 could be a serious competitor of Samsung in the future. Check our review to see why.

The special thing about the Mix Fold 2 is how compact the phone is. It folds completely flat, from the outside to the inside. The large gap between the screen sides and the wedge shape from Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 is thus absent. The same is partly true of the thickness as well. It’s not a lot of millimetres, but still.

The Mix Fold 2 feels far more like a normal mobile phone when folded than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Despite being thinner, the phone actually has a larger battery and support for faster charging. Rhe charger is included, though.

Natural explanation for the flatness

The Mix Fold 2 still does not escape without “flaws” in the comparison. To keep things on the slim side, wireless charging has been omitted. I also note that the waterproofing that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has is not included here. A little critical for a phone that even in China costs 1,300 USD.

A minor “deficiency” is the selfie camera on the inside, which Xiaomi has skipped. If you try to take pictures of yourself with the camera app on the big screen, you will only be told to turn the phone over. It’s basically good enough for selfies. The camera on the outside is in any case better than the internal cameras on such mobiles. But it is a disadvantage if you want to have online meetings with your mobile phone.

For the record – Samsung graced us with a very average 4 MP selfie camera on the inside of the phone. In terms of quality, it bears the stamp of being really just for Skype, Webex and other apps.

Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 Performance

Mix Fold 2 has the fastest processor you can get in an Android mobile. It provides tip-top performance both inside and outside. The user experience is impeccable, minus the obvious Chinese apps that are scattered around – and would not have been included on a European version of the phone anyway.

The screens have performance to match with 120-hertz refresh on both the 8-inch on the inside and the 6.5-inch on the outside of the phone. The inner screen doesn’t sound much bigger in inches, but a much wider aspect naturally means you get about twice the area. Both screens also manage up to 1300 nits brightness in automatic outdoor mode (HBM) – which is in line with the best mobile screens out there.

Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 Camera

The photo performance in this mobile is also very good, and on paper it is quite close to Samsung’s Z Fold 4. The main camera is almost identical in terms of specifications with 50 megapixels, where each pixel is the same size in the two mobiles – which should give roughly the same chip size. The glass is just as bright with f/1.8, and optical stabilization is in place.

The Xiaomi is technically slightly worse at zoom than the Samsung, but makes up for it with autofocus on the ultra-wide angle, which provides additional functions such as a well-functioning macro mode.

We haven’t been able to take photos of the whole world with the Mix Fold 2, but as far as I’ve been able to use it in the time I’ve had, I can conclude that it rarely makes complete mistakes, and that the photos are usually detailed and nice. It works like a “standard top model camera” – nothing more, nothing less. Albeit without the finesse of the fiercest camera monsters, such as the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Galaxy S22 Ultra.

But that class does not compete with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 either. So the Mix Fold 2 is where it needs to be.

Slightly foldable menus

But the objection about the software here can be repeated. Because there is generally little about the software that proves that this is a foldable mobile phone for 20,000 Norwegian kroner. In some apps you get a slightly different layout, but it is probably mostly the app that is designed to recognize large screens. The menu system itself shows little sign of the extra space. For example, you lack any kind of menu bar beyond the usual app bar that all Android mobiles have.

There’s no desktop mode here, although you can enable apps to appear in windows. And although the phone can be opened halfway to use one half as a camera stand – the camera app is not adapted to run on one screen – as we have seen both Samsung and eventually Motorola do.

The folding mobiles must win trust

At the same time, I notice that there is ultra-thin glass (UTG) in the folding screen, like on Samsung’s phones. But as with Samsung’s, there is also a screen film on top, and it is unlikely to be replaceable by you and me. On the phone we’ve been given to borrow, there are a few small marks on the outer edges of that foil – whether it’s previous testers who have fiddled with it or just wear and tear, we don’t know.

But trust is something these phones have to build up from the ground up, and given that we have an extra thin phone from a company that, at least in Europe, we have seen few foldables from – it is a small question just how durable this case is.

We are aware that some users complain about early wear on the screens in Samsung’s Galaxy Z models – and it is the folding phones that are probably in most pockets so far. And when the most mature of all in this genre can now and then offer challenges – that means a little extra skepticism on the challengers.

Conclusion

It almost goes without saying; I do not recommend anyone who does not know exactly what they are going to buy this here. If you’re used to tinkering and fiddling and not bothered by service outages while the world figures out ways around the obstacles again – by all means, keep doing what you were doing.

But the Mix Fold 2 isn’t for most people right now. Right now it’s too Chinese.

What it is, however, is a warning about strong competition even on the fiercest mobiles from Xiaomi. A role that Huawei previously filled alongside Samsung and Apple. And just like the aforementioned Huawei, Xiaomi seems to have ambitions.

This is not intensely impressive and innovative – it is probably a bit too standard for that. But the Mix Fold 2 does what Xiaomi does best; it is a solid prioritized collection of compromises to provide a slightly different overall experience than what we are used to.

And for the undersigned who likes small mobiles that get big better than big mobiles that get bulky – i.e. flip rather than fold – this is the Fold that makes me want to find the bank card the most.

Since the software differences between this and a possibly finished European version of the Mix Fold 2 will be large, we avoid giving this phone a grade. But we still take the time to make some point assessments.