Xiaomi has revealed a new phone that may have come from its efforts to develop a foldable prototype. It’s called the Mi Mix Alpha, and it’s one-upping the first Mi Mix by having a “Surround Screen” that literally wraps around its body.
The Beijing-based tech company says its screen-to-body ratio is 180.6 percent, and the parts not covered by a display — the top and the bottom of the phone, in other words — is made of aero-grade titanium that’s apparently lighter than stainless steel.
While the phone’s defining characteristic is its wrap-around screen, it has another standout feature: a 108-megapixel camera that can capture photos with a 12,032 x 9,024 pixel resolution.
That means it’ll be able to take the same quality of pictures medium format cameras are capable of. It also has a 20-megapixel ultra-wide camera with 1.5cm super macro photography capabilities, as well as a 12-megapixel telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom and dual PD focus.
But it doesn’t have your standard front-facing camera, because it doesn’t need one — its rear camera is still in front of a screen, after all. The tradeoff is a black band where the camera is mounted that runs vertically across the device, making the backside’s screen a bit smaller than the front.
Since the phone is almost all-screen, it also doesn’t come with physical buttons (other than the power button at the top) and has pressure-sensitive sides instead. Its other components are hidden underneath the display, as well, including the fingerprint reader and an acoustic technology that replaces the typical earpiece and speaker. And like its predecessor, the Mi Mix, Alpha also uses ultrasound for proximity sensing.
Inside the device, you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ chipset, 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. It already has 5G radio bands for all three major carriers in China and comes with a 4,050mAh battery with 40W fast charging capability. While Mi Mix Alpha may seem like a concept or a prototype at most, Xiaomi says it’s already in “small-scale production” and that it’s launching in December, though it’s unclear if it’ll be available outside China at the same time.
You may want to ready your wallet if you’re interested, because it has a rather hefty 19,999 yuan (or about $2,810) price tag, making it even more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Aside from the components themselves, its pricing likely came from its complex assembly method. It requires the manufacturer to place each layer on top of the other one by one, starting with its internal assembly, then its laminating display, its touch panel and a tough protection layer.
Xiaomi has also announced the Mi 9 Pro 5G, which is the world’s first phone with 30W fast wireless charging capability. That apparently means you can wirelessly charge the device to 100 percent in just 69 minutes. Pretty cool, especially since it supports 10W wireless reverse charging, so you can use it to power up Qi-compatible devices like headphones and toothbrushes.
Prices for the Mi 9 Pro range from 3,699 yuan or about $520 for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage to 4,299 yuan or about $605 for 12GB RAM and 512GB storage, making it one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) 5G flagships.