Mi Mix 3: We Tested the Xiaomi Smartphone That Slides

Mi Mix 3: We Tested the Xiaomi Smartphone That Slides

We like

  • The classifier design
  • The slider you get used to very quickly.
  • The performance of the Snapdragon 845
  • The picture that gets better

We don’t like

  • The weight
  • The price is a bit high compared to the F1 Pocophone.


With the exception of its weight, this smartphone offers everything you’d expect from a latest-generation smartphone: a pleasant design, impeccable performance, an improved dual rear sensor and a small technological innovation that consists of hiding the front photo sensor in a sliding panel. And for the price, Xiaomi even offers you an induction charger in the box. An initiative so rare that it deserved to be reported (it is even the first time we see it). All you can say is that it costs 140 euros more than the F1 Pocophone when it comes out. It’s also Xiaomi’s fault, who had gotten us used to lowering her prices all the time. But let’s not deny our pleasure, because the device is still a very nice surprise.

Read the test

Well, after the Mi 8 and the F1 Pocophone, here is another Xiaomi smartphone based on Snapdragon 845. Yes, but the Mi Mix 3 is the first smartphone of the brand to integrate a small cosmetic innovation, since it benefits from a sliding panel (or slider or slider, your choice) dedicated to the front photo sensor. This ultimately gives it a larger display surface than the other models of the brand. Announced and marketed since last November in China, the aircraft is only now arriving in France. Why the little delay? Mainly because the manufacturer had to agree with Google to fully integrate Google Assistant to the small button on the left side of the screen in order to reach the international market. In China, Xiao AI acts as a voice assistant, but the application does not exist in languages other than Chinese. And then we have to admit that we are now so used to Google Assistant, with its qualities and flaws, that it would have been disturbing to have to put up with yet another assistant. But is this smartphone the must-have model for the beginning of the year? Can it compete with competing flagships such as the S9 (waiting for the S10), the OnePlus 6T or Huawei’s P20 and Mate20? Should we fall for Mi Mix 3? Five-point answer.

1 – Yes, because we like its design

Featuring a 6.39″ screen, the Mi Mix 3 is a pretty classy smartphone. The device is marketed in three colors: sapphire blue, onyx black and jade green, the last one being an exclusive of the SFR.fr website for 15 days. For our part, we had in our hands the black onyx version. The glossy back of the device properly contains the fingerprint sensor (conveniently located in the upper center of the smartphone) as well as the photo sensor and the flash. One can blame it for a small protrusion of these same photo sensors, making the camera a little wobbly when placed on a table. The problem is increasingly common on recently released smartphones and is solved by adding a small protective shell to the device. The rounded edges of the Mi Mix 3 give it a certain grace and a nice grip, despite its weight. The device weighs 218 grams, 33 grams more than a OnePlus 6T and 17 grams more than a Galaxy Note9.


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But the main innovation of the camera is the placement of its front photo sensor. Rather than fitting it into a notch (which has been the fashion for some time now), Xiaomi has taken the initiative to house it in a sliding panel, which can be extended and retracted at will. And the gamble paid off, since you get used to this kind of manipulation very quickly and gain visual comfort. Note that the Chinese manufacturer is not the only one to bet on the retractable photo sensor, since Oppo did the same last year with its Find X. Except that the Mi Mix 3 one is manual (you need to slider from bottom to top to open it), while the Find X is automatically triggered when opening it from the photo application or when trying to unlock the camera. Finally, note that it is possible to configure the application that launches instantly when the sliding panel is opened. You can, for example, make the phone function launch, or the one dedicated to an instant messaging software, or the one that allows you to consult the latest news… On the other hand, it does not close when you close the panel.

Finally, there is also a button on its left side dedicated to calling the voice assistant. This discreet feature allows you to open Google Assistant without having to unlock the device completely. For safety reasons, however, the device must recognize you, otherwise the assistant will not start. 

2 – Yes, because the performance is there

With a Snapdragon 845, 6 GB RAM and 128 GB of storage space, the device is in the upper mid-range when it comes to components. As previously mentioned, this is the third Xiaomi smartphone to benefit from this type of processor. No surprise then: the manufacturer did not skimp on hardware components.

For autonomy, the device has a 3700 mAh battery. We subjected it to our usual battery of tests, which consists of using the device on a daily basis, mixing GPS use for 1 hour, watching streamed videos for the same length of time, frequent checking of e-mails and web browser, regular calls, etc. The aircraft held under these conditions for just over a day and a half. Here again, it is in the high mid-range, but does not compete with its brother, the Pocophone F1 from the same manufacturer. As a reminder, this device is capable of lasting nearly two days under the same conditions, as explained in our test.


Geekbench 4 Multicore

3DMark Slingshot Extreme

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 (Snadragon 845)



PocoPhone F1 (Snapdragon 845)



OnePlus 6T(Snapdragon 845)



Huawei P20 Pro (Kirin 980)



Samsung Galaxy S9 (Exynos 9810)



Oppo RX17(Snapdragon 710)



3 – Yes and no, because we are still not fans of the overcoat

The device is delivered with Android 9 and the home overlay MIUI, here present in version 10.0. The overcoat in question has its qualities, but also some defects. There is no provision, for example, for changing the navigation buttons, which are obviously not placed in the usual order. In addition, some features do not seem to take left-handed people into consideration. To delete a notification, for example, you have to slider from left to right. The reverse operation has the effect of making the parameters of the said notification appear, contrary to a classic Android where one slid indifferently from left to right or from right to left to delete a modification.

4 – Yes, because Xiaomi made a big effort for the photo

The Mi Mix 3 is a smartphone that has a dual photo sensor on the back : 12 MP (opening f/1.8) + 12 MP (opening 1/3.4). So far, nothing extraordinary, but it’s undeniable that when it comes to shooting, the Mi Mix 3 shows some rather welcome qualities. The picture gets a little better with each new device from Xiaomi, even if the brand can’t pretend to match what the competition is doing on the Android side, especially at Huawei (with its now famous P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro) or at OnePlus (with its unstoppable 6T). The pictures in daylight are really beautiful, but it is especially in low light that the camera really does well.

In such situations, the camera delivers clear and clean images. Of course, they are a little noisy in the really dark areas, but the whole thing is perfectly usable. Activating the night mode does not bring any real innovation, and you can perfectly use the classic Photo mode to take pictures. In short, we were not disappointed by the quality of the camera’s shots, and Xiaomi has improved on this point compared to the Pocophone F1 or Mi 8 released last year.

The front sensor (24 MP + 2 MP) also delivers clear and precise photos. In the end, it’s almost flawless, even if the shots suffer from a little too much contrast. But maybe it’s just a matter of taste…

5 – Yes and no for price

Sold for €499.90, there’s no doubt that the Mi Mix 3 can be placed in front of OnePlus 6T, Asus ZenFone 5Z and other Xperia XZ2 Compact models. It can even rival Samsung’s Galaxy S9, which is now available for less than €500 (while waiting for the S10, which should be significantly more expensive). So what is the Mi Mix 3 worth against the competition or even against Xiaomi’s F1 Pocophone? In the first case, there is no doubt that the Mi Mix 3 has some under the hood and is a serious rival for the competition. In the second case, one has the right to wonder if the Mi Mix 3 really has some essential assets: when you already own a Pocophone, what advantages do you have to migrate to Xiaomi’s new device. Not sure whether the slider or the improved low-light shooting (which wasn’t so bad on the F1 Pocophone) are real selling points. But in the end, here’s a smartphone that proves to be a nice surprise and is likely to be noticed at the beginning of the year.

The device will be on sale as of January 18th in the Champs-Elysées shop of Xiaomi. On line and in the other shops of the brand, it will take 3 more days to get it. Please note that the version with 10 GB RAM and 256 GB of storage space will not be sold in France.

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