Samsung kicked off the trend of launching experimental smartphones with the Samsung Galaxy Fold, and now rival Xiaomi has thrown its hat into the ring with the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha — a futuristic handset with a crazy Surround Display and a ridiculous 108MP camera. It also supports 5G to boot, because why wouldn't it?
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In fact, the Mi Max Alpha is so futuristic, that's it's virtually all screen, save for where it's interrupted by a small module housing the camera setup that accounts for a mere 20% of the entire surface area of the handset. This means the Surround Display occupies what Xiaomi is creatively calling 180% of the phone's real estate (ie 100% of the front of the phone and 80% of the back in terms of screen-to-body ratio).
Because the screen wraps around the entire device, there's no need for a front-facing camera, so there's no notch. Instead, you flip the handset over and use the beastly 108MP camera when you want to snap a selfie, with the rear portion of the display acting as the viewfinder. It's a one-(massive-108MP)-camera-fits-all approach.
Since the frame either side of the Mi Max Alpha is covered with ... erm ... screen, Xiaomi was left with no choice but to do away with the traditional volume rocker. In their place, you'll find a set of pressure-sensitive volume button that are entirely software-based — similar to how 3D Touch functions on the Apple iPhone 6s.
Driving the Mi Max Alpha is a Qualcomm-made Snapdragon 855+ CPU, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. This makes for a smartphone that's about as high-end as can be in all areas, except one: battery life. We can't help but think the 4050mAh battery isn't big enough to keep such a large QHD+ screen illuminated all day.
That's not something you'll likely need to worry about, though. The Xiaomi Mi Max Alpha is set to retail for a staggering £2300 when it hits the shelves in China (in limited quantities) in December 2019 — so it's far out of reach for us mere mortals who came over a bit dizzy upon seeing the iPhone 11 Pro Max's £1149 price tag.