A new foldable phone has been officially announced in China — not by Samsung but by one of its rivals — and it looks as if it was heavily inspired by the Galaxy Z Fold 2. It’s called the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold, and much like the Huawei Mate X2, it follows the design standard that was established by Samsung’s foldable series roughly two years ago.
The Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold has a book-like design with a foldable panel on the inside and a rigid cover display on the outside. This is the same formula that was employed by both the Galaxy Fold and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 to great success. The Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold attempts to create its own identity around the foundation that was laid down by Samsung but it ends up borrowing the Fold moniker.
The big question now is whether or not the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold can compete with the Galaxy Z Fold 2, at least as far as specifications are concerned. Availability-wise, Samsung remains the best foldable OEM because customers outside of China won’t be able to buy the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold through official channels. But barring availability, is the Galaxy Z Fold 2 under threat? Let’s have a closer look.
Galaxy Z Fold 2 vs Mi Mix Fold: What has Xiaomi done differently?
Beyond the striking resemblance between the two foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold don’t have a lot in common. Xiaomi’s solution employs a cover display with an even narrower 27:9 aspect ratio, which might be too unwieldly for real practical uses. We feel like the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s cover display already is too narrow to provide a true smartphone experience, so the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold took a step backwards in this regard.
The Chinese OEM also took a different approach to high refresh rate panels. While Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a 60Hz cover display and a 120Hz foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel, Xiaomi has done the opposite and fitted the Mi Mix Fold with a 90Hz cover display and a 60Hz foldable AMOLED.
As you would expect, Xiaomi took advantage of the fact that the Mi Mix Fold was unveiled more than six months after the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Newer components have been developed since, and as a result, the Xiaomi foldable comes with a few upgraded components including the Snapdragon 888 chipset and more memory options.
Samsung’s rival is equipped with a double-cell battery that has a combined capacity of 5,020mAh. It can be recharged roughly two and a half times faster thanks to its 67W super fast charging capabilities.
Xiaomi’s triple camera setup consists of a 108MP main sensor (vs. 12MP), an 8MP telephoto/macro shooter with a liquid lens and 3x optical zoom (vs. 12MP with OIS and 2x optical zoom), and a 13MP ultra-wide (vs. 12MP ultra-wide). It’s capable of 8K video recording, whereas the Galaxy Z Fold 2 isn’t.
The cameras on the back of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 are getting left behind, and that’s especially true considering the fact that Samsung’s foldable has a 2x zoom camera from 2017. Needless to say, Xiaomi’s solution further highlights the fact that the Z Fold series is in need of a camera upgrade.
Other interesting tidbits
Like the Galaxy Z Fold 2, the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold claims to redefine mobile multitasking and productivity. Oddly enough, it runs an older version of Android (10) and MIUI 12, whereas Samsung’s solution got updated to Android 11.
One UI’s multitasking capabilities on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 are limited to a maximum of three apps in split screen, whereas Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 takes a different approach by employing a desktop / tablet like UI. It looks like it might be a better fit for mobile productivity, at least judging by the marketing material.
On the other hand, Xiaomi’s foldable doesn’t seem to have a DeX-like environment that would allow it to connect to a bigger screen, so the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a better choice if you’re looking to bring the mobile experience to a TV or a computer monitor.
There are a couple of other things that the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold does differently. It doesn’t have a display notch or cutout for the foldable panel, and it has quad speakers instead of two, which might make for a better multimedia experience.
Can Samsung learn something from the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold?
Samsung is expected to upgrade a few key features with the release of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 later this year. It should boast an improved camera system, better internal hardware, and it might even support the S Pen. It will likely become the best foldable of the year, especially if the Mi Mix Fold represents the best Xiaomi has to offer.
Even so, Samsung could learn something from the Mi Mix Fold even if Xiaomi’s foldable phone has no chance of becoming a global phenomenon. One very attractive thing about the Mi Mix Fold is that it will go for sale in China for the rough equivalent of $1,500, making it $500 cheaper at launch than Samsung’s solution.
The upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 3 would also benefit from a quad-speaker setup, and perhaps MIUI 12 will inspire Samsung to create a more comprehensive UI for mobile productivity and multitasking. The foldable panel looks better without a cutout, so here’s hoping that in-display cameras will become a reality later this year.
At the end of the day, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 remains the most complete foldable phone to date, but it’s becoming obvious that Samsung should not ignore its emerging rivals. It looks like the foldable clone wars have begun and Samsung has to make sure that it remains one step ahead of its competition.