Many flagship smartphones these days use slightly curved AMOLED displays that create impression of a bezel-less device with a large screen that falls over the edges. There are also foldable smartphones from Huawei and Samsung that actually feature rather large displays when unfolded. Xiaomi decided to go one step further and equipped its new Mi Mix Alpha flagship 5G smartphone with a screen it calls Surround Display that almost wraps around its entire body.

The Flexible sAMOLED of the Mi Mix Alpha features a diagonal of 7.92-inches (assuming that it was flat) display with a 2250×2088 resolution. Because the screen wraps around the body of the smartphone leaving a ceramic stripe for the main camera, Xiaomi says that it has a 180.8% screen-to-body ratio, which sounds a bit odd by today’s standards. In a bid to make the new smartphone a reality, the manufacturer had to redesign production process of the handset: initially, internal components are assembled, then display layer, touch-sensing layer, and glass protection layers are laminated one by one. The frame of the phone uses an titanium alloy to ensure that the device is rugged enough.

Being a flagship smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Plus accompanied by 12 GB of LPDDR4X RAM as well as 512 GB of UFS 3.0 NAND flash storage. The phone also has a 5G modem that supports three major carriers in Mainland China. When it comes to local connectivity, the unit supports Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, and a USB 3.0 Type-C connector. As for the battery, the smartphone has a non-removable 4,050 mAh battery.

The fancy Surround Display is not the only ‘industry’s first’ of the Mi Mix Alpha as it is also equipped with Samsung’s 108 MP 1/1.33-inch main camera module that can shoot images in a 12034×9024 resolution or make photos in under low-light conditions. The main camera also has a 20 MP ultra-wide-angle module, a 12 MP telephoto module, and a dual-LED flash. Since the phone has a display on the back, it can also use its main camera for selfies.

Without any doubts, the Mi Mix Alpha looks very impressive and will be a head turner. Meanwhile, it is not clear how the back-facing display can be used. Xiaomi reportedly says that its software automatically detects the use scenario and places important information on the back of the smartphone so that the front panel could be used for other purposes. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether software developers figure out how they could use the ‘second’ screen for their apps.

The Mi Mix Alpha Smartphone
  Preliminary Specifications
Display AMOLED
7.92"
2250×2088
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
Adreno 640
RAM 12 GB LPDDR4X
Storage 512 GB of UFS 3.0 NAND flash
Local Connectivity Wi-Fi  802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0
Data/Charging USB 3.0 Type-C
Audio No 3.5-mm jack
NFC ?
5G Yes
4G/LTE Yes
Navigation  dual-band A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS
Rear Camera 108 MP, f/1.7,
1/1.33-inch
0.8µm pixels, 
Laser/PDAF
20 MP, f/2.2,
1/2.8-inch
1µm pixels, 
13 mm
Laser AF
12 MP, f/2.0,
54mm (telephoto),
1/2.55-inch
1.0µm pixels,
Laser/PDAF
Front Camera none, uses main camera
Battery Capacity 4050 mAh
Expected Life ?
SIM Size Nano SIM + Nano Sim
Sensors accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Biometric Security Fingerprint in-screen
Facial Recognition -
Dimensions Height 154.4 mm | 6.08 inches
Width 72.3 mm | 2.85 inches
Thickness 10.4 mm | 0.41 inches
Weight 241 grams | 8.5 ounces
Colors black
Protection Drop ?
OS Google Android 10
Launch Countries China initially
Price RMB 19,999 ($2,500, €2,550)

Xiaomi admits that the Mi Mix Alpha is largely a concept phone that is unlikely to become a mass product. The company plans to start small-scale manufacturing of the device in late December, but does not reveal how many units it intends to make. The Mi Mix Alpha will be Xiaomi’s most expensive handset ever, at RMB 19,999 ($2,500, €2,550). This makes it cost more than foldable smartphones from Huawei and Samsung.

Related Reading

Sources: Xiaomi, GSMArena

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  • PeachNCream - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - link

    Seems more like one-upmanship than a practical device. Reply
  • p1esk - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - link

    Wait, can it be unfolded into a large flat display? Because that would be brilliant! Reply
  • skavi - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - link

    no Reply
  • flyingpants265 - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    Maybe one day. Turning a phone into a tablet looks kinda fun. I doubt they'll ever replace laptops though, like some people are wishing for. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    Probably can unfold (break) it, but it won't work anymore. Reply
  • ABR - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - link

    If they do the software well it could be pretty cool. Reply
  • liquid_c - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - link

    So this is basically a paper launch, right? All i see are renders of the product but not the product itself. Reply
  • s.yu - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    I don't think this is more of a technological feat than folding screens, it's fixed after all.
    But for concept products, a 3 month window from launch to production seems to be a new norm, rather.
    Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    At last, a phone you can't hold without generating some touch events! Reply
  • Danvelopment - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    Getting my partner a Mi Mix 3, they're pretty reasonably priced now.

    This, however, is just posturing. Whilst it will be a great phone (almost a full 1" sensor!) it will be a completely over the top great phone.

    Like getting a Ferrari gold plated.
    Reply

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