Both Xiaomi and Apple held a conference on the same day recently where they launched their full-screen smartphones. This in and of itself didn’t come as a big surprise as everyone had been waiting for them already. Many details were also leaked even before the announcement.
Apparently, they will come with many of the common features you will find in smartphones but they will actually be completely different phones. It does raise a lot of questions: what will a smartphone that has both designs and features of both types of devices look? We will get into that in just a moment.
The iPhone X and the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 are the names of the new bezel-less screens. These screens go as close as they can to the edge and frame of the smartphone in order to make it appear as if the entire front face of your phone is solely a display. The iPhone X has a hook hanging on the top of the device, which already makes the Mi MIX 2 more attractive to look at.
But these won’t be the entire focus of the article. Andy Rubin has founded his own company and has already launched a phone called the Essential phone. This article will compare the Essential Phone with the Mi MIX 2 to see how this new company and device match up with this established and well-known brand.
Andy Rubin and the Essential Phone
Andy Rubin had helped Google to create its own mobile OS. To do this requires many hours of research and observing the markets. His company proves that the mobile device industry tends to prioritize iteration over brand-new innovations. Just a few years ago, the market was essentially split between Samsung and Apple.
But, after the time he spent watching the markets, he figured out that making a premium smartphone would be sure to put him into good competition with these massive mobile market powers.
And now we have the Essential Phone, also called Essential PH-1. It was launched just a few months ago, so it won’t be considered outdated in comparison with the new Mi MIX 2. If the phone was released even a year ago, it would be considered outdated due to how quickly the market changes and how quickly new technologies are developed.
Because Xiaomi is an incredibly well-known company and that it will have a lot of coverage with its latest smartphone release, I’ll be focusing primarily on the Essential Phone.
Overall, the Essential Phone looks identical to the Mi Mix 2. It has the same ceramic housing that Xiaomi uses, but the Essential Phone is covered in an oleophobic coating to make sure no fingerprints are left behind on the body of the phone.
The Essential Company has been doing all it could to design a near flawless smartphone. It includes a dual-camera system, in comparison with the Mi MIX 2 that only has one camera sensor. The LED lights and the flashlight are placed alongside the same line with the camera lenses of the Essential Phone. This already makes it stand out as it is a unique design that isn’t really seen in smartphones and it creates an interesting design look to them.
The fingerprint sensor on the back, however, is in the exact same position the Mi MIX 2’s scanner is at. Whether this is due to the fact that this is simply the best place, in the engineer’s opinion, for a fingerprint scanner to go or if it simply looked nice to the design-wide, it is hard to tell.
The Essential Phone has a high-class titanium frame that surrounds the smartphone itself so that it will not scratch or bend. This fact, however, does make finding a protective or even decorative case that much more difficult to do. It has an IP54 certification in comparison with Xiaomi’s Mi MIX 2, which has an IP67 certification. The IP54 certificate means that the phone with it – in this case the Essential Phone – is protected from small amounts of dust ingress and water spray that comes from any direction, as well as some more limited ingress protection. The IP67 certification means that the phone – the Mi MIX 2 – is protected from all dust ingress, can be submerged in water that ranges between 15 cm and 1 m deep, and also has limited ingress protection.
The front panel of the Essential Phone includes a 5.71-inch LTPS / IPS / LCD screen that has a resolution of 1312 x 2560 pixels. The screen ratio is also a bit unique at 19:10, which is not a measurement that is often found in screen ratios. Meanwhile, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 has a 5.99-inch screen, a 2160 x 1080-pixel resolution, and a screen ratio of 18:9, which is much more standard to find when discussing screen ratios.
The front camera as well as the proximity sensors are placed on the upper middle portion of the phone. This is very similar to the iPhone X, although there are minor differences in the actual design.
The Mi MIX 2 has its camera in the lower right corner of the smartphone. This phone also has a micro-front camera mod, a COF (a Chip-on-Film) screen driver with flexible packaging technology, and an active antenna tuning program that works to increase the overall quality of your calls. All together, these three pieces of innovative technology let the Xiaomi Mi phone decrease in size by about 12%. While the Essential Phone doesn’t have nearly as many new types of technology added into it, its designers were able to hide the speaker and LED indicator behind the glass of the display.
The first Mi MIX played a large role in paving the path towards new innovative technologies in the mobile phone market, including a piezoelectric ceramic driver that lets vibrations be beamed right through the glass without needing the traditional gap for a speaker as well as an ultrasonic proximity sensor that dims the display when it is held against your face.
We know that the Mi MIX 2 is larger than the Essential Phone and that the Essential Phone also has a special hook in order to place some sensors there. Some believe that this is just an alternative approach to the design of a full-screen smartphone, but it does impact the general performance of the device. Due to the Mi MIX 2’s larger size, playing games and watching videos also provides a more real full-screen experience.
This covers just about everything I could cover in regard to how the phone looks. Now it’s time to see how the actual performance of the phones match up against one another.
Both the Essential Phone and the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 have the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. This is the Snapdragon 835 octa-core chip. However, using the same hardware doesn’t necessarily mean anything as the actual performance when it is in use can be different.
Just looking at the AnTuTu results shows that Xiaomi can’t really be rivaled in this field. OnePlus and ZTE, however, can compete with Xiaomi company via their OnePlus 5 and Nubia Z17 phones.
Another large gap between the two devices emerges when looking at the memory they hold. The Essential Phones has 4GB of RAM while The Mi MIX 2 has 6GB or 8GB memory options. The only variant for the Essential phone is 128GB while the Mi MIX 2 has several options to choose from, including 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB.
Next up is comparing the battery life and charging speed between the two devices.
The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 is powered by a 3400mAh battery, which is essentially the same amount of power the previous model used. Even with the differences in screen sizes, it has a longer amount of time where the battery holds its charge. It supports an 18W output. Because of this and the Quick Charge 3.0 program, the phone can be 100% charged within 1.5 hours.
Meanwhile, the Essential Phone has a 3040mAh battery but it also allows for 27W super-fast charging. It can reach up to 40% of its power within a half hour. It takes 1 hour and 34 minutes to charge it up to 100%, just a few minutes more than it takes for the Mi MIX 2.
Next up is another major factor of comparison between the two devices: The camera.
The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 has the same sensor that is used on the Xiaomi Mi 6 as well as the Mi Note 3, but it has only a single lens. This Sony IMX386 sensor has a 1.25um pixel area, a 4-axis OIS, and other great features that provide for an excellent photo-taking experience.
Meanwhile, the Essential Phone has a 13MP dual-camera, in both color and black and white, along with a f/1.9 aperture. This high MP and good aperture means that it takes excellent photos during the day or in areas with good amounts of light. But for nighttime photography or those taken in darker rooms or settings tend to have some noise to them.
The Essential Phone is an incredibly well-designed smartphone coming from a new company that also includes the latest stylish features. It has a full-screen display, dual-camera capabilities, and a ceramic housing with an oleophobic coating, amongst a few other features I won’t go into again. These features work together to provide a great experience on the Android 7.1 platform.
This is, on the other hand, the first phone to be released from a new company. Despite all of the time spent tracking trends or engineering the device, there are features that should be improved in new releases of this model in the future.
On the other hand, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 has already had some of its shortcomings fixed. Xiaomi already has an enhanced performance of its newest device because they already fixed a few of the problems with the smartphone.
The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 is priced to start at 3299 yuan, or US$506. The Essential Phone is available at US$699.99.
After reading this article, what have you decided? Which phone would you pick out and purchase for yourself?