Xiaomi Mi Mix 3: is a slider better than a notch?

(upbeat music) – It seems like everybody out there is trying all sorts of weird tricks to make the screen on your
phone as big as possible. Now you’ve obviously seen
all kinds of different notch designs, on
everything from the iPhone X to the OnePlus 6T to the Pixel 3 XL. And soon you’ll see phones
with hole punches in them, too like the Honor View 20 and
probably the Samsung Galaxy S10. We’re even seeing companies
use folding designs to cram a bigger screen
into a smaller size. But the way you get the
most screen on your phone is to not cut it out at all. But, where do you put
the selfie camera, then? Well, how about here, in a
slider behind the screen? The question is: Is this
really what we want? What is a sliding mechanism
even do to a phone? This particular phone
is the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, and it’s one of the first models available with this manual sliding design. Now we’re probably going to see this from a few different manufacturers this year. Rumors are already
saying that the OnePlus 7 will have a similar
sounding sliding design, and I really would not be
surprised if we see other phones from OPPO, Vivo, Honor, Huawei, and more coming out with this style of phone. Now, don’t consider this a full review, but if you’re curious about
the Mi Mix 3 specifically, it has most of the standard
features you’d expect on a high-end Android phone
released in late 2018. It’s got Qualcomm Snapdragon
845 processor, six gigs of ram, 128 gigs of storage, a
1080P AMOLED display, dual rear 12-megapixel cameras, and a 3200 milliamp hour battery. It also has a ceramic back, and it supports wireless charging. It’s running Android 9 Pie with Xiaomi’s MIUI 10
interface on top of it, and it performs just about as good as any other Android phone. The Mix 3 costs roughly $550,
and like other Xiaomi phones it won’t be available
in North America at all. So, sorry. Now, at first glance, this
slide design addresses the problems that the notch and the hole-punch display rather nicely. The Mix 3 has a completely
uninterrupted 6.4 inch screen that stretches all the way to the top and sides of the phone, with just a slightly thicker
border at the bottom. Now, if you remember, the
Mi Mix 1 and the Mi Mix 2, the bottom is where Xiaomi
put the front-facing camera. But the Mix 3 just really doesn’t have room for it down there. So, in order to use
the front-facing camera and take selfies, which on the Mi Mix 3 is a 24 megapixel sensor. It’s got a secondary two
megapixel depth sensor as well. You have to actually slide the whole front of the phone
down about half an inch. That reveals the camera, and it launches the camera
app right into selfie mode. Now on this phone, the
process is pretty quick. You push the screen down. The camera app launches right away. And if you have the sound turned on, there’s a little electronic
sound effect that comes with it. (electronic sound) Now snap the camera back up. (electronic sound) And the camera app closes automatically. You can even do it right
from the lock screen, so you don’t have to unlock
the phone to take a selfie. The Mi Mix 3 is a bit different than, say, the OPPO Find X or the Vivo
NEX that have powered motors to raise and lower their camera module. This one here is all manual. It feels a bit like the old
sliding keyboard mechanisms on messenger phones from a few years ago, or maybe more recently,
the BlackBerry Priv. Give it a little push, and a spring will help push
the screen all the way down. All of that seems good, but in practice, the sliding feature on the Mix 3 can be kinda awkward to use. Now, this is a big phone. There’s no getting around it. And opening the camera one-handed without dropping it,
can be kinda hard to do. Now, since you have to slide the screen down with your thumb, it’s a little less natural than, say, the Priv, which you pushed
up to reveal the keyboard. You also have to move
your pinky out of the way so that the screen can actually move down, which, again, offers another
way for you to drop it. It’s just kind of awkward to do. Now, on top of that, since you have to touch the screen to push it up or down, you might select something or
open the notification shade, or move an icon around on your screen without really intending to. Now you might be able to get proficient at doing this with practice, but after a few weeks of using the phone, it’s still super awkward for me, and I’m constantly afraid
of dropping the Mix 3 when I open the camera. Now there’s other
compromises with this, too. The slider makes the phone thicker and heavier than other phones, and you don’t get a
giant battery with that like you might expect with
a thick and heavy phone. It’s also a possible point of failure. It’s not as delicate as
the motorized mechanisms on the OPPO or Vivo, but it’s definitely more moving parts than say, an iPhone. And it could certainly get jammed up if you get enough dust or gunk in there. It also means that it’s hard to make a case that fully
protects the whole phone. Now Xiaomi includes a
simple plastic snap-on case in the box with a cut-out for the bottom for the screen to slide down, but I wouldn’t really expect there to be many other options available and that’s gonna be
kind of a running theme with these designs. That means that even
though the sliding design eliminates the compromise of the notch, it introduces a lot of
other compromises that, in my opinion, are worse. Now fortunately, the Mix 3’s back camera isn’t hidden by the slider and there’s the standard
fingerprint scanner on the back so the only time you really
need to use the slider is to take selfies. But you still have to deal
with a thick and heavy phone that has only average battery life and you have to worry about whether or not that slider mechanism is
going to break someday. You have to really ask yourself: How much do you hate the notch
to prefer a design like this? For me, I’m gonna stick with the notch.

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