Sunday, December 3, 2023

Xiaomi Mix Fold 3: A glimpse into the future of folding phones

Tech Desk :

Folding phones have become increasingly popular, with a plethora of options available to consumers, from the likes of Google’s Pixel Fold to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold5. Amidst this competition, Xiaomi’s Mix Fold 3 stands out: a device that undeniably offers a tantalising preview of the potential future trajectory of folding phones on a global scale.

Design and build: One of the first things that strikes you about the Mix Fold 3 is its svelte design. It’s noticeably slimmer than many of its competitors, a feature that doesn’t just add to its aesthetic appeal but also enhances its portability. The hinge mechanism, a critical component of any folding phone, is slick and appears to be meticulously crafted. This hinge doesn’t merely serve a functional purpose; it also feels robust and durable, allowing the phone to sit comfortably at various angles. This adaptability is perfect for users who might want to prop the phone up for watching videos or making video calls.

Display: The Mix Fold 3 doesn’t skimp on display quality. The outer AMOLED display, which almost spans the entire front, is a visual treat, offering sharp, vibrant images that are a delight to the eyes. But the real magic happens when you unfold the device. An expansive 8-inch OLED screen comes to life, reminiscent of a compact tablet, providing ample screen real estate for multitasking or immersive media consumption. While the inner screen’s pixel density might fall slightly short of the exterior screen, it more than compensates with its fluidity, thanks to a 120-Hz screen refresh rate.

Add to this the support for Dolby Vision, and you have a device that’s perfect for media enthusiasts. The peak brightness ensures that HDR content shines, and the display remains legible even in challenging outdoor lighting conditions. The central crease, a common concern with folding phones, is present but is cleverly minimised to the point of being almost invisible once you’re engrossed in an app.

Dimensions: The Mix Fold 3’s dimensions are worth highlighting. Its ultra-thin design, measuring 5.3 mm when open and 10.9 mm when closed, sets it apart from the competition. This sleekness isn’t just about aesthetics; it has practical implications. The thin profile ensures that the Mix Fold 3 feels more like a conventional phone when folded, making it easier to slip into pockets or bags. Its height, however, is slightly more than some of its rivals, but this is a minor trade-off for the expansive screen space it offers.

Durability: a mixed bag: On the durability front, Xiaomi has made bold claims, suggesting that the Mix Fold 3’s hinge can endure up to 500,000 folds. However, the lack of an IP rating is a glaring omission, raising questions about its resilience against liquids. Users would be wise to exercise caution and keep the device away from moisture. During our review period, we observed minor dust and lint accumulation around the internal screen frame. While this was easily remedied with a quick wipe, it underscores the importance of regular maintenance. Dust, especially within the hinge mechanism, poses a potential threat to the device’s longevity.

Camera: The Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 boasts a versatile quad-camera setup, distinguishing itself with two telephoto lenses offering 3.2x and 5x zoom capabilities. Both telephotos utilise a 10MP Samsung sensor, while the primary camera employs a 50MP Sony IMX800 sensor, delivering 12.5MP images by default. The ultrawide camera captures 12MP images using the OmniVision OV13B10 imager, though it lacks the autofocus feature present in its predecessor. Additionally, the device offers two identical front-facing cameras for each of its displays.

The camera app on the Mix Fold 3 is a refined iteration of what was seen on the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, with adjustments tailored for the foldable design. In its ‘tablet’ state, the UI is optimally rearranged, introducing a unique split-screen mode that activates when the device is slightly bent, displaying the viewfinder on one side and recent images on the other. This combination of hardware and software enhancements positions the Mix Fold 3 as a notable contender in the foldable smartphone camera segment.

The Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 is a testament to the rapid strides being made in the folding phone segment. Its combination of a slim design, vibrant display, and a robust hinge mechanism positions it as a strong contender in the market. All in all, the Mix Fold 3 is a fascinating glimpse into the future of smartphones, blending innovation with functionality.

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