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The bezelless beast

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Mobile phones

I'm using my Oneplus One phone since 3 years, and my god, what a pleasant device this has been. And also a testimony to the rise and fall of Cyanmod Inc. It is currently the most used device with LineageOS, and will probably the first one to receive LOS15. People were laughing 3 years ago with OnePlus 'flagship killer' theme, but now, 3 years later, new mid- and highrange phones still carry 3 GB of RAM. So finding a worthy replacement was hard.

As I commute by train nowadays, I wanted to breach the 6 inch barrier to have a nice big screen, and battery life was extremely important. To make the jump from my Oneplus One reasonable, it should have at least 4GB of RAM. And only 2 devices seem to fit the above : the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 and the Mi Mix. I was lucky that the Mi Mix 2 was announced, as most webshops were dumping the Mi Mix at affordable prices. I quickly ordered one, and received it some weeks later.

This device has a surprisingly low footprint, as it's not much larger than a 5.7 inch phone, so it's quite portable. The ceramic glass is slippery, but not the bar of soap most of the web reviews make of it. The real problem is that the phone is slippery and heavy, so I'm a bit reluctant to use it without a case. Luckily, it comes with a nice leather premium case as well. The screen is fantastic, and it really is the star of this mobile phone. Viewing angles are great, vibrant colors, and nice outdoor readability.

So fantastic hardware, what about the software ? It came to my surprise with an unlocked bootloader, and with the MIUI Global ROM installed. TWRP installation was unsuccessful, as the touchscreen didn't worked, and I had to install a customized TWRP in order to get it working. Quite shocking, and being used to the openess of OPO, rather an unpleasant experience. I quickly installed the Xiaomi.EU ROM, as it sports full Dutch language support, and decided to try out MIUI during a week. MIUI is something people either love or hate, and after one week of usage, I must admit I fall into the latter group. I kept loosing myself into the settings screens, and could not live with the MIUI quirks. Especially notifications - you must enable notifications per application in 3 different settings screens - madness ! Notifications are broken in MIUI, but I'm convinced they are broken by design, to maximize battery life. And gosh, battery life is really impressive. I got 9 hours SOT with 3 days on a single charge with medium to heavy usage.

After a week, I wiped everything in favor of LineageOS. So, what do you loose when installing LOS onto the Xiaomi Mi Mix ? Battery life, camera functionalities and reduced fingerprint scanner accuracy. I guess I've lost 2 hours of SOT, while still having 3 to 4 days on a single battery charge with medium usage. Still impressive. Camera has lost 4K recording and slow-mo, though some camera mods re-enable them. LED seems brighter on LOS than in MIUI. Fingerprint scanner is slower and misses more scans - I regularly need 2 to 3 attempts to unlock the device.

So far, I'm really happy with the Mix. A tad too heavy, but really beautiful, and with lots of custom ROM support. After the Galaxy Nexus, the Oneplus One, the Xiaomi Mi Mix will be again a legendary phone I will enjoy using.