While the release may not be groundbreaking, there are some welcome upgrades, including a secondary rear-facing camera and a new swiping gesture that eliminates Android’s traditional three button set-up.
As the “S” part of the name signifies, the Mi Mix 2S is an iterative upgrade of last September’s Mi Mix 2. The major upgrades being the addition of a secondary rear-facing camera that’s said to be boosted by new AI-software, and the expected internal hardware bump to the latest and greatest Snapdragon 845 with 8GB of RAM.
The Mi Mix 2S’ camera set-up is a major improvement on the original Mi Mix 2, and easily Xiaomi’s best camera system yet. Photography has never been a strong point in Xiaomi’s handsets – they were never bad, just solid at best. The Mi Mix 2S’ cameras, after heavy testing, can at least go toe to toe with the big boys and not look completely outclassed.
The biggest improvements come in bokeh and night time shots. Xiaomi says its engineers applied machine learning to further analyse and differentiate the difference between subject, object and background.
The Mi Mix 2S’ bokeh mode consistently churned out great looking portraits that actually blurred the background correctly. In the sample above, you’ll see the subject has hair that’s more difficult to apply bokeh effects to, yet the Mi Mix 2S did it just about flawlessly.
Night time shots also turn out well. The Mi Mix 2S is able to pull light into what should be dark shots without the photo appearing over-processed. When viewed on phone screens or Instagram, Mi Mix 2S’ night shots will look just as good as the best lowlight mobile cameras out there (Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Google Pixel 2), but when enlarged and examined closely on a large screen, Xiaomi’s images still fall short in detail.
New to Xiaomi’s Android skin (MIUI 9.5) is a new swiping gesture that eliminates the need for Android’s traditional three button set-up, giving the user more screen to play with. Previous MIUI annoyances such as the inability to expand notifications has also been fixed. This may not be the most exciting upgrade, but it’s a welcomed one.