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The Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha with its ‘surround screen’ costs more than a Galaxy Fold

Xiaomi has announced the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha — a concept flagship phone with a display that wraps around almost the entirety of the phone. Is this incredible-looking design the new face of future smartphones?

The drive for an increasingly bezel-less design has defined the last few years of smartphone releases, and Xiaomi has often led the pack with designs that ditch bezels in favor of notches, pop-up cameras, and the upcoming “Waterfall” display. But we’ve never seen anything like the Mi Mix Alpha’s new “surround screen.”

The Mi Mix Alpha’s screen flows around the device from one side of the narrow ceramic band containing the camera module to the other, creating a phone with a seamless display running around the front, sides, and most of the back of the phone. Battery and notification icons can be found on the side of the phone, while pressure-sensitive areas on the edges function as volume buttons. It’s important to note the phone still has bezels at the top and bottom of the screen — though that hasn’t stopped it from achieving a frankly ridiculous screen-to-body ratio of more than 180%.

Key Specs

  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • Memory: 12GB
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Connectivity: GSM/CDMA/LTE
  • Battery: 4,050mAh
  • Operating system: Android 8.1 Oreo

It’s an incredibly beautiful phone, but it’s got brawn to back up those looks, too. The Mix Mix Alpha is powered by the Snapdragon 855 Plus, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of onboard storage. That’s more than enough power and storage for anyone, and support for UFS3.0 means it’ll be snappy storage, too. A possible weak point is the 4,050mAh battery. It’s sizable by normal standards, but it’ll be powering almost twice as much display as usual on the Mi Mix Alpha, so it’s unclear whether it will be able to go the distance. Still, it’s accompanied by 40W wired fast-charging, so it won’t stay drained for long, and it comes with 5G access, too.

There are three camera lenses in the narrow rear band, including a 108-megapixel main lens. This lens has been created as part of a partnership between Samsung and Xiaomi, and produces 27-megapixel images using pixel-binning. It’s joined by a 12-megapixel 2x telephoto lens, and a 20-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with support for macro photography. There’s no front-facing selfie camera — but that’s just because you can flip it over and use the rear-facing display as a viewfinder.

Xiaomi is describing this phone as a “concept” — but it’s still selling it. It’s getting an extremely limited run, and will go on sale in December for the astoundingly high price of 19,999 yuan (about $2,800). That’s even more than the $2,000 Samsung Galaxy Fold, and it shows just how highly Xiaomi is valuing this innovative new design.

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