Chinese device maker Xiaomi has unveiled the first phone with a screen-to-body ratio of well over 100-percent… sort of.

The Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha is coming in December, and it’s the first smartphone with a display that wraps around the whole device. That means the display covers most of the front, sides, and back of the phone.

Xiaomi says this means the phone has a 180-percent screen-to-body ratio. But I think what Xiaomi is really doing with this phone is moving the bar and/or making that particular spec meaningless.

Is the Mi Mix Alpha impressive? Definitely. Does it really have a 180-percent screen-to-body ratio? I guess that depends on how you define the term. The screen is certainly much bigger than the front of the device. But it’s not like you can actually see the whole screen at once — and when you are looking at the front or sides of the phone, you’ll see 2.15mm bezels at the top and bottom.

Flip it around and look at the back, and you’ll see the same bezels plus a big black strip where the cameras and antennae are located.

The phone looks a bit like a Huawei Mate X foldable smartphone… if that phone didn’t fold and just had a display that wrapped around the phone’s body.

But is it worth the $2,800 asking price? I have no idea — I’m really not sure what practical benefits there are to having this type of display. Sure, you can use the rear cameras for selfies while framing your shot on the back of the screen. But other phones already let you do that thanks to flippable cameras or secondary screens on the back. And they cost a lot less than $2,800.

Xiaomi does try to make use of screen in a few other ways. You can view the time, battery level, and other status indicators and notifications on the side while viewing an app on the front, for example. And the back portion of the screen is typically off when it’s not facing you, but flip the screen around and it can show you more information. But it remains to be seen whether any of these things are must-have features.

That said, the wrap-around display is only one of the Mi Mix Alpha’s special features.

It’s also the first smartphone with a 108 MP camera that can save 12,032 x 9,024 images. Other cameras include a 20MP ultra-wide angle camera and a 12MP telephoto camera with 2X optical zoom.

The Mi Mix Alpha is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor and features 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, a 4,050 mAh battery, and 5G support.

It has an in-display fingerprint sensor, pressure-sensitive sides that you can use in lieu of physical power and volume buttons.

Xiaomi is describing the Mi Mix Alpha as a concept device, but the company does plan to manufacture and sell limited quantities. It’s worth remembering that the original Xiaomi Mi Mix smartphone was also a concept device at launch, but over the past few years the Mi Mix family of phones have become a regular part of Xiaomi’s smartphone lineup — albeit the name is typically reserved for premium, boundary-pushing devices.

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6 replies on “Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Alpha display wraps around the whole phone (180-degree screen-to-body ratio)”

  1. People complaining about dropping and high price are missing the point that this is a concept phone. Soon or later some company will come up with drop resistance ‘glass’. The same goes with the utility of the back screen. If you build it, apps will come’. People will come up with clever use of the screen. As for the price, it is high in terms of mass produced phone but ‘cheap’ for ‘limited’ collector items. Limited editions of running shoes or hand bags been sold for far more for years!

  2. This is a device designed to help you get ahead socially while still playing by the rules corporations have written for you. First, it’s a fashion accessory that says, “Behold my expensive glowing bar of soap, and acknowledge my authority!”.
    Second, the rules of the game say your value as a human being is an obscure function of your like-per-post, inoffensiveness, follower, and share ratio, credit score and of your assets minus debts. This phone can give you an edge there by letting you more smoothly manage two social media feeds at once, to help you control the flow of memes and #hashtags in your, or your company’s favor.
    You can expect corporations to take note and formally lay down this formula to rank everyone on a social credit ladder and reward and oppress you accordingly, even if the government doesn’t ask them to. Maybe getting this phone is worth that investment, if it gets you higher than someone else.
    Or we could just quit social media. Now, while it still is not compulsory. Quit using it for software version control too. We’d all be happier, healthier, and wouldn’t have to worry about getting #cancelled.
    And for the money, there’s a third option. But that’s outside the scope of this website.

  3. Kudos for producing a truly unique phone. Now, who is going to buy it? Maybe as a prop in a SciFi movie? I would love to play with one but even if the price was 1/8 the asking price I would not buy one. I would break it in the first week.

    1. That is what the said about the original Mix. Unfortunately people who spend a lot on phones mainly want to show off, and practicality doesn’t enter in to it. Hence glass backs etc.

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