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Xiaomi Mi Mix 3: is a slider better than a notch?

 (upbeat music) - It seems like everybody out there is trying all sorts of weird tricks to make the screen on yourphone as big as possible. Now you've obviously seenall kinds of different notch designs, oneverything from the iPhone X to the OnePlus 6T to the Pixel 3 XL. And soon you'll see phoneswith hole punches in them, too like the Honor View 20 andprobably the Samsung Galaxy S10. We're even seeing companiesuse folding designs to cram a bigger screeninto a smaller size. But the way you get themost screen on your phone is to not cut it out at all. But, where do you putthe selfie camera, then? Well, how about here, in aslider behind the screen? The question is: Is thisreally what we want? What is a sliding mechanismeven do to a phone? This particular phoneis the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, and it's one of the first models available with this manual sliding design. Now we're probably going to see this from a few different manufacturers this year. Rumors are alreadysaying that the OnePlus 7 will have a similarsounding sliding design, and I really would not besurprised if we see other phones from OPPO, Vivo, Honor, Huawei, and more coming out with this style of phone. Now, don't consider this a full review, but if you're curious aboutthe Mi Mix 3 specifically, it has most of the standardfeatures you'd expect on a high-end Android phonereleased in late 2018. It's got Qualcomm Snapdragon845 processor, six gigs of ram, 128 gigs of storage, a1080P AMOLED display, dual rear 12-megapixel cameras, and a 3200 milliamp hour battery.

 It also has a ceramic back, and it supports wireless charging. It's running Android 9 Pie with Xiaomi's MIUI 10interface on top of it, and it performs just about as good as any other Android phone. The Mix 3 costs roughly $550,and like other Xiaomi phones it won't be availablein North America at all. So, sorry. Now, at first glance, thisslide design addresses the problems that the notch and the hole-punch display rather nicely. The Mix 3 has a completelyuninterrupted 6.4 inch screen that stretches all the way to the top and sides of the phone, with just a slightly thickerborder at the bottom. Now, if you remember, theMi Mix 1 and the Mi Mix 2, the bottom is where Xiaomiput the front-facing camera. But the Mix 3 just really doesn't have room for it down there. So, in order to usethe front-facing camera and take selfies, which on the Mi Mix 3 is a 24 megapixel sensor. It's got a secondary twomegapixel depth sensor as well. You have to actually slide the whole front of the phonedown about half an inch. That reveals the camera, and it launches the cameraapp right into selfie mode. Now on this phone, theprocess is pretty quick. You push the screen down. The camera app launches right away. And if you have the sound turned on, there's a little electronicsound effect that comes with it. (electronic sound) Now snap the camera back up. (electronic sound) And the camera app closes automatically. You can even do it rightfrom the lock screen, so you don't have to unlockthe phone to take a selfie.

 The Mi Mix 3 is a bit different than, say, the OPPO Find X or the VivoNEX that have powered motors to raise and lower their camera module. This one here is all manual. It feels a bit like the oldsliding keyboard mechanisms on messenger phones from a few years ago, or maybe more recently,the BlackBerry Priv. Give it a little push, and a spring will help pushthe screen all the way down. All of that seems good, but in practice, the sliding feature on the Mix 3 can be kinda awkward to use. Now, this is a big phone. There's no getting around it. And opening the camera one-handed without dropping it,can be kinda hard to do. Now, since you have to slide the screen down with your thumb, it's a little less natural than, say, the Priv, which you pushedup to reveal the keyboard. You also have to moveyour pinky out of the way so that the screen can actually move down, which, again, offers anotherway for you to drop it. It's just kind of awkward to do. Now, on top of that, since you have to touch the screen to push it up or down, you might select something oropen the notification shade, or move an icon around on your screen without really intending to. Now you might be able to get proficient at doing this with practice, but after a few weeks of using the phone, it's still super awkward for me, and I'm constantly afraidof dropping the Mix 3 when I open the camera.

 Now there's othercompromises with this, too. The slider makes the phone thicker and heavier than other phones, and you don't get agiant battery with that like you might expect witha thick and heavy phone. It's also a possible point of failure. It's not as delicate asthe motorized mechanisms on the OPPO or Vivo, but it's definitely more moving parts than say, an iPhone. And it could certainly get jammed up if you get enough dust or gunk in there. It also means that it's hard to make a case that fullyprotects the whole phone. Now Xiaomi includes asimple plastic snap-on case in the box with a cut-out for the bottom for the screen to slide down, but I wouldn't really expect there to be many other options available and that's gonna bekind of a running theme with these designs. That means that eventhough the sliding design eliminates the compromise of the notch, it introduces a lot ofother compromises that, in my opinion, are worse. Now fortunately, the Mix 3's back camera isn't hidden by the slider and there's the standardfingerprint scanner on the back so the only time you reallyneed to use the slider is to take selfies. But you still have to dealwith a thick and heavy phone that has only average battery life and you have to worry about whether or not that slider mechanism isgoing to break someday. You have to really ask yourself: How much do you hate the notchto prefer a design like this? For me, I'm gonna stick with the notch. 

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