The Screen Wraps Alllll the Way Around on Xiaomi's Latest Concept Phone

Photo: Xiaomi

Recently, phones with “waterfall displays” have become all the rage—we’ve seen them on devices like the Vivo Nex 3 and Huawei Mate 30—but on the Mi Mix Alpha, Xiaomi has taken the idea of a wraparound screen to a whole new side...of the phone.

What separates the Mi Mix Alpha from other phones with waterfall screens is that instead of simply curving its display around the sides of the phone, its display continues around the rear of the phone too, finally meeting in the back at the thin strip that holds the phone’s rear cameras.

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In a lot of ways, Xiaomi is taking the curved display tech Samsung introduced on the Galaxy Note Edge back in 2014 and bringing that idea to its logical extreme, creating something unique and incredibly futuristic in the process.

Smartphones makers aren’t going to stop until they make a device with a 200 percent screen.
Photo: Xiaomi

By using this design, Xiaomi claims it has created a phone with a somewhat nonsensical 180 percent screen-to-body ratio, with the front of the phone serving as a normal screen, its sides featuring touch-sensitive buttons for adjusting volume, while the screen in back is used as a command center of sorts, showing things like recent notifications, battery status, upcoming appointments, and more.

Inside, the Mi Mix Alpha comes with expectedly high-end spec including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ chip, 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, 40-watt fast charging (and a 4,050 mAh battery), and even 5G support.

Meanwhile, in back the Mi Mix Alpha has one more out-there component in its super high-res 108-MP camera, which uses a large 1/1.33-inch sensor and pixel binning to capture better pictures in low light. And like pretty much every other flagship phone this year, the Mi Mix Alpha also comes with an ultra-wide angle camera with a 20-MP resolution and a telephoto cam with a 2x optical zoom at 12-MP.

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However, if you’re looking for a selfie cam, well there isn’t one, because when you want take a picture of your face, you can just flip the phone around and use the rear cameras and display for all your selfie needs.

Photo: Xiaomi
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Finally, even though Xiaomi bills the Mi Mix Alpha as a concept device, like previous members of the Mi Mix family, Xiaomi actually has plans to sell the Mi Mix Alpha (in limited numbers) starting this fall December for 19,999 yuan, which converts to a whopping $2,800.

That’s almost $1,000 more than Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy Fold and $200 more than the Huawei Mate X, though because its screen is made from glass instead of flexible plastic, the Mi Mix Alpha should be a bit more durable than its high-priced foldable competitors.

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About the author

Sam Rutherford

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.