The time is now ripe for the foldable smartphone market, and if in Italy the real alternatives to choose from if you want to buy a foldable smartphone are limited to products from Samsung, Honor, Motorola and Huawei, much more technically interesting products are arriving in the East of those available from us.
Of course, the Honor V2024 will also arrive in the Bel Paese at the beginning of 2 (here our preview), but there are still a few months to go and despite the excellent technical characteristics, Honor's foldable will not be equipped with a periscope zoom.
Lo Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 but yes, and in addition to the camera compartment and the "traditional" smartphone form factor, it is one of the thinnest foldables in the world, second only to the new arrival at Honor.
In short, after three generations the ugly duckling has not only grown into a beautiful swan, but has also reached maturity thanks to the implementation of significant hardware improvements, which have solved most of the problems we encountered in the MIX Fold 2 (here the review).
Xiaomi MIX Fold 3 review
Design and materials
Lo Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 continues to maintain the same proportions seen in the previous generation and when used with the external screen gives the sensation of using a "traditional" sized device. Unlike what happens with the Samsung Z Fold 5 (review here), the Xiaomi foldable has an external display in 21:9 and the advantages are notable: the applications, for example, are displayed correctly even if not optimized for this type of smartphone, and it is a significant detail when talking about in-fold devices.
The point is that it is really uncomfortable to use with one hand. And yes, I know, many of you are wondering why a person should use a foldable with one hand, but the point is this: if there is one thing I appreciated about the Samsung Galaxy Fold5 it is precisely the fact that, when closed, it is comfortable even with one hand and then, when open, it provides more space even though it is bulkier.
Anyway, with Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 the brand has made further steps forward in terms of weight and dimensions: it measures 161,2 x 73,5 when closed/143,28 when open for a thickness reduced to 10,86 when closed and 5,26 mm when open, for weighing 259 grams. The body is made in leather-like glass to avoid retaining fingerprints and to give a photographic style feeling.
But one of the main innovations of Xiaomi MIX Fold 3", which actually corrects one of the most annoying problems we found in the previous generation, is the new hinge, now made from 198 parts that are four times stronger than before and guaranteed for 500.000 bends. The upgrading of the structure has made it possible to reduce the wrinkle of the screen as well as the introduction of Hover mode, with which it is possible to bend the smartphone between 45° and 135° to use it resting on a surface to watch videos, take photos and so on. It must be said however, that unlike Samsung's foldable it Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" It does not have any certification for water and dust resistance.
The fingerprint sensor is positioned in the very thin power button and in the upper area of the device there continues to be the very convenient IR blaster to transform the smartphone into a universal remote control.
As for the display, nothing to say: the Samung E6 panels used in the device are exceptional, at least from a hardware point of view. The external one uses a fantastic quality 6.56-inch OLED panel, with a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz and compatible with Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Its ratio is 21.3:9, which makes it decidedly more traditional than the Z Fold5.
When open, the main screen of the Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" it is a fantastic 8.02-inch LTPO 2.0 type OLED, therefore with a variable refresh rate from 1 to 120 Hz. It is covered with ultra-thin Schott UTG glass with anti-reflective coating, which makes the internal crease less visible than that found in the Z Fold 4. Let's be clear though, the fold is there and you can see it, but not as much as that of the Samsung device.
What changes profoundly compared to the previous generation is the peak brightness, which in the Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" it even reaches 2600 nits (and in practice it is on a par with that of the Honor V2).
In short, it's there poco to criticize the displays of Xiaomi's new foldable, even if some things should be underlined: Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" It doesn't have any PWM dimming, it doesn't support the stylus and the internal display handles fingerprints really badly.
And, yes, all foldables have this little problem with the internal screen, but Xiaomi's device is a little worse than average in terms of oleophobic treatment and you will find yourself cleaning the screen far too often.
Hardware and Performance
To animate Xiaomi MIX Fold 3 takes care of a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which is supported by 16 GB of LPDDR5 type RAM and UFS 4.0 internal memory which can reach up to 1TB. We know the new Qualcomm SoC update well and it is therefore useless to say how much it has improved from the point of view of energy management. The performance of the Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" are the top that you can ask for at this moment from a mobile device, even if (and soon we will see it with the benchmarks) despite the company or its new dissipation system, one thing must be kept in mind: Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" heats up a lot, to the point of even making it impossible to perform the AnTuTu Stress Test.
And the reason is due to one of the main features of the smartphone: thinness. Given the extremely thin thickness, heat dissipation could be a big problem. Which means that, of course, you can carry out all the most complex operations with it Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" but with the same hardware and performance the in-game experience could be influenced by significant thermal throttling, which at a certain point would lower the framerate.
And it's a bit of a contradiction because if the form factor of the internal display doesn't bring important benefits in video playback (due to the black bars), when you go to play the experience is decidedly better than normal smartphones.
The good thing though, is that although it gets quite hot, the areas with the highest temperature are far from the grip that is typically used when the smartphone is open, and you won't have any discomfort in your hands.
Returning to more "human" topics, the capsule audio is excellent, as is the stereophonic effect guaranteed by two independent speakers, the connectivity to WiFi 6E networks is excellent and the fingerprint sensor is very fast. The proximity sensor is also good, which is physical and works very well.
The photographic compartment is made up of 4 sensors 50 + 12 + 10 + 10 MP f/1.8-2.2-2.0-2.9. The main sensor is the 800/1″ Sony IMX1.56 with SMA OIS stabilization, the ultra-wide angle is an OV13B10 with 120° FoV and the two telephoto lenses are both Samsung S5K3K1 with OIS stabilization. For the new foldable, Xiaomi has chosen to use a pair of 3.2/5x telephoto lenses with periscope structure. Everything is seasoned by the partnership with Leica, starting from Vario-Summicron lenses of type 1G+6P passing through software implementations, between color science, filters and shooting modes. Compared to the previous generation, then, this time there are not one but two OV20B selfie cameras 20 MP.
A very respectable hardware, comparable to that of a "traditional" smartphone, in which I noticed a small detail that I really liked: the rear cameras have the same focal lengths as those of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra (here the review) and considering that the ultra wide is a 15 mm equivalent, the main is a 23 mm equivalent, the 3.2x zoom is a 75 mm equivalent and the periscopic is a 115 mm equivalent, with the cameras of the Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" you will have no difficulty finding the perfect shot at any distance from your subject.
And yes, this is the biggest advantage of this device over other foldable phones: whatever the shooting conditions, with Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" you will create images of significantly higher quality than any other foldable in circulation (except for that of Huawei) and thanks to the collaboration with Leica the colors will always be well balanced, as will the whites and the dynamic range.
When shooting at night, however, things change, due to the hardware itself used by the brand: with the exception of the main camera, the rest of the sensors are too small. Which means that, especially in very low light conditions, night photos are not as sharp as daytime ones and when shooting moving subjects the smartphone could have difficulty.
The videos are good, but they cannot be recorded at the same resolution and framerate with all lenses: the ultra wide stops at 4K at 30 fps, the main one reaches 8k at 24 fps, the 3.2x reaches 4K at 60 fps as well as periscopic. Sin.
As for software, I make a premise: it is Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" that we received for testing uses a Chinese ROM, which has the English language and which integrates Google services and the Play Store. For this reason, I will limit myself to telling you about my experience with the features that Xiaomi has designed for the folding device. And, fortunately, Android 13 has fixed pretty much all the problems we encountered with the previous generation.
Now, for example, it is possible to place two applications side by side (with a third floating) both horizontally and vertically, the camera application has been optimized to be used even with the smartphone folded and allows the preview to be viewed from the front, and many applications they are now compatible with what Samsung calls "Flex" mode: YouTube, Netflix etc finally adapt when the screen is folded at 90°, which unfortunately does not happen with Chrome.
In short, steps forward have been made, but Xiaomi's "foldable" experience continues to be significantly inferior to that designed by Samsung with its Z Fold5. In a nutshell, for my type of use I much prefer to continue using the Samsung foldable. But the world is beautiful because it is varied, and maybe some of you won't.
Battery and recharge
The battery of the Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" it is a 4800 mAh which, although not very large, guarantees excellent autonomy to the device. In my tests I managed to exceed 6 hours of display on using only the external one and about 5 and a half hours using the internal one, and the results were more than good especially considering their brightness.
And the charging is also excellent: Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" it supports fast charging at 67w and wireless charging at 50w which, yes, is not among the fastest on the market, but is profoundly more powerful than the 25w found in the Z Fold5. With this power, it Xiaomi MIX Fold 3" it can be fully recharged from 0% to 100% in about 40 minutes.
Sales price, availability in Italy and conclusions
Xiaomi Fold 3 it is a smartphone sold only in China and which will most likely never arrive in the Global version in Italy. If you want to buy it, however, via the box below you can take home the 12/256 version for 1527 euros: let's be clear, however, this is the Chinese version with software in English and all Google services working.
Summing up, yes Xiaomi Fold 3 it's yet another step in the right direction for the world of foldable smartphones. And yes, especially after trying the Honor V2, I am convinced that the next devices in this category will get closer and closer to the form factor of a traditional smartphone: having a thin and light product like the Xiaomi smartphone positively influences the user experience general, although it must be said that some things still need to be improved.
The lack of waterproofing, the suboptimal temperatures, the videos poco brilliant and the software not yet well optimized for the "folding" experience are important negative points for this third generation of foldables, however the new hinge and the super complete camera compartment are innovations that we really liked to find in the Xiaomi Fold 3.
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