When Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun launched the Mix 2S earlier today, he made a point of highlighting how the device was in many ways better than the phone many considered to be the best in the world, the iPhone X. Most of the attention during the launch was obviously on the device itself, especially on the improved cameras and the new processor, the flagship level Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. However, amidst all talk of science, art, specs, and design, Xiaomi might also have very subtly hinted at a change in product strategy.
The Mix will now be the company’s flagship rather than the Mi series, which had donned the mantle in the past.
Of course, no official statement was made in this regard. For all means and purposes, in the official writ, the Mi series, which has worthies like the Mi 3, Mi 4, Mi 5 and Mi 6, will remain the flagships of the brand. And of course, in keeping with the newfangled usage of the term, Xiaomi might go for having multiple flagships – hey, Samsung has the S series and the Note series, right?
What, however, cannot be denied is that this is the first time in our knowledge that a Mi series device has not had a bite of high-end specs before any other. The Mi 5 was the first phone to get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip and the Mi 6 was the first Xiaomi phone to get the 835. While those chips came to the Mix and the Mi Note series as well, which got slightly specs in some regards (larger, higher resolution displays), the fact was that it was the Mi series that was used to showcase Xiaomi’s best. The Note was a bit of a larger display option, while the Mix was actually supposed to be a concept device that suddenly triggered a trend. And no matter how high profile the Note and the Mix got, the Mi device was always showcased as the flagship and generally was the first high spec device to be rolled out every year.
However, with the Mix 2S, that has changed. Unless Xiaomi really delays the Mi 7 (some pessimists are even saying it might not be released), the chances are that it will have a similar processor and RAM combinations as the Mi Mix 2S. Yes, it is also likely that it will come with a better camera set up (especially in front), water resistance and stereo speakers, but all said and done, it has already conceded its post of importance – it will be following the footsteps of the Mix, rather than showing it the way, as it has done in the past.
Of course, there are some very good reasons for making the Mi Mix 2S the Xiaomi flagship. After all, the Mi Mix and Mi Mix 2 were two of the most acclaimed high-end devices from the Chinese brand since the second half of 2016 and have won multiple awards. More importantly, thanks to that display and the use of ceramic materials (and gold and silver), the device has been seen as a trendsetter premium device rather than a “me too” (pun unintended) device that many Android flagships are becoming (just ask Sony, LG and HTC). It also allows Xiaomi to move up the price ladder a bit like that other Chinese brand, OnePlus.
This is unlikely to be the end of the road for the Mi series. Our firm belief is that the Mi 7 and a few variants will be launched in the coming days. However, we also strongly believe that they will be kept at a rung (an invisible and unofficial one, though) below the Mi Mix 2S, and will be targeted at those wanting high-end specs at relatively more affordable prices. The very fact that Lei Jun used the device to take on the iPhone X would seem to indicate that. Of course, there is also the chance that the Mi 7 and Mi Note devices might be pushed back to later in the year to counter the Galaxy Note, the OnePlus 6/ 6T and of course, the next wave of iPhones. There is a school of thought that even thinks that the Mi series will be used to showcase Xiaomi’s own processors, but we have our doubts on that.
What we do not have too many doubts about is the fact that there is a new series that is bearing the Xiaomi flagship banner. The company itself might not admit it officially. But it would seem that the Mi mantle has now been donned by the Mix.