Mi MIX FOLD experience: folding screen, surging C1, liquid lens, is MIX enough?

What does MIX really mean? The answer given by Lei Jun is "MI + X, Xiaomi explores black technology."

"Exploration" can be said to be the official label for the MIX series. In order to "explore", make MIX "cool", and use current methods to interpret some of the concepts of tomorrow's products.

▲ Xiaomi's first generation MIX that astounds everyone.

The first generation of Mi MIX in 2016 was the coolest product at the time, and it also presented the concept of "full screen" at that time. The follow-up MIX 2 and MIX 2S are constantly being repaired and improved, but they can still be called "cool products" at the time.

However, the subsequent MIX did not neutralize "mass production" and "exploration". MIX 3 chose a more "ordinary" sliding cover mechanical full-screen solution. The screen is comprehensive, but the experience is compromised, and more importantly, it is less. The meaning of "exploration".

▲ Mi MIX 2 ceramic version.

The MIX Alpha of the surround-screen solution is more like a "conceptual phone", and it has not been produced yet. So far, the MIX series is temporarily "stranded". It seems that Xiaomi is rethinking how to use products to define MIX next.

▲ MIX FOLD.

Two years later, the MIX series was reactivated, and a more secure "folding screen" solution was used in form, named MIX FOLD, which means that it can be opened and closed like a folder. At the same time, MIX FOLD also maintains Xiaomi's consistent "people-friendly " pricing. Although the starting price of 9,999 yuan is Xiaomi's most expensive mobile phone, it is also the cheapest "folding screen " product in the industry.
In terms of products, in addition to the traditional inward folding scheme, MIX FOLD has also made several "explorations" on "soft" and "hard", seeming to return to the original intention of "exploration".

Exploration Zero: Slightly conservative folding screen form

The reason for starting with "zero" actually has two meanings. One is that the "folding" solution is not new. For Xiaomi and MIX, it may not be as "radical" in appearance as the original MIX.

The second is that MIX FOLD, as a product of the MIX series, has overturned the previous product form of the MIX series and started from scratch.

▲ The crease processing of MIX FOLD is “satisfactory''.

Return to the product MIX FOLD. It adopts a folding screen form, which is a relatively mature "inward folding" scheme in the industry, and the form is not new. In the industry, many brands have similar products, and even some top brands have launched two generations of products in the "inward-folding" scheme.

For consumers, after two years of "education", the form of the folding screen is no longer "cool", but due to the high price, it is still a product for niche users.

▲ The external screen with 90Hz refresh rate, the ratio is about 27:9, the ratio is very similar to the remote control.

MIX FOLD has two screens, the external screen has 6.52 inches, 2520×840 resolution (2K), supports 90Hz refresh rate, and the maximum brightness is 700nit. The internal screen is 8.01 inches, 2480×1860 resolution (2K), only has a 60Hz refresh rate, and the maximum brightness is 600nit.

In terms of display effects, both the internal and external screens support Dolby Vision and HDR 10+, and DCI-P3 wide color gamut. Actually, there is almost no difference between the internal and external screens in pictures, videos and daily use. Experience More unified.

▲ The 3:2 internal screen is more suitable for entertainment, and it is equipped with four speakers trained by Harman Kardon, and the quality of the external speakers is very high.

However, the refresh rates of the internal and external screens are inconsistent, and like their size ratios, they will have a very different experience. Especially when you switch from the external screen to the internal screen, there will be a more obvious gap at the moment of sliding. This is mainly reflected in the system level of UI sliding, zooming, etc. The experience in apps such as chat and video is It’s a little bit better. First, there are fewer chat slides and more stays. Second, the 60-frame source of the video app is considered a "high profile."

In terms of parameters, the external screen of MIX FOLD is the same size as the screen of an ordinary smartphone, while the internal screen is a tablet. Ideally, the external screen can be used to swipe information flow apps, chat and socialize, etc., while the internal screen has certain advantages in terms of "entertainment" and "productivity".

After using MIX FOLD these days, I found that the choice of internal and external screens is not based on the type of App, but more on the scene. In short, use the external screen when moving and the internal screen when stationary.

After the MIX FOLD is unfolded, under normal grip, the center of gravity is actually on the middle finger and ring finger. It is not stable to use with one hand, and the area of ​​8.01 inches is not easy to control with one hand. In the end, it often becomes a "holding" use with both hands . Therefore, it is not suitable for walking, traveling in a car, etc., but more suitable for stationary scenes such as eating, going to work, and drinking coffee.

After folding, MIX FOLD is slim and long, and the ratio of the external screen is 27:9. The advantage is that more information (in amount) will be displayed on the information flow and social apps, but the text will be smaller due to the narrower screen. The disadvantage is the horizontal screen, especially when taking a horizontal photo, the display ratio will be much smaller.

MIX FOLD is a kind of functional "two-in-one" in terms of form, or it can be extended to "folding screen". The word fold can well interpret "two-in-one", and the folder contains more The information and content reflected on the folding screen mobile phone is the larger screen hidden in the ordinary smart phone. After all, for today's smart phones, the screen is the carrier of information.

However, due to the limitations of current technology, folding screen phones still have obvious advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that a device has two (phone + tablet) experiences, and the disadvantage is that whether it is folded or unfolded, the experience is All have a certain experience gap with a single device. In terms of folding form alone, MIX FOLD also has similar strengths and weaknesses.

Exploration 1: MIUI + PC mode, see the shadow of the Xiaomi tablet

The experience of the system in this article is based on the MIUI 12.0.10 stable version. This is also before the deadline, MIX FOLD supports the latest MIUI stable version.

Xiaomi's mobile phone, high configuration and low price is not its soul, MIUI is. At the same time, MIUI can also be said to be the "moat" of Xiaomi products.

▲ MIUI's parallel windows.

Since MIX FOLD is equipped with dual internal and external screens, the external screen is considered a regular size, so just transplant it from an ordinary mobile phone. The 8-inch 3:2 ratio inner screen can not be fully utilized by simple transplantation.

To this end, MIUI on MIX FOLD, or MIUI, has made a series of optimized solutions for large screens above 8 inches. This scheme is mainly divided into two kinds, one is based on the MIUI system interface itself, small window + split screen + parallel window. The other is a brand new PC mode, which simulates the Android interface as an interface similar to the PC desktop, which can run in parallel with multiple windows.

▲ In addition to the small screen, MIX FOLD in PC mode has a taste of "productivity".

Whether it’s MIUI split screen, parallel windows, or operating status in PC mode, although MIX FOLD is the first to carry it, in fact, these optimizations are all preparations for 8-inch or larger screens. Not surprisingly, these two The large screen function should be the tip of the iceberg of MIUI for Pad.

The "small window" function on MIX FOLD is actually similar to that of ordinary Xiaomi phones, and the difference lies in the size of the screen. However, it is worth noting that after opening a small window, the split screen function cannot be used. In other words, at most two apps can be displayed together under the MIUI interface of MIX FOLD, either small window + other apps, or two apps Split screen display.

▲ MIUI split screen function, one of the most commonly used functions in the experience process, there is no one.

During the days when I was using MIX FOLD, the most commonly used function was actually the split screen function, WeChat + Weibo (Share), chat with melons, or Chrome + graphite. Check the information and organize it into the article by the way. In this case, it is like "holding" two mobile phones in one hand, which can accomplish what is needed more efficiently.

Relatively speaking, the use frequency of the PC mode on MIX FOLD is not as high as the "split screen". For an 8-inch screen, the dual-open App is a limit when it is moved.

For more scenarios of App parallel processing, for MIX FOLD, it is more suitable for urgent processing of some emails, documents and the like. If you let MIX FOLD connect the mouse and keyboard via Bluetooth, it is mainly used to handle more complicated tasks. For this 8-inch screen, it may be too demanding.

And these complex, multi-tasking, multi-process "productivity" status seems to be more appropriate to the Xiaomi tablet with a larger screen.

The two optimizations brought by the built-in MIUI of MIX FOLD are actually more like a "two-in-one" concept. It is a good idea to integrate mobile phone and PC modes, and let users choose by themselves through different scenarios and needs. , And can also take on some temporary work needs during use. Therefore, I look forward to the large-screen Xiaomi tablet and the MIUI for Pad with more complete functions.

▲ This big screen is ultimately reduced to entertainment.

However, for the system on MIX FOLD at this stage, there are still some small bugs. App will occasionally become unresponsive when switching between split screens. When split screen, the left and right apps cannot switch positions, and some apps (such as AutoNavi Maps) ) Currently does not support split screen and so on.

At present, it is the Android ecosystem that hinders the big screen ideas of MIUI. If you want the system-level split screen and parallel windows to be easy to use, you still need App to support (there are 23 apps that support parallel windows, which can basically cover the commonly used ones. Some), Xiaomi needs to call for and coordinate. This matter is not accomplished overnight, but requires a long stream of water.

At the same time, looking down to MIX FOLD, at the system level, it requires both "one-stop" and long-term optimization. After all, the first Xiaomi mobile phone that broke 10,000, still did not eat MIUI 12.5, and there is always a feeling of being forgotten.

Exploration 2: Independent ISP Surging C1, and liquid telephoto lens

MIX FOLD's imaging system has three lenses, the main camera is a 100 million pixel HM2 sensor, ultra-wide-angle 13 million pixels, and the telephoto is 8 million pixels, and because it is equipped with a liquid lens, it takes into account the macro function.

▲ From left to right are the ultra-wide lens, the 100-megapixel HM2 main camera, and the telephoto (liquid lens).

In addition, MIX FOLD is also equipped with a self-developed independent ISP processor, Surging C1, for the imaging system, in order to perform better 3A processing on the collected raw data, that is, in the focus (AF) and white balance algorithm (AWB) and exposure strategy (AE) these three aspects seek better results.

I remember that after the Xiaomi press conference, I asked Zhijian what is the difference between the MIX FOLD camera and "it's no different." At that time, I was thinking in my heart that this might be the best response to the new technology.

After I got it, and after using MIX FOLD for a few days, in the final imaging, I came to an almost unanimous conclusion that it is no different from other Xiaomi phones.

▲ The state of MIX FOLD shooting proofs.

But the use of MIX FOLD's liquid lens technology allows three cameras to obtain four functions. And with the blessing of the independent ISP of Surging C1, the entire MIX FOLD imaging system responds very quickly, with an instant preview experience. The improvement of these shooting experience is different from other mobile phones.

For the discussion about the "liquid lens" and independent ISP Surging C1, you can read our previous in-depth analysis article. I will not expand it here and look at the effect directly.

▲ Main photo.

▲ Low-light sunset (main photo).

Specifically, the 3A processing of Surging C1, namely focusing, white balance, and exposure strategy. The outstanding experience of MIX FOLD is fast. After switching between different scenes, you can hardly see the adjustment process, and you can restore it as you shoot. Show the color and lightness of the time. Even if it is switched to 100 million pixel output state, it still has the same fast experience.

▲ The left side is the main camera, and the right side is 3x telephoto, there is still some room for optimization in white balance.

However, under different lenses, the restoration, white balance and color expression of the same scene are still slightly different, especially for the three primary colors of red and blue. The main camera tends to show a relatively strong and heavy style, while the telephoto is relatively fresh, the style is slightly fresher.

▲ In this group, the main camera and telephoto have similar tuning styles, and both restore the golden sunset.

The default MIX FOLD telephoto lens is 3 times, and it can be digitally cropped up to 30 times. In the case of sufficient light, if you only post on social networking sites, 10 times is actually available, but the problem lies in the color style and the light requirements Slightly higher. When the sun sets, MIX FOLD will actively use the high pixels of the main camera to crop to make up for the lack of telephoto dark light.

▲ These are 3x, 5x, 10x, 30x. From the small picture, 10x can still be used in circles when the light is sufficient.

The reason why the telephoto lens defaults to 3x, I think it is mainly for the use of "super macro", which changes the shape of the fluid in the lens through a motor drive, thereby changing the position of the focus. After switching from 3x telephoto to "macro", the angle of view does not change, but the focusing distance becomes closer, somewhat similar to the feeling of switching the focus range of a "macro lens" on a traditional camera.

▲ Telephoto macro.

This switching process is the same as switching lenses in ordinary mobile phones, and even faster, and because it is the same lens, the imaging style is the same. In addition, it may be that the 3x telephoto has a narrow angle of view, and the closest focusing distance is also close enough. In many scenes, it can be done with only a telephoto lens. On the contrary, the macro lens is called less frequently than imagined.

Relatively speaking, the liquid lens technology on the MIX FOLD telephoto may be just a "small test". Later, the liquid lens, periscope structure and computational photography are combined to allow one lens to cover more scenes, and to improve the response speed. Independent ISP, this may be the end of the "exploration" road.

Return to the MIX FOLD of "MI + X"

In the hearts of many fans, Xiaomi's MIX series is the real high-end flagship.

In the past few years, the MIX series has driven high and low, and the meaning of "exploration" has become less and less. The overall has become boring, and it is difficult to sustain the "high-end" label, and it is difficult to become the face of Xiaomi.

The restarted MIX series can be said to be overthrown, starting from scratch, instead of holding on to the "full screen", but aiming at the trendy form of folding screens. Although from the current point of view, the shape of the folding screen is not so advanced, but on MIX FOLD, Xiaomi is exploring MIUI's large-screen solution and new ideas brought about by the imaging system.

▲ The folded thickness is about the thickness of two mobile phones.

Even though the MIX FOLD folding screen has a lot of "trade-offs" in the use, the weight of 317g (the ceramic version is 332g) is replaced by two screens facing different scenes, and the combination of cameras that is not advanced is replaced with liquid The lens and surging C1 independent ISP. But these results can actually match the original "exploration" meaning of the MIX series.

Explored how MIUI solves the problem of "efficient" use in the large screen state, explored the changes to the imaging experience of an independent ISP, and explored the use of liquid lens technology. From this point of view, MIX FOLD began to gradually return to "MI + X", rather than just a series name.

For example, the original MIX and MIX FOLD are immature, and the experience of the internal and external screens is different. The current MIUI (MIUI 12) will have some bugs on the large screen, and the imaging system still has some room for improvement, etc. But on the whole, MIX FOLD is better known as MIX than the previous MIX.

In addition to technical explorations, MIX FOLD folding screen phones are also beneficial to the high-end Xiaomi brand. Although the "folding screen" form is not very new, there are not many products that can be mass-produced and put on the market. In the eyes of people who are not familiar with consumer electronics, Xiaomi has a folding screen product, which invisibly enhances its brand image. Not to mention, MIX FOLD advertisements have appeared on a large scale in major domestic airports, and are also subtly affecting the public's perception of the Xiaomi brand.

MIX FOLD, which returns to the MI + X concept, is not radical in form, but focuses on MIUI and imaging systems. Relatively speaking, these two are more universal. The former can be extended to the upcoming Xiaomi tablet. The new imaging technology can be transferred to traditional mobile phones, and it has become a test field for Xiaomi's "black technology".

So, I am already looking forward to the next MIX.

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