System Performance

The Mi MIX 2 comes with a Snapdragon 845 and we’ve more extensively covered the performance and characteristics of the SoC in our performance preview as well as in the Galaxy S9 review. So while we’re not expecting any surprises in terms of performance, we’ll see that software configurations can be differ quite a bit from the implementation that we’ve tested on Samsung’s devices.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Web Browsing 2.0

In the PCMark’s Web Browsing 2.0 test the difference in performance isn’t too great. The test’s workload has become relatively light-weight enough in that its tasks have become short enough to not fully migrate to larger cores at the peak operating performance points.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Video Editing 

The video editing test is also a test in which most of today’s flagships only show minor differences between each other.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Writing 2.0

While the first two PCMark tests are reaching their limits in terms of performance scalability, the writing test is still insanely sensitive to both peak performance as well as performance latency. The test uses native Android APIs for text manipulation and also renders PDFs out of the resulting document. Here the Mi MIX 2S actually showcases a significant jump over the Galaxy S9+, and actually finally come near or even beats the scores of the QRD845 platform from Qualcomm that we previewed back in February.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Photo Editing 2.0

The Photo Editing test is also characterized by short but heavy enough bursts of work. Again the MIX 2S shows a significant improvement over the Galaxy S9 and leaves all other devices in its trail.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Data Manipulation

Finally the Data Manipulation test is a lot more evened out – this is mainly a single-thread bound workload, which also seems to be very memory latency sensitive as the Snapdragon 845 devices have trouble differentiating themselves from last year’s 835 units – a scenario that we also see in the Kirin 970 devices from Huawei.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Performance

Overall, the MIX 2S trumps the Snapdragon Galaxy S9 as the fastest Android device. This also very much reflects in daily usage as the phone is incredibly fast in terms of subjective usage, and in my view, is to date by far the fastest device I’ve had the pleasure to use.

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView

The web browsing tests show a similar improvement, pushing the further the scores that we’ve seen with the Galaxy S9+ and claiming the best Android performance among currently tested devices.

WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView

Applause to Qualcomm and Xiaomi

Over the last several months I had more opportunity to dive into the software of the Snapdragon 845 – in particular in the context of my efforts to try to improve the Exynos 9810 variant of the S9.  What Qualcomm has done in terms of rewriting the kernel scheduler is pretty astounding, as the modifications are quite extensive and heavy. I’ve talked to both ARM and Google about this and generally I think the two are underplaying or are unaware of the magnitude of the improvements.

I actually would not be surprised that if a majority of the performance improvements we’re seeing across the new Snapdragon 845 devices are in a great part due to software enhancements in the kernel rather than raw microarchitectural advancements. Performance latency is an incredibly important characteristic of system performance – and vendors need to pay a lot more attention to it, as in the grand scale of things, the cost of writing good software just seems minuscule compared to the vast investments needed to design and manufacture faster silicon chips and to brute-force the issue.

It’s very unusual for me to go into a rant like this praising a vendor – the Mi MIX 2S made such a good impression in terms of performance that I just have to laud Xiaomi and Qualcomm for the efforts made here, and I have to reiterate that the MIX 2S has been the fastest device I’ve used to date.

Introduction & Design GPU Performance
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  • onisad - Friday, June 29, 2018 - link

    "It’s clear that the nearest competitor to the MIX 2S is the Galaxy S9+"
    It's a good review but I think it would have benefited from direct comparisons to the OnePlus 6, as they seem more direct competitors to me, particularly in Europe as you mention: prices and hardware offering between the 2 devices are close, both phones are available to buy online rather than through carriers (afaik), etc.
    Always nice to see the Anandtech methodologies applied to phone reviews though, thanks!
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, June 29, 2018 - link

    I'll be receiving the OnePlus 6 next week so I avoided making any comparisons to it without having had the phone in my hands. Obviously it's a valid contender.
  • beersy - Friday, June 29, 2018 - link

    I'm sure I'm a minority here, but isn't the screen of a phone the most important part? Frankly I don't game on my phone all the time, but I am always using the display. I would rather have a slightly lessor processor and/or RAM and those funds be diverted to the most important part of a Smartphone. This is clearly a situation where specs were more important than user experience IMHO. And the placement of the front facing camera is just ridiculous.
  • StormyParis - Friday, June 29, 2018 - link

    Agreed on the screen (not only latency, but reflections and black levels are also pet peeves for me) The front facing camera is an issue only if you make a lot of video calls. For shooting selfies, having to hold the phone upside down is not an issue.
  • jospoortvliet - Saturday, June 30, 2018 - link

    Agreed, I am hoping the next version will have a good AMOLED screen...
  • Fergy - Sunday, July 1, 2018 - link

    How often do you use the front camera? It is only meant for selfies and short video calls right? I prefer this solution to a notch.
  • Holliday75 - Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - link

    For me it would be a non-issue. I've used the front facing camera on my Pixel 2 maybe 2 or 3 times. I'm sure some users it would be much bigger problem.
  • StormyParis - Friday, June 29, 2018 - link

    Nice review thank you. Most compare it to the OnePlus 6 and the Honor 10 (or is it View 10 ?), with mixed results. Also, Samsung is being increasingly aggressive with promos on their current and older-gen devices. The 500€ space is very crowded.
    I myself buy one step down, Redmi line and Mi Max not Mix. $200 buys you a whole lot of phone these days, I feel reviews skew way too much to the high end.
  • GreenReaper - Saturday, June 30, 2018 - link

    Still rocking my Redmi 2 2GB, but the discontinuation of battery replacements is an issue (and OS - LineageOS worked great, until it didn't). I found an off-brand replacement batter, but as I suspected it doesn't last as long as the original when new, and appears to have issues delivering peak current when below 50%. It'd be nice if they lasted for stockpiling!
  • serendip - Saturday, June 30, 2018 - link

    I'm happy with Xiaomi making devices likea this as long as it keeps the Redmi and Mi Max lines. I'm willing to stick with a fast midrange SoC like the 650, 660 or 636 and still get MicroSD storage, a robust metal body, IR blaster and a headphone jack. The Mi Max 2 is the best value when it comes to large and cheap phones with almost-premium parts.

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