Many flagship smartphones these days use slightly curved AMOLED displays that create impression of a bezel-less device with a large screen that falls over the edges.

By Anton Shilov

There are also foldable smartphones from Huawei and Samsung that actually feature rather large displays when unfolded. Xiaomi decided to go one step further and equipped its new Mi Mix Alpha flagship 5G smartphone with a screen it calls Surround Display that almost wraps around its entire body.

The Flexible sAMOLED of the Mi Mix Alpha features a diagonal of 7.92-inches (assuming that it was flat) display with a 2250×2088 resolution. Because the screen wraps around the body of the smartphone leaving a ceramic stripe for the main camera, Xiaomi says that it has a 180.8% screen-to-body ratio, which sounds a bit odd by today’s standards.

In a bid to make the new smartphone a reality, the manufacturer had to redesign production process of the handset: initially, internal components are assembled, then display layer, touch-sensing layer, and glass protection layers are laminated one by one. The frame of the phone uses an titanium alloy to ensure that the device is rugged enough.

Being a flagship smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Plus accompanied by 12 GB of LPDDR4X RAM as well as 512 GB of UFS 3.0 NAND flash storage. The phone also has a 5G modem that supports three major carriers in Mainland China. When it comes to local connectivity, the unit supports Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, and a USB 3.0 Type-C connector. As for the battery, the smartphone has a non-removable 4,050 mAh battery.

The fancy Surround Display is not the only ‘industry’s first’ of the Mi Mix Alpha as it is also equipped with Samsung’s 108 MP 1/1.33-inch main camera module that can shoot images in a 12034×9024 resolution or make photos in under low-light conditions.

The main camera also has a 20 MP ultra-wide-angle module, a 12 MP telephoto module, and a dual-LED flash. Since the phone has a display on the back, it can also use its main camera for selfies.

Without any doubts, the Mi Mix Alpha looks very impressive and will be a head turner. Meanwhile, it is not clear how the back-facing display can be used. Xiaomi reportedly says that its software automatically detects the use scenario and places important information on the back of the smartphone so that the front panel could be used for other purposes.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether software developers figure out how they could use the ‘second’ screen for their apps. More

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Xiaomi admits that the Mi Mix Alpha is largely a concept phone that is unlikely to become a mass product. The company plans to start small-scale manufacturing of the device in late December, but does not reveal how many units it intends to make. The Mi Mix Alpha will be Xiaomi’s most expensive handset ever, at RMB 19,999 ($2,500, €2,550). This makes it cost more than foldable smartphones from Huawei and Samsung.