Xiaomi showed no fear in the face of the launch of Apple’s latest iPhone, as the China-based vendor unveiled its latest flagship smartphone a day before its US rival.

The vendor said Mi Mix 2 is an update of its Mi Mix smartphone unveiled in October 2016. The latest model is 11.9 per cent smaller than its predecessor, and features a 5.99-inch screen with 18:9 aspect ratio. Xiaomi said the display “almost entirely” fills the front surface of the device.

Xiaomi stopped short of following rivals including Samsung and LG Electronics by offering a full bezel-less display in Mi Mix 2 – a feature it said it pioneered in the original device. However, the vendor put the space between the top edge of the handset and the display to use by incorporating a hidden speaker, which it said takes up a “thin sliver of space” in terms of device real estate.

A 5MP camera is incorporated into the bottom of the display. Xiaomi shunned the trend for a dual-camera set up on the rear of the device, instead incorporating a 12MP module with a Sony IMX386 sensor and four-axis optical image stabilisation.

Smartphone first
The device comes in an aluminium frame with curved corners, and continues a theme introduced in the original model by offering a ceramic backing. Xiaomi said a premium version of the device, Mi Mix 2 Special Edition, features a world first ceramic unibody with a “jade-like finish”, which takes seven days to manufacture.

Mi Mix 2 runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor offering up to 8GB of RAM. However, only the special edition version will use the full 8GB, paired with 128GB of storage. The regular device will deliver 6GB of RAM, with storage options of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.

Mi Mix 2 will launch in China on 15 September, with rollouts in “selected global markets” to follow. Prices range from CNY3,299 ($505) for the 64GB version, CNY3,599 (128GB) and CNY3,999 (256GB). The premium model commands a suitably high CNY4,699 price tag.

Camera focus
Xiaomi also took the wraps off Mi Note 3, which it described as its “best camera smartphone yet”.

The model features a dual-camera arrangement on the rear, both 12MP, with one offering a wide-angle lens and the other a telephoto. On the front is a 16MP unit, which uses an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to improve the quality of selfies.

Xiaomi also used AI to enable users to unlock the phone using facial recognition. A fingerprint sensor is also incorporated.

The device, which features an octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor offering 6GB of RAM, went on sale in China today (12 September) with pricing starting at CNY2,499.