It's yes to the artistic image, not to the design

It’s yes to the artistic image, not to the design

We were able to try out the Xiaomi Mix Fold at MWC 2022. Released last year in China, the foldable smartphone uses a liquid lens to be versatile in photos. It’s sexy, unfortunately the design doesn’t follow.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold // Source: Anthony Winner – Frandroid

In 2021, xiaomi Feet with great fanfare Xiaomi Mi Mix FoldIt is the first commercially available foldable smartphone. The device is only available for sale in China, and was shown in MWC 2022 In Barcelona it definitely sparked our curiosity.

On the other hand, because we suspect that Xiaomi wants to play an itchy hair in this particular segment of foldable smartphones and that Europe should end up worrying in the medium or long term. On the other hand, because the Mi Mix Fold’s camera benefits from technological innovation which, on paper, has huge potential. We will be interested already liquid lens from this unit.

The exposed inner screen of Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold

The unfolded inner screen of the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold // Source: Frandroid

A liquid lens, as its name suggests, is made up of at least one liquid. With a well-dosed electric current, it can take on various shapes (concave, convex, etc.) – this is clearly not the case with a traditional rigid lens. So the light will not enter the sensor in the same way and the focal length may be completely different.

liquid lens for macro

So, Xiaomi has achieved a great feat using this technology on one of the three cameras in Mi Mix Fold. In addition to the 108MP main camera and ultra-wide angle, the smartphone is equipped with a dedicated sensor for both x3 optical (x30 digital) zoom and macro shots.

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Note that this liquid lens also allows the telephoto lens to greatly reduce the focus distance, which is usually quite large at this focal length.

The telephoto lens of Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold has a liquid lens

The telephoto lens of the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold has a liquid lens // Source: Anthony Wenner – Frandroid

It is not common at all. Usually, on smartphones, the macro mode is managed either by an ultra-wide angle (which generally works well) or by a sensor dedicated to this option (which generally does not work well). And you will see that leaving this task to the telephoto lens has interesting consequences to analyze.

A simple pass-through reminder: doing macros means using a higher magnification ratio. This is why this shooting mode is used to see objects larger than the human eye can perceive.

Convincing use, but perfect

We were able to have a little fun with the said camera to test its capabilities. At first, there were a few hiccups: due to some kind of error, the program’s image processing spoiled the shots by applying frankly unwanted smoothing.

Fortunately, the problem eventually disappeared after some manipulations – after all, it was a model for viewing. From there, the photos we were able to take were more compelling, as they were sharper and more interesting to look at.

The macro mode of Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold offers good quality

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold’s macro mode delivers good quality // Source: Anthony Wenner – Frandroid

By placing our fingers in front of the different lenses, we were able to verify that it was indeed the same sensor that was used for the classic zoom and macro mode thanks to the famous liquid lens. Also, for macro photos, there was no need to get too close to the subject being photographed to focus properly.

In addition, the macro photos taken with the Mi Mix Fold offer significantly different views of what other ultra-wide-angle smartphones do, in particular there is less distortion and a more noticeable bokeh effect behind the plane (with the same sensor size and aperture). It’s no surprise that we’re dealing with different focal lengths – and that’s the same reason Your nose can be larger or smaller in the photo.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold camera interface

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold Camera Interface // Source: Anthony Winner – Frandroid

So the atmosphere that emerges from the macro mode changes drastically depending on the solution used. As for figuring out which is better, these are technical considerations that I won’t go into in this paper.

However, liquid lens technology here proves that it has great potential and could be a way worth seriously exploring to reduce the number of sensors on our smartphones while making them more versatile in photography.

In the case of Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold, the display remains unfortunately limited, as it does not really reduce the size of the image unit. The macro mode can be managed with an ultra-wide angle (even if the result is a little different), we don’t really save money.

Mi Mix Fold is Xiaomi's first foldable smartphone

Mi Mix Fold is Xiaomi’s first foldable smartphone // Source: Frandroid

On the other hand, this innovation can shine in a thousand light when it enables single-camera control, wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle – or any modes that, at the moment, inevitably require twice as many sensors.

Disadvantages of Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold

So exciting future prospects are emerging and we are eagerly waiting to see the next models that Xiaomi will release. Unfortunately, the impatience to see future foldable smartphones from the Chinese troublemaker is also driven by serious flaws in the Mi Mix Fold that need to be patched.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold foldable and wide border

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold folded and its wide borders // Source: Frandroid

In fact, the external screen of Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold has a very elongated ratio, somewhat similar to the screen Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. However, the very thick borders around the viewing area give the impression that the panel is particularly narrow and the finishes are a bit sloppy.

In addition, the hinge is not pleasant to handle because it has a kind of spring that prevents the smartphone from being used in a sitting position. Regardless of the fold level, Mi Mix Fold is inevitably reopened.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold doesn't have a nice hinge

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold doesn’t have a nice hinge // Source: Frandroid

Finally, the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold does not have a file image sensor In the large indoor screen. However, it is an integration that could be workable for video conferencing for example. Lots of items that greatly affect the convenience of use casually. There is no doubt that the manufacturer is already looking into all these questions.

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