Foldable phones in the West have had a very exciting year. In the U.S., Samsung’s de facto monopoly ended when Google released its first folding phone. Motorola also came back to the U.S. after being gone for two years, and now OnePlus says it will release a foldable phone soon. Over in Europe, Honor and Oppo have come out with flexible phones, which makes the scene even better.
But, of course, China is still the most competitive market for foldable, with no less than seven brands putting out at least one foldable every year. The Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 is the newest folding device to hit the market. It seems to take the best parts of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Google Pixel Fold to make a device that could be the best foldable hardware right now.
Light like Samsung, thin like Google
When folded, the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 is one of the thinnest and lightest folding phones on the market. It is only 10.9mm thick and weighs 255g. This blends the Pixel Fold’s thin profile (12mm when folded) and the Fold 5’s lightweight (253g). And it’s a good thing to have both. Even though the Fold 5 is thin and light, it feels like a brick. The Pixel Fold, on the other hand, is thin like a notebook but feels like a brick.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Mix Fold 3 is so sleek since the Mix Fold 2 started the trend. When it came out in July 2022, the Mix Fold 2 was smaller and lighter than any other foldable on the market. In 2023, Google and Samsung were just trying to catch up. In fact, the competitive Chinese phone market has already seen another folding phone that is thinner than Xiaomi. When folded, Honor’s Magic V2 is only 9.9mm thick.
A better plan
One of the most obvious differences from the last generation is the new hinge, which is 17% smaller than the old one and can stay in place at different angles. Samsung calls this feature “Flex Mode.” From Mix Fold 2, the hinge has also been changed to have more working parts (194 in total). I also like that the corner of the hinge on the Mix Fold 3 is rounded, so it doesn’t dig into my hand as much as the sharp corners on Samsung’s hinges.
Even though the Mix Fold 3’s hinge doesn’t seem to be water-resistant like Samsung’s, it feels just as strong and safe. Xiaomi even says that the promised number of folds is much higher than Samsung’s, at 500,000 compared to 200,000, and that this number has been checked by TUV Rheinland.
The two screens on the Mix Fold 3 are great. Both screens are Samsung E6 OLED LTPO panels with a refresh rate that can change from 1Hz to 120Hz. The smaller screen on the outside is made of Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and can get as bright as 2,560 nits. The main folding screen on the inside is made of ultra-thin glass and can get as bright as 1,440 nits.
The foldable screen crease is about the same as those on other Chinese foldable. This means that you can see it if you look at the screen from an odd angle, but it is not as deep or noticeable to the touch as the creases on Samsung or Google’s foldable phones.
The Fold 5 has the same Snapdragon chip
Samsung has been promoting its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy SoC for its phones, but it turns out that the chip isn’t so special after all. Xiaomi’s Mix Fold 3 is powered by the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip that is upgraded and is in the Fold 5. It looks like Qualcomm just made a deal with Samsung to let it use the overclocked chip first for six months. After that, any other brand can use the chip.
If you look at the Geekbench 6 scores, Mix Fold 3 and Fold 5 are pretty close to each other. So, the Mix Fold 3’s chip is much better than the Pixel Fold’s Tensor G2, which gets hot and has trouble with video jobs. Even making an Instagram Reel takes longer on the Pixel Fold than on Samsung or Xiaomi’s folding phones.