Comparison: OnePlus 6 vs. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

Top-tier Hardware - Mid-Tier Pricing

When it comes to Smartphone manufacturers, few carry as much fandom as Xiaomi and OnePlus. Much thanks to both companies using their respective forums to create a community both companies have managed to capture the heart of their users. While OnePlus operates on a mostly global basis, Xiaomi have up until now mostly been active in Asia. Therefor the OnePlus 6 is easier to get your hands on than Xiaomi's counterpart. But given that the Mi Mix 2s is sold on global exporters like GearBest, it is also prone to huge price-cuts every now and then.

Specifications:

Comparing the spec-sheet on both phones you will notice a lot of similarities, and you could say that both companies use the same philosophy: To make the product as premium and compelling as possible while pricing it at almost half that of the iPhone X.

OnePlus 6 Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s
CPU Snapdragon 845 Snapdragon 845
GPU Adreno 630 Adreno 630
RAM 6GB(64BG) or 8GB(128&256GB) 6GB(64&128GB) or 8GB(256)
Storage 64, 128 or 256GB 64,128 or 256GB
Battery 3300 mAh 3400 mAh
Display 6.28" 1080p+ AMOLED 5.99" 1080p+ LCD
Glass Protection Corning Gorilla Glas 5 Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Rear Camera Dual 16MP OIS f/1.7 and 20MP f/1.7 Dual 12 MP, f/1.8 and 12 MP, f/2.4 2x optical zoom
Front Camera 16MP, f/2.0 5 MP, f/2.0
Ports USB: 2.0, Type-C. Audio: 3,5 mm USB: 2.0, Type-C
Extra Splash-proof (water resistance) Qi Wireless Charging

Looking at the Sheet you can see that the biggest differentiators are found in RAM versions, mainly that the 6 ups the memory to 8GB at 128GB storage while the 2S keeps it at 6GB.

The cameras differ in specifications. While both carry dual rear cameras, Xiaomi opted for the traditional setup with the second camera being a 2x telephoto zoom lens. Both rear cameras on the OnePlus device have the same focal length and aperture. 

OnePlus designed their device to be more durable with Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and rear and water resistance, while Xiaomi kept Gorilla Glass 4 on the display. The back is however made by Ceramic. Xiaomi also added wireless charging to the Mix, something that OnePlus skipped, but without any indication of water protection. 

Lastly, I believe a lot of users still revel in the fact that OnePlus kept the headphone jack. 

screen on.JPG

Design and Build

As mentioned OnePlus designed their device to be more durable with Gorilla Glass 5. Xiaomi's decision to create the back out of Ceramic means that it is very scratch-resistant, but does not fare to well against drops.

Looking at them side by side both devices are very well built and well designed. The OnePlus 6 comes in 4 color options whereas two of them are Black, one glossy and the other matt. The other two are limited editions, one in "pearl" white with gold accents and the other is made in a beautiful glossy Red. 
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s comes in two color options: Black and White, both glossy and mirror-like.

Both devices have large 2018-esque displays with trimmed bezels. The OnePlus is more traditional with its slightly 0.3" larger, notched display.
There are also different technologies powering these panels as the 2s uses an LCD-display while the 6 uses an Optic Amoled display from Samsung. The OnePlus screen gets brighter and is easier to read in sunlight. I have noticed no difference in pixel-quality, or lack thereof. 

Part of me wishes that i had opted for the Mirror Black or Red version of the OnePlus 6 as I almost miss the classic-looking reflection that seems to give it more depth. I do however like the blended look of modern glass and old-school aluminium that the Midnight edition gives. 

There is also a difference in form factor as the OnePlus device have rounded edges while Xiaomi designed the Mix's edges to be more squared. On first sight I like the look of the squared edges a little bit more, but the longer I look the more I appreciate the rounded corners. The OnePlus also sits better in my hand thanks to the slightly curved back. The Mix 2s is, however, shorter than the 6 since the display is smaller. 
Innovation is great, but sometimes muscle memory might interfere. I remember reading that LG moved the ear-piece on the G7 to the right and reviewers found it hard to remember. the ear-piece on the Mi Mix 2s is neatly placed inside the top-bezel and while looking great, it is easy to position wrong. especially when comparing to the OnePlus 6's "natural" placement in the middle of the notch. This also goes for the proximity sensors on the Mix 2s in the bottom-bezel possibly making it light up and being prone to cheek-touches more often. Small annoyances for the Mix 2s, but not at all phone-breaking. 

Speaking of speakers, the Mi Mix 2s uses the earpiece to create a "stereo" sound when consuming media. Unfortunately the sound is so weak that you have to put it up to your ear to notice it, and the sound quality is usually tinny at this point. Xiaomi could have scored points for this inclusion, but it does not make a difference in its current state.

- To summarize I have to give the design-award to the Xiaomi with its premium backed Ceramic design and different bezel-less front. The OnePlus 6 does however benefit from a brighter and more pleasant display, as well as weighting less and having a headphone jack.

Software

When looking at software, this is where the two phones will differ the most. Both companies follow a philosophy of celebrating their software. Xiaomi did however start their businesses-model with developing MIUI. OnePlus created Oxygen OS at the same time as Cyanogen Inc. started drowning with the whole India fiasco. But already with the OnePlus One the software was celebrated as Stock Android + powered by Cyanogen OS. Oxygen OS follow a lot of the same principles, but while being even more light-weight and only carrying features that OnePlus deem necessary to enhance the user experience. 

MIUI is as far away from Stock Android as you get. But opposed to other heavy skins like EMUI (Huawei), Samsung Experience UI, or the LG UI -  MIUI is very smooth, stable and lag-free. 
It has gotten a lot of bashing for being to similar to iOS on iPhones over the years, but Xiaomi is slowly moving away from this influence and finding its own. It is exciting to try the Chinese software and you will notice a lot of differences. MIUI is compared to Oxygen OS all about packing as many features as you can find.

Oxygen OS

MIUI

Even though both software experiences are very fluid, I do find small hick-ups in MIUI. Simple things like when I open the Gallery app and it pauses for a full second before opening for example. Simply put, both are fast and well enough so as well, but the OnePlus 6 feels overall faster.

The OnePlus 6 also seems to be better integrated with the Google Assistant allowing for voice-unlock and more fluid "Ok Google" detection. The Mix 2s cannot unlock with the Google Assistant and is often slow to react to the wake-upo command. The 6 actually reacts and unlocks as soon as my Google Home speakers do most of the time. This can of course be turned off. 

Both Phones offer Face Unlock as a part of the software experience. MIUI does however hide that from certain regions, so in Sweden it is not officially available. You can easily change regions in the settings menu to access hidden features, but I mostly decided against that on my device. Having tried Face Unlock on both OnePlus wins in speed.

MIUI comes with a comprehensive theme store, which is also region-locked. Oxygen OS have a dark mode and the ability to change accent colors. Xiaomi's approach gives the user a lot more in terms of choice, but I don't usually use these theme stores anymore and find myself preferring the Dark mode on the OnePlus for personal use. You can also use standard icon packs from the Play Store on the OnePlus device, in MIUI you will need to use the packs from the theme store or install a custom launcher. 

- While both UI's are smooth and well balanced I do have a bias towards Oxygen OS on the OnePlus 6. I also do perceive it to be slightly smoother and even less laggy. This might be due to shorter animations but that is my experience. While I like MIUI, I do prefer the minimalist approach found in Oxygen OS over the huge amount of features I never touch in MIUI. 

Features and Extras

water resistance.JPG

Now, as I wrote that the OnePlus 6 comes with OnePlus' in house water resistance. This is the first time OnePlus has claimed to build a phone that can withstand water. They did however not opt to pay for a proper certification and neutral testing, leaving some people disappointed. Somehow though I feel like the price is forgotten when looking at this, and as long as an ip-certification does not affect the warranty for water damage on more expensive flagships I do not really see the point. Watching Linus Tech Tips tour of the OnePlus factory I believe they have tested it for water damage. They are also cleaver enough to just mention rain and splashes of water. If you dip your phone in water often, this might not be the one for you.

wireless charging.JPG

Xiaomi on the other hand went in another direction, foregoing water resistance but including wireless charging and support for Fast Wireless charging. OnePlus claims that the technology just is not good enough to warrant the inclusion just yet, referring instead to their proprietary USB-C Dash Charger. 
Xiaomi has made the first product in Ceramic that supports Qi Wireless charging and they are not shy about mentioning it. The technology has previously been restricted to Plastic and Glass constructions.

OnePlus' Amoled display also gives the benefit of an Ambient Display which can light up when you lift the phone, receive a notification or if you adjust the Alert-Slider. At launch there were reports of an Always-on Display that disappeared, OnePlus claims that it was removed for battery-life concerns. I am happy enough with the ambient lift to wake feature myself. 

ambient.JPG

This is a hard one as I feel like both phones offer something that the other does not. I really like the wireless charging on the Mix 2s, but at the same time I absolutely prefer Dash Charging over Qualcomms Quick Charge 3.0. I also like the addition of water resistance, and I believe a lot of people appreciate the Headphone Jack and the Amoled display.

- For me personally I lean towards the OnePlus 6 winning this one. I do however really miss being able to use the wireless charger on my nightstand which is now essentially just a useless bed for my phone.

Battery Life

When reading up on both phones, I have found mixed suggestions about battery life. Some say that the Mix 2s under-delivers while they praise the OnePlus 6's longevity. Others however, proclaim the absolute opposite. 

If you have read my Mix 2s review you know that I liked its battery life. I was actually very pleased with it, giving me over 5 hours of screen on time over a full day. This is the kind of backup I haven't gotten on modern smartphones, not since using my OnePlus One.

My OnePlus 6 however comes with battery-anxiety, and although I have not been able to test it over a full review period my current stance is that the Mix 2s wins, giving you a calmer presence where you don't have to reach for the charger after a days work. My OnePlus 6 gives me a maximum of 4 hours of screen time, often needing to charge at 6 pm.

- Xiaomi wins in the battery department. I will comment on the OnePlus 6's battery life again in my full review, and hopefully it gets better. The OnePlus 6 under-delivers in battery life.

Camera

Both the OnePlus 6 and the Mi Mix 2s was released as their respective company's best camera yet. Especially for Xiaomi this was received as the move away from crap cameras on cheap phones. The OnePlus 6 is similarly appreciated as a flagship camera competitor in 2018.

So how does the two phones compare to each other? Let's find out:

Auto mode

The OnePlus 6 does not offer an "AI mode" for its camera. To see how that works on the Mi Mix 2s, check out my review here

Images in this comparison is therefor taken without AI mode active on the Mix 2s. Unless stated otherwise both phones were on auto mode with auto HDR. 

OnePlus 6

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s

This image is hard. With the sun breaking through the clouds and apparently knocking the color correction off point. This is especially obvious on the OnePlus 6 which colors seem bland with a purple/red hue. 

In the Graffiti image the OnePlus 6 wins, a lot thanks to its ability to not give in to the sun-glare. 

Portrait Mode

Looking at portrait mode you see my biggest gripe with the 2x Telephoto lens.

OnePlus 6

Mi Mix 2s

In this first portrait picture the 2s seems to add a green tint all over, making me wonder what it is adapting to.  

I am not necessarily happy with my looks on either of these, but Portrait mode. Looking beyond the window the sun is ruthless towards both cameras here. Xiaomi uses the zoom which I am no fan of. It also seems to blur my face a lot more than the 6, probably to compensate for the lighting. 

Selfie Camera

The Mix 2s had a tendency to over-expose selfies with light backgrounds. How does the OnePlus 6's 16MP selfie camera compare? (the 2s have a 5MP selfie camera)

OnePlus 6

Mi Mix 2s

Very quickly it is obvious that the 6's front facing camera handles the skies and exposure a lot better than the one on the 2s. I also appreciate the skin color and texture a lot more and I feel like the 5MP shooter on the Xiaomi phone is less wide than on the OnePlus 6.

Selfie Portrait Mode

Both phones offer a Bokeh Portrait Mode for the selfie camera as well.

OnePlus 6

Mi Mix 2s

Once again exposure is noticeably different. Blurring out the backround the 6 loses the skies. The 2s, however, drops most of the buildings as well. OnePlus failed to include parts of my headset and the cords though, which the Mix 2s did not.

Low Light

Mi Mix 2s

OnePlus 6

OnePlus 6

Mi Mix 2s

In low light we see a clear pattern. While I congratulated the Mi Mix 2s on how well it handles colors in low light, the OnePlus 6 seems to add a warm, or orange, hue to low light pictures. Details are usually good, and the pictures are viable. But the color is off. 

- Truly, even though I always want my newest phone to be the best, in the camera department the Mix 2s wins. It is not by much, and definitely not when it comes to selfies. But low-light pictures comes out more natural and the added AI-mode is, even though it's not really necessary at all, kind of fun to have. I prefer the OnePlus 6's decision to not use a telephoto lens though, and because of this and the better selfie camera I might still prefer it for my usage. In image processing it really comes down to if you prefer warmer or cooler colors, with OnePlus providing the former and Xiaomi the latter. 

Conclusion 

So, I am forced to pick a winner. This comparison is very close, and both devices have pros and cons that compare to each other. In the end it comes down to which features you care about the most, how important you preferred software is to you and the camera.

I am drawn to say that the camera on the Mix 2s carries a small amount of higher quality than the 6. Mostly due to how well it handles colors in the dark though. With software updates OnePlus could improve upon this. I prefer Portrait Mode on the OnePlus 6. The selfie camera also goes the extra mile with quality, resolution and exposure. If you are a Portrait Mode lover and take a lot of Selfies, the OnePlus 6 is for you. Of course the Mi Mix 2s carries the AI-mode, but you can easily replicate these effects with software like Snapseed.  The Camera app is also more pleasant on OnePlus and it handles exposure better in most images.

Oxygen OS is light-weight and close to stock Android with a few nice additions. MIUI have a lot going for it though, and if you have yet to try it I would recommend that you at least look at it. It's feature-packed, fluid and different. I prefer the OnePlus software though, and for me that is a win for OnePlus.

I miss wireless charging on the 6, but I do like the addition of water protection. I also really appreciate the Alert Slider and Dash Charging. So even though it is a shame that OnePlus did not "see the need" to include it, wireless charging does not give Xiaomi this win in my eyes. 
Xiaomi also beat the OnePlus 6 in battery life enough for it to be worth a second mention.

The OnePlus 6 is also easier to get your hands on in the west, and in Sweden you can actually get it in selected stores now, including the Swedish carrier Telia. That is a huge win in availability, but the Mix 2s gets point for exclusivity as well. 

Winner: This is a hard comparison. Truthfully both phones hit a lot of the same boxes. The OnePlus 6 is however slightly more pleasant to use due to my personal preferences, and right now I would pick it as my daily driver.

If you liked or disliked this comparison, please let me know. Did I miss something crucial?