Options for foldable phones are expanding in the U.S. for the first time this summer, but this type of phone has been available overseas for several years now. Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone brand, has been carrying the torch for some time. The Android phone maker revealed the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 Tuesday, and it’s got a leg up on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 as far as build and camera capabilities. You can’t buy it, though.
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 is already relatively thin, but the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 is slimmer. The book-like phone is about 10.9mm folded up, compared to the Z Fold 5’s 13.4mm. Unfolded, the Mix Fold 3 is 5.6mm, compared to Samsung’s 6.1mm. Samsung’s build is also denser, but only by a minuscule amount. It’s an advertised 8.92 ounces on the Z Fold 5 versus 8.99 ounces on the Mix Fold 3. Like I said when I compared the Z Fold 5 to the Google Pixel Fold, folded-up phones still feel like having swinging udders when placed into a pants pocket. They’re heavy.
The camera system on the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 is quite forward-thinking. Already, we’re waiting for the iPhone 15, which is rumored to have a periscope camera on the rear that will help it take stabilized photos from far away. The Mix Fold 3 already has this tech built into its secondary 5x telephoto lens. The rest of the camera system is also impressive. The primary camera is a 50-MP lens with a large aperture and optical image stabilization (OIS). There’s a 12-MP ultra-wide camera and another 10-MP telephoto with OIS to accompany the separate periscope lens. The front selfie camera is a 20-MP sensor.
Xiaomi has improved the hinge on its foldable from the prior version, too. This is the era when smartphone makers are figuring out how to manufacture a fluid-feeling folding device that can handle opening and closing repeatedly. Xiaomi boasts 500,000 folds for its Mix Fold 3, compared to Samsung and Google’s promise of at least 200,000 folds. However, the jury is still out on the accuracy of these estimates, considering previous experiments have proven folding displays aren’t the longest-lasting.
Can we get our hands on this superior foldable here in the United States? No, we can’t. Trade restrictions prohibit Xiaomi phones from being sold in the US. Studies have found that its phones—along with other top Android phones made in China—are packed with spyware.
The rest of the Mix Fold 3’s specifications are standard. They include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, like in Samsung’s devices, but with up to 16GB of RAM—a little more than the 12GB that both Samsung and Google offer on their foldables. There’s a 4,800 mAh battery pack powering up the device. It offers up to 50W wireless charging and 67W wired. Xiaomi boasts the Mix Fold 3 can charge up entirely in forty minutes.
If you’re curious to see what overseas Android users can check out, Xiaomi has opened up pre-orders for the Mix Fold 3 starting at 8999 Yuan for the 12GB of RAM and 128GB storage version. That converts to roughly $1,236. It’s still cheaper than what Samsung and Google charge for their respective foldables.