After barely two weeks of teasers and leaks, Xiaomi finally took the wraps off its latest phone, the Mi Play, at an event today. The Mi Play seems to be the first of a new series for Xiaomi. It is the Mi line’s version of the Redmi series, so phones released under this category will be less powerful and less expensive than the other phones in the Mi series.
Mi Play Design
The Mi Play has a more elaborate design that makes it stand out from the Redmi series. So rather than the metal/plastic body of the Redmi series, you get Gorilla Glass on both sides of the Mi Play. The finish on the back is also eye-catching and not dull like that of the Redmi line.
The Xiaomi Mi Play has a 5.84-inch screen with a water-drop notch, a first for Xiaomi. Its greatly reduced bezels give it a form factor that is just a tiny bit bigger than the Mi 6 which has a 5.15-inch display. The Mi Play has a 1080 x 2280 resolution (FHD+) with a 1500:1 contrast ratio, 432 PPI, and an eye protection mode.
The processor powering the phone was a mystery but today we finally get to know that it is powered by a brand new chipset from MediaTek called the Helio P35.
The Helio P35 is a 12nm octa-core chipset clocked at 2.3GHz. It has a feature called CPU/GPU dual-turbo technology and its AnTuTu score places its performance above that of the Snapdragon 625. If you asked us, we would say the Helio P35 is MediaTek’s answer to Qualcomm’s 14nm Snapdragon 632 processor. The processor has an IMG PowerVR GE8320 GPU clocked at 680MHz.
The Helio P35 chipset is paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. This is the only storage configuration available but we won’t be surprised if Xiaomi announced a new variant in a few months.
Dual cameras are practically standard on devices now and it is no surprise that the Mi Play also joins the trend. It has a 12MP 1.25μm primary sensor that is paired with a secondary 2MP sensor for capturing depth details for bokeh images. Xiaomi says it has HDR, EIS, and a bunch of AI features. The front camera is an 8MP sensor with HDR, face recognition, and portrait mode and more. Below are some camera samples.
The Mi Play packs a 3,000mAh battery which should be sufficient for almost a day. There is no fast charging, so you are left with 5V/2A charging. There is also a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.
The phone has dual-SIM support (nano only), dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and a MicroUSB port. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an audio jack.
Mi Play Price and Availability
The Xiaomi Mi Play is only available in one configuration (4GB + 64GB). It will be available in three colors – Twilight Gold, Fantasy Blue, and Black. On the official online store, only the blue and black variants are available.
The Mi Play is priced at ¥1099 which roughly converts to $160. It is not expensive but Xiaomi itself has multiple devices at that price range which have better specs. However, Xiaomi is also throwing in 10GB of free high-speed data for 12 months which is worth between ¥828 (~$120) and ¥1296 (~$188) per year depending on the network operator. If you were to subtract the cost of the data from the cost of the phone, then you are practically getting the device for free.
Unfortunately, those who live outside China and order the Mi Play will not be able to enjoy the free data bundled with the phone.
The Mi Play will go on sale at 10 AM tomorrow, December 25 on the official Mi online store.