Vernee Mix 2 review with 18:9 bezel-less display and 4GB 64GB

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7.6

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Vernee Mix 2 review summary
  • Camera not IMX258 as originally touted (Vernee has since changed their marketing), weakish external speaker
  • Despite this, the Mix 2 still offers some interesting features: a great 18:9 display, decent camera, decent battery life, and the moderately powerful MT6757 SoC
  • The current <$160 pricing makes the Vernee Mix 2 an 18:9 bargain compared to the new wave of $200+ China Phones

About Vernee Mix 2

What’s interesting about the Vernee Mix is that its display is 18:9 which makes for a novel experience in comparison to the typical 16:9 display. The recent explosion of these devices are in direct response to Samsung’s S8; people are scrambling to get a similar screen ratio on the cheap.

Vernee Mix 2 specs at a glance
  • Display: 6.0 inch, 2160 x 1080 Pixel screen
  • SoC: MTK6757 Octa Core 2.39GHz
  • System: Android 7.0
  • RAM + ROM: 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM
  • Camera: 8.0MP front camera + 13.0MP + 5.0MP back cameras
  • Sensor: Ambient Light Sensor, E-Compass, Gravity Sensor, Gyroscope, Proximity Sensor
  • SIM Card: dual SIM dual standby. 1 Nano SIM card + 1 Nano SIM card
  • Bluetooth: 4.0
  • 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • 3G: WCDMA 900/2100MHz
  • 4G: FDD-LTE 800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz
  • Battery: 4200mAh
  • Dual-SIM: Yes
  • OTG: Yes
  • Quick-charge: Yes
  • LED notification: Yes, pulsing RGB
  • Ambient light sensor: Yes

Vernee Mix 2 review style

Vernee Mix 2 is a very square phone with slightly rounded corners. Very similar to the rest of the China bezel-less bunch. What sets it slightly apart from some is the 18:9 display, but the 18:9 is starting to get crowded quickly as well.

The display itself also features slightly rounded corners, giving it an additional bit of character.

The backside is a bit tacky with the shiny gloss, but some people may like this and it can easily be used as a mirror if you want to use the rear camera for selfies.

Lenovo P2, Vernee Mix 2, Mi Mix 2

I find it a unique and interesting experience holding the Vernee Mix 2, which is something you’ll see I don’t tout too often. I wouldn’t necessarily call it better than the typical 16:9. but is certainly different and in addition to the lack of a very short top bezel is bound to get you some attention when out and about.

The camera, as with all of these bezel-less is at the bottom, which gives some bizarre angles on your face when taking selfies or video chatting. The solution — turn it upside down and the problem is solved.

Umi S2 with 720p at a ridiculous $185. Yet, people seem to be snapping them up

Build seems very solid; moderate pressure is required to affect the LCD, and there are no creaks or loose spots. Buttons are firm and give a tactile click when pressed.

Vernee Mix 2 review display

The 18:9 display on the Vernee Mix 2 looks very good. Colors have quite a bit of pop, though with some hints of fluorescent. Viewing angles are very good, and IPS glow is not an issue. White balance is excellent and text is very smooth.

Maximum brightness comes in at an excellent 440lux and minimum at a somewhat too bright 30lux.

One of my favorite features of Windows 7, split-screen, due to the 18:9 display, is a bit more pleasant to use because it gives you more vertical space for each window.

25/75 split-screen

Vernee Mix 2 review OS

  • *Strangely, no MiraVision for customizing white balance (great white balance already, but some may wish to adjust), or adjusting saturation and reading-mode blue-light filter strength
  • *Occasionally some lag when turning on the display from sleep
  • *OS occasionally lags
  • Android 7.0
  • Mostly Vanilla/AOSP/Purish Android
  • No junk apps
  • Smooth slow and fast scrolling, and with appropriate friction and acceleration
  • System animations and transitions are generally smooth
  • Switching between apps in memory is quick
  • Split-Screen mode works without issue
  • Changing of DPI is easily achieved through Developer Options or Settings >> Display
  • Fast typing is rapid and smooth
  • Deep sleeping appropriately during our time with it

A tip here, when using Vernee Mix 2 in the default 360dpi, only 50/50 Split-Screen is possible, but when changing DPI to 420 (or to Small in Settings > Display), a much nicer DPI in my opinion anyway, 25/75 (as opposed to 50/50) then becomes possible.

Vernee Mix 2 benchmarks Antutu GeekBench 4

Vernee Mix 2 Antutu
  • Total: 61677
  • 3D:  10386
  • UX: 28358
  • CPU: 19094
  • RAM: 3839
Vernee Mix 2 GeekBench 4 (two runs)
  • Single: 850
  • Multi: 3104

Vernee Mix 2 battery life testing screenon time

According to the meter, which I’ve found to be very accurate, the Vernee Mix 2 battery is about 4000mAh, which is very close the Vernee’s touted spec. Good job on the battery, Vernee.

It managed a decent score on the 720P / WiFi / YouTube / 140lux test, coming in at 7h 20m. This battery should be more than enough to get most users through the day.

Vernee Mix 2 battery charging

Vernee touts quick charging for the Mix 2. It’s true, however the maximum charge I was able to achieve was 13W (9.4V 1.39A). I tried various chargers and cables and that was the best it could do (stock charger and cable). This is a nice step up from the typical 5V 2A (normally 8.5-10W), but a far cry from phones which quick charge properly, such as the Oukitel K3 at 18W or the Lenovo P2 at 24W.

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The Vernee Mix 2 charges to 90% in about 1 hour 15 minutes and to 100% in about 1 hour 30 minutes with the quick charger. Note, that if you leave it on the charger for an additional 30 minutes or so it will continue to pull juice to become fully saturated.

1h 15m to 90%

Vernee Mix 2 camera review sample images

The camera sensor as first advertised by Vernee is supposed to be IMX258, however this is a blatant untruth. The sensor is actually On Semiconductors AR1335. This sensor is a true optical 13MP resolution, but is not at the same level as IMX258. That’s not to say there aren’t some good things about the OnSemi AR1335 sensor; it’s capable of taking good photos.

Unedited

Scenes with poor lighting sometimes make it difficult to take sharp images. This is due to the 1/8th shutter speed. I’d venture to say though — if you’re buying a bargain China mobile, you can’t expect it to do well in low light. You really need a serious camera or high-end flagship mobile with OIS for these types of low-light situations. There are some mid-budget China mobiles which will do a  better job, but generally not until you step into Xiaomi. None of the typical China brand phones will do better in low-light than Vernee Mix 2 in this mid-$100’s price range.

Big crop. Unedited.

Indoors with decent lighting are fine, see the first image in the gallery. Not bad.

HDR is the typical China mobile HDR. It does a fairly good job, but is very aggressive with the shadow lifting. I’ll also note that when reviewing images the OS bizarrely brightens images making them look worse than they actually are. You can zoom in a bit to see the true contrast.

Focusing is quick and accurate and I’m impressed by the close-up focusing capabilities. Vernee Mix 2 camera module is very smart about what to focus on when trying to get macro shots.

In sunny day shots, we can see quite a bit of artifacting and water-color type smudging. I don’t find this a big deal because generally at social sharing sizes you’re not going to see this artifacting unless making massive crops.

To put it simply, excluding brands such as Meizu/Lenovo/Xiaomi, the camera is fine and on par or better than competitors in this price range.  Straight out of the camera (SOOC) shots are generally good enough for social sharing and making small prints. If you want to take a moment to apply a filter or a couple minor edits they’ll be even better.

Big crop. Edited (original image in gallery)

Have a look at the gallery. All of the images there are unedited other than resize and save at 85% jpg quality. I was especially impressed with the bee in mid-flight. I was trying to catch him on the flower, but he took off right as I took the shot. Thought it was a ruined shot, but ended up quite good.

Vernee Mix 2 components

The Vernee Mix 2 carries the typical set of components you’d expect from a Chinese phone at this price. Gyroscope and compass as well as FM radio are there.

  • Compass — working without issue
  • Gyroscope — working without issue
  • Linear acceleration — working without issue
  • Gravity — working without issue
  • Accelerometer — working without issue
  • Light sensor — working without issue and appropriately adjusting display brightness
  • OTG — working without issue (tested OTG TF SD and bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo)
  • FM radio — working without issue
  • *External speaker — weak, but adequate. Can be adjusted in engineering mode to bring it up a notch
  • GPS — working without issue. Accuracy is good. Signal strength is mediocre, but fine.
  • WiFi — very good. Reaches 115ft / 35m staying quick and stable

Vernee Mix 2 TWRP / root / bootloader unlocking

Unlocking the bootloader is a very simple process. TWRP and root are both available. Those who are interested can see the post here at GizBeat (opens in new tab.)

Vernee Mix 2 conclusion summary

The camera sensor isn’t IMX258 as originally touted and a weakish external speaker are the only real negatives of the Vernee Mix 2. With some easy setting changes in Engineering Mode the speaker can be boosted a bit as well. The OS isn’t as smooth as I like to see, but this doesn’t affect my use and hopefully can be smoothed out a bit in an update. 

I like this phone. The slightly curved corners of the LCD, a great 18:9 1080P display, 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, decent battery life, a pulsing notification LED, quick charging (as weak as it is, it’s still a significant step above typical 5V 2A), bright flashlight, reasonably powerful MT6757 as opposed to MT6750T in some of the bezel-less, and an acceptable camera.

Importantly, Vernee S2 is at a decent price point; incredibly, we’re now seeing similar bezel-less mobiles coming out at $200-250. Phones such as the Umi S2 with 720p at a ridiculous $185. Yet, people seem to be snapping them up due to the catchy viral marketing catching people who simply don’t know better.

At this price, I still like the 3GB/32GB Redmi Note 4 as a better all-around phone, but it’s got less storage and lacks the 18:9 bezel-less display of the Vernee Mix 2.

Quite a few people are pissed regarding the IMX258, but beyond that most people seem to be more than satisfied.

The verdict is this: If the negatives don’t affect you and you’re looking for a bezel-less 18:9 display mobile, this is one of the better bang-for-the-buck models available.

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Good

  • Very nice 18:9 display
  • Decent camera with good autofocus and macro focus
  • Good battery life
  • Good charging
  • At a very reasonable price now ($165.99)
  • Pulsing notification LED

Bad

  • Not IMX258 as promised
  • Some occasional lag
  • External speaker a bit weak (can be adjusted in engineering)
7.6

Good

GPS - 7
WiFi - 8
Display - 8.5
OS fluidity - 7.5
SoC power - 7.5
External speaker - 7
Battery life - 7.5
Battery charging - 8
Camera - 7.5
Average User Rating
6.1
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