The year 2017 will be remembered for all the glorious smartphones it gave birth to.
It is the year the bezel-less smartphone design started trending, with the likes of LG G6 and LG V30, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, HTC U11+, Xiaomi Mi MIX 2, Google Pixel 2 XL, OnePlus 5T and even Apple’s iPhone X coming in with some of the most intriguing designs yet.
One thing that is common among these phones is that they are high-end devices targeting elite spenders willing to part with over Ksh 60,000. This steep price tag means that some people are locked out, even if they really wanted to join the bezel-less craze. But lucky enough, the Android world is diverse and there’s always something that can fit everyone’s personal requirements.
If you are running on a budget and you still don’t want to be left behind, the pocket-friendly Vkworld Mix Plus might just be what you have been looking for. Featuring a near bezel-less design that is similar to the Xiaomi Mi MIX series, the Mix Plus is the closest you can get to the likes of Samsung Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel 2 XL, but at a ridiculously cheaper price tag.
The Vkworld Mix Plus looks like a great piece of hardware right from the onset, that is, when you unwrap the not-so-big white box with the company’s logo it comes with.
Inside the box
Inside the box, you will come across the following:
- Usual documentation.
- A clear plastic case.
- A SIM-ejection pin.
- A charging brick with a traditional microUSB cable.
- Vkworld Mix Plus phone.
- No headphones.
Vkworld is a completely new name in the Kenyan smartphone market and in fact, it might not be known to many. For the uninitiated, Vkworld, like many other smartphone OEMs selling their products locally, is a Chinese manufacturer that is widely known in Asia and Europe.
In the Vkworld Mix Plus, the company has a piece of hardware that brings you the modern bezel-less design on a budget. With me is a Purplish Blue color variant and to be honest, the phone looks stunning with no bezels on three sides – the top, left and right hand sides. The only side you find a bezel is the bottom end, which also houses the phone’s front facing camera, just like the case with the Xiaomi Mi MIX.
Holding the phone in my hand feels great and unlike rounded edges that can sometimes make the phone easily slide out of your hand, you can be sure of a firm grip thanks to the sharp edges that mean one corner resolutely rests at the lower center of the palm, thus preventing any accidental slips when using it with one hand. This, however, is not to say the Vkworld Mix Plus will never slip from your hand. In fact, this is one of the most slippery phones I’ve ever held and if you are not careful with it, it won’t be long before you end up with a cracked back or shuttered screen. Note that this is quite easy given the phone is made of glass on both the front and back.
Of course, there is the aspect of the screen being protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass technology. While this helps prevent the phone from easily scratching or cracking when it accidentally falls, it doesn’t make the phone damage-proof.
As usual with glass, the back of the Vkworld Mix Plus is a fingerprint magnet and it’s perhaps the reason the company was keen to include a clear case in the box. I’m not the type who dresses up my phones, but with this kind of device, I had no choice but to slide the case on almost immediately after unboxing. Without the case, though, you can use the Vkworld Mix Plus as a mirror.
Even though the Vkworld Mix Plus draws a lot of inspiration from the Xiaomi Mi MIX, including the name, another look at the phone gives the impression of the typical block-like Sony Xperia phones, but the Mix Plus has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner as opposed to the side-mounted version on Xperia phones. For a device in this category, the sensor is pretty fast. One little problem, though, is that the sensor is a little too close to the camera lens, which makes it easy to accidentally touch the lens, but with time, you’ll get used to this position. Perhaps having the case on makes it a little easier to hit the sensor without touching the camera lens.
Like many other phones, the Vkworld Mix Plus has three buttons on the right: volume rockers and power button. There are no hardware navigation buttons, instead, you get on-screen buttons, which is why the Mix Plus is able to house a huge 5.5-inch display in a significantly small package. The 3.5mm audio jack and microUSB port are next to each other at the top while the bottom has the impression of dual bottom-facing speakers, but it’s only one.
Speaking of speakers, they aren’t the best I’ve used so far, but for a budget phone, the Mix Plus does a pretty good job. One disappointment on the audio aspect is that you don’t get headphones out of the box, which means you’ll have to buy them separately. It’s not the first time this will be happening in Kenya. The likes of Infinix and Tecno have done it before, but they’ve since changed this bad habit. Hopefully, Vkworld will too.
Software-wise, the Vkworld Mix Plus ships with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. Setting up the phone is a breeze from the start and thanks to the MediaTek MT6737 chipset alongside 3GB RAM, it runs smooth for a phone priced at about Ksh 11,200.
The rest of the specifications of the Vkworld Mix Plus can be found here. Meanwhile, stay tuned for the full review.
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