Here comes the new Xiaomi Mi 8. It looks like an iPhone, it works like an iPhone, but is it any good? Let’s see what we can gleam from the info we have so far!
Three versions: Mi 8, Mi 8 Explorer Edition, and Mi 8 SE
Xiaomi’s latest phone – its “8th Anniversary” flagship – comes in three variants.
First up, the “regular” Xiaomi Mi 8.
Then the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition, which is very similar to the Mi 8, but comes with a see-through glass back, pressure-sensitive in-display fingerprint scanner, and 3D face unlock.
Finally, the Mi 8 SE is a cheaper, smaller variant with a 5.88-inch screen and Snapdragon 710 processor, versus the 6.21-inch/Snapdragon 845 on the larger Mi 8 and Mi 8 Explorer Edition.
Xiaomi Mi 8 key specs
We’re still parsing all the Mi 8 information, but here’s what we know so far about the new Xiaomi Mi 8 specifications.
The Mi 8 comes with a 6.21-inch AMOLED Full HD+ display. It’s an 18.7:9 aspect ratio panel with a great 88.5 percent screen-to-body ratio. That ratio could’ve been even higher, but a large notch occupies much of the top of the screen.
The Mi 8 is powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor, in line with other 2018 Android flagships. There’s 6GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. The Mi 8 Explorer Edition comes with 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage only.
On the back, you get dual cameras with twin 12MP sensors. The cameras feature 1.4-micron pixels, OIS, dual-pixel autofocus and AI-powered portrait mode. Xiaomi announced the Mi 8 got a score of 105 in DxOMark’s rankings.
The phone uses AI to identify scenes and apply the best settings, as well as for “Studio Lightning” portrait photography, obviously inspired by Apple.
Up front, there’s a 20MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture that uses pixel binning to create larger virtual pixels, for improved photography.
The Mi 8 also features dual-frequency GPS, supporting both L1 and L5 bands, resulting in much more accurate navigation.
Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition
The Mi 8 Explorer Edition features similar specs to the Mi 8, but comes with several special features, including a couple of industry firsts.
Most visibly, the Mi 8 Explorer Edition features a cool see-through glass back, something we’ve seen before on HTC devices, including the hot new HTC U12 Plus.
Xiaomi claims the Mi 8 Explorer Edition is the first Android device to feature three-dimensional face unlock, using infrared light (the first device ever being the iPhone X, of course). The infrared lighting system and camera are placed in the notch. Other Android phones have offered infrared-based authentication before, the Vivo X21 being first to come to mind. But Xiaomi claims the Mi 8 Explorer Edition is the first to actually do it in 3D, which adds more security.
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Besides security, the 3D infrared camera is used for…an Animoji clone. Just like on the iPhone, you can record little animations of emoji that track your facial expressions.
The Mi 8 Explorer Edition also comes with a pressure-sensitive in-display fingerprint scanner. Phones like the Vivo X21 and the Huawei Mate RS have offered in-display fingerprint scanners before, but Xiaomi’s version is pressure sensitive, which the company calls an industry first. This should allow the phone to unlock faster.
Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
We don’t know what SE stands for and Xiaomi probably doesn’t know either. It’s just an Apple-esque suffix that denotes a smaller, less powerful variant of the Mi 8.
The Xiaomi Mi 8 SE features a 5.88-inch display, but it’s still AMOLED. The processor is the new Snapdragon 710, Qualcomm’s chip for upper-mid-range devices that was just introduced the other week. The Mi 8 SE is the first phone to come with this chip, which is supposed to deliver a 30 percent battery consumption improvement compared to the Snapdragon 660.
Xiaomi Mi 8 price and availability
The Xiaomi Mi 8 and the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE will go on sale in China starting on June 5, and June 8 respectively.
The Mi 8 starts off at 2,699 yuan (~$421) for the 6GB RAM/64GB variant. Need a little more storage? Then the 6GB/128GB model has a 2,999 yuan (~$468) price tag, while the 6GB/256GB model will retail for 3,299 yuan (~$515).
The top of the range Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition will be available for 3,699 yuan (~$577) at a later date that Xiaomi hasn’t specified.
As always, the international prices of the Mi 8, Mi 8 SE, and Mi 8 Explorer Edition will be slightly higher than their prices in China, but we don’t have any details on that front for now.
What do you think of the Xiaomi Mi 8 and its variants? Let us know in the comments!