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Xiaomi is working on another phone with transparent back, but what could it be?

A Xiaomi phone with a transparent back has surfaced online, but it differs from the transparent Mi 8 Explorer Edition in several ways.

Published onJuly 31, 2018

A Xiaomi device on TENAA.
  • A Xiaomi phone has appeared on China’s telecoms authority website, bearing a strong resemblance to the Mi 8 Explorer Edition.
  • The phone seems to lack facial recognition sensors and is available in a variety of RAM/storage configurations.
  • This could be a more affordable Mi 8 Explorer Edition or a special version of the Mi Note 4.

The Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition stands out from most flagships thanks to its transparent back  even if the underlying circuitry isn’t the real deal. Now, another transparent Xiaomi phone has appeared on China’s TENAA website, and it raises several questions.

At first glance, it’s identical to the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, sporting an unnamed 2.8Ghz processor, the same rear cover, a dual-camera setup with at least one 12MP shooter, and a 20MP selfie camera. The battery is a 2,900mAh pack compared to the Mi 8 Explorer’s 3,000mAh cell, but TENAA could very well be reporting the minimum capacity. So far, so very Explorer Edition…

Other similar features to the Explorer Edition include an in-display fingerprint scanner, an IR blaster, and the lack of a headphone jack.

Key differences detailed

The Mi 8 Explorer Edition.

The new phone also features identical dimensions (down to the millimeter) and the same 6.21-inch full HD+ notched OLED display as the Mi 8 Explorer Edition. So that should be an open and shut case, right? But the notch doesn’t have as many sensors as the Mi 8 or Explorer Edition  we can only spot an earpiece and selfie camera. This suggests that the device lacks advanced facial recognition tech.

The other noteworthy difference is that the storage and RAM figures differ from the 6GB RAM/128GB storage of the Explorer Edition. Instead, we’ve got 4GB to 8GB of RAM and 64GB to 256GB of storage.

What are we looking at, then?

According to PhoneArena and MySmartPrice, this might be a special edition Mi Note 4, but I’m not convinced because this phone has identical dimensions to the Explorer Edition, and the last few Mi Note devices have all sported large 3,500mAh+ batteries.

We could potentially be looking at a tweaked Mi 8 Explorer Edition that reaches a variety of price-points and spec tiers  the phone was only available with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. By ditching the advanced facial recognition sensors and introducing a 4GB/64GB variant, Xiaomi could reach people who don’t quite have enough cash for the standard Explorer Edition.

If it is indeed a special Mi Note 4 or a Mi Note 4 Pro, however, it would mark a return to flagship status for the Mi Note series (that unnamed 2.8Ghz processor can only be the Snapdragon 845). Last year’s Mi Note 3 used an upper mid-range Snapdragon 660 processor, while previous models all used top-end silicon.

What do you think it could be? Would you like to see this rear cover on other Xiaomi phones? Let us know in the comments section!

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