Xiaomi celebrated its 8th anniversary in Shenzhen, China, by introducing some really interesting products, including a TV, a VR headset, a fitness tracker, a new Android UI, and an all-new flagship smartphone – the Xiaomi Mi 8 – in three different versions.
Before we dive into the main subject of our interest, the Mi 8, let’s take a quick look at some of the other stuff that were shown off at the Xiaomi event.
The 75-inch TV looked just fantastic; the VR headset has been developed in collaboration with Oculus; and the company’s newest fitness tracker, Mi Band 3, is water-resistant up to 50 meters, with a larger OLED screen and a more comfortable band, this time around.
Also, Xiaomi’s new Android-based operating system, the MIUI 10, is crammed with all the latest features, with the company claiming that it is powered by artificial intelligence.
Coming to the Xiaomi Mi 8, a lot of excitement had built up about the phone, leading up to its launch, what with talks of a 3D face scanner, in-screen fingerprint reader, impressive front- and back-facing cameras, new GPS technology and last, but not least, a super sexy transparent glass back.
So, let’s go right ahead and check, for ourselves, how much of all that is fact and how much, well, you know.
As mentioned at the outset, Xiaomi has launched three versions of the Xiaomi Mi 8 – the Mi 8, the Mi 8 SE, and the Mi 8 Explorer.
Xiaomi Mi8 SE
Starting with the Mi8 SE, it is the smaller phone in the line-up, with slightly less rounded corners than the Mi 8, but packed solid with features, including a brand new Snapdragon 710 processor; a 5.88-inch 1080 x 2240-pixel resolution display, capable of 600 nits brightness, which is really bright; and the SE also boasts a 12- and 5-megapixel dual camera set up on the rear and a 20-megapixel front-facing sensor for those fantastic selfies.
The Xiaomi Mi 8 SE is being made available in four color options, including a red that is particularly striking.
The phone comes with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM with a standard 64GB of onboard storage, the former configuration priced at 1,799 RMB ($280) and the 6GB of RAM option costing 1,999 RMB ($312).
In terms of size, the Mi 8 is pretty much in line with today’s standards, measuring 154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6mm in dimensions and tipping the scales at 177 grams.
Aesthetically speaking, it’s an impressive and beautiful-looking phone, with a 1080 x 2248-pixel display and a wider notch to accommodate all the facial recognition hardware included.
Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chipset, the phone upgrades to a 6.21-inch AMOLED display and the same dual camera set up you find on the popular Xiaomi Mi MIX 25.
The Mi 8 boasts a DXO MARK as high as 105, which is well above Apple’s device.
Xiaomi claims that the new L5 GPS band on the Mi 8 is five times more accurate than the L1 band, which is, again, pretty cool technology.
The Mi 8 comes in three inbuilt storage configurations, each with 6GB of RAM.
- 64 GB Internal Storage with 6GB of RAM: 2,699 RMB ($420)
- 128 GB Internal Storage with 6GB of RAM: 2,999 RMB ($467)
- 256GB Internal Storage with 6GB of RAM: 3,299 RMB ($5132)
Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer
Now, this is where things get really interesting!
Come to think of it, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer edition is, basically, nothing but a slightly advanced version of the Mi 8 but with a unique twist in the tale – it features a transparent glass back panel with curved edges on all four sides and an aluminum frame.
Looking through the back panel you can see the phone’s innards, such as the newly-designed NFC Coil, the Kevlar texture of the battery, as well as other components.
In addition to all the features of the Mi 8, the Explorer edition comes with a top-class 3D face scanner, much like iPhone X’s face ID, and the phone has an answer to Apple’s Animojis, as well.
The only, apparent, downside to this one is its 3,000 mAh battery, which is lower than the 3,400 mAh juice-pack on the Mi 8. However, Xiaomi has included pressure sensitivity which should help with battery life.
Another highly impressive and sophisticated feature on the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer is the under-the-screen fingerprint reader on the front, which the Shenzhen-based company claims can instantly scan and unlock the phone with just a gentle touch to the screen.
Eat your heart out, Apple!
Again, the wide notch encompasses components like the front-facing camera, ambiance and proximity sensors, infrared, flood illuminator and art projector.
The Explorer features a 6.1-inch super AMOLED screen, which produces 18 x 7 x 9 aspect ratio and a full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2248 pixels; the screen to body ratio of the phone is a healthy 86.12%.
The Mi 8 is going to be very difficult beat, in so far as 2018 flagship smartphones are concerned; it’s certainly packed with all the ammunition to blast its way to the top.