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Mi 8: Mi’s 8th anniversary wonder phone
by Seth L.
LOOKS SIMILAR, BUT NOT THE SAME

Ok honestly, even we think it looks uncannily like an iPhone X but on a closer look there are slight noticeable differences. The Mi 8 is aluminium-framed and comes wrapped in a reflective four-way curved reflective chromed glass back panel. All the physical buttons, the power and volume rockers are situated on the right-side of the device.

Flipping to the back, you will find a dual 12MP camera feature on the Mi 8, with a large 1.4µm sensor, as well as four-axis optical image stabilisation, dual pixel autofocus and AI driven scene detection to automatically choose a setting and make your shots look nicer.

The 6.21-inch Full HD+ 2248 x 1080 AMOLED display does not go full screen and has a thin bezel at the bottom. The notch on top of the screen is necessary in order to hide a variety of scanners and sensors on top of the earpiece and the 20MP front camera, namely the 20MP proximity sensor, infra-red transmitter and the infra-red lens. Similar to the iPhone X, the infra-red face unlock technology allows you to unlock securely in the dark without the need for the display to be brighten to illuminate your face.

As a device to commemorate Mi’s 8th anniversary, the Mi 8 covers some interesting first-time milestones for mobile phones - dual-frequency GPS for more accurate navigation and more interestingly the under display fingerprint scanner feature.

With bezels slowly but surely disappearing, manufacturers need to find a place to slap their fingerprint sensors or ditch them all together for other unlocking features like Face ID but Mi said, no and did what the others couldn’t – an under display fingerprint scanner. Radical.

So how does this tech that Apple and Samsung failed to achieve but Mi made possible on the Mi 8, works? The Synaptics Clear ID is an ultra-thin optical sensor that sits under the OLED display and detects your fingerprint by using electrical current to capture the imprint of your finger with the light produced from the display. In theory, the Synaptics Clear ID sensor should work even if the Mi 8 screen has a protector on it.

Though we must mention, to our disappointment, that the under display fingerprint scanner is only available on the Mi 8 Explorer Edition. The non-Explorer Edition Mi 8 has a rear fingerprint sensor instead.

The Mi 8 comes pretty jacked up with a Snapdragon 845, 6GB of RAM and either 64GB, 128GB or 256 GB of storage. The Mi 8 also has NFC, QuickCharge 4.0 and is powered by a 3400mAh battery but the MI 8 Explorer Edition is oddly powered by a lower 3000mAh battery.

The MI 8 Explorer Edition is the cooler device, with the Mi 8 SE being the entry model, the Mi 8 the mid-range and the Mi 8 Explorer Edition the real flagship of the series. The MI 8 Explorer Edition has one of the coolest back panels we have seen so far – transparent glass panel that shows off the internal of the device.

Do note that the entry model MI 8 SE has a smaller display at 5.88-inch and is the first smart phone to be driven by the newly-launched Snapdragon 710 processor.

VERDICT

Over the years, Mi has been well-known for delivering value for money devices. It seems that they have not only upheld that core value of theirs but they are going all out to give us the best they can for a very reasonable price with the Mi 8.

The Mi 8 with 64GB of storage retails for 2699 Yuan (RM1680+-), the one with 128GB is going for 2999 Yuan (RM1865+-) and you can get the 256GB one for 3299 Yuan (RM2050+-)

The flagship Mi 8 Explorer Edition is selling for 3699 Yuan (RM2300+-) and it is only available in one setup – 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The Mi 8 is currently not available for purchase in Malaysia.

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