Xiaomi unveils the iPhone X-esque Mi 8 flagship featuring dual GPS and IR face unlock
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With the launch of the Mi 8 series, Xiaomi is trying do an Apple in more ways than one. We reported about the purported specs of the Mi 8 and a possible Mi 8 SE variant yesterday and most of that info has come true. Similar to Apple's iPhone 8 and iPhone X launch last year, Xiaomi is differentiating the Mi 8 family to cater to various price points. Let's have a look at the poster boy Mi 8 first and see what the hype is all about.
The Mi 8 is meant to commemorate 8 years of the Xiaomi brand and it reflects in the spec sheet. The Mi 8 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC with 6 GB RAM and storage options ranging from 64 GB to 256 GB. The phone is a near exact clone of the iPhone X save for the bottom bezel replete with a full size notch at the top. The notch houses a 20 MP f/2.0 1.8-micron pixel selfie camera with AI features, a proximity sensor, an IR lighting module and lens, and the earpiece. Thankfully, the notch can be hidden via software settings if you deem it to be an eyesore. The 6.21-inch 2248 x 1080 display is an AMOLED panel with a brightness of 600 nits and an 88.5% (18.7:9) screen-to-body ratio.
On the imaging front, the Mi 8 sports a vertical orientation of dual 12 MP cameras with an LED flash in the middle. The primary 12 MP camera is an f/1.8, 1.4-micron Sony IMX363 sensor with OIS that largely resembles the one in the Mi Mix 2S while the secondary 12 MP camera is an f/2.4, 1-micron Samsung S5K3M3 telephoto sensor. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun stated that the Mi 8 achieved 99 points overall and 105 points in the photo category in DxOMark tests beating the Mi Mix 2S and the iPhone X. The cameras support AI enhancement for more than 200 scenes and can take high quality low-lights shots thanks to 4-in-1 pixel binning.
The Mi 8 also is probably the first smartphone with dual GPS. This helps the phone to use the traditional L1 frequency used by most smartphones along with the L5 frequency used by the aeronautical industry thereby, helping in more precise navigation. On the audio front, the Mi 8 forgoes the 3.5mm headphone jack for USB Type-C.
The Mi 8 is expected to launch simultaneously in 8 other markets apart from China and will come in three variants. The 6GB/64GB model will retail for ¥2,699 (US$420) while the 6GB/128GB for ¥2,999 (US$470). Finally, the 6GB/256GB option will dent your pocket by ¥3,299 (US$520). Even if you consider the highest variant, a US$520 price point is no doubt a great bargain if you're on the look out for some iPhone X-esque features on the cheap.