Xiaomi MI 8 Review – It’s Incredible

 

The Xiaomi Mi 8 comes in three variants: First, 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 and Finally, the Mi 8 SE. 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

Unboxing

The box is pretty simple and has just the basics In it. The phone itself, A charging brick, a usb type c cable, a phone case, a 3.5mm jack to usb type c converter, your sim ejector tool and paperwork.

The standard edition of the Xiaomi Mi 8, that’s the one I have here come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, 6GB of RAM, and storage up to 256GB and It’s got a 3,400 mAh battery. I have the 128GB version and it cost me a total of about $480. Buy  here or here

The Mi 8 came with MIUI 9.5 on board, but I knew I didn’t want to run that version of MIUI so I flashed the new MIUI 10 Beta ROM and oh boy am I glad I did. MIUI 10 is a marriage of the smoothness of iOS and the versatility of Android and it’s absolutely beautiful. I’ll speak more on this later in the video. Let’s take a look at the physical feature of the Mi 8

Physical Features

Up front we have a 6.21 Inch 1080p AMOLED display and yes it’s got a notch. Some people like the notch some people hate it, I’m indifferent. In fact, it has grown on me and I kinda like the way it flows with Xiaomi’s MIUI 10. Still talking about the Display, it comes with HDR 10 technology for even brighter and sharper images. It’s beautiful. The colors are vivid, images are simply gorgeous. It’s almost perfect. There’s no glare and its viewing angles are great.

In that notch upfront, you’ll find a 20MP front facing camera with 1.8 micron pixels and an f/2.0 aperture. This camera uses something called a “pixel-binning” technology to combine four pixels into a larger one for better low-light selfies.  This notch also houses an infrared camera for ultra-fast face unlock, an earpiece and notification LED.

Moving on to the back of the Mi 8, you’ll find a dual rear camera setup consisting of the Main Camera, which is 12MP with 1.4 micron pixels, 4-axis Optical Image Stabilization with an f/1.8 aperture and the Secondary: 12MP telephoto camera with 1.0 micron pixels and an f/2.4 aperture. The cameras are laid out in just the same way as the iPhone X.

Xiaomi says the Mi 8’s cameras achieved a 105 photo score after being rated by DxOMark. I don’t know how Dx0Mark rates cameras and I really don’t care but the cameras on the Mi 8 perform well. More on this later.

There’s a fingerprint scanner at the back of the device as well and nothing else. To the right of the device you’ve got the power button and volume buttons and to the left of the device there’s nothing but a dual sim tray.

At the bottom of the device we have a USB type C port flanked by two speaker grilles and a microphone.

Enough with the physical specs, let’s talk about the software running the whole show. MIUI 10!

Software

This is the crown jewel of this device. Given, the device hardware looks great but the software, ….. is even more beautiful. I don’t know if it makes sense comparing the software to hardware looks. but you’ll quickly forget the hardware once you start using Xiaomi’s MIUI 10. It’s smooth, transitions are incredibly enjoyable. I found myself constantly pulling down the notification shade just, so I could see that beautiful arrangement of rounded boxes well placed and delivering top notch satisfaction.

MIUI 10 uses a gesture-based navigation system and it’s brilliant and works seamlessly. In fact, after using the device for just two days, the gestures were so natural, I found myself replicating those gestures in my Samsung Galaxy S8. Of course, I was becoming frustrated with the buttons on the Samsung as the gesture-based navigation of the Mi 8 had already re-wired my brain to believe all smartphones were supposed to work this way.

Let’s talk about the notification shade. Xiaomi designed the notification shade from the ground up, using some design elements from Apples’ iOS and complementing them with mannerisms that we’ve seen in the upcoming Android 9.0. The animations are beautiful, and everything just makes sense.

Another area where the software shines is in the recents menu. I must confess I didn’t like the way it looked when I saw it in pictures online but seeing this menu in person and using it and seeing how it works, this is by far better than what other software have in tow. It’s incredibly brilliant and makes a lot of sense. The flow of bring up the recents card and how it pops up on the screen in my head is perfect. You also get to see more app cards at a go and can tap and hold to view extra options for app info, app lock and split screen. The recents screen blurs the background when you pull it up and there’s surprisingly no lag or stuttering. It’s hard to believe this is an android device.

The transition from unlocking your screen to showing your home screen speaks volumes of refinement.

Most of the apps have been redesigned and they look gorgeous, from the weather app to the Notes app to the music app. They’ve also built straight into the software a lot of tools that you would have had to download third party app for and this is my opinion is a great thing. Xiaomi is really hitting a home run on this one.

The settings menu is super clean and much friendly and when you can’t find a setting, just use the search box at the top of the setting page.

If a beta version of the MIUI 10 software is this good, then I can only imagine how good the final product will be. Note however that somethings are incomplete being a beta version, but it works very well.

Cameras

So Dx0Mark scored the cameras on the Mi 8 a total of 105, putting it at par with the likes of Googles pixel camera. Now while I can’t say it’s better than the pixel camera, it pretty decent and takes some really great photos. The 20MP front facing selfie shooter is quite sharp and takes well balanced photos. A bunch of my friends who have played with the phone were all impressed with the selfie camera quality. It shoots very well-balanced photos in daylight and in low light situation.

There rear cameras are both 12MP and the primary camera on the back is optically stabilized to give you smoother videos.

The camera app interface reminds me of the iPhones interface. It’s simple to use and comes with several modes including, short video, video, photo, portrait, square, panorama and manual shooting modes.

Photos are clear, Vibrant, sharp and well balanced. Every photo I took looked great and I was overall impressed. Let’s take a look at some of those photos

Other Stuff

Battery life on any new smartphone is good, which is the case here, but I’ll have to put the device through its paces to know just how great the battery on this device is. The Mi 8 comes with a 3400mah battery which takes approximately and hour and a half to go from 0 – 100% using the included charger. It charges even faster (about 1 hour for a full charge) if you use Samsung’s fast charger.

LTE connection on this device is great. I’m on the Airtel LTE network on oh boy it’s quite fast. I put my Airtel sim back in my Samsung just to test it out and the speeds could not be compared. I was reaching speeds of between 5 and 10Mbps in download speeds, sometimes even reaching 13Mbps.

I also reached speeds of between 3.8 and 6.77Mbps in upload speeds. Absolutely awesome.

It’s got dual GPS for even better performance in maps. But funny thing is that I found it’s often inaccurate. Sometimes while driving I find myself in the Lagos lagoon. Wonder when cars became water machines.

It’s also got simultaneous 4G connectivity. So you can stay connected to two 4g networks on both sim cards. This is quite brilliant.

What I do not like about the Mi 8

On things I dislike about the device, number one on the list is the lack of a headphone Jack, although audio quality was great using the included converter and a pair of wired earphones. It would have been more convenient to be able to charge and listen to music at the same time.

YouTube videos are kept at a 16:9 aspect ratio so no matter what you do you can’t go full screen on YouTube. I hope they change this in a later update.

When you turn the display off it isn’t completely black like you have on the Samsung flagship phones. It’s an AMOLED panel so I don’t know why they couldn’t achieve this. I guess it has to do with the way the glass was laminated.

The Mi 8 does not have any IP rating, so we don’t know if its water and dust resistant or not. Some of you may say this is not an issue but trust me if you’ve used a Samsung that’s water safe you’ll know how necessary this feature is, so don’t go playing with your device in or around the pool.

A lot of people complain about notification being poor on Xiaomi phones. Well you just must do some work on changing certain settings to have all your notification come in real-time. The link below shows you how you can fix Xiaomi’s notification issues.

Fix Push Notifications Issues On Xiaomi’s MIUI

Conclusion

In conclusion, this device is unbelievably good. Considering its price and what you’re getting, it’ll be quite hard justifying why you should spend more money on a $900 – $1k phone when you can pick up the Xiaomi Mi 8 for less than $500.

As for ratings I’ll give it;

  • 4 out of 5 for Camera
  • 4 out of 5 for Software
  • 4 out of 5 for Battery
  • 4 out of 5 for design
  • 4.4 out of 5 for communication
  • 4.7 out of 5 for Performance

So this device has an overall score of 25.1 out of 30. That’s 83.6%.

If you would like to buy this device. You can make your purchases here or here

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