Phones are getting darn expensive this year and we should be smart enough to weigh things that we need versus our budget. There are a lot of phones you can buy for an affordable price but most of them are midrangers.
This is were Xiaomi comes in. Their current flagship, the Xiaomi Mi 8 costs half of the current Android flagships out there but offering most of the flagship features and performance. Is it worth the look? Check out this review.
Xiaomi Mi 8 Specs
- 6.21-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display (1080 x 2248 pixels) 18.7:9 aspect ratio
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-Core processor
- Adreno 630 GPU
- Android 8.1 Oreo with MIUI 10
- 64/128/256GB internal storage
- 6/8GB RAM
- 12 MP (f/1.8 aperture and 4- axis OIS, dual pixel PDAF) + 12 MP (f/2.4 aperture) rear facing cameras with PDAF and LED flash
- 20 megapixel front facing camera (f/2.0 aperture)
- 4G/LTE, Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth 5.0
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS
- Fingerprint Scanner, Face Unlock
- accelerometer, gyro, proximity, barometer, compass
- USB Type C
- 3,300 mAh battery with QuickCharge 4.0+
- Price: P25,990 (6GB RAM/64GB)
Related article – Xiaomi Mi 8 Unboxing and First Impressions
HARDWARE AND DESIGN
We mentioned on our first impressions that Xiaomi copied some of the design cues from their competitors and implement it on their products. It seems the execution was very good. The Mi 8 looks and feels very premium. Surprisingly, it does not attract much fingerprints as expected. We think the oleophobic coating helps with decreasing smudges.
We have two fipes from the hardware – there is no 3.5 mm audio jack and no expandable storage. To us, these are deal breakers. For that, we prefer using the Pocophone F1 more since that phone has both.
As for the display, we have Samsung’s AMOLED panel as a choice for the Mi 8’s display. Colors are vibrant and saturated. Brightness outdoors is also acceptable Well, there’s a notch which is a norm lately but you can hide it as you go to Settings > Full Screen Display > Hide Notch.There is also Always On Display feature which is popular among
Samsung phones. It is turned off by default but you can turn it on via settings.
SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE
Let’s talk performance first. As expected on a flagship phone, it is powered by Qualcomm’s high end Snapdragon 845 processor. It runs like a true flagship, so snappy and handles multitasking very well. As for gaming, titles likes PUBG Mobile and Air Supremacy run smoothly even on high settings.
Now, as for the software, Xiaomi has a thick layer of user interface called MIUI on top. Honestly, it is not our favorite UI for its cartoonish look and iOS vibe. We could only wish Xiaomi could incorporate MIUI with Pocophone’s launcher by adding an app tray. We think that would be great. On the flip side, MIUI is simple and easy to use. You won’t get lost in the settings as everything is laid down properly for you to use. The UI also brings some Android 9.0 Pie vibe with the new notification tray animations and gestures. Though keep in mind that the Mi 8 is still running Android 8.1 Oreo and Xiaomi promised the update to the latest Android version soon.
Xiaomi is not known for its camera tech. But the company tries to change that by improving their optics and camera software. For the Mi 8, we have a dual 12 megapixel camera set up being the second camera is a telephoto one. Photos are much improved compared to their previous model. The company wants to win over selfie lovers with its 20 megapixel camera. AI (artificial intelligence) works very well bumping up the color saturation and exposure depending on the subject you are shooting.
Take a look at some of our sample photos.
With and without AI (artificial intelligence)
Xiaomi covered much of your connectivity needs like – 4G/LTE, WiFi, Bluetooh, fingerprint scanner and face unlock. Calls are great and signal remains stable. WiFi is also stable so as 4G/LTE connectivity. Qualcomm’s LTE radios performs very well on getting a stable signal. Hooray to that!
To keep the phone slim, Xiaomi only put a 3,300 mAh battery on this device. On paper that is small. Good thing we have an energy efficient processor and screen tech. but for a power user like us, the battery is just not enough, we get around 4 hours of screen on time which we consider average. But for the rest of you guys and if you are not power user, the battery might last you a full day at the most.
The Xiaomi is best fit for those who don’t want to spend 50k or more for a phone but still want a premium phone with flagship specs. You will be very happy with its superb performance, nice bright display and good cameras. Though you can also look for its close competition – the ASUS Zenfone 5z for P28,995 and the newly launched OnePlus 6T for Php 31,990. If care not about aesthetics, we strongly recommend you take a look at Mi 8’s flagship cousin, the Pocophone F1.