Is it any surprise that Apple is losing sales momentum in China when the country is producing so many amazing phones of its own? The Xiaomi Mi 8 is the perfect example. But, Xiaomi Mi 8 Is It Really a Cracking Phone Review
A sub-£450 smartphone with an excellent camera, powerful components and flagship design.
Xiaomi Mi 8 Build:
One key shared ingredient is Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 845 processor. This is one of the fastest chips you’ll find in an Android phone, as the graphs on p72 show, the Honor View 20, with its Kirin 980, edges ahead of the Xiaomi Mi 8 in Geek bench 4, but don’t get hung up on that.
On both phones, I found that Android – and every app I used on it – ran so smoothly. it made silk look rough. It’s the same in games, with the Adreno 630 chipset more than a match for any modern title.
Xiaomi Mi 8 Screen & UI:
That’s true even when you’re playing at the 6.2in screen’s native 1,080 x 2,248 resolution – but that does bring me to my least favourite aspect of the Mi 8’s design, namely the notch.
It doesn’t help that we now have the Honor View 20 to compare it to, but even last year it would have been hard to ignore a black block covering half of the pixels on the top row.
Still, Xiaomi keeps the number of icons at the top of the screen to a minimum, with just the phone signal, Wi-Fi strength and battery life indicators appearing at the top right, and the clock at the top left.
This is part of Xiaomi’s simplified MIUI overlay, which is currently built on Android 8.1 rather than Android 9, and of which I’m not a fan. It’s one of those overlays that makes you wonder why companies insist on creating their own UI when the stock Google experience is clearly better.
Also note that while you get 64GB of onboard storage, there’s no way of expanding it. After a few months of downloading greedy apps and shooting snaps and videos, you may find yourself having to think about housekeeping. How boring?
Xiaomi Mi 8 Camera & Photography:
Photography is one of this phone’s strengths. Selfie fans will love the 20-megapixel front camera, with its AI-powered beauty enhancements and bokeh effects, while the rear camera produces some of the best pictures you’ll see from any sub-£500 phone.
It even performs better in low light than the OnePlus 6T, with cleaner images, and a high DxOMark score of 105. Even better, a secondary rear camera lets you effectively zoom in to 2x.
However, while we know that resolution isn’t everything – see our feature on p38 – be aware that the Mi 8 only has a 12-megapixel resolution, so 4,032 x 3,024 is as large as your images are going to get.
The Mi 8’s video specs are also slightly restrained:
while it’s capable of shooting stabilized 4K video, the frame rate only goes up to 30fps, rather than the 60fps of the OnePlus 6T.
Indeed, you’re restricted to 30fps at 1080p too, so if you’re hoping to shoot a Turner Prize-winning epic you might want to look elsewhere.
Near to the lenses at the back of the phone there’s a fingerprint reader. beyond that, the design is bereft of any visual enhancements.
This is one area where the Mi 8 Pro stands out, with its stylised X-ray view of the components, on the regular Mi 8, all you have to look at is your fingerprints, which are especially visible thanks to the modern glass-style back.
You may be tempted to cover it up with the plastic back protector that comes in the box, whether you do or not, the Mi 8 looks plain next to the View 20 and other rivals.
On the plus side, the screen is a bright AMOLED panel, which reproduced 100% of the sRGB gamut in our tests.
However, while AMOLED technology can help extend battery life (as black pixels don’t use any power), the Mi 8 only lasted a mediocre 12hrs 40mins in our video rundown tests – an especially disappointing performance when you note that the phone uses a 3,400mAh battery.
At least the Mi 8 supports Quick Charge 4, which promises to get you recharged up to four times faster than standard charging.
So where does this leave the Mi 8? For the price it’s a very impressive phone, the big problem is the competition.
It’s not just up against the OnePlus 6T and Honor View 20, which both cost £90 more, but it also has to contend with the cheaper Pocophone F1 – which offers the same performance, twice the storage and a camera that’s almost as good for £349.
The F1’s IPS panel isn’t as colourful, but it’s still a lovely 6.2in display. Unless you’re really sold on AMOLED’s benefits, it makes sense to save the £70, skip the Mi 8 and buy the Pocophone instead.
Xiaomi Mi 8 is a cracking phone with a big AMOLED screen and blistering speed But, there’s tough compition in market.
The selfie fans will love the 20 megapixel front camera, with its beauty enhancements and bokeh effects.
If you want the above two features them you must go for Xiaomi Mi 8 otherwise we thing PocoPhone F1 is also a better choice.
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