Xiaomi's new Mi 8 produces portraits that look as through they were taken in the studio
With great performance, a large display and two good-quality cameras, the Mi 8 – the new flagship smartphone from Xiaomi – is powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor and runs at 2.8 GHz. It uses the Qualcomm Adreno 630 GPU 710 MHz for graphics tasks.
The smartphone I was given for the test had 6 gigabytes of working memory or RAM and internal storage of 64GB. Models on the market may differ in terms of RAM and storage size.
The test model was fast and both touchscreen and menus were very responsive. Games and applications ran fast and smoothly while video clips played without any hitches.
I used the AnTuTu Benchmark v7.1.0 to check its performance and wasn’t surprised to see its impressive score of 267,376 points. Compared to the ever-changing database of scores input by users around the world as of August 4, the Mi 8 I tested ranked fourth.
The Mi 8 has fast Internet connection. I tested it on TrueMove H’s LTE 4G network and found that applications downloaded fast and my snapshots were backed up to my Google Photos cloud storage in no time.
I used Ookla Speedtest app to measure the connection speed and here too the Mi 8 did well, achieving a download speed of 63.8 Mbps and an upload speed of 39.0 Mbps.
The Mi 8 comes in a sleek aluminium alloy body that’s ultra-thin and curved on all four sides.
It uses a 6.21-inch Amoled Full Screen display in 18.7:9 ratio and with 2248x1080 resolution. The display has high contrast ratio of 60000:1, making it excellent for viewing photos and watching HD video clips. I thoroughly enjoyed watching new movies from the TrueID TV app on the Mi 8.
DxOMark scores the Mi 8’s camera system high, giving it 105 and ranking it alongside some of the best devices the website has ever tested.
The Mi 8 uses a dual-camera system for achieving beautiful portraits with a professionally blurred background.
The first camera has 12-megapixel resolution with a wide-angle lens and 4-axis optical stabiliser and f/1.8 aperture lens. The second camera also has 12-MP resolution with f/2.4 aperture 2x optical lens with 56mm equivalent focal length. The two cameras use Sony IMX363 image sensor with 1.4 micron-sized pixels.
The information from the two cameras is combined to produce beautiful portrait shots with blurred background, a mode that’s provided automatically for portraits and without an option to adjust the depth of field level.
The rear camera also has auto mode, called Photo, and a Manual mode.
The Photo mode uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) scene detection technology and can detect 25 categories of objects and up to 206 different scenes to optimise shots.
The Mi 8 comes with a 20MP front camera with a “3D Beautify” effect for blurring backgrounds for stunning portraits.
The front camera has powerful analytic capabilities coupled with 1.8 micron large pixel (4-in-1 Super Pixel) technology to produce clearer, brighter selfies. And the newly upgraded 3D Beautify uses AI to blur backgrounds with a single camera. It’s as if each shot is taken in front of a studio canvas.
I used the rear cameras during the test to capture beautiful and clean photos in most lighting environments using Photo mode. And in Portrait mode, it provided beautiful the bokeh effect automatically. I tested the camera in the Chum Sua Cat Cafe and Studio, where the lighting is kept low for the benefit of the dogs and cats that live there but still managed to capture beautiful shots with blurred background in the Portrait mode.
The Manual mode gives you a lot of control. You can set the white balance, set whether to use autofocus, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity and select whether to use the wide or telephoto lens.
The Mi 8 also comes with good security. You can unlock the phone with IR face unlock technology or the rear finger print sensor fast and effectively.
The smartphone plays High Resolution Audio in Flac 24bit/192kHz. I tried it with Sony MDR-1ABT Hi-Res Audio headphones and I found that the sound quality was great with good details of music and powerful bass.
My only complaint is that the Mi 8 does not provide a 3.5mm stereo jack for the headphones. Anyway, the package comes with an adapter to plug into the USB-C port to provide a 3.55mm port.
It partly makes up for this lack by coming with aptX-HD audio for connecting wirelessly to Bluetooth headphones that support this high-definition audio format.
It also supports dual-frequency GPS, allowing it to provide highly accurate location. The battery is a gratifyingly large 3,400 mAh that can survive a day’s use and supports Quick Charge 4+ technology.
Xiaomi Mi 8 with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage retails for Bt15,990 while the 128GB version goes for Bt17,990.
>> Networks: GSM/CDMA/HSPA/LTE
>> OS: Android 8.1
>> CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core 2.5 GHz processors
>> Memory: 6GB LPDDR4
>> Storage: 64GB UFS, expandable with microSD
>> Display: 6.21-inch AMOLED display with 2248 x 1080 FHD+, 402 PPI
>> Cameras: Dual rear camera: 12MP wide-angle lens, 4-axis optical stabiliser, f/1.8 and 12MP telephoto lens, portrait lens, f/2.4; 20MP front camera with 3D Beautify effective
>>Security: IR face unlock, rear fingerprint sensor
>> Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac supporting MU-MIMO; Bluetooth 5.0, dual-frequency GPS
>> Sensors: Proximity sensor, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Electronic compass, Vibration motor, Barometer, Hall sensor
>> Battery: 3400 mAh, support Quick Charge 4+
>> Dimensions: 154.9x74.8x7.6mm
>> Weight: 175g