I’ve spent more than 20 days with the Xiaomi Mi 8, using it as my primary – which left my Pixel 2 XL in the dark. I’ve used it heavily and very lightly, and I must say, I am extremely impressed.
I’m so impressed that I dare to say that if you are someone who actually likes Xiaomi’s take on Android with their own custom User Interface, this might even be a better choice than the Pixel 2 XL – and it’s a lot cheaper too.
But lets not get to the conclusions just yet, and lets talk about the design.
The design… well, it looks hell of a lot like the iPhone X when compared with it side by side – and even without it. You can clearly tell that Xiaomi was inspired by the Apple design on both the front and back, including even the new trendy notch on the top of the device – more on that later.
Overall, the Mi 8 is slightly larger than the iPhone X and it has a curved glass back and an aluminium frame that is very comfortable to hold and use in one hand. The back glass is extremely slippery and it’s a fingerprint magnet, but at least its shiny and looks really great.
I like the design, but I really do think Xiaomi could have put slightly more effort into making it a little more unique to their branding – maybe on the Mi 8S we will see some tweaks and improvements.
HARDWARE & SPECIFICATIONS
- The internals are as fresh as it can get, it’s powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset with 6GB of RAM and has storage options of 64/128 and 256GB options with no SD Card support.
- The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and it’s a massive 6.2” FHD+ Super AMOLED panel that offers vibrant and overall very pleasing colours.
- The camera on the back is a dual shooter at 12MP and the selfie on front is 20MP.
- My unit runs MUI 9.5 Stable with Android 8,1 on top of it
- It has NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 and an 3.5mm adapter inside the box and a USB-C port.
- Sadly at this price, Xiaomi was unable to provide any IPXX rating for this device, so it is certainly not recommended to take it anywhere near water or dusty environments.
- The battery is 3400 mAh and it even managed to perform better than my Pixel 2 XL
- I’ve used the Mi 8 all day and night for 2 weeks and in that period, it has never let me down – it has always worked very fast and very smooth, and it never showed any signs of sluggish experience, although a few glitches in the software were apparent at times – that’s something an update can easily fix though – but more on that later.
As mentioned previously, the display is a 6.2” Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 1080 by 2248 (~402 ppi). I am very used to QHD displays by now, although I have only noticed that this is perhaps not as sharp as my Pixel 2 XL – it never let me down and provided excellent viewing angles, deep blacks and pleasing colours when watching movies or just browsing the web.
I think it’s worth noting that the night filter could be tricky at times, so when it turned on at night, the screen become way too vibrant for my liking when I played games – so I had to tweak it many times to find the sweet spot. Even after tweaking it, I just wasn’t pleased with the filter itself as I did not feel like it provided the best yellow colour to my likings, so I often ended up turning the feature off altogether.
The additional features to turn off the notch worked great, when it was properly supported both in the system and third party apps. After seeing how badly it was handled in many popular applications, I ended up disabling it – that provided a much better support overall, as the top of the display wasn’t cut off. Recently, I’ve received a few updates that improved it by a lot, so Xiaomi is clearly working hard on giving it a much needed support.
The gesture navigation was brilliant with great little animations, although it prevented me from using Google Assistant when I most needed it – sure, I could have just trigger it by saying the key phrase, but I often prefer to long-press a button to get it up and running – sadly the long press combination is only an option if you use the on-screen navigation buttons.
Call quality is excellent and some people even heard me better than on my Pixel 2 XL. The earpiece is a little tricky and a little small, I found that I needed a good 3 days to get used to its exact placement as otherwise, I was unable to hear the other person during a call.
The Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G connectivity worked as expected and they all were reliable, stable and as fast as they can get with my speeds.
I have also tried out Google Maps to navigate from point A to B and as you would expect it, it was just as reliable as on any other devices – not a single issue, so you will most likely not get lost.
Performance wise, I have never come across any issues whatsoever. It was always butter smooth, and at times, it even felt faster than my Pixel 2 XL. Scrolling and multitasking worked really great too, it never showed any signs of slowing down.
I have tried out a few graphics intensive games, and they all worked really well (as seen in the review video) – though a few hiccups did occur, mainly upon loading screens and in the menus which did not cause any issues while playing.
The battery is fairly large at 3400 mAh and it even supports Quick Charge 4.0. Charging was very fast, but luckily, I didn’t have to charge the Mi 8 too often as it’s incredibly well optimised and I usually had an average screen on time of about 4,5-5 hours with my usual applications: the list includes playing Clash of Clans a little bit, using Twitter and Facebook, watching videos and movies on Amazon and YouTube as well as using Facebook Messenger and a few others.
I was extremely surprised by the battery results and it even beat my Pixel 2 XL – which I expected to win by a small amount. If you want a phone that can handle a lot of tasks and allow you to play some games on the go, this is a solid choice for you.