Xiaomi unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Mi 8 at its annual product launch in Shenzhen, China on May 31. The Chinese technology company also introduced the Mi 8 Explorer Edition and Mi 8 SE smartphones; the latter is a smaller and more budget-friendly variant of the Mi 8.
Xiaomi Mi 8 is the first smartphone from the company to feature a notch-style display. While the Mi 8 Explorer edition comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor, Xiaomi also touts this as the first Android phone in the world to use 3D face recognition technology. Meanwhile, the smaller Mi 8 SE is the first phone in the industry to carry Qualcomm’s brand-new Snapdragon 710 platform designed for mid-ranging smartphones.
Let us take a look at how the latest Mi 8 phones compare with each other in terms of price and specifications.
Xiaomi Mi 8 vs Mi 8 Explorer Edition vs Mi 8 SE: Design and display
Mi 8 features a four-way curved glass back panel with aluminium chassis. At the front, it flaunts a near-bezel less display with a notch to house the front camera and other Infrared sensors. The Mi 8 Explorer and the Mi 8 SE carry similar design as the standard Mi 8 version. However, the Explorer edition has a see-through (transparent) glass panel that makes the phone’s appearance standout compared to the other two variants.
Coming to the display, all the three Mi 8 smartphones sport AMOLED displays from Samsung. Both the Mi 8 and the Mi 8 Explorer edition feature a tall 6.2-inch full HD+ display with a resolution of 2248 x 1080 pixels. Mi 8 has an aspect ratio of 18.7:9 and a screen-to-body ratio of 88.5 per cent. Mi 8 Explorer Edition has a screen-to-body ratio of 83.8 per cent. In contrast, the Mi 8 SE comes with a slightly smaller 5.88-inch display with similar pixel resolution like the Mi 8. The screen-to-body ratio is 81.3 per cent.
Xiaomi Mi 8 vs Mi 8 Explorer Edition vs Mi 8 SE: Camera
In terms of optics, both the Mi 8 and Mi 8 Explorer edition carry vertically stacked dual-rear camera modules combining 12MP sensors each. The camera on the Mi 8 and its Explorer Edition comes with dual-LED flash support and include 2x optical zoom, 4-axis OIS, dual-pixel autofocus, AI portraits and AI scene detection.
The camera pair comprises of a 12MP primary wide-angle lens with f/1.8 aperture and OIS, while the secondary telephoto lens has f/2.4 aperture. The AI scene detection on the smartphones are capable of tweaking contrast, white balance, and other camera settings depending on the environment and lighting. The AI Portrait mode is meant to add depth of field effect to the images.
Mi 8 SE also flaunts a dual-AI camera on the back, but it packs a 12MP sensor and a 5MP secondary sensor, instead of the two 12MP units found on the higher-end variants. It comes with f/1.9 aperture and includes portrait mode, HDR mode, panorama mode and facial recognition. It offers AI-driven features like business card recognition, intelligent translation, etc which are present on the Mi 8 and its Explorer edition as well.
As for the front-facing camera, all three smartphones in the Mi 8 lineup sport a 20MP sensor. The front camera features options like AI background bokeh, beautification mode, 3D beauty, etc. The big difference is that the Mi 8’s front camera also gets the support of an Infrared sensor to boost the facial recognition, which Xiaomi claims will work in the dark and cannot be fooled by photos. Coming to the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, this one gets 3D facial recognition with the help of a Dot Projector, Illuminator, etc to support the feature.
Xiaomi Mi 8 vs Mi 8 Explorer Edition vs Mi 8 SE: Processor, battery and memory
Mi 8 and Mi Explorer Edition are powered by Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor, which is the Snapdragon 845. The CPU is paired with Adreno 630 GPU. The budget Xiaomi Mi 8 SE is powered by the newly announced Snapdragon 710 mobile platform. The new processor is said to deliver a 30 per cent battery consumption improvement compared to Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC. The octa-core chipset is paired with Adreno 616 GPU.
In terms of RAM and storage, Mi 8 carries 6GB RAM paired with three storage configuration- 64GB, 128GB and 256GB inbuilt storage. The Explorer Edition has 8GB RAM paired with 128GB inbuilt storage. Meanwhile, Mi 8 SE has two RAM/storage options, which are 4GB RAM+64GB storage and 6GB RAM+64GB storage. As for the battery, the flagship Mi 8 packs a 3,400mAh battery underneath its glass back panel. The Mi 8 Explorer Edition, carries a slightly smaller 3,000mAh battery. Finally, Mi 8 SE has a battery backup 3,120mAh.
Xiaomi Mi 8 vs Mi 8 Explorer Edition vs Mi 8 SE: Software and other features
On the software front, the new Xiaomi Mi 8 series run Android Oreo layered on the company’s newly released custom ROM, MIUI 10. The new MIUI skin is said to bring a host of improvements, including AI-driven features.
But while the Mi 8, Mi 8 Explorer Edition and Mi 8 SE embrace the latest MIUI 10 custom ROM based on Android Oreo, each phone also comes with some unique features that differentiate them from one another. For starters, Xiaomi Mi 8 supports dual frequency GPS navigation for accurate location tracking. On the other hand, Mi 8 Explorer Edition features 3D face unlock similar to iPhone X’s Face ID. The phone has an in-display fingerprint sensor as well, but it is the industry first to come with pressure sensitivity.
Xiaomi Mi 8 vs Mi 8 Explorer Edition vs Mi 8 SE: Price and availability
Xiaomi Mi 8 has a price starting at Yuan 2,699 (around Rs 28,000) for the 6GB RAM/64GB variant. The 6GB/128GB model carries a price of Yuan 2,999 (Rs 31,000), while the 6GB/256GB model will retail for Yuan 3,299 (around Rs 34,000). Mi 8 SE is priced at Yuan 1,799 (nearly Rs 18,900) for the 4GB RAM/64GB storage version and Yuan 1,999 (nearly Rs 21,100) for the 6GB RAM/64GB storage model. Both the Mi 8 and Mi 8 SE will be available for purchase in China starting on June 5 and June 8 respectively.
The higher variant, Mi 8 Explorer Edition will come at a cost of Yuan 3,699 (around Rs 38,500) and it will be available at a later date. Xiaomi has not shared any detail regarding the availability of smartphone in global markets including India.