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Xiaomi Mi 8 Unboxing and First Impressions

Xiaomi's current top-of-the-line handset is the Mi 8. It is positioned as the do it all smartphone with an affordable price tag.
Xiaomi Mi 8 Unboxing and First Impressions
Xiaomi Mi 8

How? It arrived with flagship worthy metal and glass construction, the speediest mobile processor on a phone yet (Snapdragon 845), high rated dual cameras at DxOMark, and a new meaning innovation (dual-frequency GPS).

The Mi 8 has two variants, the 6GB RAM/64GB ROM model for PHP 25,990 and the 8GB RAM/128GB ROM variant for PHP 27,990.

For this particular review, we have the lower-end 6GB RAM/64GB ROM model.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Specs

Display: 6.21-inch 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 5 protected AMOLED screen w/ FHD+ 2248 x 1080 resolution at 402 ppi
CPU: 2.8GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 630
ROM: 64GB/128GB
Back Camera: 12MP f/1.8 Sony IMX363 sensor + 12MP f/2.4 Samsung S5K3M3 sensor w/ Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, AF, AI, and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 20MP f/2.0 w/ AI portraits
Battery: 3,400mAh w/ Quick Charge 4+
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo w/ MIUI 9.5
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), dual 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5, NFC, FM Radio, OTG, dual-frequency GPS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C, IR face unlock, Colors: black, blue, gold, white
Dimensions: 154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6 mm
Weight: 177 g
Price: PHP 25,990 (6GB RAM/64GB ROM), PHP 27,990 (8GB RAM/128GB ROM)



The Mi 8 arrived with the familiar black box with a big number 8 text in front. After opening the box, you will see all the phone itself together with the inclusions.

It include the adaptive fast USB wall charger, USB to micro USB data/charging cable, USB Type-C to 3.5 mm adapter, black translucent case, and SIM ejector tool.

Like all smartphones in the market, it has a user guide inside. Again, it has no free earphones inside.

We hope that Xiaomi will include one in the future. Nearly all the other top Android brands at will give you that nice-to-have freebies except for Xiaomi.

Build Quality/Design

Beautiful 2.5D curved back design, vertically aligned dual camera setup, and fingerprint scanner at the back
Beautiful 2.5D curved back design, vertically aligned dual camera setup, and fingerprint scanner at the back

The materials used by Xiaomi feels premium. Like other high-end smartphones, the Mi 8 is made out of a 3D glass back panel, sturdy metal frame, and 2.5D curved glass display. Everything is well refined and it has no sharp edges.

The materials used by Xiaomi feels premium!

Xiaomi even boasts that the glass back and front of the phone has Corning's Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It is designed to survive up to 1.6-meter high drops 80 percent of the time.

However, glass is glass. Be careful not to drop your phone. Put a case to be sure.

It has no water resistance as well. It can survive water splashes based on my actual usage though.
Microphone on top
Microphone on top
Mic, USB Type-C port, and speaker below
Mic, USB Type-C port, and speaker below
Hybrid tray at left
Hybrid tray at left
Power button and volume rocker at right
Power button and volume rocker at right

The design of the Mi 8 looks premium despite its low asking price for the specs. To be honest, it is nice to know that Xiaomi made sure that the Mi 8 can keep up with the more expensive flagships. There are very few smartphone makers that has the ability and the will to do something like this.

Good looks, like other flagship devices!

It is also slim and not that big even if it has a large 6.21-inch panel. It also has small bezels on the side like most modern smartphones today. It boasts an 18.7:9 screen aspect ratio and an impressive 88.5 percent screen-to-body ratio.

The chin bezel is thicker than the side bezels, but it is slimmer than the what you will see with mid-range 18:9 phones and even some flagship smartphones. In particular, it is even slimmer than what we saw with the P20 Pro.

The notch is a bigger than expected though. It houses the earpiece, infrared face unlock, sensor, and the 20MP f/2.0 selfie shooter. Its a minor thing though.

Fortunately, like the POCOPHONE F1, it has an option where you can hide the notch.

On the top, you'll see a microphone. Below, it has another microphone. You will also see USB Type-C port and single speaker there. The hybrid SIM/microSD card tray is at left and the power button and volume rocker is located at right.

It has a vertically aligned dual camera behind like the iPhone X. The fingerprint scanner in the middle back portion of the phone.

I have few gripes though. First, it has no 3.5 mm headphone jack slot anymore (Sadly, just like other flagship devices). Second, the glass back panel of the phone is prone to fingerprint smudges. Third, it is slippery without the case.

But for the price, those minor things won't change the fact that the phone looks great.

Initial findings

TOP NOTCH scores!
TOP NOTCH scores!

1. The Mi 8 is a legit premium handset. It is one of the better looking device for its price. Build is above average. The AMOLED screen is big and bright. It has good color reproduction with great contrast.

2. As expected, it has 2018 flagship worthy performance. It got a whopping score of 267K at AnTuTu benchmark. It also has large 6GB of RAM by default. The difference between 6GB RAM/8GB RAM is not that big. But, if you can get the 8GB RAM variant, go for it as it'll come with bigger 128GB ROM.

It also has 
3,400mAh of battery with Quick Charge 4+ support. The battery size is a little above-average. The fast charging tech is exciting. It has no Quick Charge 4+ charger out of the box though.

3. It loads with Android 8.1 Oreo based MIUI 9.5 out of the box. Like other Xiaomi devices, the UI is clean and user friendly. Xiaomi promised that it will be updated to MIUI 10 soon.

4. At the back, it has a 12MP f/1.8 Sony IMX363 sensor + 12MP f/2.4 Samsung S5K3M3 sensor. It also has Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, AF, AI, and LED flash. The AI is for scene detection, portraits, and face beauty. It got a whopping 99 overall score at DxOMark which is on the same league with the Galaxy S9+ of Samsung.

In our first few camera samples, it can shoot natural looking photos with a lot of details. It is flagship grade, but not on the level of the Galaxy S9+ to our eyes.

For selfies, it is one of the better selfie phones by Xiaomi. It has a 20MP f/2.0 sensor with AI portraits.

5. The dual-frequency GPS is interesting. It is very accurate when I'm using Grab, Waze, or Google Maps. As expected, it has WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), dual 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5, NFC, FM Radio, OTG, and, dual SIM slots. It also has an LED light indicator on the notch.

Related: Xiaomi Mi 8: First Camera Samples

As of the moment

So far, the Mi 8 is of one of the best all-around smartphone for the price. For us, it has the build/design, specs, and cameras that can compete with other flagship phones almost 2x its price.

Please watch out for our full review.
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