How Xiaomi Mi 8 fare against the OnePlus 6, Apple iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and the Huawei P20 Pro

At its 8th anniversary celebrations Xiaomi announced a brand new smartphone called the Mi 8. The Xiaomi Mi 8 outpaces its currently available flagship, the Mi Mix 2S, which was more focussed on the design rather than featuring some innovative tech when compared to the first Mi Mix.

At the same keynote, Xiaomi founder, Lei Jun also announced a smaller Mi 8 SE, which comes with slightly toned down specifications.

As for the Mi 8, it will be available in three RAM and storage variants, a 6 GB RAM + 64 GB storage version at CNY 2,699 (roughly Rs 28,000), a 6 GB RAM + 128 GB variant and the top of the line option that comes with 6 GB + 256 GB internal storage at CNY 3,299 (roughly Rs 34,000).

Then there is also the more interesting variant of the Xiaomi Mi 8 called the ‘Explorer Edition’.

The Mi 8 Explorer Edition adds an under display fingerprint reader and 3D face unlock capabilities using structured light to analyse face patterns in 3D. The device also comes with 8 GB RAM which is the highest of the lot, but pairs that with 128 GB of storage. All of this hardware is now actually visible to the naked eye, thanks to its transparent rear glass screen. The Mi 8 Explorer Edition is also the most expensive Xiaomi smartphone available at CNY 3,799 (roughly Rs 40,000). So yes, this is quite the jump from the standard stuff we have seen from the Chinese smartphone maker so far.

So how all of this hardware fare against the current “flagship killer”, the OnePlus 6? Moreover, how does the Xiaomi Mi 8 compare with the premium flagships from Apple, Samsung and Huawei? Let’s first glance through a specifications comparison of the same in the table below.

SmartphoneXiaomi Mi 8/ Explorer EditionOnePlus 6Samsung S9+Huawei P20 ProApple iPhone X
Display Size (inch)
Resolution (pixels)1,080 x 2,2481,080 x 2,2801,440 x 2,9601,080 x 2,2442,436 x 1,125
Pixel Density (PPI)402402529408458
Dimensions(mm)154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5155 x 73.9 x 7.8143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7
Weight (gm)175177189180174
Dual SIMYesYesYes (Variant)YesNo
SIM TypeNano-SIMNano-SIMNano-SIMNano-SIMNano-SIM
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845Qualcomm Snapdragon 845Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Exynos 9810Hisilicon Kirin 970A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture
CPU CoresOcta-coreOcta-coreOcta-core, Octa-coreOcta-coreHexa-core
CPU Clock Speed (GHz)4×2.8 GHz Kryo 385 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 3854×2.8 GHz Kryo 385 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 3854x Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.7 & 4x Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.7 and 4x Mongoose M3 @ 2.8 & 4x Cortex A55 @ 1.74x Cortex-A73 @ 2.4 GHz & 4x Cortex-A53 @1.8 GHzHexa-core 4 x effieciency cores + 2 Performance cores
GPUAdreno 630Adreno 630Adreno 630, Mali G72 MP18Mali-G72 MP12
RAM6, 8 (Explorer)6, 8663
RuggednessIP68IP 67IP67 under IEC standard 60529
On-Board Memory64, 128, 25664, 128, 256 (Avengers)64, 128, 25612864 GB, 256
Expandable MemoryNoNoYes, up to 256Yes, up to 256No
SensorsFace ID (Explorer), fingerprint (rear-mounted), under-display fingeprint (Explorer), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, barometer, compassFingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compassIris scanner, fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, Heart-rate, SpO2Fingerprint Reader, Gravity Proximity, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, CompassFace ID
Three-axis gyro
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Primary Camera12 MP, f/1.8 + 12 MP f/2.416 MP, f/1.7 and 20 MP, f/1.712MP, f/1.5-2.4, 12 MP f/2.4 52 mm40 MP f/1.8, 20 MP f/1.6 and 8 MP f/2.412 MP wide-angle f/1.8 aperture,
telephoto f/2.4 aperture
Optical Image StabilizationYesYesYesYes (for 40 MP)Yes
Camera ArrayDual CameraDual CameraDual CameraTriple CameraDual Camera
Autofocus SystemDual pixel, phase detection autofocusPhase detection autofocusPhase detectionPhase detection and laser autofocusAutofocus with Focus Pixels
Secondary Camera20 MP16 MP8MP, f/1.724 MP, f/2.07 MP, f/2.2
Video Capture1080p @30 fps, 2160p @ 60 fps720p @480 fps, 1080p @ 60 fps, 2160p @ 60 fps4K, 720p 960 fps, HDR4K (30fps)4K upto 60 fps
OS VersionAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 8.0 OreoAndroid 8.1 Oreo-based EMUI 8.1iOS 11
AI (Smart Assistant)Google AssistantGoogle AssistantYes, BixbyGoogle AssistantSiri
Wi-FiWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspotWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, DLNA, hotspotWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, HotspotWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz + 5GHz, Wi-Fi hotspot802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO
Bluetooth5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX HD5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX HDv5.0, A2DP, LE, aptXv4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR, aptX HDv5.0
Fingerprint ScannerYes, Rear button/ Under displayYes, Rear buttonYes, Rear buttonYes, Home buttonNo
3.5mm jackNoYesYesNoNo
RadioNoNoYes, FM RadioYes, FM RadioNo
USB TypeType-C 1.0 reversible connectorType-C 1.0 reversible connectorType-C Reversible connectorType-C reversibleReversible connector
USB StandardUSB v2.0USB v2.0USB 3.1USB v3.1Lightning
Battery (mAh)3,4003,3003,5004,0002,716
Fast chargingYesYesYesYesYes
ColorsBlue, Black, White, GoldMidnight Black, Mirror Black, Silk WhiteMidnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, Lilac PurpleTwilight, Black, Midnight Blue, Pink GoldSpace Grey, Silver
Prices in IndiaTBA (estimated Rs 31,000)Starting at Rs 34,999Rs 64,900Rs 64,999Rs 89,000 onwards

From what we can see, the Xiaomi Mi 8 does offer good value for money. It’s arch rival will be the OnePlus 6, even though founder Lei Jun, took a lot of pride in comparing the device with Apple’s iPhone X and the Huawei P20 Pro.

While I have used both the P20 Pro and the Galaxy S9 Plus, both of these smartphones belong to the premium price range and deliver stunning image quality keeping in mind their high price tags that also deliver features like water and dust resistance. Both smartphones performed admirably well in our reviews so we will have to wait and see how the new Mi 8 stacks up when it comes to camera performance.

Going purely by the specifications on paper (the table above), Xiaomi does offer plenty of hardware at a low price, with its only competitor being the OnePlus 6.

While it is a bit disappointing that the device does feature a notch after resisting it on previously released smartphones. I would give Xiaomi some credit because it has packed in something more in terms of the infrared face unlock technology (3D Face unlock on the Explorer Edition), something that is rare in this price range.

If we compare the OnePlus 6 with the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, things look even worse for the "flagship killer”, as it packs in both an under display fingerprint reader (like on the Vivo X21 UD) and a more advanced 3D face unlock technology.

And I haven’t even started with the fancy, new MIUI 10 software update that comes with Android 8.1 inside! Indeed, the Mi 8 appears to be winner given the new technologies that it has included in its new flagship. OnePlus used its old formula to deliver the best OnePlus ever, but then again forgot that competition is working on OnePlus killers too.

All of a sudden, it now appears that despite OnePlus’s efforts with the OnePlus 6, Chinese manufacturers are bringing in their A game this year and Xiaomi’s showcase of new technologies is only the beginning.

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