Over the last two generations, Xiaomi has introduced a glass-and-metal design aesthetic with flowing curves and rounded edges that made devices like the Mi 6 stand out. However, Xiaomi is ditching all that with its latest flagship and going back to what it does best: copying Apple.
The company unveiled the Mi 8 in China earlier today, and it's immediately evident that the iPhone X was the "inspiration" for the device. The phone features a full-sized notch at the top of the display, which houses a complement of sensors including the 20MP front camera, proximity sensor, IR lighting module and an infrared lens, and the earpiece. Unlike the iPhone X, however, there's still a prominent bezel at the bottom, making the design asymmetrical.
Xiaomi is offering an IR face unlock feature that works in a similar fashion to FaceID, but it isn't as secure as Apple's implementation or Samsung's iris scanning tech. The phone comes with a 6.21-inch AMOLED FHD+ (2248x1080) panel, and Xiaomi is touting a maximum brightness of 600nits and 88.5% screen-to-body ratio.
The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 845, and Xiaomi is offering dual 12MP + 12MP cameras at the back with AI scene detection. The primary sensor has OIS and large 1.4-micron pixels, and from the specs it looks like the camera is identical to the one featured in the Mi Mix 2S. That bodes well for the Mi 8, as the Mi Mix 2S has one of the best cameras I've used this year.
On the software front, the Mi 8 is running MIUI 10, which comes with a host of new features aimed at China. We'll likely be seeing a global version of the ROM in the coming months.
The front camera is interesting too, as it is a 20MP unit with huge 1.8-micron pixels. There's also a 3400mAh battery that should easily deliver a day's worth of use.
As for the naming convention, Xiaomi says it skipped the Mi 7 and went with the Mi 8 moniker to commemorate its eighth anniversary.
More than any other Android phone I've seen recently, the Mi 8 looks like a blatant copy of the iPhone X, from the notch up front to the orientation of the dual cameras at the back. The design feels like a regression from the likes of the Mi Mix 2, and with Xiaomi now having an official presence in European markets, the Mi 8 doesn't really paint a great picture for the brand as a whole.
The phone will be making its debut in China, and will be sold in three variants: the base model with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will retail for ¥2,699 ($420), the 6GB/128GB option will cost ¥2,999 ($470), and the model with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage will set you back ¥3,299 ($520). That's still less than half the price of true flagships, so if you're in the market for a phone that looks like the iPhone X for around the $500 price point, Xiaomi has you covered.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.