Xiaomi Mi 8 has all the features of a premium phone at a fraction of the price, writes Nur Zarina Othman

PHONES with premium features do not need to be expensive, and Xiaomi has proven this with a number of devices, including the new Mi 8.

Running on Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, the latest purpose-built processor for mobile devices, the Mi 8 is capable of performing some heavy, number-crunching tasks, as well as switching between multiple apps with almost no lag.

The chip also supports new architecture for artificial intelligence (AI) and immersive virtual reality programs.

OVERVIEW

This ultra-thin phone has a curved body that covers all four sides of the screen. Its glass body has a nice feel to it and gives a solid feel to the 175g phone.

In terms of display, the Mi 8’s 6.21-inch AMOLED full-screen display offers high contrast colour images with a wide colour gamut. This, coupled with a whooping 2248x1080 resolution, makes the colour display crisp and life like.

PHOTOGRAPHY

The Mi 8 is furnished with 12MP + 12MP AI dual camera that has optical zoom.

The camera scores in DxOMark photo test with a total mark of 105.

The camera has a pixel size 1.4um, which is large and normally found in premium smartphones. This results in brighter pictures and better low light performance, making my photos well lighted even thought they were taken in dim environment.

Having the dual camera function is a plus, especially in portrait shots. In this case, the Mi 8 performs brilliantly. Portrait photos taken with the phone look as if they are taken using professional dSLR cameras.

Since the camera in the Mi 8 is reliable and can produce good and detailed photos, I have no problem leaving my DSLR camera at home.

Having AI on board is also a plus as the phone is able to adjust its settings based on the scene you’re looking at.

Its AI scenescape photography will intelligently detect 206 scenes where the AI camera can distinguish scenes and automatically adjust exposure, saturation and other optimisations that can help ensure perfect exposure almost all the time.

I took the phone while on vacation in Seoul, South Korea, recently and am extremely happy with the quality of the photos.


FROM top: A photo taken using Portrait mode for bokeh effect and crisp shadow image; This photo was taken from one of the exits at Bukcheong Palace in Seoul where the lighting was limited inside the exit and bright outside the gate; The AI scenescape feature on Mi 8 can detect 206 scenes.

VIDEOS

I always get carried away while recording videos on my phone but I always have to edit them so that they look good on social media.

Well, the good news is that the Mi 8 comes with AI short video editing suitable for shooting short videos with ease.

With seven AI-powered effects, I can edit, add music and mix colours to give my videos movie-trailer-worthy effects with instant cinematic quality.

WORTHY FEATURES

The Mi8 also comes with features that matter, such as IR face unlock function, which works great in low light condition, up-to-date USB Type-C reversible connector port for fast charging, dual nano SIM slots, dual frequency GPS and more.

Despite all the great features, I wish that the smartphone comes with not only slow-motion video but also time-lapse function as there are times when I felt I needed this function during my travels.

It’s a trend now that phones don’t come with audio jack anymore, and the same goes for the Mi 8. With the popularity of wireless earbuds, I feel that there is no need to include Type-C to audio converter in the package. Instead, it would be great if Xiaomi can consider offering optional wireless earbuds in its phone package.

In short, the Mi 8 has all it takes to keep you going in this connected social media world, and it costs just RM1,599.