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Xiaomi Mi 8 Unboxing, Quick Review: The Budget Flagship You Were Waiting For?

We unbox Xiaomi’s Mi 8!

Right at the tail end of Xiaomi’s official Redmi 6/6A announcement a few days ago was a surprise: the Mi 8 was coming to the Philippines. The company’s flagship smartphone for 2018 was slated to arrive at the end of the month, along with an almost unbelievable price of Php 25,990 for the 6GB/64GB variant of the smartphone. At that price point, the Mi 8 easily becomes the most affordable Snapdragon 845-equipped flagship in the land, beating out its rivals by nearly 4K.

Today we managed to get our hands on a retail box from China to unbox to show you exactly what you’ll be getting once you cop your own and what to expect from the phone once it’s in our stores.

What’s in the box?

The Mi 8 comes in a black box with the large number 8 written on the front, telling everyone exactly what you bought. Take off the top, and you’ll see the carton sleeve (which we hope will be in English for local purchases) that contains the USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter and silicone case, as well as the SIM ejector and documentation.

Rummaging further, you’ll see the actual phone, the USB Type-C cable, and charger. Xiaomi doesn’t include headphones in units that they sell, and that’s true for the high-end range as well.

What is it?

The Mi 8 is Xiaomi’s latest flagship, and comes in different varieties – the regular Mi 8, the Mi 8 Explorer edition which is similar to the Mi 8 but with a glass back, and the Mi 8 SE which is a cheaper, smaller variant with the 5.88-inch display. Right now Xiaomi has only committed to the 6GB version of the regular Mi 8 in 64GB and 128GB storage capacities and has not shared firm plans whether the two other versions will arrive in the country.

How does it feel?

It feels freakin’ great. Granted the phone looks quite a bit like Apple’s iPhone X, but to be fair what phone doesn’t nowadays? Anyway, the phone does look pretty dope with its glass back and looks especially awesome with the blue coloration that came with our review unit.

The phone really does look striking in person, and while it’s not as dazzling as the funky-colored P20 Pro, it’s still an awesomely pretty smartphone.

The fingerprint scanner is located on the rear of the phone, along with the dual 12-megapixel cameras stacked vertically. Since we’re on the subject, Xiaomi has opted for a wide-angle and zoom combination for the cameras. Both cameras have 12-megapixel sensors, with the wide-angle camera sporting a f/1.8 aperture lens and the zoom camera having 2x optical zoom plus a f/2.4 aperture lens. There’s also AI incorporated in the camera as well, which basically means the phone can recognize whatever you’re shooting at and adjust the settings of the camera for the best picture possible.

On the front is the 6.21-inch AMOLED display plus a notch. While the notch on the top is a little bigger than most other phones, it also has an IR camera which allows it to read your face and unlock the phone even in the dark.

And if you don’t like seeing that notch, know that there’s an option to turn it off in the software settings by putting two black bars on either side of it.

What makes the Mi 8 really special is that it runs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 flagship processor. That’s paired with 6GB of RAM, and for the Philippines, a choice of either 64GB or 128GB of storage. That makes the phone the cheapest currently in the market running that particular processor, with the nearest competitor priced around 4K higher.

The phone feels quick and is extremely fast, and is capable of running literally any app or game that’s available to download now on Google Play. The phone does run MIUI on top of Android 8.1, but honestly, it’s not that difficult to adapt.

Xiaomi is releasing the Mi 8 on July 30, in the authorized Mi store. The basic 6GB/64GB version is priced at Php 25,990, while the higher capacity 6GB/128GB variant is priced at Php 27,990.

Xiaomi Mi 8 specs

  • AI-Powered Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6GB/8GB RAM
  • 6.21-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display, 18:7.9 aspect ratio, support for DCI-P3, 60000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 64GB/128GB/256GB of non-expandable storage
  • Dual 12-megapixel rear cameras (main camera with f/1.8 aperture, telephoto camera with f/2.4 aperture) with 1.4um pixels, 4-axis OIS, 2X optical zoom, Dual Pixel Autofocus, dual-tone flash, AI scene detection and AI portrait
  • 20-megapixel f/2.0 front camera with 1.8um pixels, AI Portrait, AI Beauty
  • Dual SIM, with 4G LTE, LTE-A
  • Dual Frequency GPS, GLONASS
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
  • ¬†Fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C port, Infrared Face Unlock
  • 3400mAh battery with QuickCharge 4.0
  • Android Oreo with MIUI 10

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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