Xiaomi Mi 8 Flagship Brings Snapdragon 845, 3D Face Unlock And Transparency Tricks

Xiaomi Mi 8

Among a bevy of product announcements during a press event in Senzhen, China today, Xiaomi unveiled its newest flagship Android phone line, the Mi 8, Mi 8 SE, and Mi 8 Explorer Edition. All three look strikingly similar to Apple's iPhone X, which is to say they sport rounded corners and a full-size front display with a prominent notch along to the top to house a 20-megapixel selfie camera.

Xiaomi has a history of, uh, taking inspiration from Apple when designing its own brand phones, the Mi 8 is no exception. What's different, of course, is that Xiaomi is entrenched in Google's Android ecosystem. The detailed specifications are different too—the Mi 8 sports a 6.21-inch AMOLED display sourced from Samsung, which is powered by Qualcomm's top-tier Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip (SoC).

For users who prefer a smaller handset and are willing to sacrifice some processing performance, the Mi 8 uses a whittled down 5.88-inch display with a recently introduced Snapdragon 710 SoC. It's a mid-range chip that Qualcomm says is 20 percent faster than its previous generation Snapdragon 660, while consuming 30 percent less power.

Xiaomi Mi 8

Getting back to the full-size model, the Mi 8 also features 6GB of RAM paired with 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of onboard storage. For snapping photos, there are two cameras on the backside, including a 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 shooter with an f/1.8 aperture and a 12-megapixel Samsung S5K3m3 telephoto lens with an f/2.4 aperture.

The Mi 8 Explorer Edition offers the same general hardware package, with the addition of pressure-sensitive in-display fingerprint technology, a first in a smartphone according to Xiaomi, and 3D face unlock, a first in an Android device.

"Mi 8 Explorer Edition is also the first ever Android device in the world that comes with 3D face unlock — using advanced structured light technology that can rapidly match measurement points on a face while at the same time cutting down 3D data processing to save power. Also new in the Mi 8 Explorer Edition is an emoji function that allows users to create their own animated emojis based on their facial expressions," Xiaomi says.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Back

Both the Mi 8 and Mi 8 Explorer Edition also have transparent glass back panels. This allows users to see the phone's internal bits (some of them, anyway), and could encourage either not using a protective case or investing in a clear one.

The Mi 8 will be available in China on June 8 starting at 2699 RMB (~$420) and the Mi 8 Explorer Edition sometime later priced at 3699 RMB (~$577). Xiaomi's Mi 8 SE will ship slightly ahead of the standard model, on June 5 starting at 1799 RMB (~$280).