This year's mid-range has peaked in terms of quality and price. Part of the blame for this is Xiaomi with models such as the Xiaomi Mi A2, the Redmi Note 6 Pro or the model I am here to talk about today, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite . This terminal was officially launched a little less than a month ago in Spain with a series of characteristics very similar to the mobiles that we have just mentioned and proclaiming itself as the economic option of the Xiaomi Mi 8 that we analyzed weeks ago. The difference between these? Mainly, the design, although also other aspects of the phone of the Chinese company evolve compared to their counterparts. Up front, phones like the Honor 8X or the Huawei P Smart Plus. Will it be worth paying the 249 euros it costs compared to other competing terminals? We see it below in the analysis of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite after two weeks of continuous use.
Xiaomi Mi 8 data sheet
|screen||6.26 inches with IPS LCD technology, FullHD + resolution (2,180 × 1,080 pixels), 19: 9 ratio and 403 dpi|
|Main chamber||- Sony IMX363 main sensor of 12 megapixels, focal aperture f / 1.9 and pixels of 1.4 um in size|
- Secondary sensor Samsung S5K5E8 of 5 megapixels, focal aperture f / 2.0 and pixels of 1.12 um in size
|Camera for selfies||- Sony IMX576 main sensor with 24 megapixels, focal aperture f / 2.0 and pixels of 1.00 um in size|
|Internal memory||64 and 128 GB of storage|
|Processor and RAM||Octa-core Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512 and 4 and 6 GB of RAM|
|Battery||3,350 mAh with Quick Charge 3.0 fast charge|
|Operating system||Android Oreo 8.1 under MIUI 10|
|Connections||4G LTE, WiFi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS + GLONASS, NFC and USB type C 2.0|
|Design||- Glass on the front and back and aluminum on the edges|
- Colors: Aurora Blue and Midnight Black
|Dimensions||156.4 x 75.8 x 7.5 millimeters and 169 grams|
|Featured Features||Facial unlocking through software, photography modes with Artificial Intelligence and MIUI 10 functions|
|Release date||Now available|
|Price||249 and 329 euros|
Attractive design in the average of the rest of smartphones
The first thing that enters the eyes in a smartphone of this type is the design. Although its lines are in line with other competitive models such as the Honor 8X, its main competitor, the truth is that the good construction of its body makes it really attractive for a mobile of less than 250 euros.
First of all, the construction materials used (glass on the back and front and aluminum on the sides) give an even better feel than my OnePlus 6T that I reviewed a few weeks ago. These good sensations are also influenced by its weight and its comfortable size which, thanks to the use of its frames, is not at all uncomfortable.
Regarding the latter, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite significantly improves the utilization ratio of its screen compared to other models of the same brand such as the Xiaomi Mi A2 or the Redmi Note 5 thanks to the reduction of margins and the inclusion of a notch at the top of the panel. The lines in this sense remind us more of a Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro than the aforementioned terminals of the company, although with some differences in the "rectangularity" of its design and the position of its rear camera.
But without a doubt, what stands out the most about its design is its color. Although the unit I have tested (Midnight Black) has an unremarkable black a priori, the brightness of its back when sunlight falls on it creates an effect that is less attractive . In the images that accompany this paragraph we can see it.
Screen of quality similar to that of other Xiaomi models
The screen, like the design, is one of the aspects where the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite shines the most. Although the technology, resolution and size are the same as those of other Xiaomi phones (Full HD +, 19: 9 ratio and IPS technology), its quality compared to smartphones like the Redmi Note 5 that I have been able to test from the hand of my partner improvement, especially in what has to do with brightness .
My summary in terms of the screen experience is that we are facing a quality panel. Sufficient definition and fidelity of colors typical of an IPS screen . Perhaps one aspect of this to improve is the tone calibration. From my point of view, the panel temperature is somewhat cold compared to other IPS LCD screens.
The rest of the aspects of this are more than enough. I once again emphasize the level of brightness, thanks to which we can see all kinds of content even outdoors with headlight. The experience has been even better than on my OnePlus 6T . The automatic brightness, yes, can be improved in terms of response time.
Last but not least, I would like to emphasize the notch on the screen. Its size is not excessively large, and in theory, it should not significantly affect the consumption of content through the system applications. The reality is that MIUI 10 increases the size of the notification bar to make the notification area even larger , causing applications to lose a significant percentage of views. In the user experience section I will go into more details.
Positive use experience with the MIUI 10 incentive, albeit with buts
In this section, the sensations are exactly the same as in other Xiaomi models that we have analyzed in Tuexperto . This is due to the integration of good hardware (Snapdragon 660 processor, 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of internal storage in the case of my unit) and MIUI 10.
In summary, the handling of the mobile in the different applications, both third-party and the system's own, has been excellent . Pleasant transitions, excellent response times and a multitude of interesting options thanks to MIUI 10, among which it is worth highlighting its native gesture system, its battery modes or the possibility of blocking applications through a password.
It should also be noted the good operation of the face unlock , which, even being based on software, gives an almost perfect experience. Good speed and a recognition range that allows us to unlock the smartphone even lying down. The fingerprint sensor, as usual in the Chinese brand, is fast and efficient even with wet hands.
This good experience also carries over when playing heavy games. I have tried titles like FIFA 19 and Asphalt 9 and the experience has been really satisfactory even with the graphic quality at the maximum. No lag or slowdown.
But all that glitters is not gold, and MIUI 10 is not perfect. First of all, and as I mentioned in the previous section, the notification bar is too big for the size of the screen notch . This would not be a major problem if it helped us see more information within it.
Space left by the notification bar
Nothing is further from reality. Although its thickness increases, it is not able to show us any type of notification icon. This is further aggravated when, after seeing the notifications on the lock screen, they disappear completely as if by magic if we do not interact with them . Nor will the notification LED show us any notice. Exactly the same problem that the Pocophone F1 suffers from is the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite. In this regard, MIUI 10 needs an urgent update to solve this problem.
The last aspect to improve comes from the gesture system. I have used it for a little over two weeks and although it seems to me the best system together with the OnePlus, it sometimes interferes with some applications . This is noticeable when using the keyboard or sliding certain side menus with the back gesture. Hopefully MIUI will solve this in future versions.
Interesting features of MIUI 10
The MIUI 10 customization layer is about a fairly custom version of Android. It not only has its own applications from the Chinese company, it also has interesting functions that should be noted. We leave you below with some interesting ones:
- Custom gesture system
- Automatic screen unlock with any version of Xiaomi Mi Band
- Business mode (known as Second space in previous versions)
- Dual apps
- Password protection of apps
- Possibility of sharing the WiFi password using a QR code
- One-hand mode (we can configure different screen sizes)
- Calibrating Screen Tone and Colors
- Built-in music equalizer for different types of headphones
- Native file hiding in File Explorer
- Long screenshot (to take screenshots of an entire web page, for example)
- Program the mobile on and off
- QR code scanner integrated in the Camera application (we will only have to focus on the code and it will automatically recognize it)
Camera (much) better than expected thanks to Artificial Intelligence
I have to admit it; I did not expect great results from the camera of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite, especially compared to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 that my partner gave me during the camera tests. I am happy to say that the result has been totally positive , evidently contextualized with the price of the terminal.
The technical specifications of this camera tell us that we are dealing with a double sensor manufactured by Sony and Samsung. Specifically, it is a 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor with f / 1.9 focal aperture and a 5-megapixel Samsung S5K5E8 with f / 2.0 focal aperture. How does this translate? In a pleasant experience in most situations .
During the day, photography has a quality expected in a mobile of these characteristics. Compared to other models of the brand, the quality is halfway between a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and a Xiaomi Mi A2 . Overall, the results have been good. The color calibration, while somewhat cold for my taste, is more than correct, and the dynamic range allows you to capture details in the shadows of the image in most photographs.
Daytime photographs of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
If there is something remarkable about the dual camera of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite, it is perhaps its opening angle and its good macro . The first allows us to capture great information about a landscape without having to resort to panoramic mode. As for the macro, the photographs of leaves, insects and nearby surfaces turn out to be a delight, with a degree of focus and detail more than correct.
But without a doubt, the best thing about the camera is not its hardware, but its software. The integration of Artificial Intelligence is not only capable of recognizing all kinds of scenes (people, landscape, food, buildings ...), but it greatly improves the quality of the photographs .
Playing with the panoramic mode of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
The clear example of this is in portrait mode. Here I take off my hat with the results of the photographs. It is true that some parts of the image such as the separation between the arms or the fingers have room for improvement, but the general experience has been better than that of my OnePlus 6T by far .
In the photograph on the left we can see how Artificial Intelligence is not able to detect the separation between the arms. This is solved by covering all the possible gaps in the photograph.
The integration of AI is also noticeable in the colors of the images, the white balance and the dynamic range. It can be seen just below this paragraph how, after activating the AI in the Xiaomi Camera application, the backlight is much better achieved . Another notable point is the digital stabilization of the video recording, which even rivals the optical stabilization of the OnePlus, although with a greater degree of clipping as it is based on software.
Before and after activating Artificial Intelligence
But not all that glitters is gold. Where the shortcomings of the camera are noticed is at night . Here the two sensors, despite the low aperture, destroy every level of detail, focus and color. It is true that in portrait mode it manages to identify the features of the face and body correctly, but as a general rule, the quality of the photographs falls below even other competing models .
Night photographs of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
To this is added the absence of a night mode in the Camera application or the integration of a long exposure mode. We also do not have a manual setting that allows us to change this, so we will be forced to resort to third-party applications.
Portrait mode of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite at night
And what about your front camera? It is the same as with the rear cameras. Good quality during the day with an excellent portrait mode and salvageable results at night . We do not have a very high aperture angle, but at least we can take group photos through the camera mode dedicated to it.
Photographs with the front camera of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
Another detail to highlight is the aggressive effect of its beauty mode . Even if we deactivate this mode, the camera will soften our features more than desired, although it is true that it is something that almost all Xiaomi phones suffer from. It can be solved using camera applications that are not from Xiaomi itself.
All camera modes of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
We leave you below with all the camera modes of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite Camera application:
- Short video
All the camera options of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
- Among all the camera modes, we find options such as:
- Artificial intelligence
- Beauty mode
- Group selfie
- Tilt Shift
- White balance
Remarkable battery with upgradeable charging technology
We come to one of the most interesting sections of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite, that of autonomy and charging. Despite the fact that we find a fairly thin body (7.5 millimeters thick) and slightly less than 170 grams, the autonomy of this device is much higher than other competing models .
In technical data, the battery module is not surprising for its capacity, since we only have 3,350 mAh. It is thanks to the MIUI management that the Mi 8 Lite achieves an autonomy that comes to rival my OnePlus 6T .
Around 6 and a half hours of active screen is what the terminal has given me with varied use. Watch videos, use WhatsApp, Telegram and Slack type work applications at the same time and even play heavy games. There have been days in which this autonomy has been reduced to 6 hours, however, the average has been the aforementioned 6 and a half hours. Finally, highlight the low consumption of the processor at rest . The battery percentage has remained stable after two days of standby for business reasons.
Regarding the charging times of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite, here the results have disappointed me a lot. In theory, the terminal has Quick Charge charging technology in version 3.0. Observing the capacity of its battery, we would expect charging times not exceeding one hour.
Nothing is further from reality. A little over an hour and a half is what it took for the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite to fully charge . I should mention that the charger used has been that of the OnePlus 6T, so in theory, it should provide the necessary amperage and voltage, since the series charger only has 2 amps. In this aspect I have to admit that I expected a lot more.
Loud, clear and nuanced sound with a unique but
Regarding the sound, as with the camera, I did not have great expectations either, as it is one of the sections where most manufacturers tend to cut back. Luckily, this Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite has surprised me for good, and it even reaches the level of the OnePlus 6T .
In short, the sound of the terminal stands out for its volume . It is not the highest on the market, but it is perhaps the highest in its range despite having a single speaker. Also remarkable is its clarity and nuances. Although the low frequencies leave something to be desired, in the treble we do find a quality sound.
So what is the but of this? Simple: the absence of the headphone jack . Until now, we found this absence only in the company's high-end phones and the Xiaomi Mi A2. In the Mi 8 Lite we also do not find this entry that is so missing. It is true that the terminal has a USB type C to minijack adapter, but it is not the best solution for a person who considers himself an audiophile.
In this aspect we know that there is no going back, however, it would be appreciated if this serial entry had been included , because in practice, it does not mean an increase in the battery or an improvement in the power of the terminal.
Somewhat weak connectivity compared to the competition
Normally, the connectivity section is not usually a surprise in the mobile analysis around 300 euros. In this case, the Mi 8 Lite surprises, but in the negative sense of the word.
In short, the connectivity of the Xiaomi mid-range is not bad. In summary, we find dual-band WiFi with a decent range, Bluetooth version 5.0, compatibility with WiFi Display, Dual SIM technology and the possibility of expansion through microSD cards (the manufacturer does not provide up to how much). The negative point of this comes precisely from his absences.
We don't have NFC or headphone jack connection . If we take a look at models in the same range as the Honor 8X, we find a clear disadvantage against it.
Another aspect that should be noted is the stability of your connection through WiFi. During my two weeks of use, I have been able to experience some disconnections to my router when using the terminal . It was quickly connected without intervention, so presumably a software bug. It is not something alarming, but it is something that I wanted to make clear in the analysis of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite.
We finally reached the conclusions. My general experience with this terminal has been pleasant . Both when managing the system and making use of heavy applications and games and even using the multi-window with two applications at the same time. It is true that MIUI 10 has some errors which I hope will be resolved in the next, however, the experience is quite fluid.
Regarding the hardware of the device, it shows that the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite is not just another mid-range mobile. Both for its internal components (Snapdragon 660 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal storage) and its construction , the device has a more than remarkable quality considering the price range in which it operates . To this is added the good sound that its single speaker gives or the good results of its camera in most situations.
Is it worth it then? Without a doubt, it is a terminal that I would recommend to anyone. The but this time comes from the hand of another Xiaomi mobile: the Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite. In general terms, it is a terminal somewhat superior to the Mi 8 Lite . Except for the battery and for many, the design, the Mi A2 has a more complete specification sheet, especially in what has to do with the camera, since the hardware is, in essence, the same as that of its brother.
Also worth noting is the integration of Android Pure under Google's Android One program . It is precisely in these two points where we will have to assess whether or not it is worth buying the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite or the Mi A2. After all, the price of both devices is 249 euros. In short: it is one of the best mid-range mobiles of 2018 both for price and for specifications, design and quality.