Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite Review — Meet Baby Mi 8

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Introduction

Today we’re taking a look at the recently launched Mi 8 Lite, which was released alongside its higher brother, the Mi 8 Pro. Of course, not to forget, the Mi 8 Lite as you can tell by the name, is the lighter version of the original Mi 8, which we’ve reviewed previously. For this review, we had the opportunity to test out the 6GB/128GB variant. Let’s get started with the review, shall we?

Unboxing

We’ve previously did a quick unboxing video actually. In case you’ve missed it on your Facebook page, here it is. The box is rather a change from the standard Mi 8’s box, where this one comes in a more vibrant red/purple hue color.

In full, here’s what you will get from the box. You’ve got your usual papers and documents on the device, a SIM eject tool, USB Type-C cable, a Type-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter, as well as the charging brick. Thankfully, they’ve also included a TPU case for the device. Similar to the Mi 8, you won’t be getting a pair of earphones with the phone.

Appearance

I’m a person who’s not on board the smartphone notch hypetrain, but thankfully, Xiaomi has made the notch seemingly smaller compared to the original Mi 8.

On the right side of the device you’ll find your standard volume rockers and power button located at.

There’s the SIM tray (dual) on the opposite left side.

Switching to the bottom side, there’s the dual speaker grill as well as the phone’s Type-C port. Also visible is the antenna lines of the phone.

On top, there’s only the phone’s microphone hole to be seen.

The Mi 8 Lite version that we received is the Midnight Black version and it is pleasant on the eyes. Personally, I think that it even looks nicer compared to the Midnight Black of the original Mi 8. At the top, they’ve changed the camera position to be horizontal and an LED flash sits just next to it. There’s the fingerprint sensor for users to utilize and the brand logo below that.

Specifications

CPU/Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Octa-core (4×2.2 GHz Kryo 260 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260), 14nm FinFET
GPU: Adreno 512
RAM: 4GB / 6GB
Display: 6.26″, FHD+ (1080p) IPS LCD display, 19:9 ratio
Storage: 64GB/128GB (up to 256GB via microSD)
Camera: Main Camera(s)
Primary: 12MP f/1.9, Dual Pixel PDAF, 1/2.55″, 1.4μm pixel pitch
Secondary: 5MP f/2.0, 1/5″, 1.12µm, depth sensor
LED flash, AI HDR, portrait mode, AI scene recognition, AI Beauty, filters, Pro mode
Front Camera
24MP, 1/2.8″, 0.9µm
AI portrait mode, Beauty mode, screen flash, HDR
OS: MIUI 10 based on Android 8.1 Oreo
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz),
Bluetooth 5.0
SIM: Dual nanoSIM
Battery: Li-ion 3400 mAh (non-removable)
Dimensions: 156.4 x 75.8 x 7.5 mm
Weight: 169 g

Performance

Though it is way behind the Mi 8, the Mi 8 managed to offer a better score compared to the Mi A2 which uses the same chipset.

It manages to beat its cheaper brethren, the Mi A2 by quite an amount in the multi core test yet losing a small amount in single core.

Graphic performance has been decent with it topping the Mi A2 in all three tests in 3DMark. It still is a long way behind the Mi 8 though.

Again, we see the Mi 8 Lite just edging ahead of the Mi A2 here on PCMark’s Work Performance.

Surprisingly, the Mi 8 Lite came short when it came to the battery test as it only managed to last 7 hours and 39 minutes. Despite it packing a bigger battery under the hood than the Mi A2, Mi A2 somehow managed to come on top.

As for battery usage personally, it does an average job. Having around 85% at the start of the day, it managed to have around 31% at 9pm. Usage includes watching several videos on Netflix and Youtube, social media browsing on Instagram and Facebook, as well as some couple of rounds on Asphalt 9.

User Experience

Thanks to the exclusion of the infrared lens on the front, the Mi 8 Lite offers a higher screen-to-body ratio when compared to the Mi 8, where they’ve made the notch smaller, which is always a plus for me. Feeling/grip wise, I actually prefer holding the original Mi 8, as the Mi 8 Lite doesn’t sport a 2.5D glass design on the rear, thus it feels rather flat for me.

I’ve had a fair amount of time on the phone, and after binge-watching videos on Youtube and Netflix, I personally feel that the experience was better on the Mi 8. The colors aren’t that vibrant on the Mi 8 Lite, as it sports an IPS display rather than the AMOLED on the Mi 8.

In case you are wondering on how much juice you can get with 30 minutes of charge, you will be getting about 35% of juice. It is still considered ‘okay’ since it’s packing a 3400mAh battery under the hood. Furthermore, it would charge more if Xiaomi had included a charger that supports fast-charging as the phone is capable of it. Guess it’s just a missed opportunity for them.

Xiaomi’s newest MIUI 10 update brought an even smoother experience to their smartphones and the Mi 8 Lite is no exception. It has got to be one of the snappiest UIs around (for non stock Android devices). Despite that, I’ve got to say that I was a bit disappointed to find that there is bloatware that came with the Mi 8 Lite. It’s not much to say the least, but still, I just don’t see myself using those apps.

The camera setup is different from the Mi 8 in terms of lens and positioning. It sports a dual 12MP f/1.9 main lens and 5MP depth lens that is positioned horizontally.

In terms of the camera’s UI, it is quite similar to the Mi 8, where it gives a full featured interface. One thing that I want to note on it is that sometimes I see myself accidentally exit the camera app when I swipe. All I wanted was to switch modes but thanks to the smart gestures (which you can choose to enable or not), it exited instead.

The performance of camera in the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite is satisfying. You’ll notice noise when you zoom in but that is understandable since it is not packing a zoom lens. Close up shots are detailed enough. Generally the camera is more than enough for your social media uploads. Compared to the Mi 8, I personally feel that the Mi 8 Lite shoots better selfie shots. It may be due to the fact that it packs a bigger 24MP compared to the 20MP of the Mi 8.

Conclusion

The device offers a smooth experience with decent camera performance. Though some might prefer a zoom lens instead of the depth lens that’s offered in the Mi 8 Lite. For the price of RM999 (for the 4GB variant), it sits awkwardly in the Xiaomi lineup of offerings. It is very subjective on whether it is a good device.

Take for example the Xiaomi Mi A2 which uses the same chipset, you can get it at a lower RM899 price for the 4GB version and it offers a pure android experience with it being an Android One device. Though the Mi 8 offers a slightly bigger battery and better camera, it again depends on the needs of the user.

If you add in a little bit more money to your budget, you could opt for a flagship device in the form of the Pocophone F1. So again, it actually depends on your needs and budget.

Without comparing it to another device, it does look great, and the overall performance is more than acceptable. Would I buy myself a Mi 8 Lite? I would, but only for the 4GB variant instead of the 6GB version which is priced at RM1,299. If I had the money for the latter, I feel like I might as well get the Pocophone instead.

A big thanks to Mi Malaysia for providing the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite that was used in this review. To support us, check out the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite on Lazada through the following link: