The Mi8 Lite is a mid-range smartphone in the portfolio of Xiaomi Corporation, a fast growing Chinese company that, despite becoming China’s largest smartphone company in 2014. is hardly known in this country.
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As one can imagine, the “Lite” designation indicates that this phone is not one of the company’s flagship products but is aimed at being an attractive phone that has all the features that the majority want at a more affordable price. However, the Snapdragon 660 AIE 2.2GHz quad core processor and the Adreno 512 GPU result in fast operation.
Its 6.26inch 19:9 aspect ratio 2280 x 1080 FHD+ notched display has been packed into a 156 x 75mm case weighing 170g. The review model, described as the Global Version, came provided with a grey slim-fit slip-on silicone cover and a 2A charger with a continental 2-pin plug. However, I am sure that UK versions will come with the correct UK 3-pin plug. As well as the Midnight Black version, Aurora Blue is also offered.
The volume rocker and the power button are on the right hand while the SIM drawer is on the left. If needed, a microSD card can be installed instead of the second nano SIM so as to add extra memory. On the back of the phone are the dual rear cameras: 12MP and 5MP with their associated LED flash as well as the very effective fingerprint sensor. The front camera, located in the notch, has 24MP resolution.
I found the fingerprint sensor quick and very easy to use so it soon became second nature. However, as a security feature, the phone demands your password at intervals.
Xiaomi has put a lot of effort into making the cameras versatile and has a wide range of modelling and styling effects for both the front and selfie cameras. AI detection of 12 scene categories is a feature installed as part of the front camera Portrait mode. When using this feature the AI adjusts the camera effects according to its subjective perception. Similarly, the AI recognizes 27 categories of objects, it adjusts the camera effects according its subjective perception.
QC3.0 quick charging of the built-in 3350mAh battery is supported by the USB type-C port on the lower edge of the phone while, following the precedent set by Apple, there is no 3.5mm phone socket. Instead a phone socket to USB type-C adapter in the form of a short cable is supplied. While this obviously did its job I always had the worry that it was a weak link and that it would be a nuisance if it failed.
When used as a dual SIM phone one can set up one’s data preference and, equally useful, when making phone calls one can choose which SIM to use. This is ideal when one has, for example, separate accounts for business and private calls. One useful feature is that, having made a call to a particular number, the phone remembers which network you chose to use so avoiding business/private billing mix-ups.
Overall the phone fits neatly in one’s hand or pocket and it just worked without any problems. There are two versions of the phone: one with 4GB RAM & 64GB ROM and the other 6MB/128MB. The former is available from Amazon at £169 while the latter is currently on offer directly from Xiaomi on mi.com for £199 and is offered in either black or blue.