Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite, analysis and opinion
The Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite is presented as an affordable alternative if you want a mobile phone with an attractive design, but is it worth buying? We submit it to a detailed analysis to know firsthand how it performs and how its cameras, its battery and all the key aspects of a mobile phone work at the moment.
The deployment that Xiaomi has carried out internationally in 2018 leaves few ranges, product lines and potential clients to explore. There are already dozens of mobiles that he has for sale. Today we bring the analysis of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite , one of the last to arrive.
Once again, the Chinese brand wanted to expand its consumer base with a model Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite of its flagship, the Mi 8. In addition, it does practically copying the template in terms of hardware of its most successful model, the My A2
In this in-depth review of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite we have put it through all kinds of tests and contrasted with our personal experience after trying countless phones. How does it work? Does MIUI 10 behave well?
There are several aspects to take into account, but without losing sight of the price of this phone: 329 euros . It is affordable and has several strengths that go beyond its power, such as design.
Without anticipating the events, here is what we think.
As beautiful as it is fragile
If you have followed the recent evolution of the smartphone market, you may have noticed that few terminals over 200 euros have escaped the fashion of glass, and this was not going to be less.
The Mi 8 Lite is glass front and back, something that makes it tremendously fragile, like all the other phones with which it shares design. And that’s not to mention the traces that accumulate continuously with the slightest touch.
In this case the sensation just holding it in the hand is that it is a little more fragile than normal , and that is that its light weight (169 grams) coupled with the thinness of its 7.5 mm thick makes it look like it is going to break up with nothing more than to hold it.
Of course, both the colors with gradient in which it is available and the finishes are really spectacular. For this analysis we have disposed of the model in blue-purple and the truth is that it draws attention.
Beyond the color and the material, it must be said that the appearance is very monotonous. It is a clone designthat repeats the aspect that we have seen in dozens of phones this year and other previous exercises.
The fingerprint reader is located in the back and the dual camera in horizontal position. It does not risk anything, although you may not need it.
|Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite||Xiaomi Mi A2||Huawei Mate 20 Lite||LittlePhone F1|
|Size||156.4 x 75.8 x 7.5 mm||158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm||158.3 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm||155.5 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm|
|Weight||169 g||166 g||172 g||182 g|
|Screen size||6.26 “||5.99 “||6.3 “||6.18 “|
|Panel||IPS LCD||IPS LCD||IPS LCD||IPS LCD|
|Resolution||2.280 x 1.080px||2,160 x 1,080px||2.340 x 1.080px||2.246 x 1.080px|
|Dots per inch||403||403||409||403|
|Processor||Snapdragon 660||Snapdragon 660||Kirin 710||Snapdragon 845|
|Storage||128 GB||64/128 GB||64 GB||64/128 GB|
|Drums||3,350 mAh||3,000 mAh||3,750 mAh||4.000 mAh|
|Rear camera||12 MP f / 1.9|
5 MP f / 2.0
|12 MP f / 1.8 |
20 MP f / 1.8
|20 MP f / 1.8 |
|12 MP f / 1.9 |
5 MP f / 2.0
|Selfies camera||24 MP||20 MP f / 2.2||20 MP f / 2.0 |
|20 MP f / 2.0|
|Start price||329 euros||249 euros||399 euros||329 euros|
IPS LCD: a bet on insurance
If we stick to the purely technical data of the screen of this mobile, one might think that it is one of many, and it is totally true. We have already seen other IPS LCD panels with Full HD + resolution , as is the case.
However, it can not be said that this is the norm, much less, nor does it belittle the achievement of having a screen of this quality in a mobile phone of barely 300 euros. Other, much more expensive devices stay in HD +.
Yes it is true that it stands out in some aspects. For example in the brightness, which here allows to see perfectly even in full sunlight . It should also be mentioned that with 402 points per inch the sharpness is more than good in its price range.
Little more can be asked for a mobile phone with these characteristics . Actually any improvement would mean a considerable increase in prices, and that is that the AMOLED panels -like the one of the normal Mi 8- are expensive.
With an 82.5% screen-body ratio, it can be said that it expresses the front quite well. The notch is at the limit between what can be considered big and small: it does not bother you and you get used to it quickly.
In general, it is a good screen that does not stand out either above or below those that you can get for the same money . It benefits from advances in panels to show excellent brightness and sharpness, but does not particularly highlight this device with additional features, such as HDR compatibility .
MIUI 10: we are still waiting for the promised improvements
We now turn to the software section, one of the most interesting of this mobile. It is one of the first to reach the market with MIUI 10, the new version of the Xiaomi customization layer.
It is based on Android 8.1, although there is likely to be an update to Android Pie sooner or later. The main changes to better take place in the aesthetic section and shortcuts, where he remembers a lot of iOS 12.
For example, to move to Silent Mode or Do Not Disturb you have to raise and lower volume and from the menu that appears go to the Mode Settings, something very intuitive.
In addition, notifications are shown on cards when you scroll down the notification bar, similar to what Google Now has shown so far. Below we share some screenshots in which you can see how is MIUI 10 in the Mi 8 Lite .
That said and talking about notifications, we have to say that the promised improvements have not arrived: in this version of MIUI notification icons still do not appear in the notification bar . You can have an email and you will not know until you scroll down.
It is something really exasperating that supposedly was going to be solved, but it has not done it and it demolishes a lot of the advances of MIUI in this edition.
On the other hand, it must be said that the extras that Xiaomi adds to Android are quite useful . We talked about aspects such as dual apps to have more than one session started on the same mobile phone within apps like Instagram or WhatsApp.
It also continues its commitment to memory optimization, security and storage applications, which are there even if you do not use them, as well as a handful of pre-installed apps that you probably do not use. It is the price to pay when you buy a mobile Xiaomi with MIUI, hence many prefer Android One .
He speaks very well of Xiaomi’s software optimization work, that the fluency is excellent at all times and that little by little his layer advances to better. With some problems, such as abuse of manufacturer applications, but definitely better. We will continue waiting to see if these imperfections are finally polished in MIUI.
Xiaomi Mi A2, MIUI edition
The owner of this section is quite self-explanatory: the internal configuration of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite is identical to that of the Mi A2 : 4 GB of RAM and Snapdragon 660 processor , a set that has shown that it can perform excellently.
Why risk other processors? The Chinese brand, like its users, relies blindly on Snapdragon 660, and they do well. In this analysis of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite we have been able to verify once again that this chip performs well and is quite efficient.
At the level of performance you can put few or no hits to this phone. No lag, no slowdowns and instant response in each and every application, just like with the Mi A2 but with MIUI as the customization layer.
It is a good chip that also supports fast charging and WiFi AC, to mention two examples.
Yes you can put some small glitch to your GPU, Adreno 512. Stick to call it in some way: it just does not reach the performance of what more advanced processors offer, that is, does not allow playing with graphics to the maximum to games like PUBG Mobile , although with medium quality with more than decent FPS.
The same happens to the Mi A2 , one of the most sold mobile phones of the year, as well as all the smartphones that equip this processor.
It is very good news that for just 300 euros or even less you can have a mobile phone that has no problems and makes the OS work like silk . It is the main advance for some years and something that the user should value.
|Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite||Xiaomi Mi A2||Huawei Mate 20 Lite||LittlePhone F1|
|Processor||Snapdragon 660||Snapdragon 660||Kirin 710||Snapdragon 845|
|3D Mark (Sling Shot)||1,359 points||1,284||1,441||3.531|
|PCMark 2.0||6,203 points||5,938||6.551||8.185|
Facial unlocking, this time without tricks
In previous analysis of Xiaomi phones we have encountered some problems when it comes to setting the facial unlocking: it is, but to use it you must modify the region of the phone to some Asian country.
In this case it is not like that, but you simply have to add a PIN and then register your face. The reliability and speed are excellent and will make you get used to using it quickly.
During this analysis of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite we have not had to resort to the fingerprint reader in practically any occasion , something that not many in this price range can say.
The fingerprint reader also works perfectly and is located in the rear area, barely a millimeter above the glass
Of course, there are already mobile phones that incorporate a fingerprint reader on the screen, but none below 500 euros. It is also a technology in development that is not yet as reliable or fast as the capacitive fingerprint reader.
Quick Charge 3.0 to make up a short autonomy
Is the Mi 8 Lite battery good? Can you trust her if you leave the house in the morning and do not take the charger? It is the key question with this and other mobile, although it is still difficult to give a resounding answer.
To begin, we set out data: it is 3,350 mAh of capacity what the battery of this mobile has. It’s enough but you can not talk about a superbattery, as we’ve also seen.
Its autonomy usually moves around the day of use, depending on the apps that consume the most screen hours. If for example you play or consult social networks intensively, you will surely arrive at the end of the day with some troubles , not so if you give it a more conservative use.
The taste of mouth is bittersweet, since it is a somewhat short autonomy for what begins to be styled in the sector. Without going any further the Huawei Mate 20 Lite or the Honor 8X stretch up to a day and a half its batteries without problems. Both equip Kirin 710, the chip that makes the competition to this Snapdragon 660 .
Xiaomi could and should have tried harder in this regard, on adding a little more capacity and perhaps improving software optimization.
The positive point is that it has fast loading Quick Charge 3.0, the charger is included in the box. That means that in just over an hour and a half you can charge your phone completely (104 minutes to be more exact).
If we had a little more battery life, we would talk about a much more competitive smartphone. It is a stumbling block that joins frailty to put stones in the path of success.
Surprisingly tuned portrait mode
Throughout 2018 it has become clear that the portrait mode is one of the features that can not be missing in any mobile. With a good camera, good adjustments and some expertise on the part of the photographer can leave truly spectacular photos.
However, the last requirement should not be taken for granted, and even then it is always good to have a camera capable of meeting your needs as a photographer. That’s why more and more brands have opted for the AI Mode, which automatically selects a perfect scene and modifies the parameters to enhance the photos.
Unfortunately some brands have incorporated an AI that overly modifies these parameters, making the photos look completely unreal. It is not the case of Xiaomi, and is that in this Mi 8 Lite and other phones that we have been able to test the AI is “low intensity” .
In addition to automatically selecting the scene, it does few other things . In any case you always have the option to enable from the Settings the double saved original image and retouched with AI, although we insist that the difference is very small.
If you want to see all the photos we have made in original resolution, you can do it from this Google Drive folder . Recall that this device equipped a dual rear camera 12 + 5 MP with aperture f / 1.9, while the front is 24 MP.
That said, we went on to mention the other way that this year has triumphed: the portrait with bookeh mode, designed to blur the background and focus on the object in the foreground, almost always a person.
Needless to say, we have done analysis of dozens of mobiles this year and tested many more. Not all do well and in fact most have problems, especially when solving the contours of complicated objects such as plants or glasses in a selfie.
In this analysis of the camera of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite we have looked at it with meticulousness, and the results are surprising. This smartphone solves these situations better than others that supposedly are better, at least for price.
In the photographs that we have taken with portrait mode, both of selfie and other objects, the object to be focused is well defined, even if there are glasses or hairs involved. If the image is enlarged, it is observed that the contour is perfectly defined on the background that has been defocused.
At night it suffers much more to maintain the sharpness , although on the other hand it is normal in a mobile of this range. A camera with good night mode requires a much wider aperture than the f / 2.0 of its front camera, in addition to certain adjustments at the software level, although that does not mean that the selfies and night photos of the Mi 8 Lite are nothing more than acceptable
Bright colors and especially real
One of the problems that are common in mobile photography is that when it comes to capturing colors and textures, they lose a lot. Either by excessive zeal at the time of enhancing them or just the opposite. The fact is that it draws attention when a brand does a good job in this regard.
Well, Xiaomi has done it in this terminal. Of the many photos we have taken with his camera, we can say that we have satisfied the quality of the snapshots , especially the tones. It does not oversaturate the images or leave them “off” and with lack of color, but takes them as they are.
To be a mobile of just 300 euros are pretty good , although we have to return to a point that we mentioned earlier: the night photos.
Although the AI assigns a night mode when it detects a scene like this, it has nothing to do with the way it can offer the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro or the Oppo RX17 Pro , much more worked at the software level and with a much larger lens aperture , as befits your price range.
The sharpness leaves a lot to be desired and it can be observed with the naked eye that the quality of the image falls sharply as soon as the light stops being intense.
You really can not demand much more from the Mi 8 Lite. It is at the height of others of its segment in night photos , although it surely surpasses them in scenes with good light.
If what you are looking for is a mobile to take decent pictures without handling the manual mode and having to adjust values, this is a good option. Undoubtedly the best you can find in the mid-range. It also combines it with other interesting features.
It is curious and hopeful the progress we have seen lately in the range from 200 to 400 euros, and not only for the AI or portrait mode, but for the ease of use of the cameras and ultimately for the improvement of the average quality of the photographs.
In addition, it should be noted that its HDR acts correctly when it comes to expanding the dynamic range of an image. Other mobiles apply it very discreetly, but not here, and it is also appreciated.
In the image that we attach below you can see the comparison of the same photo with and without HDR. You can see that there are areas in which the contrast between light and dark is very high without HDR, and that makes it barely visible. In contrast, when applied, the image changes completely.
Perhaps the camera is not the main strong point we have found in this review of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite , but our opinion is reinforced positively after testing it in several situations.
We will have to pay attention to the evolution throughout 2019, although if you decide to buy this terminal, you can be sure that it will not become obsolete or “old” within a year.
Without NFC, the only snag in connectivity
Mobile connectivity is another section that has improved a lot thanks to the latest and penultimate generation processors. Today you can buy for relatively little money and have a mobile WiFi AC , Bluetooth 5.0 and USB Type C .
However, you always have to give up something to keep costs low, and it is usually the NFC chip that is sacrificed. This is what happens with this mobile: forget about mobile payments with the Mi 8 Lite.
It does not have NFC , and that is a disadvantage if you have become accustomed to walking without a card through the supermarket, but little else. This technology grows, but it can not be said that today you should discard the purchase of a mobile phone because it does not have a NFC tag .
In this case we have only missed this feature, the FM radio and the infrared, although there is no absence that we consider as differentials in this price band, as for example it would not have WiFi.
A balanced mobile that points very high
If the Xiaomi Mi A2 has triumphed in the Spanish market, the same can happen with this Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite, which after the analysis has left us with a very good taste in the mouth. It has shortcomings, of course, but none that is insurmountable.
Without NFC you can live, as with a fragile design if you use a case. In return, for 329 euros you get a cell phone with excellent performance, fast charging, Full HD screen and quite beautiful.
In addition, as we have also seen, your camera is quite good within its segment, with some problems with night shots but with very good results in general lines.
There is no doubt that Xiaomi has hit the key of what it should offer in the mid-range : low prices, balanced performance and designs as attractive as possible.