IntroductionToday a new device by Xiaomi came in for our review. This time we have the Mi 8 Lite, and as the name suggests this is a toned down version of the Xiaomi flagship Mi 8. Before we go into more details about the phone itself, let’s see what Xiaomi has placed inside the factory box. Don’t expect anything radical though, we have the usual – the phone, USB Type-C cable, a Type-C to 3.5mm audio port dongle, a fast charging adapter, a SIM tray tool, user manuals and a “designed by Mi” gel protection case. The unit that came to us came in Midnight Black color option, but also available are Aurora Blue and Twilight Gold, sadly only in China.
Let’s now take a closer look at the phone and see what it’s all about.
DisplayThis phone, just like most Xiaomi devices, has an LCD display. This time around we have quite a large 6.26” panel with 1080 x 2280 pixel resolution, aspect ratio of 19:9 and pixel density of 403 PPI. Not bad on paper. In practice – even better! The display is really nice and even though it has a notch on top, it’s not that big compared to, for example, the Pocophone’s. The sharpness is decent, so pixelization is not visible at all. In terms of brightness the display is plenty bright, so you won’t have any issues using it in broad daylight.
Another thing that we really liked about the display are its curves. They are quite subtle, not nearly as aggressive as in some other devices, so you’ll be able to perfectly view all content even in fit-to-screen mode.
Of course there are options to adjust the color temperature of the display, and apart from the presets (Default, Warm, Cool), you can choose whichever shade you prefer. Honestly, these are incredible adjustment options for an LCD panel, and it has really left us impressed.
The bezels around the display are also quite thin, and despite the screen being quite large, the phone sits in hand quite nicely. Xiaomi has once again offered a device with an excellent display, and using it is a really enjoyable experience.
Hardware and OSIn the field of hardware we have very familiar setups. This mid-ranger is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset. This is a 14nm chipset, and still, even in 2019, it’s fast enough to satisfy most regular users. With clock speeds that go up to 2.2 GHz it is capable of providing excellent results. On the AnTuTu benchmark the phone scored a result of around 143000, which is not the best, but it’s plenty good for a mid-class phone. Next to the CPU we have the Adreno 512 GPU. Remember what we said a few months ago about the Xiaomi Mi A2? Well it’s quite the same here as well! The Mi A2 performed great, and we have nothing bad to say about the Mi 8 Lite neither.
In terms of memory, the version that we have here came in 4/64GB option, but you can get the Mi 8 Lite in 4/128GB, 6/64GB and 6/128GB versions. To be honest, no matter what option you choose, the phone will perform great! Here it's also worth to mention that, if you feel that you're lacking memory, you can use a microSD storage expansion card in your Mi 8 Lite and expand your memory by additional 256GB.
The phone is built of glass on both front and back side, and it has an aluminum frame. On the back you can find a fingerprint scanner that works well, and its position is very comfortable as the finger somehow naturally falls there.
In terms of software, here's, for now, the only real flaw with this phone. Don't get us wrong, it's nothing major, it's just that the Mi 8 Lite is still runing on Android 8.1 Oreo. This is somewhat covered up with the use of the latest version of MIUI, 10.2, but there's no denying that the software is getting old, and we hope that Xiaomi will update the Mi 8 Lite soon.
Other than that, the software is great, everything is snappy, fast, it all just works! There's no lag, no weird behavior, nothing! This is just one more great phone by Xiaomi.
CameraAs we've already mentioned, this phone is a mid-ranger, and as such in performs as a mid-ranger in most cases. Camera performance is no different. This phone has a double camera setup on the back, with a 12MP f/1.9 main sensor with pixel size of 1.4 µm and a secondary 5MP depth-of-field sensor. The main sensor also has dual pixel phase detection autofocus, which is a great addition.
Performance-wise, we must say that we're left unimpressed. The photos are, however, not bad by any means. In well lit environments the still are good, there's plenty details and overall most users will find them satisfactory. Most people use their phone's camera for social media purposes anyway, and for this the Mi 8 Lite does great! Another thing that helps take these shots is the HDR mode. HDR in its auto mode sometimes just doesn't turn on where it should so you might want to flip the switch manually, but all in all, it improves the shots quite a lot. Portrait mode is also here and it does a good job – it separates edges fine, sometimes it blunders a bit, but nothing huge, and once again, for social media – more than just good.
Night time shots are a whole other beast. The camera really struggles to provide good night photos – the loss of details is quite obvious, and not only that but the noise gets quite high as well. The LED flash on the back is there to help out in these cases but it can only do so much.
When it comes to videos, the results are pretty much the same. This phone can capture videos in maximum 4K resolution @30 fps which is an excellent information. Videos are not optically stabilized though, so you should better have a steady hand taking these shots.
On the other hand, when it comes to the selfie camera, we have a single 24MP camera sensor, Sony’s IMX 576, that captures really nice photos. Selfies are sharp, vibrant, colors look nice and overall the camera does a good job. The portrait mode also works great, and we don’t think you’ll find any issues here whatsoever.
Frankly, we didn’t really even expect any sort of amazing results, and overall we are pleased, but once again, not impressed with the camera results.
ConnectivityXiaomi Mi 8 Lite is modern phone with pretty much all connectivity options. It has WiFi 802.11 on a dual-band, WiFi Direct and hotspot mode, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS etc. On the bottom of the phone there is a USB Type-C port used for wired communications. All of them. The phone doesn’t have a 3.5mm audio port, but inside the box you get a dongle through which you can connect you favorite pair of headphones.
Sadly there are two things that this phone doesn’t have. It doesn’t support NFC, and it also doesn’t have an IR blaster. The lack of NFC is somewhat understandable since that’s usually a flagship feature, but Xiaomi phones are almost always equipped with IR blasters so the lack thereof is surprising to say the least.
Also this is a dual SIM device, and it uses a hybrid SIM card slot meaning that you can either use two SIM cards or a SIM and a microSD card. The phone supports 4G LTE connections provided that you’re in a market that offers them.
BatteryWhen it comes to the battery, this phone has one with the capacity of 3350 mAh. This may seem like a small battery, but combined with a 14nm chipset and LCD panel, it provides very decent results. For an average user the battery should be enough to offer a full day of medium use, and maybe even more if you slow down a little bit and take a break from your phone.
When it comes to charging, it’s worth to mention that the phone supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, so it charged 0-36% in 30 minutes using the factory charger, and then to 100% in around 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Final wordsAll in all, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite is a great device. It’s a true mid-ranger that offers all a mid-ranger should! Nothing goes over the top, but then again, nothing really has to. It all works just fine. Not only that, but the phone’s design is very modern, it feels like a brand new device.
For its price on around 230 euros, this phone offers quite a lot, and if you don’t mind not using a flagship, the Mi 8 Lite is our warm recommendation. It will work great, and it will do it for a time to come.
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite Full Specifications
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Advantages and disadvantages
Reasons for and against it
Superb design and build quality
LCD, yet top notch LCD display
Snapdragon 660 is great mid-range chipset that works great on this phone
Solid cameras and photo quality
MIUI got really good optimisation
Only Android 8.1 Oreo
Lack of NFC and IR blaster
No 3.5mm audio jack