This is an article first published on the pages of The Manila Times written by the same author, reposted with permission
Looking at its design, the newly released Mi 8 Lite conforms to most smartphones nowadays: glass body and aluminum frame. It is also available is different eye-candy colors.
At the back of the phone you will find the fingerprint sensor, which is fast and responsive. However, the Mi 8 Lite is somewhat a bit large on the hands and some people might find one hand use difficult. The glass body may feel slippery, nonetheless the included silicone case will help with grip.
The phone itself doesn’t have IP rating for waterproofing unlike other phones above its price range. The display is a 6.26-inch IPS LCD on the 1080p resolution with 19:9 Ratio. It has a the usual notch on top of the screen but can be hidden with a black bar. The screen is decent but nothing too fancy. Although it’s bright enough for outdoor use where you can adjust the color and contrast through its settings.
The bottom-firing speaker beside the USB-C port is loud. Though this doesn’t have an audio jack, it’s a good thing they included a USB-C to audio cable adapter. The support for micro SD comes as standard feature.
For its operating system, the phone runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with Xiaomi’s custom MIUI 9.6 user interface on top. It’s easy to learn this custom user interface and can be set to use gesture-based navigation, which is comparable to iOS gestures.
There is also an included app for security management that can help you manage what apps can access and even scan your phone for potential threats. While a notification LED on the notch will help you see if you receive any notifications.
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 with 4/6GB RAM, which performs quite well for daily tasks and even gaming, powers the Mi 8 Lite. Although the battery life is above average with it’s 3350mAh battery, there is, however, support for quick charge 3 but it only comes with a 10w charger.
For the main camera, it has a 12-megapixel (f/1.9) and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. It takes shots well in daylight and it’s quite enough for average users. Though there isn’t much dynamic range going on, HDR works most of the time but with the AI Scene detection on, it takes over and improves HDR quite a lot. The depth of field and bokeh effect is workable but there are times that the camera is having a hard time detecting edges.
In low-light situation, the camera shots don’t come out as nice, giving quite a bit of noise. Turning on the AI cleans up the shots a bit. The higher resolution 24-megapixel front camera is a lot better and takes selfies very well. The only complaint that we had with the front camera is that it has fixed focus. The bokeh effect works better on the front camera as well.
The phone is also capable of taking 4K videos at 30-frames per second but the overall quality is not that impressive because it lacks contrast. It also has a built-in stabilization, which works well in 1080p but not in 4K.
For a smartphone in this price range, the solid-glass build of the phone and the performance of the Snapdragon 660 and 4K video capabilities are impressive. Everything else is just average like the battery life and screen quality. There is no doubt this phone will be a reliable phone for daily use but keep in mind the limitations especially on the camera side.