Whether you like Xiaomi or not, it’s hard to deny the Chinese OEM’s rise to prominence over its relatively short eight-year lifespan. As far as celebrations go, the number-skipping Mi 8 lineup is pretty impressive, for more than a few reasons.
The Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer edition clearly and quite justifiably soaked up all the spotlight within Xiaomi’s latest flagship lineup. However, as the smoke clears, the value Xiaomi Mi 8 SE is the one gathering fan gazes, left and right. Indeed, on paper, it offers quite the package, without breaking the bank. In some ways, it’s almost too good to be true.
All three smartphones introduced by Xiaomi today, sports the trending notched screen. But it seems the SE screen isn’t as tall as the rest, plus there are much bezels all over here than the others. The bottom bezel is also very thick and annoying to look at. The device was built around a smaller 5.88-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen.
This has a resolution of 1080 x 2244 pixels and a sharper 423 pixel per inch density. Disappointingly, it could only get up to 81.3% screen-to-body ratio, compared to others. Nonetheless, the screen still has HDR10 complaint, DCI-P3 color gamut and a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top. It also handles 600 nits peak brightness for better outdoor visibility.
The Mi 8 SE sports an aluminium alloy overall unibody with a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top. It reflects light in the most subtle way, just like the Mi 8. As stated above, it has a boxy look with no curved edges. We can also see the dual shooters at the top left corner, with the dual-LED flash sitting in-between.
There’s no Face ID here, you have to depend on the rear fingerprint scanner for quick access to the device. It measures just 7.5 mm in thickness which is more slimmer than the Mi 8, weighing less as well at 164g. It’s available in Gray, Blue, Red and Gold colors.
Software and Hardware
This is the first device, with the Snapdragon 710 chip, it’s paired with an Octa-Core processor and 64-bit CPU architecture. The 8-Cores of processor here runs at a fast speed of 2.2GHz with 10nm FinFET process technology as well. A new graphics processor, the Adreno 616 controls graphics here.
There are two versions in terms of RAM here, there’s one with 6GB of RAM and another with 4GB of RAM. Both RAM space has a memory speed of over 1GHz. For storage, there’s just 64GB available on both variants, with no option to upgrade further. The Xiaomi Mi 8 SE runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with the new MIUI 10.
Powering the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE is a 3120mAh non-removable Li-Po battery with fast charging technology. With the fast charging feature, charging the battery from 0% to 100% shouldn’t take up to 1.7 hours.
The cameras on the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE is different from the one on the Mi 8. The SE sports dual 12MP + 5MP shooters with f/1.9 and f/2.0 aperture respectively. The first camera on top is a 12MP shooter with 1.4µm pixel size, dual-pixel PDAF and gyro-EIS. While the second 5MP telephoto camera underneath the dual-LED flash has 1.12µm pixel size.
Features on the cameras include dual pixel phase detection autofocus, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama and the usual AI enhancements like beautification, bokeh and scene recognition. Videos are shoot at 2160p@60fps and 1080p@30/120fps. For selfies, the same 20MP selfie shooter is present here with f/2.0 aperture, AI beautification and 2.0µm pixel size.
- Body: Metal frame, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on front and back; 147.3×73.1×7.5mm, 164g.
- Display: 5.88″ Super AMOLED, 2,244×1,080px resolution, 18.7:9 aspect ratio, 423ppi; HDR 10 and DCI-P3 compliant.
- Rear camera: Primary 12MP, 1.4µm pixel size, f/1.9 aperture, dual pixel PDAF, gyro-EIS; Secondary 5MP, f/2.0 aperture, 1.12µm pixel size, no autofocus, depth sensor. 2160p/30fps, 1080p/120fps slow motion.
- Front camera: 20MP, 1.0µm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture; 1080p/30fps video recording.
- OS: Android 8.1 Oreo; MIUI 9.5 custom overlay.
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 710: octa-core CPU (2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.7 GHz Cortex-A55), Adreno 616 GPU.
- Memory: 4GB/6GB of RAM; 64GB storage; no microSD slot.
- Battery: 3,120mAh Li-Po (sealed); QuickCharge 3.0 fast charging.
- Connectivity:Dual-SIM; LTE-A, Cat.15/13 (800Mbps/150Mbps); USB-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS; Bluetooth 5.0, IR blaster
- Misc: Rear-mounted fingerprint reader; single down-firing speaker; no 3.5mm jack.
All things considered, the Mi 8 SE offers an amazing package, complete with Xiaomi’s exciting new trendy design and an equally exciting fresh chipset setup. All this and more, without breaking the bank.
Xiaomi’s retail box of choice is quite simplistic, in a very Apple-esque way. That is, white all around, with the exception of a sizeable eight figure on the front, in all colors of the rainbow. We can only imagine Xiaomi liked Apple’s approach to bringing some attention to the punchy AMOLED color pallet of its device.
Anyway, the box is a standard two-piece affair. Nicely thick and really durable, which is all we really look in a container. Inside – a proper plastic cradle, to keep the MI 8 SE that little bit more secure. Also, a fairly rich accessory package, including a very compact 18W wall charger, certified for Quick Charge 3, just like the phone itself. Also, a Type-A to Type-C USB cable and a type-C to 3.5mm audio dongle.