Xiaomi Mi8 vs Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite full review

The Mi 8 (pictured above) is Xiaomi's flagship smartphone, unveiled in China back in May 2018. We got our hands on a China-ROM version of the handset and found it to offer "astonishing value, insane performance and awesome photography" - you can read our full review here.

The Mi 8 was announced alongside SE and Explorer editions of the phone, with the SE a cheaper version with a stripped-down spec, and the Explorer an upgraded model with an in-display fingerprint sensor, 3D Face Unlock and a transparent rear cover.

Those 3D-sensing components proved difficult to source, but demand was high, so in September the company also unveiled a Mi 8 Pro, in essence the Explorer edition but with IR- rather than 3D facial recognition. 

Mi 8 Lite

Above: Mi 8 Lite

At the same time it announced the Mi 8 Lite, an even cheaper entry model with the mid-range Snapdragon 660 processor and an IPS- rather than AMOLED display, but also packing the best selfie camera of the lot - a 24Mp beast with 1.8um pixels. That display is also worthy of note for being slightly larger and featuring the smallest screen notch here.

The Mi 8 Pro has been announced as the first official Xiaomi phone to go on sale in the UK. It will be available through Three, Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, Carphone Warehouse, Currys/PC World, Very, Go Mobile, Mobile Phones Direct and Mi.com from 9 November, and in store at a new central London Mi outlet opening on 18 November.

The Mi 8 Lite will also go on sale through these channels on 9 November. If you're quick you can pick one up for just £1!

Compare the Mi 8 Family

There are some subtle difference between each of the Mi 8 models, as we outline in the table below: 

  Mi 8 Lite Mi 8 Mi 8 Pro
Priced from £249 (£279 for 6GB RAM) £459 £499 UK
Display 6.26in Full-HD+ IPS LCD, 19:9 6.21in Full-HD+ AMOLED, 18.7:9 6.21in Full-HD+ AMOLED, 18.7:9
Processor 2.2GHz Snapdragon 660 2.8GHz Snapdragon 845 octa-core 2.8GHz Snapdragon 845 octa-core
Graphics Adreno 512 Adreno 630 Adreno 630
Memory 4GB/6GB RAM 6GB/8GB RAM 8GB RAM
Storage 64GB/128GB internal, 256GB microSD 64GB/128GB/256GB internal 128GB internal
Primary camera 12Mp+ 5Mp dual camera 12Mp + 12Mp dual-camera 12Mp + 12Mp dual-camera
Selfie camera 24Mp, 1.8um pixels 20Mp, 1.8um pixels 20Mp, 1.8um pixels
Fingerprint sensor Rear Rear In-display
Battery 3350mAh, QC3 3400mAh, QC4 3000mAh, QC4
Dimensions 156.4x75.8x7.5mm 154.9x74.8x7.6mm 154.9x74.8x7.6mm
Weight 169g 175g 177g

Beyond the core specifications the Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite are also notable for their differing look. While all three phones have a similar overall design, the Mi 8 Lite has a gorgeous gradient mirror-like finish in Sunset Gold (pinky orange) and Aurora Blue (purple and blue), or you can buy it in Midnight Black.

Meanwhile, the Mi 8 Pro has a Transparent Titanium version with a cool transparent rear cover. Not only can you see the hardware inside, but Xiaomi has inscribed little messages here such as the company slogan "Innovation for everyone" as well as its ambition to "Be the coolest company in the hearts of our users."

Mi 8 Pro

Above: Mi 8 Pro

None of these phones are waterproof, and neither do they support wireless charging. However, Quick Charge support and a fast charger in the box means they can be up and running in short order - the Mi 8 Lite supports Quick Charge 3.0 and has a 10W charger in the box, while the Pro can handle Quick Charge 4.0 and comes with an 18W charger.

There are small differences in battery capacity that have been necessary in order to fit the differing tech inside similar-size shells, and while the Mi 8  and Mi 8 Pro are identical in size the Mi 8 Lite is only 1.5mm taller, 1mm wider and actually 0.1mm thinner. You should expect a full day's life from any of the trio.

The Mi 8 and Mi 8 Pro feature exactly the same cameras, and performance is going to be similar with the same Snapdragon 845 processor inside. But the Mi 8 Pro stands out with its in-display fingerprint sensor, which is found on the rear of the Mi 8 and Mi 8 Lite.

The Pro also has more memory and storage as standard, but only the Lite model accepts storage expansion via microSD (up to 256GB). To take advantage of this you must use the second SIM slot, however.

With its lower price the Mi 8 Lite also lacks NFC.

Conclusion

Assessing which of these three Xiaomi phones is the best really depends on what you need. The Mi 8 Pro is technically the best, with the best specification and the fastest performance and highest amount of memory and storage out of the box, but the Mi 8 Lite is significantly cheaper and has a better selfie camera, albeit sacrificing some speed and display quality. The standard Mi 8 is, as you might expect, the best all-rounder, offering the performance, cameras and display of the Mi 8 Pro at a more attractive price, and all you really lose is the in-display fingerprint sensor.

Read next: Best Xiaomi phones

Specs

Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite: Specs

  • 6.26in Full-HD+ (2280x1080, 403ppi) 19:9 IPS LCD
  • MIUI 10
  • 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 octa-core processor
  • 650MHz Adreno 512 GPU, Vulkan API support
  • 4GB/6GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • 64GB/128GB storage
  • microSD up to 256GB (hybrid dual-SIM slot)
  • 4G LTE
  • dual-SIM dual-standby
  • dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Dual-lens AI camera: 12Mp Sony IMX363, f/1.9, 1.4um pixels, dual-PD + 5Mp Samsung S5K5E8 telephoto, f/2.0, 1.12um pixels
  • 24Mp Sony IMX576 AI selfie camera, 1.8um pixels
  • rear fingerprint sensor
  • USB-C
  • 33,50mAh battery
  • Quick Charge 3
  • 156.4x75.8x7.5mm
  • 169g

Xiaomi Mi8: Specs

  • MIUI 9
  • 6.21in Full-HD+ (2248x1080) 18.7:9 AMOLED display
  • 2.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • 4G FDD-LTE B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/20
  • dual-SIM dual-standby (2x nano)
  • dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • rear fingerprint sensor
  • dual-frequency GPS
  • dual-camera: Sony IMX363 12Mp + 12Mp, four-axis OIS, dual-PD focus, 1.4um pixels, dual-LED flash, 4K video
  • 20Mp selfie camera, 1.8um 4-in-1 pixels
  • USB-C
  • 3400mAh battery, Quick Charge 4.0
  • 154.9x74.8x7.6mm
  • 175g

Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro: Specs

  • 6.21in Full-HD+ (2248x1080) 18.7:9 AMOLED Always-On Display, 60,000:1 claimed contrast, 600nit claimed brightness, 86.68% screen-to-body ratio, Gorilla Glass 5
  • 2.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB storage (no microSD expansion)
  • pressure-sensitive in-display fingerprint sensor
  • dual-SIM dual-standby
  • 4G LTE (all UK bands)
  • dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • dual-frequency GPS
  • NFC
  • USB-C (inc audio, with 3.5mm adaptor supplied)
  • 12Mp Sony IMX363, f/1.8, 1.4um pixel + 12Mp Samsung S5K3M3 f/2.4, 1.0um pixel dual-lens AI camera, 2x optical zoom, 4-axis OIS
  • 20Mp Samsung S5K3T1, f/2.0, 1.8um pixel selfie camera
  • IR Face Unlock
  • 3,000mAh battery, Quick Charge 4 (18W charge supplied)
  • 154.9x74.8x7.6mm
  • 177g

Best prices today: Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro

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