Apart from launching the Xiaomi Mi 8 as its 8th Anniversary flagship and Mi 8 SE smartphones today through an unveil event in Shenzhen, Xiaomi has also launched the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition which is nothing but an advanced version of the Xiaomi Mi 8. At the launch event, the Chinese manufacturer said that the Mi 8 Explorer Edition smartphone offers a number of world premiere features. It’s the first Android smartphone that supports 3D facial recognition. It is also the first phone along with Mi 8 to feature dual-band GPS technology. Also, it is equipped with an pressure-sensitive in-display fingerprint reader.
Design and Display
Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition features a 2.5D translucent glass rear that is curved towards the edges. The translucent back gives a clear view of the innards of the phone such as the new design for the NFC coil, Kevlar texture for the battery and other components. The handset measures 154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6mm and it weighs 177 grams. The size of the phone is similar to a traditional 5.2-inch phone.
The Xiaomi Mi 8 EE also features a 6.21-inch S-AMOLED display like the Mi 8. It produces 18.7:9 aspect ratio and FHD+ resolution of 2248 x 1080 pixels. and it delivers a screen-to-body ratio of 86.12 percent. The screen is enabled with features like DCI-P3 color gamut, 60000:1 contrast ratio, up to 600nits brightness, HDR support, Eye protection mode, and Always-On Display.
In-Display Fingerprint Scanner and 3D Facial Recognition
The Mi 8 Explorer Edition has an in-screen fingerprint reader that enables users to unlock the phone simply touch and scan fingerprint sensor embedded that is embedded in its display. Xiaomi claims that since the display of the phone is equipped with highly sensitive pressure sensor, it can instantly scan and unlock the phone by touching on the screen gently. Hence, a user does not require to press harder on the screen to unlock it. Xiaomi claims it is the first smartphone in the world with pressure sensitive in-screen fingerprint technology.
Like the iPhone X’s Face ID feature, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition features a complex structured light 3D module to enable 3D facial scanning. The notch of the Mi 8 Explorer Edition includes components like selfie camera, proximity sensor, ambient sensor, infrared lens, flood illuminator and dot projector.
The selfie camera captures the face data of the user by analyzing more than 33,000 invisible points of the face of the users to create a depth map. The infrared lens also captures the infrared image of the face at the same time. The AI engine of the SoC comes into play to convert the depth map and infrared image into a mathematical representation which is then matched the registered facial data stored on the phone to unlock it. Xiaomi claims that the probability of cracking the Face ID on MI 8 Explorer Edition is like one in one million. Even Apple said the same thing when it announced Face ID for iPhone X.
Dubbed as “Mi Meng” in Chinese is Xiaomi’s take on animated emojis that is also available on the iPhone X. With AI, the front camera can capture up to 52 facial muscle movements to create different animated characters that can imitate the face expressions and voice of the user.
Like the Mi 8, the Mi 8 Explorer Edition is driven by Snapdragon 845 that comes with an Artificial Intelligence Engine. The SoC is coupled with 8 GB of RAM and it comes with an inbuilt storage of 128 GB. It also features a 3,000mAh battery that is found under the hood of the Mi 8. The Mi 8 EE supports Quick Charge 4+ fast charging. It pre-loaded with MIUI 10 based Android 8.1 Oreo.
Cameras and Other Features
The dual camera setup that includes a wide-angle 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 primary sensor that is equipped with f/1.8 aperture and 1.4micron pixel size. It is accompanied by a secondary 12-megapixel S5K3M3 telephoto lens that has an aperture of f/2.4 and 1micron pixel size. It offers camera features like 4-axis OIS, optical zoom and dual autofocus, AI Studio Lighting for enhanced portrait shots, AI scene detection and video editing, 4K UHD video shooting and Full HD slow-motion recording at 240fps. Xiaomi revealed the camera prowess of the phone by saying that the Mi 8 has scored 105 in photography benchmarks on DxOMark.
The 20-megapixel selfie camera is placed inside the notch. Apart from 3D facial recognition, it offers features like 3D Beauty, 10 kinds of AI scene detection, mirror function and HDR.
The connectivity features available on the Mi 8 Explorer Edition include 4G VoLTE, dual-SIM support, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C and 3.5mm audio jack. Like the Mi 8, the Explorer Edition is also blessed with dual-band GPS for accurate GPS navigation compared to conventional smartphones.
Pricing and Availability
The Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer comes in a single edition which features 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage and it is priced at 3,699 Yuan (~$577). Xiaomi is yet to reveal information on its availability.