Overview of the Xiaomi Mi8 SE: a linear cruiser with no frills and NFC

If the flagship Xiaomi Mi8 can be confused by price and size, then its almost a namesake with the prefix SE in the title of doubt on this part will not cause. The device is cheaper and more compact than the top model, however it works on Snapdragon 710, it is equipped with AMOLED-display and cameras with AI. A proprietary OS MIUI 10 is not only “beautiful”, but also a set of functions that are not yet found in pure Android. We checked this “cruiser” in an atmosphere close to the battle. The report is before you.

First impressions

You take the smartphone in your hands and you think – at last a new device, and not bulky. Indeed, in size Mi8 SE feels like a typical 5.2-inch device, but due to the “stretched” format it turned out almost six inches, inscribed in a compact body. And in general, in comparison with the flagship Mi8, the body of the lightened SE is more modest in all respects – weight, thickness, height and width.

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The appearance of the smartphone is not devoid of individuality: the lack of strong rounds gives solidity, it would seem, a simple form. The camera module that extends a good millimeter does not allow the gadget to lie flat on the table, but the complete cover solves the problem, and at the same time protects the fragile glass from scratches. The fingerprint scanner on the back of the device, of course, the last generation – works instantly, and also serves as a shutter release button for the camera. Not very intuitive, but sometimes helps.


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The display of the device at the first start puzzled: and where, in fact, AMOLED something? Instead of annoying colors, natural color rendition here, as in IPS, but, of course, with the characteristic depth of black. As it turned out, some bluff pictures due to the default profile with unsaturated colors. Fans of “acid” can get the usual for AMOLED juiciness, simply by including “Increase the contrast” in the settings. There you can get rid of the black notch on the top of the screen if it annoys you.

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Reasonable looks and the ability to abandon the screen navigation buttons, traditionally eating a lot of space at the bottom of the display. Instead, the smartphone is easy to fully manage with just five full-screen gestures implemented in the spirit of the “apple” operating system. It works like this: swipe up – “Home”, upward with a second delay – “Recent”, left-right and right-left – “Back”, swipe in the upper left part of the screen – “Additional menu”.

A full “gentleman’s set” – programmed masking of the cutout and disabling the on-screen navigation – gives the use of the feeling of a really large display bounded by neat frames (3 mm from three sides and 6 mm from below).

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Camera like the flagship models

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The equipment of the photomodule, although simplified compared to the usual Mi8, but still looks dignified. The main lens is connected to a 12-megapixel sensor, the auxiliary got a matrix simpler – 5 megapixels. A distinctive feature is a large aperture f / 1.9 (transmits more light) and relatively large pixels (1.4 microns). Native camera software contains intelligent functions: the neural network module is able to recognize up to 206 scenes in 25 categories and apply the optimal (according to Chinese developers) processing to each photo automatically.

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There is also a completely manual mode, and the ability to disable the noise reduction system for both photos and video. Activate this option in some cases to increase the detail of the images. The maximum possible quality of video shooting is 4K with 30 fps. This uses a bitrate of 38 Mbps (for the H265 codec), and the sound is recorded in stereo at a sampling frequency of 48,000 kHz.

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Complete freedom and full control

Few wrapper provides the user with so many options for customizing and sharpening the device for themselves. In MIUI 10 it will be almost everything – change the themes, download alternative lock screens, hide and add icons in the status line, tune the battery indicator and much more.

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Working with applications in MIUI 10 also deserves a separate mention. You can always see which programs are running in the background, and which ones do not, make sure that they do not have unnecessary access to personal data. One can even forbid one application to work via Wi-Fi, and another – through mobile networks. And this is without root-rights, installing additional software and other manipulations with the gadget, because everything is already in the “security center”.



A separate review deserves a revised review of running applications. At first glance, it all became somewhat messy. Instead of a coherent series of programs, the windows are located opposite each other in two columns. But the logic becomes understandable literally on the second day: first, it’s much easier to find the right application or to throw out what’s unnecessary from memory, and secondly, it’s easier to group a pair of windows in a split screen mode. Fortunately, the power to work in this mode is enough.

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Performance

Inside the smartphone there is a 10-nanometer Snapdragon 710 processor. Today it is one of the best SoC in the middle price category – smart, energy efficient, with hardware acceleration of neural network functions. Even if you do not make favors of the beta version of MIUI 10, you will not find fault with the smoothness and speed of the device. The interface responds quickly, in the everyday tasks of CPU resources more than enough.
With games, too, problems do not arise. If you do not set the highest quality graphics in the settings, and PUBG, and WoT Blitz, and the new Asphalt 9 will go great – without brakes, lags, artifacts (did anyone see any artifacts in the mobile graphics on the actual hardware?). Management is responsive, there are no delays.

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At the same time, the new “iron” spares mercilessly the battery: on paper, the figure of 3120 mAh may seem modest for, about horror, a “six-inch shovel”. In fact, the hour of the game World of Tanks with an average screen brightness and with Wi-Fi enabled takes up 20% of the charge – just like everywhere else. Continuously play video in the air mode with an average brightness of the display smartphone is capable of almost 16 hours. The system supports the company’s fast charging Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0: from zero to a hundred the battery is filled in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

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Is it perfect?

Xiaomi created a real miracle: an excellent looking, working and shooting device, also for reasonable money. There is something to be deceived. But, alas, there are novelties and annoying cons. The lack of NFC (found on what to save in 2018), the lack of a built-in mini-jack for headphones (you will have to use a complete “probes-proboscis”) and a mono-speaker instead of the stereo used in last year’s flagship. How did it happen?


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Outcomes

Xiaomi Mi8 SE – a nice device with a neat design, fresh processor and high-quality camera. They enjoy using. MIUI in the 10th version was prettier: in terms of interface design, functionality and overall speed, it was almost perfect. You can say Xiaomi Mi8 SE is well worth its money if you forgive him for lack of NFC and close your eyes to other minor flaws. There are still no competitors. This is sad.

Overview of the Xiaomi Mi8 SE: a linear cruiser with no frills and NFC
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Post Author: Thomas Braven

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