Top-of-the-range performance for a low price?

I switched to Android earlier in 2018 by buying a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 which turned out to be a great device. I then repeated the experience later with a Honor 8x which failed to beat the Xiaomi. Now it’s time for another Xiaomi to pass my full test, I ordered the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite at the beginning of November and as for my other tests, I will spread my test over several weeks to cover all aspects of this new smartphone.

Official site: Xiaomi.com

Feel free to ask your questions in the comments section for the benefit of everyone.

Price Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite UK/US

I chose Lightinthebox to buy my Xiaomi because the phone was offered at 193€ and offered an insurance to cover any customs taxes. I had already bought a phone from them, I had also taken the insurance and I was well inspired because on arrival the customs authorities asked me for 45€ for a 94€ phone and the recourse after acceptance of the package is more expensive than the device! I contacted Lightinthebox again and they quickly refunded me.

Prices coming from other currencies may be slightly different because conversion is only done once a day.
190 USD - Global Version, Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4 GB + 64 GB, Bla (Aliexpress - CN)
199.99 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4G Phablet Global Version (GearBest - CN)
203.84 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite Dual Sim 4G 64GB (4GB Ram)(Libre) (eBay ES - ES)
204.97 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 64GB+4GB RAM 6.26/15,9cm Nuevo 2 (eBay ES - ES)
204.97 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 64GB+4GB RAM 6.26/15,9cm Nuevo 2 (eBay ES - ES)
205.09 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite - Smartphone da 6,26 Pollici, Dua (Amazon.it - IT)
206.46 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 15,9 cm (6.26") 4 GB 64 GB SIM Do (Amazon.es - ES)
207.14 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite Smartphone da 64 Gb, Nero [Italia (Amazon.it - IT)
207.26 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite Smartphone débloqué 4G (Ecran: (Amazon France - FR)
208.95 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite (64GB, 4GB RAM) 6.26" Full Screen (Amazon.com - USA)
209.99 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4G Phablet Global Version (GearBest - CN)
209.99 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4GB RAM 64GB Smartphone Dual SIM (Amazon.it - IT)
212.88 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4 Go RAM 64 Go Smartphone Dual SI (Amazon France - FR)
218.52 USD - Smartphone Xiaomi Mi8 Lite Double Sim 64 Go Noir (Fnac - FR)
218.63 USD - Smartphone Xiaomi Mi8 Lite Double Sim 64 Go Noir (Fnac - FR)
218.63 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 6,26 Zoll Dual SIM Smartphone Glo (Amazon.de - DE)
218.63 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 15,9 cm (6.26") 4 GB 64 GB SIM Do (Amazon.es - ES)
219.99 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite Unlocked 64GB 4GB RAM Dual Sim 4G (eBay US - USA)
221.99 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 64GB 4GB RAM Dual Sim 4G LTE (U (eBay US - USA)
222.4 USD - Global Version Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4GB 64GB Mobile Ph (Aliexpress - CN)
224.18 USD - Smartphone Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4 RAM 64Go Noir (Cdiscount - FR)
224.18 USD - Smartphone Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4 RAM 64Go Noir (Cdiscount - FR)
224.18 USD - Smartphone Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4 RAM 64Go Noir (Cdiscount - FR)
224.99 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 64GB (FACTORY UNLOCKED) 6.26" 4GB (eBay US - USA)
225.48 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite, Dual Sim, 4GB 64GB Ohne Simlock (eBay DE - DE)
229.99 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4G Phablet 128GB ROM Global Versi (GearBest - CN)
233.31 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4G 64GB Dual-SIM Aurora Blue EU (Amazon.de - DE)
234.59 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite Smartphone débloqué 4G (Ecran: (Amazon France - FR)
235.55 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 64 GB, Handy, dunkelgrau (eBay DE - DE)
235.67 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4GB 64GB 6,26 " Dual SIM Snapdrag (eBay DE - DE)
236.85 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 15,9 cm (6.26") 4 GB 64 GB SIM Do (Amazon.es - ES)
236.85 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 4 Go 64 Go 6,26 " Notch Display 2 (eBay FR - FR)
239.99 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 6.26 Inch 4G LTE Smartphone Snap (Geekbuying.com - CN)
239.99 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 6.26 Inch 4G LTE Smartphone Snap (Geekbuying.com - CN)
245.99 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 6.26 Inch 4G LTE Smartphone Snap (Geekbuying.com - CN)
250.41 USD - Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite mobiele telefoon (Alternate - BE)
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My test, your questions

How are my tests different from others on the web?
– I buy the devices with my money (which means: I think a lot before buying!)
– I keep the devices a couple of months to see what they’re worth in real conditions
– I answer questions to help you decide before you buy
– I don’t live off my blog, so my tests are neutral

If you haven’t seen my other tests yet, here they are:
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
Honor 8x

Timeline

09/11/18: purchase of the Xiaomi Mi8 Lite on Lightinthebox with customs duty protection insurance
16/11/18: delay in delivery notification (due to black friday)
22/11/18: phone is in transit
28/11/18: the phone arrived at my house and I didn’t have to pay any customs duties
28/11/18: first impressions and photos of the phone
01/12/18: photo tests in the studio, benchmark tests, first hand experience
03/12/18: 4G performance test
05/12/18: test performance wifi 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
13/12/18: night photo test
24/12/18: photo cloudiness test
26/12/18: photo test / video day

First contact

The first step is unpacking so I get down to it and prepare the portable studio as I do for each test. I take my DSLR and once again, the damn battery is empty and I didn’t want to wait another 2 hours to take the pictures, so I decided to take my Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 to take the pictures. The quality of this budget phone will always amaze me, it’s clearly not as good as a SLR but the pictures are more than correct and the ease of use compared to a SLR is unbeatable.

The Xiaomi Mi8 Lite box contains what is usually found in a Xiaomi box: the phone, a back cover, a charging cable, a power adapter, a needle to open the SIM drawer and a small USB adapter because this phone has a USB-C port. What is missing is a protective film but I have the impression that Xiaomi does not offer this kind of accessories with its phones, the Honor 8x had a protective film installed in the factory. At first contact what surprised me was that the phone is cold to the touch, the perimeter is metallic and has a rounded shaped. The level of finish is clearly of the same type as that of the Honor 8x, the two devices are equal and both outperform Note 5. The Xiaomi Mi8 Lite does not shine by its originality (it is the same with the Honor 8x) but it is a beautiful phone with an impeccable finish.

The rear glass facade is very reflective and I think it has been treated to reflect light in a slightly different way. I placed the phone under the studio lights and it is clear that the light is deflected to the sides where an Honor 8x was just mirroring. It will then be necessary to see how the phone behaves in real conditions because high reflectivity can make reading difficult when the light is strong.

The first time I turn on the phone I feel like I see the same thing as with the Redmi Note 5, the black is not quite black, the backlighting is too important. I will test this point later to see if it is just a bad configuration at startup like the Redmi or if the screen is not as good.

First configuration

If you have already used an Android phone and more specifically a Xiaomi, the configuration procedure of the Xiaomi Mi8 Lite will not surprise you. It is almost identical to that of Redmi Note 5. However, I was surprised to see that the phone was configured with MIUI 9 while the Redmi Note 5 runs in MIUI 10. After configuring the basic settings of the device, it quickly invited me to download MIUI 10 and that’s a good thing because I clearly prefer this version.
 

Finish

The finishes of the Mi8 Lite are of the same level as the Honor 8x, both phones have an impeccable finish, the difference between the two is mainly due to a subjective choice. The Honor 8x is very rectangular and angular, Xiaomi has opted for a curved shape. Both phones reflect a lot of light, the Xiaomi has added a distortion effect to the back.
 

The Xiaomi Mi8 Lite is the thinnest of the 3 phones compared, the difference is minimal but sufficient to be noticeable. It’s the same thing in terms of dimensions, the Xiaomi Mi8 is the smallest phone despite the size of its screen (6.26 inches). This size gives it a more elongated and narrower appearance than the other two.

At the bottom of the phone there are 2 outputs for a loudspeaker but in reality there is only one loudspeaker like the Honor but the sound is much better. However, there is no longer a Jack port, so those used to wired headsets will have to adapt.

 

Like the Honor 8x, Xiaomi has opted for a notch with a sensor and a loudspeaker. So the device does not revolutionize today’s standards, it simply follows the trend but does it well. For the screen, it’s the same, it’s IPS but with a pixel density slightly higher than the other two devices.

 

Network support and performance

Test signal Wifi
To measure the wifi signal strength I used a specialized application that allows me to measure the quality of the signal on a graph. I took measurements near the router and measurements away from the house (always in the same place), then compared the values with the other phones. Not surprisingly, the Xiaomis are doing better than the Honor, it was already visible in my previous test, but there is almost no difference between the Xiaomis. When the signal is weak, it is in the same range for both phones and it is the same when the signal is strong.

Wifi speed
I just bought a Netgear R6400 router, so I now have the possibility to test the 5Ghz frequency and it makes a huge difference. The Xiaomi Mi8 Lite and Redmi Note 5 both use this frequency, this is not the case for the Honor 8X. My internet provider offers a download speed of 400Mbps and my router allows me to send 300Mbps over wifi with the 5Ghz frequency. Both Xiaomis offer very good performances, the Redmi Note 5 outperformed the Mi8 Lite! In download, the Redmi Note 5 reaches a speed of 280Mbps (!) while the Mi8 peaks at around 260Mbps. When uploading both devices have the same result because the limitation is at the level of my connection which is limited to about 22Mbps when uploading. If I do the same test in 2.4Ghz, the values are more or less the same for both Xiaomis (50-60Mbps in download and 22 in upload). The Honor is further behind with 40Mbps.

Test signal 4G
I used the same application to test the 4G signal and here on the other hand I do not observe any significant differences between the devices, I would subjectively say that the Mi8 Lite is slightly better but it is just an impression that I can’t verify with numbers.
 

Test vitesse 4G
To test the speed in 4G I used the Speedtest application and then compared the results with the other phones I have tested so far and from the first test, the result was very clear, the Xiaomi Mi8 Lite is the fastest 4G phone I have ever tested. In download I got 149Mbps and in upload 52.3Mbps with peaks at 60Mbps, I was probably not alone in using the bandwidth.

 

Here is the comparison with other phones:
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: 122Mbps download / 60 Mbps upload
Honor 8x: 102 Mbps download / 44.5Mbps
Xiaomi Mi8 Lite: 149Mbps download / 50Mbps

 

The Mi8 did a little less well than the Note 5 in upload but as I wrote above, I saw it go up to 60Mbps for a few seconds. I think the network is limited to 60Mbps because the speed artificially peaks at that speed. On the other hand, in download mode, the Mi8 outperforms Note 5 (+22%) and Honor (+46%). Do you feel the difference in daily use? Yes, I had first used the Mi8 as a modem with my laptop and I found that the connection was more fluid, the test with Speedtest then confirmed my first impression.

 

3G / 4G support



Supported frequencies

The phone supports the following frequency bands:
2G: B2,B3,B5,B8
3G: B1,B2,B4,B5,B8
4G/4G+: B1,B2,B3,B4,B5,B7,B8,B20,B28,B38;B40



What frequencies are used in Europe?

3G : B1 (2100), B2 (1900), B5 (850), B8 (900)
4G : B1 (2100), B20 (800), B3 (1800), B38 (TDD 2600), B4 (1700/2100 AWS 1), B40 (TDD 2300), B5 (850), B7 (2600), B8 (900)
This phone covers all the most commonly used 3G/4G frequencies in Europe.

Of course you should always check the specific frequencies of your provider because some European operators use different frequencies, it’s rare but it happens. Please note that the frequencies indicated below were valid at the time of writing this article, they will not be updated, so I cannot guarantee that they are correct.

I have added a few other European countries so that you can check the countries where you go on holiday, if the local provider does not support the same frequencies, you may no longer have a network.



BE

4G Proximus: 2100Mhz, 1800Mhz, 2600Mhz, 800Mhz
3G Proximus: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

4G Orange: 2600Mhz, 1800Mhz, 800Mhz
3G Orange: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

4G Base: 2600Mhz, 1800Mhz, 800Mhz
3G Base: 2100Mhz



FR

4G Orange: 2600Mhz, 1800Mhz, 800Mhz
3G Orange: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

4G SFR: 2600Mhz, 2100Mhz, 1800Mhz, 800Mhz
3G SFR: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

4G Bouygues: 2600Mhz, 2100Mhz, 1800Mhz, 800Mhz, 700Mhz
3G Bouygues: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

4G Free: 2600Mhz, 1800Mhz, 700Mhz
3G Free: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz



ES

Movistar 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Movistar 3G: 2100, 900

Orange 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Orange 3G: 2100, 900

Vodafone 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Vodafone 3G: 2100, 900

Yoigo

Yoigo 4G: 1800
Yoigo 3G: 2100



DE

E-Plus 4G: 2600, 800
E-Plus 3G: 2100

O2

O2 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
O2 3G: 2100

T-Mobile

T-Mobile 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
T-Mobile 3G: 2100

Vodafone

Vodafone 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Vodafone 3G: 2100



IT

Tre 4G: 2600, 1800, 1500, 800
Tre 3G: 2100, 900

Telecom Italia 4G: 2600, 1800, 1500, 800
Telecom Italia 3G: 2100, 900

Vodafone 4G: 2600, 1800, 1500, 800
Vodafone 3G: 2100, 900

Wind 4G: 2600, 800
Wind 3G: 2100, 900



Suisse

Salt Mobile 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Salt Mobile 3G: 2100, 900

Sunrise 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Sunrise 3G: 2100, 900

Swisscom 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Swisscom 3G: 2100, 900



NL

KPN 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
KPN 3G: 2100

Tele2 4G: 2600, 800

T-Mobile 4G: 2600, 2100, 1800, 900
T-Mobile 3G: 2100, 900

Vodafone 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Vodafone 3G: 2100, 900



UK

Three 4G: 1800, 800
Three 3G: 2100

EE 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
EE 3G: 2100

O2 4G: 1800, 800
O2 3G: 2100, 900

Virgin Mobile 4G: 2600, 1800 B9, 800
Virgin Mobile 3G: 2100

Vodafone 4G: 2600, 2100, 1!00, 800
Vodafone 3G: 2100, 900

 

Battery life

The Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite has a 3350mAh battery which places it below the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and Honor 8x. It is therefore not surprising that the battery range is less good than these two other devices. However, it is not bad at all because I can hold 2 days using about 2h30 of continuous data every day to which we have to add emails, sms and a few calls. On weekends, I consume less and the battery lasts almost 3 days.
 

Audio quality

On-call audio test
I don’t have a tool to measure audio quality on call, so I can only rely on my ear. The sound seems quite correct to me, I didn’t notice any difference compared to the other devices I use.
 

External speaker audio test
The Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite has two sound outputs but only one is used. The sound is powerful and rather good, you can feel the bass and treble, the sound is a little better than the Redmi Note 5 and much better than the Honor 8x which is really one step lower than the others at this level.

 

Bluetooth Speaker Audio Test
The Bluetooth signal is of good quality, it allows music to be played on an external source without interruption and the quality is really good. I connected the Mi8 Lite to my car and then used Deezer to stream music to my car. To complicate things, I did it at 120 km/h on a highway for about 30 km. I didn’t have any signal interruption (nor 4G nor Bluetooth). The quality was even better overall than the sound I get from traditional radio.

 

Performance

As with the other phones, I tested the Xiaomi Mi8 Lite with 3Dmark and Antutu. In theory, the Xiaomi Mi8 should offer similar performance to the Honor 8x, these two phones are positioned in the same performance (and price) category. What is the reality?
 



Antutu

Global score: 143580
CPU: 66817
GPU: 30276
UX: 38734
MEM: 7753

 

As a reminder, Honor 8x obtained the following scores:
Global score: 139439 (-3%)
CPU: 66989 (+0%)
GPU: 22385 (-35%)
UX: 37826 (-2%)
MEM: 122230 (+37%)

 

At the CPU level, the two devices are almost identical, the KIRIN 710 used by the Huawei is of the same level as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 used in the Xiaomi. At the GPU level, however, the Xiaomi with its Adreno 512 GPU far exceeds the Honor’s Mali-G51 MP4 ARM. This will probably have the effect of being more efficient in games, but I will test this aspect later in this article.

 

It is once again at the level of memory that the Xiaomi is overtaken by the Honor, this was already the case with the Redmi Note 5, the memory performance is far below the performance of the Honor. The memory is mainly used for temporary storage, so access to temporary storage is much faster on the Honor.

 



3Dmark

Slingshot Extreme OpenGL 3.1: 1362
Slingshot Extreme Vulkan: 1070

 

As a reminder, Honor 8x obtained the following scores:
Slingshot Extreme OpenGL 3.1: 953 points (-42%)
Slingshot Extreme Vulkan: 1127 points (+6%)

 

As for Antutu we see a big difference in favor of the Xiaomi and this time with a significant difference on OpenGL. Without being an expert, I think OpenGL is much more used than Vulkan. Xiaomi should then be a better choice for gaming.

 

I had not paid any attention to the battery during the test until I compared the battery temperature during the tests. I see that the temperature of the Xiaomi’s battery was 24°C while that of the Honor was 39°C. So the Honor is getting hotter.

 

Gaming performance



Test PUBG Mobile

Until now, I hadn’t integrated gaming into my tests. For this first test I downloaded PUBG Mobile and took a video during the game. PUBG is quite greedy and should give a good idea of the phone’s performance.
 

The loading is quite slow but once in the game, the whole thing is very fluid, you can see for yourself on the video below. However, it should be noted that I was using a video capture application at the same time as the game, so the game performance was not optimal. The game started with average graphics.

 

 

The in-game experience was quite ok, the phone managed the challenge pretty well and showed no sign of weakness. The battery didn’t heat up either.

 



Test avec SteamLink

I started testing this with my old router (a 20 years old piece of hardware) but the experience was so bad that I had to wait until my new router was delivered.

 

Second attempt with a powerful router this time and it works much better, no more delay in display, the game Conan Exiles in 2k is completely fluid. The PC runs the game which is then streamed through wifi to the phone, it took me a while to understand how to play because the game is not designed to be played on a mobile but after a couple of minutes, you get used to it.

 

Photo quality

The Xiaomi Mi8 Lite is equipped with a Sony sensor at the front (24 Mio pixels) and a Samsung (12 Mio pixels) at the rear. I had not been very impressed by the Honor sensor, but I had been pleasantly surprised by the Redmi Note 5. The Xiaomi Mi8 Lite is also supposed to produce raw files (RAW) which could be an important advantage for retouching. What about this new Mi8 Lite?
 

The basic photo application has slightly evolved from the application used by Redmi Note 5. The Mi 8 lite has AI assisted photos as on the Honor, this mode is supposed to improve the photos, we will see what it is in the following lines. The manual mode has also been enhanced, where the Redmi only offered 2 options, this time you can control white balance, shutter, focus distance and ISO sensitivity. It’s not enough yet but it’s already much better than the Redmi, the Honor offers more or less the same thing.

 

Testing indoors (studio)
As for my other tests, I start with a test in the controlled conditions of my small studio. I will mainly compare the Redmi Note 5 with the Xiaomi Mi8 Lite because the Honor is not as good as the Redmi Note 5. I have awarded two types of shots, one with a focus at the front on Darth Vador’s helmet, another with a focus on the Stormtrooper helmet at the back. For each of the shots, I took a picture with the brightness in automatic mode and the manual brightness.

 

Shot 1: focus on Darth Vador – automatic brightness (Mi8 Lite)

The lack of brightness I noticed on the Redmi and Honor is much less pronounced on the Mi8 Lite. We can see very clearly the focus area and the blur area even if the latter is not of an optical nature, it is the camera software that artificially adds it but it does a good job. The grain of the photo is impeccable, the colors are correct.
 

Shot 1: focus sur Darth Vador – manual brightness (Mi8 Lite)

The lack of brightness I noticed on the Redmi and Honor is much less pronounced on the Mi8 Lite. We can see very clearly the focus area and the blur area even if the latter is not of an optical nature, it is the camera software that artificially adds it but it does a good job. The grain of the photo is impeccable, the colors are correct.
 

Shot 1: focus on Darth Vador – automatic brightness (Redmi Note 5)

The picture is darker overall, it’s not catastrophic but it shows in comparison with the Mi8 Lite.
 

Shot 1: focus on Darth Vador – manual brightness (Redmi Note 5)

We obtain here a brightness quite comparable to that of the Mi8 Lite, it is even difficult to distinguish the two devices. Without manual assistance the Mi8 is slightly better than the Redmi Note 5 but with manual assistance, the two devices are completely equivalent.
 

As I always say, a studio test does not reflect the quality of a camera with natural light, so the following tests will be more important.

 

Shot 2: focus on Stormtrooper – automatic brightness (Mi8 Lite)

Shot 2: focus on Stormtrooper – manual brightness (Mi8 Lite)

Shot 2: focus on Stormtrooper – automatic brightness (Redmi Note 5)

Shot 2: focus on Stormtrooper – manual brightness (Redmi Note 5)

The conclusions are the same but I forced too much light on the Mi8 and a large part of the picture is overexposed but it is mostly a mistake of judgment.

Outdoor test (sun)
It took me some time to do this test because in December you don’t get a lot of light and as I was working most of the month, it was difficult for me to find time to take these pictures. To start this test, I chose a rather varied landscape with a good mix of warm and cold colors. The photo was taken in the late afternoon when the sun was already starting to fade.

The photo is quite close to reality, the colors are correct, the sharpness is good, the shadows are a little too pronounced but overall the photo corresponds quite well to what I expected. I then compared more or less the same scene with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5.

The result is really very similar, you could almost confuse the two devices. In a properly lit environment, the two devices have a very similar behaviour, there is just a difference in colour temperature and blue/yellow hues where Note 5 reinforces blue and Mi 8 Lite reinforces yellow. This difference will be more visible in the following photos. Let’s move on to a second example with the Mi 8 Lite.

And I compare directly with Note 5

The two photos look very similar again but we are beginning to see the differences in treatment between the two cameras. Blue is more pronounced on Note 5, yellow is more pronounced on Mi 8 Lite. On pictures of this type, you don’t see a big difference. If I look at the pictures more closely, the sharpness is the same for both cameras. However, I must point out that as soon as the brightness decreases, Note 5 tends to smooth out the details to make them prettier while Mi 8 accepts the increase in noise more easily.
 

With the following pictures, the differences between the two cameras will be more striking. The next picture is darker, the sun did not pierce the cloudy veil. Let’s start with the Mi 8 Lite.

And let’s go directly to the same picture taken with Note 5

This time the differences are clearly visible. We see that the hue of the photo is more bluish on Note 5 and the white on Mi 8 goes a little towards yellow. The photo in Note 5 therefore seems to me to be better than that of the Mi 8 Lite. I had already noticed this problem in other pictures taken before this test but I had not taken Note 5 to compare. There is a glaring difference in treatment here. This difference can be corrected in two ways, either by taking the picture in manual mode and choosing a colder color temperator, or by using the photo processing settings in the camera. Here is an example where I reduce yellow a little bit in favour of blue.

We now have a picture closer to Note 5 but it’s a shame to have to intervene on a picture when Note 5 in automatic mode must not go through there. I suspect the so-called artificial intelligence to play a role because on the Honor 8X, I also noticed that this feature tended to make the images more yellow. It is therefore better to take pictures by deactivating these assistance because they do not work miracles, quite the contrary.
 

Outdoor test (cloudy)
I didn’t have a holiday in an exotic country planned during my Mi 8 lite test, so I didn’t have any nice scenery to test the camera but finally it’s not a problem because it probably corresponds to the reality of everyday life for most of us. For this series of photos, there is nothing very glamorous, just a muddy countryside, big clouds, puddles and a sun that can’t break through. We start with the Mi 8 Lite.

The devices deliver fairly similar performance, conditions are not ideal with a large difference in brightness between the area with the sun behind the clouds and the shadow area in the foreground. The result is not too bad for an automatic mode. We notice here the same difference between the two devices, Note 5 reinforces the blue while Mi 8 Lite reinforces the yellow.

As the Mi 8 offers more possibilities in manual mode, I compared what Note 5 comes out automatically with another type of setting on the Mi 8. I simply changed the color temperature and brightness, the Mi 8 allows here to recover pixels in difficult conditions where Note 5 does not offer this kind of possibility.
 

Outdoor test (night)
I tested the Xiaomi Mi8 in December and since I work during the day, I don’t have much opportunity to take pictures during the day. This allowed me to take pictures at dawn and dusk when the light has something magical about it. These are not easy topics for a phone but you will see that the Mi8 is doing really well (like the Redmi Note 5 by the way). Here is a first picture of the great square of Ath with some Christmas decorations.

I took this picture in automatic mode and by freehand, so these are not good conditions to take a picture and yet the result is really interesting. For a photo in ISO 1600 the noise is visible but without being too present, the sharpness in the center is quite good, we can even read some license plates. Let’s move on to another freehand photo in difficult conditions, it’s a photo taken from my garden before sunrise with Venus very visible in the sky.

This picture was taken in manual freehand mode by forcing the sensitivity to 800 ISO and there was very little light. Here too, I think it’s pretty good because with 800 ISO, the sensor can capture the light of the dawn without any particular assistance. I didn’t use a tripod and the shutter was on 1/15. The blue is more pronounced but I had chosen a colder white balance to make this effect. We can see Venus very well in the middle of the sky without even a drag because of the shutter speed. Let’s move on to another picture taken a few minutes after that when the sun starts to show.

The picture was again taken in manual and freehand mode. This time I forced the choice of ISO 400 because there was more light than the previous picture, I took a cold white balance and a 1/17 shutter again. The noise is almost non-existent, the colours are quite faithful to reality, the sharpness in the centre is good, some branches are very sharp but the sharpness decreases around the edges.
 

Indoor test (night)
I did some indoor tests using a Christmas tree as a subject because this type of subject presents many difficulties for a camera. It is dark, there are large differences in brightness and many different colours. I first took a sample photo from my Canon, it will be used as a reference.

This picture is the closest to reality, only the distance will change for pictures taken from a smartphone because the focal length is completely different. Here is a first try with the Mi8 Lite:

A priori, if we don’t look at the model, we could say to ourselves that the photo is good because the lighting is good, the photo is precise, there is not too much grain but what happened with the colors? There is no pink on the tree and yet this picture is tinted pink. I found it very curious, so I tried something else using the portrait mode and here’s what it looks like.

In portrait mode the camera uses much more correct colors but portrait mode automatically adds blur around the area where a portrait should be. The same sensor and software therefore deliver a totally different performance depending on the chosen photo mode. Here is another test in manual mode this time.

The colours are changing and are getting closer to what we should be getting, but there is still a little pink left. This problem is curious because I have not seen it in other types of environments.
 

Video quality

Here are two videos taken at the same time where I can compare at equal conditions the two devices tested in this article. First, here is Note 5:

and then the Mi 8 lite:

The two devices provide identical performances but I have noticed some differences. The Mi 8 videos taken with the default application are quite noisy when the light goes down, it seems like germs live in the video, pixels are litterally jumping in some areas. With the default application I also noticed back and forth movements when the application was struggling to get the right focus.
 

These problems are not so pronounced with other video applications such as OpenCam or Freedcam. The Mi 8 also allows you to make 4k videos from third-party applications and the quality is quite good. Here is an example taken in 4k with FreedCam:

YouTube always compresses the videos a little bit, so there is a small loss in quality.

 

GPS

I tested the GPS in the car and in pedestrian mode, the experience is similar to what I have already seen with other devices. GPS reception is good but loses accuracy for pedestrian mode in the city. The GPS needs (bigger) movements to refine the position and in pedestrian mode you move too slowly to get the right direction from the start. I didn’t notice any delay in updating the position while driving in the car and the Xiaomi’s processor allows a smoother map transition than the GPS I have in my car. On a roundabout for example, my car tends to be one exit too late, this is less the case for the Xiaomi even if there is still a mini offset.
 

Android / MIUI 10

The Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite is equipped with the basic version 9 of Xiaomi’s MIUI software but after the first startup, the phone will offer you to switch to version 10. MIUI 10 has without as many fans as detractors, I’m more on the side of fans but I admit, I don’t have much experience on Android. Between EMUI at Honor and MIUI at Xiaomi, I clearly prefer Xiaomi. The interface is clearer, better designed and the gesture-based navigation is really convenient. I have made below a video of the main screens. On the left you will find shortcuts, at the top the notifications, on the right the other pages with applications and at the bottom the task manager.
 

Updates

The Mi8 Lite is delivered as standard with MIUI 9 but it will quickly offer you the update to MIUI 10. Since I have the phone (one month), I have had 2 updates. Xiaomi has an update dynamic that I didn’t find at Honor when their software could really use a few updates.
 

Accessories

Soon available
 

Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

The two devices from Xiaomi are actually not in the same range, the Xiaomi Mi 8 costs a little more and the finishing level is higher. Here is a comparison on several points:

Price: Note 5
Finish: Mi 8 Lite
Fingerprint sensor: equal
Network performance: Mi 8 Lite
Device performance Mi 8 Lite
Gaming performance: Mi 8 Lite
Battery life: Note 5
Photo quality: Mi 8 Lite in manual mode, Note 5 in automatic mode
Screen quality: equality
Video quality: Mi 8 lite in 4k otherwise equal
Audio: Mi 8 Lite
Android: equality

For me the winner is the Mi 8 Lite but it may not be the case for everyone, it depends on what you do with the phone. Note 5, for example, is much better in terms of battery life.

 

Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite vs au Honor 8x

The comparison between Note 5 and the Mi 8 Lite is not very fair because they are two phones from a different range. The comparison with the Honor 8x is perfect because they are two competing phones. If you have read my other tests, you may have already guessed the winner, but here are the points of comparison for those who have not read them.

Price: Mi 8 lite
Finish: equality
Fingerprint sensor: equality
Network performance: Mi 8 Lite
Device performance Mi 8 Lite
Gaming performance: Mi 8 Lite
Battery life: Honor 8x
Photo quality: Mi 8 Lite
Display quality: Mi 8 Lite
Video quality: Mi 8 Lite
Audio: Mi 8 Lite
Android: Mi 8 Lite
Design is always a matter of taste but there are some facts showing that the Mi8 Lite is a better device. The camera is better, the screen has a better color rendering and the Mi 8 Lite completely outperforms the Honor 8x in network download speed.

 

Conclusion

I have been playing with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite for two months now and for me it’s clearly a better device than the Honor 8x and a slightly better device than the Redmi Note 5. Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite offers better hardware and network performance, it has a good screen and has impeccable finish. Battery life is probably is biggest weakness, it’s not up to today’s standards. Photo quality may also be a weakness for those who don’t want to worry about light conditions. In good conditions, Redmi Note 5 and Mi 8 Lite are almost the same but when light conditions are not optimal, the Mi 8 Lite can outperform the Note 5 but you’ll need to use manual mode. It’s clearly a software issue rather than a sensor issue, I hope that Xiaomi will fix this in one of the next updates.
 

The Mi 8 Lite has become primary phone, the Note 5 is now a backup. In two months, the Mi 8 Lite never crashed, it never showed any sign of weakness and even if the battery is weaker, it can hold 2 days which is comfortable enough for me. I’m now waiting for my next target in the same price range to see if I can find a better device for more or less the same price.