After numerous rumors and speculations, the Xiaomi Mi 8 was unveiled at an event on May 31 in China along with several other products. There are other Mi 8 variants such as Mi 8 SE and Mi 8 Explorer Edition with the latter having advanced features such as 3D facial recognition, a transparent back and an in-display fingerprint sensor.
Being an affordable flagship, this smartphone from Xiaomi belongs to the premium mid-range market segment dominated by OnePlus 6, which was launched in mid-May. Also, the Honor 10 was unveiled in the same segment.
Having said that, let's take a look at how these three affordable flagship smartphones compete with one another in terms of specifications.
Xiaomi Mi 8 bestows a 6.21-inch AMOLED display with a FHD+ resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels and 18.7:9 aspect ratio. The OnePlus 6 has an almost similar 6.28-inch FHD+ Optic AMOLED display with the same resolution and 19:9 aspect ratio. The Honor 10 houses a smaller 5.84-inch IPS LCD display with the same FHD+ resolution and 19:9 aspect ratio.
All three flagship smartphones feature the notch display, which is a recent trend kickstarted by the iPhone X. Also, these smartphones have a glass back, which gives a premium look. The Honor 10 has an aurora glass design, which changes its color from different angles. For the first time, OnePlus launched the flagship OnePlus 6 with a glass back. Even the Mi 8 comes with a glass back and there is a special Mi 8 Explorer Edition, which is touted to feature a transparent back cover showing the internal components of the device.
Processor and Storage
Xiaomi and OnePlus flagships run the latest flagship octa-core processor - Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. On the other hand, Honor 10 comes with an in-house octa-core Kirin 970 SoC.
The Xiaomi Mi 8 has been announced in three variants - 6GB RAM and 64GB/128GB/256GB storage capacities. OnePlus 6 comes in two variants - 6GB RAM and 64GB storage and 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. There is a Marvel Avengers Limited Edition model with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage space. Talking about the Honor 10, two variants 4GB/6GB RAM and 64GB/128GB storage but only the high-end model is available in India.
Xiaomi Mi 8 sports dual 12MP cameras at its rear with AI capabilities and Dual Pixel autofocus. The selfie camera is a 20MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture and AI Portrait and AI Beautification modes. The device also has the Studio Lighting mode like the iPhone X, which uses AI to add lighting effects to give a stunning look to the shots. A similar feature is seen even on the Honor 10.
OnePlus 6 comes with a dual camera setup with a 16MP primary camera and a 20MP secondary camera. The dual rear cameras have OIS, EIS, slow-motion video recording ability at 480 fps and portrait mode capabilities. The Honor 10 also has dual cameras comprising a 24MP primary sensor and a 16MP secondary sensor with 4K video recording capability. The selfie camera is a 24MP unit with FHD video recording support.
All three smartphones come with facial recognition technology to unlock the smartphone. The Mi 8 comes with Infrared Face Unlock, which uses the IR sensor housed inside the notch at the front to scan the owners' face and unlock the device. It is said that this technology is helpful while unlocking the device at night. However, none of these facial recognition techniques are secure as the 3D facial recognition technology in iPhone X and Mi 8 Explorer Edition.
Xiaomi Mi 8 makes use of a 3400mAh battery with Quick Charge 4.0. OnePlus 6 gets the power from a 3300mAh battery with the company's proprietary Dash Charge technology. The Honor 10 also uses a 3400mAh battery with fast charging.
Software and Connectivity
When it comes to software, all three phones run Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. Mi 8 is topped with MIUI 10, which was also announced on May 31. OnePlus 6 uses OxygenOS and can be upgraded to Android P Beta as well. Honor 10 is based on the custom EMUI 8.0 ROM.
OnePlus 6 and Xiaomi Mi 8 have standard connectivity aspects such as Bluetooth, NFC, 4G VoLTE, dual SIM support, a 3.5mm audio jack and a USB Type-C port. On the other hand, Honor 10 has Bluetooth 4.2, a micro USB port, a 3.5mm audio jack, dual SIM support and NFC. The Xiaomi smartphone has an upper hand the Dual GPS feature, which is touted to provide more accurate location by eliminating the radio disturbances from the buildings, reducing the signal delays and making the navigation super fast.
Price and Availability
OnePlus 6 is priced at Rs. 34,999 and Rs. 39,999 for the two variants. The Marvel Avengers limited edition model is priced at Rs. 44,999. It is exclusive to the online retailer Amazon India and the company's online store. It is available via the Croma stores in the country. Honor 10 is priced at Rs. 32,999 and is available on Flipkart and the official online store.
Xiaomi Mi 8 is yet to be released in India. It is priced at 2699 yuan (approx. Rs. 27,000) for the 6GB+64GB variant, 2999 yuan (approx. Rs. 30,000 for the 6GB+128GB variant and 3299 yuan (approx. Rs. 33,000) for the 6GB+256GB variant.
These smartphones are premium mid-range flagships that carry a relatively affordable pricing than the premium devices from Apple and Samsung. These smartphones are equally powerful and feature-rich as their expensive counterparts. It is the camera performance and UI that differentiate them primarily. Until we review these phones, we cannot come up with a conclusion on which one is a better performer.