Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition Review

In 2014, Xiaomi was the leading smartphone maker in China. But its sales began declining in the subsequent two years. A few other smartphone vendors seized an opportunity and caught up Xiaomi. Huawei is the best example. However, on May 18, 2016, Lei Jun began to personally supervise the R&D and supply chain of Xiaomi smartphone business. He focused on delivery and offline market. On October 25 of the same year, the Xiaomi Mi MIX debuted, shocking users and customers with its innovative design and features. It was followed by the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2, which used an all-ceramic unibody design. The ceramic housing went through 1400 degrees high temperature for 7 days, 240 tons molding, and repeated carving via a 0.01mm cutter head that is replaced for each phone. The latter was recognized as one of the highest level phone technologies in 2017. Therefore, Xiaomi’s smartphones are not only a simple pile of materials but also an exploration of the smartphone industry. And it is also catering to Lei Jun’s sentence: ‘Xiaomi will never stop on the road of exploration.’

2018 is the 8th anniversary of the establishment of Xiaomi Company. At the 8th anniversary conference, the Xiaomi Mi 8 debuted, using the world’s first dual-frequency GPS positioning, and also the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition was announced, equipped with a screen fingerprint and 3D structured light technology.

Also, Check Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition deal

The release of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition means that Xiaomi does not blindly do hardware accumulation, but strives to do some exploration of future phones. It is no exaggeration to say that the Xiaomi Mi 8 EE is the pioneer of exploring the future direction of Chinese smartphones, just like some innovative phones of the OPPO Find X and the VIVO NEX.

We have already reviewed the original Xiaomi Mi 8 and its lightened variant of the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE. So it’s the right time to get into details of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition.

Also Read: Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition Hands-on Photos and Quick Review

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition Appearance

Unlike the original model, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition is available only with one combination of memory. That is 8GB + 128GB option.

The packaging of the Xiaomi Mi 8 EE is larger than that of the Mi 8.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

The package has an acrylic sheet protection.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

On the front, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition sports a 6.21-inch 1080P screen, using a notch design. This AMOLED screen is supplied by Samsung like the Mi 8. However, there is a real difference in the internal structure – our protagonist comes with an on-screen fingerprint sensor and a 3D face recognition.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

There are up to eight components in the bangs area of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

The chin of the phone is slightly narrower than that on the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

As you guess, the back is the biggest highlight of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition. It uses a transparent back shell and a ‘decorative”’ motherboard. Specifically, the whole ‘decorative motherboard’ uses a copper substrate. Reinforced with steel plate, there are 101 capacitors, 32 resistors, 6 switch ICs, 11 sensor ICs, and 7 signal control ICs.It has a complete flexible circuit board processing technology.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

In fact, this is not the first smartphone with a transparent back panel. Previously, the HTC U11 and U12 Plus have come with a similar design. But they are completely translucent and the layout of the components is real. Most of them are not beautiful. The Xiaomi Mi 8 EE is ‘artistianc’ and looks very scientific.

Some people say that the back of the Xiaomi Mi 8 EE is a gimmick and meaningless. We are not going to argue about it. But we like it very much.

Xiaomi has added red accents to some components such as the camera sensors.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

The back of the battery is also covered with a layer of carbon fiber textured film to enhance the visual beauty. The bottom PC board is the same as the top board.

There is a letter at the bottom “BE THE COOLEST COMPANY IN THE HEARTS OF OUR USERS.”

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

On the bottom, it has a microphone, USB Type-C interface, and speakers. The Type-C interface is also decorated with red elements.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

On the top of the fuselage, we can find a noise reduction microphone only.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

The power button and volume button are on the right hand-side. The power key is also red, forming a contrast color design.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

The SIM card slot on the left. It supports dual Nano-SIM cards.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Inside the box, we can also find a standard 18W power adapter. The Mi 8 Explorer Edition supports QC4.0+ fast charge.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition Experience

The Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition is the world’s first Android smartphone to come with pressure-sensitive screen fingerprint and the 3D structured light technologies. However, the OPPO Find X also uses the 3D structure light, but it was announced a bit later.

As we said, the notch part of the Mi 8 EE’s screen accommodates eight components, namely infrared camera, front camera, LED indicator, light sensor, speaker, ToF distance sensor, original floodlighting, and dot matrix projector.

1. 3D structured light

Unlike the iPhone X’s 3D structured light, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition uses a coded dot matrix scheme to create a 3D facial model by projecting 33,000 coded lattices with an accuracy of up to millimeters. This model is combined with an infrared image to become the ‘Face ID.’ The officials claim that the probability of being cracked can be as low as one in a million.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

The entry speed is still very fast. You only need to look up, left/right/side to record the face, and you can choose 3D or 2D in face recognition. This can be done to save battery life.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Mi Meng is similar to iPhone X’s Animoji, which can imitate the user’s facial expression to make a corresponding expression.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

But unfortunately, the current version only supports unlocking. Other functions such as WeChat and Alipay face payment will be activated later.

The unlocking speed is very fast. And it works perfectly even when trying with glasses or a mask. But like iPhone X, it can’t be unlocked with closed eyes.

In addition, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition can only record one face, while iPhone X can already record two when upgrading to iOS 12. I hope that Xiaomi can follow this practice and record multiple faces.

2. Screen Fingerprint

Although it is not the latest technology at the moment, the machine sports a built-in high-sensitivity pressure sensor to support vibration feedback. What is the difference compared with ordinary screen fingerprint?

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Say, compared to the VIVO NEX, the screen fingerprint of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition requires a certain amount of pressure to be entered. So once you get back a vibration, it will mean the process is done. The pressure sensitivity helps the screen fingerprint sensor to obtain a clearer image. Compared with the simple waiting finger for a period of time in the fingerprint recognition area, the vibration feedback of the pressure-sensing screen increases the realism of fingerprint recognition.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

In the recording process, you need to press more than 10 times to complete the recording, which is similar to the physical fingerprint.

Honestly, the unlocking speed of the screen fingerprint still has a certain gap compared to the physical fingerprint. But it is only a fraction of a millisecond, and it can still be accepted. Surely, it won’t affect the daily use.

3. Flagship configuration

In addition to the 3D structure light, screen fingerprint, this handset also comes with an 8GB RAM, NFC function, but unfortunately does not support wireless charging.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition Performance

This phone is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip, which is the most powerful chip of the company and in the world at this moment. According to the official date, it can run out of 300.000 points at AnTuTu. Of course, we are familiar with the Snapdragon 845 chip, which uses a 10nm process technology, the main frequency can reach 2.8GHz, etc. So let’s take a look at actual benchmark results.


Until yesterday, the Xiaomi Mi 8 had had a 6GB of RAM only. But yesterday, the 8GB variant was announced. All the comparisons in this article were done using the 6GB variant. Looking at the screenshots below, we can see the Mi 8 EE (left) outruns the original Mi 8 (right). But we should state it’s because of the RAM capacity differences.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition


The phone scores 2438 and 9097 points in the single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. It’s an expected result, though.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition


The Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition scores 8356, which is almost identical to the current flagships’ results.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition


The reading speed is about 700MB/s that is a standard UFS2.1 performance.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition Battery Life

In terms of battery capacity, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition sports a smaller battery than the original model. It is equipped with a 3000mAh battery instead of a 3400mAh capacity. We guess you understand why the battery capacity has been reduced. However, due to MIUI10, the endurance is not bad.

PCMark endurance test

The brightness is 30% brightness, the volume is 20%, Wi-Fi is ON, and there is no SIM card. The Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition scores 9 hours and 32 minutes.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Playing online video

The volume is 40%, the brightness is 50%, and when we started the test the remaining power was 85%. After 30 minutes, the power dropped to 80%.

Playing games

The remaining power was 77% when we started playing Honor of Kings. After 30 minutes, the remaining power was 67%.

Daily use

When doing common operations such as surfing in the net, making calls, messaging, etc. it consumes 6% in 30 minutes.


The Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition supports QC 4.0+ fast charge. But Xiaomi only put an 18W power adapter inside the box. So we tested the charging speed via this charging head. Starting at 5%, the phone fully charges in 90 minutes.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Note: As the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition uses the same camera as the original Mi 8, we didn’t introduce it here. You can get acquainted with it by following the link.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Wrap Up

The annual flagship of Xiaomi, the original Mi 8 comes with a number of selling points, including a notch screen, a powerful dual-camera, dual-frequency GPS positioning, MIUI10, Snapdragon 845, and other. So the manufacturer decided to take all these highlights and add others. As a result, we got the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition that differs from other due to its translucent back cover, a decorative motherboard, 3D structure light, on-screen fingerprint scanner, etc. What’s more amazing you have to pay only 3699 yuan for such a beast.

But we are offering to pay more attention to other aspects. Xiaomi is 8 years old only. But it has managed to become a company, everyone is expecting innovations from which. At the same time, no one can argue the fact Xiaomi offers the most cost-effective smartphones.


Argam Artashyan

Back in 2010, he was dismissed from his position as a lecturer at the university. This made him get another job at his friend’s digital marketing company as a blog writer. After a few years, when he was thinking the article writing is his mission, Google pushed the Panda update and affected the company and websites he was working at. (Un)fortunately and surprisingly, he got an offer to head a large knitting factory. In 2016, he got his Ph.D. and resumed teaching at the University … and writing tech-related articles following his passion.

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