Xiaomi unveils flagship Mi 8 Pro, gears up to challenge smartphone giants

The Chinese smartphone and consumer IoT company heralds its arrival in the UK with a new flagship handset and a store in London.

Xiaomi, currently the number four smartphone-maker worldwide behind Samsung, Huawei and Apple, has officially entered the UK market, spearheading its latest European expansion with the global debut of a new flagship handset, the Mi 8 Pro.

The company will also open its first authorised Mi Store in the UK on 18 November, in London's Westfield shopping centre. This will showcase not only Xiaomi's smartphones, but also a range of smart home and lifestyle products, including fitness tracking bands, an electric scooter and more.

Xiaomi joins a number of smartphone manufacturers seeking to offer premium features at a competitive price, and has officially committed to limiting its net profit margin to 5 percent on hardware products. The new Mi 8 Pro starts at £499 -- the same entry price as the OnePlus 6T, from another would-be smartphone market disruptor.

Standout features of the Mi 8 Pro are a 6.21-inch AMOLED display with an in-screen fingerprint sensor, a Snapdragon 845 platform with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, a transparent 'Titanium 3D glass' back, dual 12MP rear cameras and a 20MP front camera, plus IR face unlock.

xiaomi-mi8-pro.jpg

The 6.21-inch Mi 8 Pro costs from £499.99 in the UK.

Images: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Here's a specs comparison with the OnePlus 6T:


Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro OnePlus 6T
Display 6.21 inches, AMOLED, 1080 x 2248 pixels (402ppi) 6.41 inches, AMOLED, 1080 x 2340 pixels (402ppi)
Dimensions 74.8mm x 154.9mm x 7.6mm 74.8mm x 157.5mm x 8.2mm
Screen:body ratio 83.8% 85.6%
Weight 177g 185g
IP rating no no
Colours Transparent Titanium Mirror Black, Midnight Black
OS Android 8.0 (Oreo) Android 9.0 (Pie)
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM 8GB 6/8GB
Internal storage 128GB 128/256GB
External storage no no
Rear camera 12MP (wide-angle f/1.8 with OIS), 12MP (telephoto, f/2.4) 16MP (wide-angle f/1.7 with OIS), 20MP (wide-angle f/1.7)
Front camera 20MP 16MP
Speaker(s) mono mono
3.5mm audio jack no no
USB-C yes yes
Wi-fi 802.11ac 802.11ac
LTE Cat16 Cat16
GPS dual-band GPS, Galileo, QZSS, GLONASS, Beidou GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo
NFC yes yes
Infrared no no
FM radio no no
Fingerprint reader yes (in-screen) yes (in-screen)
Face unlock yes yes
Battery capacity 3000mAh 3700mAh
Fast charging QuickCharge 4+ yes (5V, 4A)
Wireless charging no no
Price £499.99 (8GB/128GB) £499 (6GB/128GB), £529 (8GB/128GB)

The Mi 8 Pro is available from today (9 November) via Three, Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, Carphone Warehouse, Currys PC World, Very, Go Mobile, Mobile Phones Direct, Katana and Mi.com, and -- from 18 November -- in the London Mi Store.

SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)

Other Mi Ecosystem products whose UK availability was announced yesterday were: Redmi 6A (affordable 5.45-inch smartphone, £99); Band 3 (fitness tracker, £26.99) and Mi Electric Scooter (£399).

"Today we witness a new chapter in Xiaomi's global expansion journey, underpinned by our global ambitions. We are thrilled to make great strides by announcing our arrival in the UK. By bringing a range of our amazing products at honest pricing we want to offer more choices and let everyone in the UK enjoy a connected simple life through our innovative technology," said Wang Xiang, senior vice president of Xiaomi Corporation, in a statement.

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