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.
Written by Charles McLellan, Senior Editor

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.


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
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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