“The combination of these biometric modalities into one premium device is a bold move for Xiaomi, and one that could prove influential among its smartphone maker peers.”
It’s official: Xiaomi has embraced in-display fingerprint recognition for the premium version of its new flagship smartphone. And in fact it has gone further, adding pressure sensitivity to the mix and pairing it with 3D facial recognition.
The fingerprint sensor technology of the Mi 8 Explorer Edition is provided by Synaptics, whose Clear ID technology was used to enable in-display fingerprint scanning in the first smartphone to feature such technology, the Vivo X20 Plus UD, earlier this year. And while there have been a few more smartphones to sport such technology released since then, Xiaomi is staking a claim to being the first to pair it with pressure sensitivity, allowing for enhanced user interaction, and perhaps even more accurate biometric scanning.
But the device also features facial recognition, and not the kind that can be fooled by a black-and-white photo. The Mi 8 Explorer is the first smartphone since the iPhone X to feature infrared face scanning technology, enabling it to build 3D models of a user’s face. That allows for far more accurate facial recognition than what’s offered via 2D face scanning, and also enables the creation of – yes, you knew this was coming – animated emojis, with Xiaomi again following in the footsteps of Apple’s Animoji breakthrough last autumn.
The combination of these biometric modalities into one premium device is a bold move for Xiaomi, and one that could prove influential among its smartphone maker peers. After the unveiling of Face ID on the iPhone X, many in the industry wondered if facial recognition would become the new norm for biometric authentication, with fingerprint scanning falling by the wayside; certainly that’s the direction Apple has been going in. But this year, multiple smartphone makers have looked to in-display fingerprint scanning as a more affordable option that still represents a step forward from standard fingerprint recognition. With its Mi 8 Explorer Edition, Xiaomi is showing the world that both can be done, blazing a trail for multimodal biometric authentication that still allows for full-size displays on smartphones.
On top of that, the Mi 8 Explorer has the same powerful specs as the standard Mi 8 – a 6.21″ AMOLED screen, a 20MP front-facing camera supporting AI-enhanced selfies, a Snapdragon 845 processor – and one more thing that the Mi 8 doesn’t have, a transparent glass back. The only catch is that Xiaomi hasn’t revealed when the Explorer Edition will launch, saying only that the Mi 8 will arrive in China on June 5th, while the budget version of the device, the Mi 8 SE, will launch in the country on June 8th.
May 31, 2018 – by Alex Perala