Mi 8 SE is about to be released in India and it’s a great mid-range device. I have been using the Mi 8 SE for quite a few days and I am highly impressed with the device. That said, when the Mi 8 SE releases in India, it would be facing tough completion from the Nokia 7 Plus as it is rumored to be priced in the same league. That’s why we wanted to compare both the devices to see which one comes out on top. So, if you are confused as to whether you should wait for the Mi 8 SE or buy the Nokia 7 Plus instead, you have come to right place. We are going to find that our for you as we pit the Nokia 7 Plus against the Mi 8 SE:
Mi 8 SE vs Nokia 7 Plus: Specs
Before I share my personal experiences of both the phones with you, let us first check out their respective spec sheets to see if any of them brings an unfair advantage over the other:
|Name||Mi 8 SE||Nokia 7 Plus|
|Dimensions||147.3 x 73.1 x 7.5 mm||158.4 x 75.6 x 8 mm|
|Weight||164 grams||183 grams|
|Display||5.88 inches (1080 x 2244 pixels) Super AMOLED||6-inch, IPS LCD|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 710||Snapdragon 660 octa-core|
|GPU||Adreno 616||Adreno 512|
|RAM||4/6 GB RAM||4GB|
|12 MP (f/1.9) + 5 MP (f/2.0)||12MP (f/1.75) + 12MP (f/2.6)|
|20 MP (f/2.0)||16MP (f/2.0)|
|Battery||3120 mAh||3,800 mAh|
|MIUI 10 based on Android 8.1 (Oreo)||Android 8.1 Oreo|
|Sensors||Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass||Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, GSM / HSPA / LTE|
As we can see from the spec sheets, none of them is looking like a clear winner here. So let’s check out how these two smartphones perform in the real life.
Mi 8 SE vs Nokia 7 Plus: Design and Build Quality
When it comes to the design and build quality, it’s really hard to declare a clear winner and that’s a good thing. As no matter which device you decide to buy, you can be sure that you are getting a solid phone. Although both the phones are built quite nicely, they both follow quite different design languages.
Let’s start with the Mi 8 SE first as it’s the new kid on the block. When you take a first look at Mi 8 SE, you might feel that it is inspired by the iPhone X. However, look a little closer and you will find that unlike its big brother, the Mi 8, the only resemblance the Mi 8 SE has with the iPhone X is the vertical camera placement at the back. Rest of the phone’s design language is pretty different as it features a blocky design and has no rounded edges. The Mi 8 SE features a metallic frame and a glass-sandwich design which most of the premium smartphones follow these days. Needless to say, the phone looks absolutely beautiful.
Coming to the Nokia 7 Plus, HMD Global which is the parent company of Nokia, has tried to break quite a few molds here. Instead of bringing the glass on glass or glass and metal design, the Nokia 7 Plus features a triple ceramic coating at the back which gives the phone quite a stealthy look. The phone also feels great in hand. I especially love the bronze outline which runs around the edges and the camera module. The outline makes it look sleek and beautiful and the phone just stands out from the rest.
As I said before, both these phones feature great design and build quality and you won’t go wrong while choosing the either. At the end of the day, it will depend on your personal preference. I personally prefer the Nokia 7 Plus’s design more but you might prefer the Mi 8 SE and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Mi 8 SE vs Nokia 7 Plus: Display
While the previous section was quite a toss-up between the two smartphones, when it comes to the display, the Mi 8 SE starts to pull ahead of its competition. Don’t get me wrong, the Nokia 7 Plus packs a great display. Its 6-inch IPS LCD display with an 18:9 aspect ratio looks incredibly beautiful. Since there are almost no bezels on the sides and even the top and bottom bezels are pretty minimalistic, the display just pops out at you. Even the color reproduction and the viewing angles are really good. So, you might be thinking, if things are so great here, why I am implying that the Mi 8 SE is winning this round.
Well, the thing is, as great as the display on the Nokia 7 Plus is, the one on the Mi 8 Se is even better. First of all, the Mi 8 SE packs a 5.88-inch Super AMOLED display and I will take a good AMOLED display over an IPS panel any day of my life. The AMOLED display on the Mi 8 SE means that you are going to see true blacks and punchy colors which an IPS display can never match. It also means that Mi 8 SE can support features like the always on mode which is always a plus in my books. I love the display on the Mi 8 SE and probably the only thing that you can hold against its display is that dreaded notch at the top. I have accepted the fact that notches are here to stay and hence now they don’t bother me as much. However, if you hate notches, Nokia 7 Plus is right for you. But, just going by the quality of the display, the Mi 8 SE is the clear winner here.
Winner: Mi 8 SE
Mi 8 SE vs Nokia 7 Plus: Performance
Before we get into the day-to-day performance of both the devices, let us first check out the kind of hardware they bring to the table. When it comes to the Nokia 7 Plus, all the processing work is being handled by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor and Adreno 512 GPU. On the other hand, the Mi 8 SE features Qualcomm’s latest 700 series processor, the Snapdragon 710 to be precise, and pairs it with the Adreno 616 GPU. As you can see, on paper, the Mi 8 SE has the upper hand. In fact, the Snapdragon 710 chipset on the Mi 8 SE is not only newer and more powerful, but it’s also manufactured using Qualcomm’s latest 10 nm technology which makes it more power efficient too. As you can see in the AnTuTu scores below, the Mi 8 SE is bringing a 10-15% performance improvement over the Nokia 7 Plus.
That said, real-life performance of a smartphone does not depend only on the processor, on the contrary, there are a lot of the factors at play. Maybe that’s why when using both the phones side by side, I could not discern any significant performance difference between the two. They both are equally fast and I never found wanting for more power with either of the phones. Even when playing games, both the phones were able to keep up quite nicely. However, I would say that while loading the games, the Mi 8 SE was slightly faster than on the Nokia 7 Plus.
To conclude, although both the phones perform almost equally, I am inclined to give this round to the Mi 8 SE as it packs newer processors and hence it has a better chance of aging than the Nokia 7 Plus.
Winner: Mi 8 SE
Mi 8 SE vs Nokia 7 Plus: Software
If there is something which separates these phones apart from each other, it’s their software experience. While the Nokia 7 Plus has embraced the native Android experience by joining the Android One Program, the Mi 8 SE is bringing the MIUI 10 which couldn’t be any farther from the stock Android experience. Whatever I tell you about the software experiences on these phones, the fact remains that it all depends on your personal preference. So, all I can do is tell you the pros and cons that come with each of them and then let you decide it. Don’t worry, I will also tell you about my choice and the reasons behind it if you are unable to choose between the two. The MIUI 10 on the Mi 8 SE is a highly customizable custom skin which Xiaomi puts on all of its devices. MIUI 10 is highly customizable, brings a ton of features that are not found on the stock Android, and allows users to theme the whole interface to make it look exactly how they like it.
On the other hand, the stock Android is simple, isn’t heavy on resources and has a better chance of getting updated to the latest Android version. While I love the extra features on the MIUI 10, gestures are my favorite by the way, I just cannot wait for months if not years to get my next software update. Since Nokia 7 Plus has joined the Android One program, not only the phone is slated to receive faster updates, it also receives Android security updates on time. My phone is my most personal accessory and I want it to have the latest security patches. I also love that the Nokia 7 Plus received Android P beta as soon as it was released, while on Mi 8 SE, I will have to wait for an entire year to get Android P.
The bottom line is that if you want more features, customizability, and theming capabilities go for the Mi 8 SE. However, if you want clean Android, faster updates, and on time security patches, Nokia 7 Plus is the way to go.
Mi 8 SE vs Nokia 7 Plus: Cameras
In the camera department, while the Nokia 7 Plus comes with a dual 12MP (f/1.75) + 12MP (F/2.6) camera on the back and a 16MP f/2.0 shooter at the front, the Mi 8 SE brings a dual 12MP (f/1.9) + 5MP (f/2.0) set-up at the back and a whopping 20MP (f/2.0) sensor at the front. As you can see, both these phone’s cameras look quite good on paper as they both feature dual camera sensors at the back with a very good sensor at the front. When it comes to the real world performance, we have tested Nokia 7 Plus’s camera extensively and even written a whole article just on that. So, check out our in-depth Nokia 7 Plus camera review article if you want the details, however, in short, we can tell you that the phone takes decent photos in bright-light or outdoor conditions but fails to achieve the same quality in the low-light conditions.
The story is the same whether you are taking a normal photo, a portrait shot, or a selfie. If the lighting conditions are good, the Nokia 7 Plus will take some amazing photos for you with great dynamic range, true to life color reproduction, and overall sharp images with punchy colors. However, as the ambient light starts decreasing so does the picture quality. In low light conditions, the photos loose details and have a lot of noise and grain. It’s just not made for nightlife.
Coming to the Mi 8 SE, although we only have had a few days to play with its cameras, the phone has impressed us a lot. In good lighting conditions, the camera performed really well. The dynamic range was on point and the color reproduction was also very good. As you can see in the camera samples, when it comes to the primary camera, the Mi 8 SE constantly outperformed the the Nokia 7 Plus. The images are sharper and have more details. I am especially impressed by the portrait mode on this thing as it blows Nokia 7 Plus’s portrait mode out of the water.
The portrait mode photos captured with the Mi 8 SE look great with the camera keeping the subject in focus. Shots have good edge detection and just the right amount of blur. After all my testing, I can say with a certainty that Mi 8 SE packs a better primary camera.
However, when it comes to the front-facing cameras, the results are not that clear. Both the smartphones take average selfies, and none of them were able to impress me much. Don’t get me wrong, the selfies are not bad by any standard, however, they also didn’t turn out to be that great too. The main problem with the selfies taken with both the phones is that they are just too soft. But, don’t take my words for it, check out the pictures below and decide for yourself.
Winner: Mi 8 SE
Mi 8 SE vs Nokia 7 Plus: Battery
On One hand, the Nokia 7 Plus packs a 3800 mAh battery while the Mi 8 SE brings a 3120 mAh battery. On paper, the Nokia 7 Plus seems to have an advantage over the Mi 8 SE and that also seems to be the case in real life. Don’t get me wrong, the Mi 8 SE packs an all-day battery life and you won’t have to search for a charging port in the middle of the day. That said, the battery on the Nokia 7 Plus will last you a day and then some. If you use your phone judiciously, you can even get two days of usage out of this phone which is something that you cannot do with the Mi 8 SE. Hence, the Nokia 7 Plus takes this round.
Winner: Nokia 7 plus
Mi 8 SE vs Nokia 7 Plus: And The Winner Is?
After using both the phones I can certainly say that Mi 8 SE beats the Nokia 7 Plus hands down. It has a better processor, better display, better cameras, and overall feels more complete than the Nokia 7 Plus. That said, we don’t know the actual price of the Mi 8 SE in India yet, and although it is slated to be priced between rupees 20K-25K, until it’s officially released in India, it’s hard for me to declare the Mi 8 SE as the clear winner here. That said, if the Indian version of the Mi 8 SE (which might be called the Mi 8i) brings all these features and undercuts the Nokia 7 Plus price, we might have a new mid-range smartphone champion at our hands.