Xiaomi’s just-announced Mi8 flagship has a special “Explorer Edition” that, along with an in-display fingerprint sensor and iPhone X-esque 3D face recognition technology, features a cool transparent back panel to show off the inside of the phone. There’s just one slight problem with that see-through back: it’s not real.
The false back was spotted by Chengming Alpert, who offers a few reasons why the Mi 8 Explorer Edition can’t be real. In a series of tweets, Alpert claims the “S845 can’t be in that position; all the components around is too far away from each other; no graphite or other pipe/wire/cable for thermal.”
Good luck to people who believe #XiaomiMi8 Explore edition has a “transparent” back. Truth: it’s a sticker.
— Chengming Alpert (@ChengmingAlpert) May 31, 2018
Alpert also points out that Xiaomi flat-out acknowledges that there’s some visual trickery going on here. The product description for the phone, roughly translated, notes that the Mi8’s transparent component isn’t one-to-one with the actual components inside the phone.
Looking at the Mi8 Explorer Edition, there’s certainly reason to be skeptical — after all, we’ve seen transparent phones before, and none have ever shown quite the same level of visual flair on the inside as the Mi8 Explorer claims to. Compare the stylish exposed internals of the Mi8 Explorer Edition to, say, the also-transparent U12 Plus. Sure, the U12 Plus might not look as interesting as the Mi8 Explorer does, but there’s a certain fidelity there; things aren’t perfectly aligned or as neat as the Mi8 Explorer.
Now, Xiaomi might not be lying about the transparent back. (It does still have a glass back.) But the “inside” is possibly a flashy sticker or 3D plastic cover for the actual, duller components underneath rather than a revealing look into the inner workings of the phone. That theory would make a lot of sense. Look at the internals of other previous Xiaomi phones like the Mi5, and you’ll see (much plainer) plastic shielding covering the actual motherboard and other components on the back of the device.
Maybe one day we’ll have a smartphone that manages to take its design cues from luxury watches or high-end gaming computers, with super polished innards that are meant to show off the internal engineering as much as external. But, sadly, the Xiaomi Mi8 Explorer Edition isn’t it.
We’ve reached out to Xiaomi for comment and will update if we hear back.