Xiaomi launched Mi 8, its flagship smartphone amidst a lot of fanfare in China on May 31. The smartphone was launched in three different variants – a standard model called Mi 8, a mid-range version called Mi 8 SE, and a higher-end model called Mi 8 Explorer Edition that features a transparent back.
Since HTC launched its flagship U11 Plus smartphone last year and its follow-up in the form of HTC U12 Plus last month, the demand for transparent back has grown among smartphone buyers. The Explorer Edition of Xiaomi’s Mi 8 is the closest one can get to a really transparent smartphone. It shows the components placed inside of the device, including the circuit board and pins connecting various parts of the device. However, there seems to be one major problem with that design – it is just not real.
The alleged false back design was first detailed by Chengming Alpert, who offered reasons why that transparent back might not be real after all. In a series of tweets, Alpert reveals that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset powering the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition cannot be in that position. Alpert also added that all the components shown in the design are too far away from each other, and there is no signs of graphite or other pipe/wire/cable for thermal management.
Alpert also notes that Xiaomi’s product page for Mi 8 Explorer Edition in China confirms the its transparent design is not one-to-one with the actual components found inside the smartphone. There were also reports that the Mi 8 Explorer Edition’s back panel only shows a sticker. Now, in a statement shared with The Verge, Xiaomi has denied that notion.
“The transparent back on Mi 8 Explorer Edition is indeed made of transparent glass, and there isn’t a sticker with a picture on it. The parts that you see on the back upper half, for example, are parts of the actual mainboard,” the Chinese smartphone told the publication.
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Xiaomi’s transparent back design on the Mi 8 Explorer Edition definitely raises flags since it exposes more components than possible with most smartphones. Engadget further notes that the components shown on the back of the device is part of RF shield. It is believed that the components seen are real, but they are non-functioning parts with no real importance for the device.
HTC U12 Plus, on the other hand, features a transparent design but looks less interesting since it shows limited number of components. Xiaomi might not be lying here about the transparent design since the smartphone includes a glass back. There is a possibility that other smartphone makers will take cue from Xiaomi and reveal the real components inside of their smartphone with transparent back panels.