Xiaomi’s transparent Mi 8 Explorer Edition is hotness on a new level

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iPhone X lookalike or not, Xiaomi’s Mi 8 Explorer Edition — that’s the version with the transparent glass back — is one stunning phone.

The Mi 8 has sparked some controversy since it was announced at the end of last month. While it’s true its back is see-through, some of the exposed components — such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip and the accompanying modules — aren’t actually real; they’re dummies for aesthetic purposes.

Some people are calling Xiaomi out for being deceptive, but after getting some hands-on time with the phone, I can tell you, real or not, who cares?

As smartphones become more and more similar — every new phone’s a glass-and-metal sandwich with a screen that’s got a notch — the race is on to differentiate.

For OnePlus, that means applying a special layering process to the Midnight Black and Silk White OnePlus 6 phones to give their glass backs a matte, frosted finish. For other phone makers, like HTC and Xiaomi, it’s going transparent. HTC’s U12+ and the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition both sport clear glass backs.

It’s an aesthetic I wouldn’t mind seeing become a trend. Who doesn’t like gadgets with transparent cases? In fact, some of the most iconic gadgets let you see through the device and gawk at the insides. Apple’s original iMac, Nintendo’s Game Boy Color, and Nintendo 64 are three that come to mind.

Hell, people want transparent gadgets so badly they’re swapping out the default cases with aftermarket mods. If you haven’t seen the transparent Nintendo Switch mod, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

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