Meitu, the Chinese company behind the viral selfie app, has released phones in China since 2013. These devices come in a variety of funky colors, are instantly recognizable by their signature hexagonal shape, and always prominently feature the camera. The company’s newest phone, the T8, debuted in China yesterday. It features a 21-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 12-megapixel, dual-pixel front-facing camera, as well as a MediaTek Helio X MT6797 processor, a 5.2-inch AMOLED display, 4GB of storage, and a 3,580mAh battery.
The real star of the T8, however is its new Magical AI Beautification feature, which deploys Meitu’s selfie software directly from the default camera app. It picks up on different faces and skin tones, as well as the gender and age of everyone in a photo, and with that information, the camera app applies different effects to get everyone looking their best.
Meitu dropped the phone off at The Verge office yesterday. Of course, because the phone only works in China, I couldn’t test its true performance; this isn’t a review. Instead, I got to play with its selfie camera for the day and force my dear co-workers to take selfies, too. Here are some of the results:
The selfie phone hinges on the gamble that people want a device that’ll make it easy to take flattering photos of themselves. As a selfie enthusiast, this seems like a reasonable assumption. While the front-facing camera isn’t the most important aspect of a phone, it certainly ranks high. As does the rear-facing camera. Apple’s iPhone 7 marketing message centered on the camera. So did Google’s for the Pixel. People care about cameras, and they care about how they look. Logic!
Another Chinese company, Huawei, also ships “perfect selfie mode” software with its Honor phones. Unlike Huawei’s technology, which has you line your face up with the camera from different angles, Meitu’s beautification happens automatically. The software smooths your skin, gives your eyes a little extra sparkle, and does something to your hair that I can’t quite figure out.
There are a bunch of different settings, too, including the level to which you want your photo adjusted. A level three setting is more “natural,” which you can see above, whereas the highest level, a seven, is just all sorts of intense. It made my face red and erased my nose. The price of beauty, I guess. This photo below is too much:
The T8 also lets you choose a color filter, which really felt like overkill. Always stick with natural. This is my advice to you.
Overall, my first experience with a selfie phone went well. The effects are intense, sure, but I can’t deny that I looked better. I’d love to keep spamming my Instagram followers with my flawless, augmented face.