Meitu M8 Hello Kitty and Sailor Moon phones blend cuteness with capable cameras

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Meitu, the firm behind the eponymous “beautifying” app that touches up your blemishes, is back at it again. But this time around, the company is launching a new phone: The Meitu M8.

The M8, the successor to Meitu’s T8, boasts upgraded hardware with Meitu’s signature — and polarizing — hexagonal shape. It ships with a 5.2-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) AMOLED screen, and a quad-core MediaTek Helio X20 processor paired with a Mali-T880 graphics chip and 4GB of RAM. Rounding out the specs are 64GB of internal storage, a USB Type-C connector, Bluetooth 4.1 radio, and a 3,000mAh battery.

The M8, as you might expect from photo-centric Meitu, packs a capable pair of cameras. An impressive 21MP shooter rounds out the back, but the Sony IMX362 12MP sensor on the front is the highlight. It’s dual-sensor, which means it lets in more light than most, and is equipped with a phase-detection autofocusing system that locks in on subjects at the “millimeter level.” Other high-tech accouterments include optical image stabilization, which improves low-light performance, and Meitu’s proprietary “dual image engine,” which accelerates post-processing.

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Meitu calls the M8 the most “intelligent” smartphone it has ever made. That’s thanks to algorithms that detect and enhance faces based on your age, gender, and facial features, and a Snapchat-like feature that automatically detects and enhances backgrounds. Meitu said that the M8 can distinguish between people, objects, and scenery.

That AI allows for an untold level of customization, Meitu claims. You can adjust selfies based on your age, gender, and facial features like skin tone and hair color. And the M8 can differentiate between portrait sizes, face shapes, and subject light exposure.

The M8 boasts a curved screen, and comes in two series options and four color choices: the “Fresh and Hip” series (white and pink) and the “Chic and Classy” (red and purple).

Special limited-edition Hello Kitty and Sailor Moon versions of the M8 will launch simultaneously. The first 20,000 buyers will get exclusive exterior designs, special UIs, gift boxes, collection certificates, and a bright-pink, gold-accented selfie stick.

If Hello Kitty and Sailor Moon aren’t your style, the M8 will launch in limited-edition themes created by “top designers” like Salvatore DellAquila, Duncan Sham, and Tash Willcocks. Using Meitu’s online design tools, you’ll be able to engrave symbols and text on the phones, gift boxes, phone cases, screen backgrounds, and letterheads.

The Meitu M8 goes on sale on May 12 at noon for 2,999 yuan ($435) in China. The rest of the world, it appears, will have to wait.

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