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Xiaomi’s new phone can make you white

Chinese firm Xiaomi has just launched its new Mi 4i phone in India, with a rather unique and controversial camera feature – the ability to lighten a user’s skin tone in selfies.

Already dubbed ‘the UKIP phone’ here at Recombu Towers, Xiaomi’s Mi 4i is your typical 5-inch Full HD phone rocking a dedicated 5-megapixel selfie camera. The phone was launched just yesterday in India, the intended market for the device, but one of the features that Xiaomi bigged up could possibly go down as smoothly as a gravel sandwich.

At the Mi 4i launch, Xiaomi Global’s vice president, Hugo Barra, said: “We have definitely changed the algorithms and we have re-profiled (for Indian users).

“We have added a new set of features to our existing high-dynamic-range imaging…it has skin smoothening feature that leads to slight whitening of skin in picture.”

The offending feature is known as Beautify, a tool that can touch up your selfies after you’ve taken them, before posting online.

Beautify isn’t advertised on Xiaomi’s website as a feature that can make your skin look lighter, instead suggesting that it ‘smoothen skin, brightens eyes, slims the jaw, and more’. However, there’s no denying that the press image shows a significant change in skin tone between the before and after shots.

Beauty camera modes are increasingly found on phones from Asian manufacturers and we personally find them bizarre. Perhaps that’s because we look like the love child of a grey alien and an anime character every time we use them, though.

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