Meitu's new phone uses AI to snap better selfies

The T8 will whiten your teeth, but it can't help with those extra pounds.

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Stefanie Fogel
February 21, 2017 6:20 PM

Chinese selfie app and smartphone company Meitu has unveiled its newest flagship, and it's all about making you look better. The T8 includes a front-facing camera with optical image stabilization and dual-pixel phase detection autofocus (PDAF) similar to Samsung's Galaxy S7 and the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom -- rare components in a selfie camera. It also has a feature called Magical AI Beautification. Like Meitu's popular beauty apps, it can detect your skin tone, age and gender, then touch up your selfie accordingly.

According to Meitu, Magical AI Beautification will enhance group photos as well as selfies, detecting and adjusting each face individually. It will whiten your teeth, get rid of those bags under your eyes, smooth your skin, add radiance to your face and apply some stylish filters. The feature works on real-time videos too.

Over a billion people have downloaded and installed the Meitu app. It was a viral hit on social media last year, turning everyone's selfies into kawaii anime characters. But, the fun ended quickly when people discovered the app asks for access to a lot of personal data, including your calendar, contacts, SMS messages and location. Meitu claims it collected the data because it needed a workaround for Apple and Google's tracking services, which are blocked in China.

The T8 is not the first "selfie smartphone" to come out of China. Both Lenovo and Oppo released low-to-mid range devices last year with powerful front-facing cameras, but Meitu says the T8 is the first smartphone to offer DSLR-type performance and photo quality through its dual pixel technology.

The T8's other specs include a full metallic body, a 21-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2.3GHz processor, a 5.2-inch AMOLED display, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. And yes, it has a headphone jack. It's currently available on Meitu's website (accessible in China only) and costs 3299 RMB ($479 USD). It'll be available to buy at online retailers Tmall, and on February 22nd. There's no word yet on whether the T8 will make it to the US.

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