❤ Xiaomi Redmi Note 8

 

 

The Redmi Note is a well-established series and each new phone follows the same book – a large screen, a snappy chipset, a good camera, and a 4,000 mAh battery. All these should be wrapped in a striking body, ran by the latest MIUI, and everything ends with an affordable price tag. Well, the Redmi Note 8 follows the recipe and has just the right ingredients so that makes it yet another excellent addition to the series.

 

 

 

 

 

Indeed, the Redmi Note 8 comes with a large 6.3″ IPS LCD screen of 1080p resolution and waterdrop-shaped notch. We would forgive you if thought this is the same panels as on the Note 7. But the Note 8’s screen supports HDR10, so something has definitely changed since the last year model.

 

 

 

 

The chipset got an upgrade, too. The Snapdragon 665 is now in charge, up from the Snapdragon 660 on the Note 8. We don’t believe it will deliver a significant boost, or if any at all, but it’s still a newer model, and a more power-efficient one at least.

 

 

 

 

The camera got a boost, though. Now the 48MP primary is joined by an 8MP ultrawide shooter, a 2MP macro snapper, and last is the 2MP depth sensor. Oh, and 4K video capturing is now an option!

Quite expectedly, the Note 8 boasts a 4,000 mAh battery, just like any other Note before it. And it’s no surprise this Note boots MIUI 10, though MIUI 11 should be seeding any moment now.

Finally, all these goodies come wrapped within one very good-looking body made of Gorilla Glass 5 panels and you may want to enjoy the view before proceeding to the full specs sheet.

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 specs

  • Body: Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, plastic frame, splash-resistant nano-coating, 190g.
  • Display: 6.3″ IPS LCD, 1080 x 2340px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 409ppi.
  • Rear camera: Primary: 48MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1/2.25″ sensor size, 0.8µm pixel size, PDAF. Ultra wide: 8MP, f/2.2, 1/4″, 1.12µm pixels. Macro camera: 2MP, f/2.4, 1/5″, 1.75µm Depth sensor:2MP; [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] video recording.
  • Front camera: 13MP, f/2.0 aperture, 1.12µm pixels. 1080p/30fps video recording.
  • OS: Android 9 Pie; MIUI 10.
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 665 (11nm): Octa-core (4×2.00 GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver), Adreno 610 GPU.
  • Memory: 3/4/6GB of RAM; 32/64/128GB storage; dedicated microSD slot.
  • Battery: 4,000mAh; 18W fast charging.
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM; LTE-A, 4-Band carrier aggregation, LTE Cat-12/ Cat-13; USB-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; dual-band GPS; Bluetooth 4.2; FM radio; NFC (8T model only);
  • Misc: Rear-mounted fingerprint reader; 3.5mm jack; single down-firing speaker.

 

It’s not like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 is the perfect midranger, but it ticks so many boxes that it may as well be one of them. There is nothing missing on the Note 8, if we don’t count proper ingress protection, but c’mon! So, we can’t wait to put the Note 8 through our tests and see what happens. Here we go!

Unboxing the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8

The Redmi Note 8 is the typical Xiaomi you can get these days – the box contains a 10W charger, a USB-C cable, and a transparent silicone case.

 

 

 

 

Depending on your region, some Redmi Note 8 units will come with a factory-applied screen protector. And while it may not be the most premium piece of shielding, it’s still very much appreciated.

Design

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 may be the cheaper of the Note 8 duo, but its build quality is what many would consider premium. The Note 8 is a glass smartphone like the Note 8 Pro, though it has no fancy curves and instead relies on a more traditional shape.

 

 

Redmi Note 8 and Note 8 Pro

 

 

The Redmi Note 8 has two flat pieces of Gorilla Glass 5 serving as panels. The front one is guarding the screen, while the rear one is painted in one of four hues – Neptune Blue, Moonlight White, Space Black, Nebula Purple. We have the Neptune Blue here, and it’s as mesmerizing in person as it looks on these photos.

The Neptune Blue version is based on the somewhat pearly blue color that goes gently to purple towards the bottom of the phone. The Moonlight White goes from light blue to light purple; the Nebula Purple is playing entirely with purple gradients, while the Space Black is simply black. Whatever you choose, the looks will always stay as brilliant.

 

 

 

 

So, the Redmi Note 8 has a 6.3″ IPS LCD panel taking most of the front. It has a droplet-shaped notch for its 13MP selfie camera. There are some hidden components on the top bezels – a white notification LED light is on the left, the thin earpiece grille is at the center, and some sensors are pretty invisible on the right.

 

 

 

 

Speaking about the bezels, the Redmi Note 8 may not be shining as a bezel-less device, but it sure has one of the most beautiful display frames we’ve encountered lately. There is a very subtle blue accent on the left and right bezel, which intensifies around the bottom just below the Redmi logo. It is not over the top and makes for a cool and unique look.

The frame is painted in the same blue hue as the bezels, and it adds even more points to Redmi Note 8‘s looks. It is made of plastic, though it took us a while to figure that out as it doesn’t feel cheap at all. So, we definitely won’t hold the choice of material against this Note.

 

 

 

 

Some interesting bits around the said frame are the triple card slot on the left with an independent microSD tray. Then there is an IR blaster at the top, while the bottom has the audio jack and speaker grille flanking the USB-C port.

 

 

 

 

The back is a stunning view, and we’d understand if you take a moment and enjoy it. The gradients are gorgeous, there is an awesome S-shape under different light conditions, and the pearl-like color is one of a kind.

There is a huge camera hump on the left that houses four cameras – the 8MP ultrawide, the 48MP primary, the 2MP macro, and the 2MP depth sensors. There is a single LED flash outside this mountain.

 

 

 

 

Indeed, with such a huge hump, the Redmi Note 8 would wobble a lot on a flat surface! If you leave it lying on a desk and try typing on the keyboard – you won’t like the experience. Then again, the bundled silicone case and this issue will go in a flash.

We also like the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The touch-sensitive area is rather small, but it’s always-on and pretty accurate. It’s a bit higher than usual, and it may require some adjustment period.

 

 

 

 

The Redmi Note 8 measures 158.3 x 75.3 x 8.4 mm – 3mm shorter and 1mm narrower than the Redmi Note 8 Pro with its larger 6.53″ screen. The Note 8 weighs 190g, 10g lighter than the Pro.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 is a good-looking smartphone with exquisite paint job and sturdy build. It is a slippery thing considering all this glossiness, but most of the phones today are. That’s why it has a bundled case within the retail box – it keeps it safe and provides a much-needed grip. On a positive note, even without the case – it feels more secure than the Pro models as both of its glass panels have no curves.

Display

The Redmi Note 8 has a bit smaller display than the Redmi Note 8 Pro‘s but gets to keep the same notch, resolution, and protection. Indeed, the Note 8 packs a 6.3″ IPS LCD panel of 1080p resolution behind a Gorilla Glass 5.

Because of the smaller panel size the Note 8 has a higher pixel density than the Note 8 Pro – 409ppi vs. 395ppi. One exciting bit is the support for HDR10 – a rarity among the mobile LCD screens.

 

 

 

 

Some units, probably not the global models, may come with pre-applied screen protectors, but we can’t be sure as ours lacked such thing.

Xiaomi promises 1500:1 contrast ratio for the Note 8 screen, and we can confirm this. We measured a maximum brightness of 473 nits and combined with the deep blacks we got 1521:1 contrast.

The screen can be brighter though if you leave it on Automatic Brightness – it can light up as high as 630 nits in bright ambient light.

 

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 0.311 473 1521
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 (Max Auto) 0.475 631 1328
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 0.358 479 1338
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro 0.347 460 1326
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Max Auto) 0.486 640 1317
Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro 0.314 481 1532
Realme 5 Pro 0.273 512 1875
Realme XT 0 447
Samsung Galaxy A30 0 433
Samsung Galaxy A30 (Max Auto) 0 548
Samsung Galaxy M30 0 437
Samsung Galaxy M30 (Max Auto) 0 641
Xiaomi Mi A3 0 363

 

Xiaomi offers three different Contrast settings. With the Automatic contrast set to on, the screen output seems to be tuned for accuracy in the sRGB color space, and we measured an average deltaE of 5.4. Only in this mode, you can choose the color saturation (default, warm, cool) and the Delta E of 3.8 was measured with the Default preset. Choosing warm will diminish the noticeable blue tint but won’t improve the overall accuracy by much.

The Standard Contrast setting is accurately tuned to the sRGB color space, and we recorded an average deltaE of 1.9 for color accuracy, meaning it’s an excellent one.

Finally, the Increased Contrast makes the colors pop at the expense of reproduction accuracy.

Battery life

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 is powered by a 4,000mAh Li-ion battery. It supports Qualcomm’s 18W Quick Charge, but the provided charger is only 10W. It fills 30% of the entirely depleted battery in 30 mins, while a full charge requires about 2 hours and 15 mins.

The Redmi Note 8 posted an excellent endurance rating of 108 hours and great scores across the board. The screen-on times are excellent – we measured 16 hours runtime in our web browsing test and north of 14 hours in our video playback test. The standby performance was on par with the Redmi Note 7 and overall – a great one.

 

 

 

 

Speaker loudness

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 has a single bottom-firing speaker.

 

 

 

 

It scored an Excellent mark in our loudness test, and you can easily tell the speaker is among the loudest today. As far as the output quality is concerned – it is good but not great. There is enough bass, and the mid-tones are fine, but we found the speaker lacking in the high tones big time.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Samsung Galaxy A30 65.9 66.6 68.4 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy M30 65.6 66.2 70.4 Average
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro 64.8 71.2 82.2 Good
Realme 5 Pro 66.3 72.9 85.8 Very Good
Huawei P30 Lite 71.5 73.8 83.1 Excellent
Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro 70.1 73.1 85.4 Excellent
Realme 5 66.8 73.0 89.3 Excellent
Xiaomi Mi A3 74.1 74.3 81.9 Excellent
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 69.8 71.5 90.5 Excellent
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 78.8 72.9 81.3 Excellent
Realme XT 68.9 74.3 89.8 Excellent

 

Audio quality

When it comes to testing the audio output quality as delivered via the jack, the Redmi Note 8 is a tale of two parts. It did splendidly when connected to an active external amplifier, reproducing our test track perfectly and at high volume.

Yet, when headphones came into play, stereo separation suffered quite a lot, and a fair amount of intermodulation distortion crept in, and frequency response got slightly shaky, making the overall clarity rather mediocre. Loudness dropped a bit too, but remained nicely high.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Redmi Note 8 +0.02, -0.02 -94.0 94.0 0.0019 0.0067 -93.3
Redmi Note 8 (headphones) +0.35, -0.26 -91.3 90.9 0.015 0.445 -45.4
Redmi Note 8 Pro +0.07, -0.07 -93.6 93.9 0.0022 0.0068 -91.9
Redmi Note 8 Pro (headphones) +0.26, -0.29 -92.7 93.2 0.027 0.413 -48.5
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 +0.03, -0.01 -92.3 92.5 0.0018 0.0076 -89.7
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (headphones) +0.03, -0.07 -91.5 89.9 0.109 0.455 -74.4
Realme X2 +0.03, -0.06 -92.6 92.6 0.0020 0.0080 -88.1
Realme X2 (headphones) +0.30, -0.37 -87.2 91.0 0.0081 0.356 -48.4
Realme X2 Pro +0.03, -0.06 -91.3 91.8 0.0011 0.0077 -92.5
Realme X2 Pro (headphones) +0.21, -0.34 -90.3 91.4 0.0066 0.297 -51.5
OnePlus 7T +0.02, -0.13 -94.0 94.0 0.0013 0.0081 -93.6
OnePlus 7T (headphones) +0.18, -0.11 -85.6 84.8 0.0062 0.108 -52.6
Sony Xperia 5 +0.02, -0.02 -93.0 92.8 0.0012 0.007 -89.4
Sony Xperia 5 (headphones) +0.25, -0.30 -91.8 91.7 0.0045 0.312 -57.3

 

 

Boots MIUI 10, but not for long

The Redmi Note 8 boots the MIUI 10 ROM based on Android 9 Pie but allegedly, Xiaomi has already started seeding the MIUI 11 update.

While lightweight and intuitive, MIUI is no vanilla Android, so it will take a couple of hours for the purists to get the handle of it.

 

 

Redmi Note 8 and Note 8 Pro

 

 

You can unlock the screen via the snappy rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The reader is easy to set up and is always on, so it works fast. The accuracy is very good, too, a notch under the most accurate we’ve encountered but still great for your daily unlocking.

You can also set up face unlock in addition to it – it’s even faster as the Note 8 wakes up the moment you pick it up. Note that the face unlock option may not be available in all regions and is far less secure than the fingerprint scanner.

 

 

 

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 has a Dark mode – it will switch all system colors from white to black, and this way, you can save some battery juice by darkening most of the screen. Note that not all apps support the dark mode, but the majority do.

There is no app drawer in MIUI, so all your apps are just sitting there on your homescreen, but you can still add them to folders. Of course, you can always install a third-party launcher if you miss the app drawer.

Here are the default home screens on Redmi Note 8. There’s a weather widget in the upper right corner across from a large clock widget. There is a Quick Card pane, the leftmost one. It contains different cards with relevant information – recent apps, step counter, notes, calendar events, the weather, and favorites, among others. You can configure what shows up here, or you can disable this altogether.

The task switcher felt a bit awkward at first, but we’ve grown to like it. It shows all of your recent apps in two columns. Tap and hold on a card for the split-screen shortcut, or just swipe it left or right to close it.

Themes are supported on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8, but the app appears only when the phone is set to a supported region, say India.

MIUI also offers a Security app. It can scan your phone for malware, manage your blacklist, manage or restrict your data usage, configure battery behavior, and free up some RAM. It can also manage the permissions of your installed apps and allows you to define the battery behavior of selected apps and applies restrictions only to the apps you choose.

MIUI also offers proprietary Gallery, Music, and Video player. In some regions, the music and video apps include paid streaming options. An FM radio app is available, too.

The Redmi Note 8 has an IR blaster on its top, and you can install the Mi Remote app from the Play Store and configure your phone as the one remote to rule them all.

In some markets, the pre-installed applications by Xiaomi will show ads, which is how Xiaomi is compensating for the relatively low prices of its devices. We’re reviewing a global version of the Redmi Note 8, and we noticed a couple of ads in some apps (like File Manager), but not as aggressive as if you were running on an Indian or Chinese version of MIUI.

Finally, we want to mention our disappointment in the Auto Rotate option. The phone seems very sensitive and even slight variations in the orientation make it switch to Landscape. What’s worse is that when lying on a flat surface, the wobbling because of the big camera hump is enough to trigger Landscape Rotation when you are typing on the keyboard. We had quite a few of these unwanted Landscape switches and then we had to pick up the phone shake it and then put it back.

Performance and benchmarks

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 is powered by the Snapdragon 665 chipset. It’s a relatively new chip from mid-2019, and it’s available in few smartphones, one of which is the Xiaomi Mi A3. This chipset represents a minor upgrade over the Redmi Note 7’s Snapdragon 660 chip, but we’ll discuss the raw performance in a bit.

So, the Snapdragon 665 chip is based on the more efficient 11nm manufacturing process compared to the 14nm Snapdragon 660. It has the same processor as the SD660 – an octa-core Kryo 260 CPU with 4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold (Cortex-A73 derivative) & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver (Cortex-A53 derivative). Well, almost the same – the high-performance Kryo cores are actually clocked 200MHz lower than the same on the Note 7’s SD660.

There is a new Adreno 610 GPU, which, unfortunately, isn’t more powerful than the Adreno 512 inside the old 660 chip. It should supposedly deliver similar performance for 20% less battery though.

The Snapdragon 665 has a new DSP and a new ISP for 48MP camera support. Its modem is the same as on the S660, though.

 

 

The raw CPU multi-core performance is excellent – the phone did better than most of its competitors and is bested only by the Realme 5 Pro’s Snapdragon 712 CPU.

 

 

The Redmi Note 8 is fast, but not the fastest around. Its processor is snappy and a very dependable performer across various CPU-intensive tasks, but the GPU behavior is a mixed bag. Hiccups do happen in games, even when scrolling through MIUI, and while not that disturbing, they are still noticeable.

What we didn’t observe, however, is the phone getting hot – not even when running those benchmarks for longer durations. There is no noticeable performance throttling after longer runs either. Overall, the Redmi Note 8 offers an acceptable level of performance for the class, but you will be able to tell that you have a budget phone in your hands if you do some gaming.

From dual to quad camera

Just like Realme, Redmi skipped the triple camera and jumped straight to quad-camera setups. The arrangement is quite familiar – first (top to bottom) is the ultrawide snapper, then the primary one, the depth camera is next, and last is the macro shooter.

 

 

 

 

The main camera uses the 48 MP ISOCELL Bright GM2 sensor by Samsung. It’s a large 1/2.25″ sensor with 0.8µm pixels, and the lens has f/1.8 aperture. Native pixel-binning is at play here, so the image output is 12MP.

The 119-degree ultrawide-angle camera has an 8MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture. There is automatic distortion correction applied when necessary, but you can opt-out of it.

Then there’s the 2MP macro camera (the pixels on the sensor are quite large, 1.75µm). Its lens can focus from as close as 4cm away so that you can get really close to your subjects.

The last snapper is the 2MP depth sensor.

Switching between modes is like in every other camera app – swiping left and right will take you through all modes, while tapping in the upper right corner of the screen where the “hamburger menu” resides will expand the options. The real settings menu is in there as well, and it doesn’t offer anything out of the ordinary.

There’s also a dedicated 48MP mode as opposed to before when you had to go to Pro mode and tap on the 48MP icon to shoot 48MP resolution stills. Speaking of Pro, this one offers pretty much all the settings you’d need – white balance, focus, ISO, and shutter speed. The Pro mode works with the normal camera, the ultra-wide, and the macro. Manual 48MP pictures are also an option.

Image quality

Now, let’s talk about image quality. The 48MP camera naturally saves by default 12MP images, and the ones we shot turned out very good. The resolved detail is plenty, the noise levels are quite low, and the colors stayed mostly true to life. The dynamic range is wide, and even though it’s not the best we’ve encountered – we never used the HDR option.

The foliage presentation looks like an oil-painting as the algorithm smears fine detail, but it is nothing we’d hold against the Note 8 given the class and its price tag. Moire fringes can be noticed too in some busy scenes, but once again these are just minor defects, which can’t put a dent in the positive impressions we had.

There is a dedicated 48MP mode if you want to shoot in 48MP, but what you’d get is not a real 48MP image. Instead of the usual 48MP photo created with the debayering process, the Redmi Note 8 saves a simple upscaled image, and you can tell. There are no benefits whatsoever when shooting in 48MP, and we don’t recommend it.

There is one benefit of having such a big sensor – even though there isn’t a telephoto camera, you can still shoot good 2x zoomed photos. They are digitally zoomed, alright, but they still look better than any zoom done on a standard 12MP camera.

The 8MP ultrawide cam snaps okay photos with good enough level of detail for the segment. The contrast is good but the dynamic range is rather limited. The per-pixel quality is no match to the main snapper, and the images are noisier, and they are definitely at the bottom end of what is offered by competing smartphones.

You can opt-out of the automatic lens correction, and you will get more distorted edges of the frame but with sharper output.

We took a couple of macro samples from the dedicated 2MP macro camera. Unfortunately, those are far from impressive. The detail isn’t that great, the corners are soft, and the center isn’t that sharp either.

The Redmi Note 8 can be a great shooter at nighttime. The 12MP photos from the main camera are excellent for this class – the noise reduction is not that aggressive, and while it leaves some noise visible on the photos, it also keeps the fine detail intact.

The Night Mode on the Redmi Note 8 is just as conservative as on previous Xiaomi cameras. It acts more like HDR rather than full-on Night mode,, and shooting takes about 2 seconds. It cancels some of the noise and restores most clipped highlights, but you will rarely get a brighter image.

The low-light images from the ultrawide-angle camera are far from impressive as expected, but oddly – we’ve seen way worse even from flagships. The photos came out surprisingly detailed, probably due to the gentle noise reduction. The exposure turned out not as dark as on other ultrawide snappers, and while still uninspiring, those are some entirely usable photos.

Portraits

The quality of the portraits taken with the rear camera of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 is highly dependent on the light conditions as the resolved detail would drastically drop when the light is not good. So, when the right conditions are met – you will be rewarded with some very nice portrait shots – detailed, with good subject separation and convincing faux blur.

Selfies

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 has a 13MP f/2.0 selfie camera, and the focus is fixed as usual. On the software side, there three beatification enhancement options – skin smoothing, eye enlargement, and face slimming.

The 13MP selfies we shot are excellent – there is abundant detail, the colors and contrast are excellent, and the dynamic range is good even without HDR mode.

You can use portrait mode for selfies, too, and those turned out quite good. The phone does a nice job with subject separation, and we didn’t get (many) clipped ears or the like.

Video quality

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 captures videos up to 4K @ 30fps and [email protected] is available. The [email protected] option is coming via a firmware update, and at the time of publishing it was still unavailable.

It seems at first that you can capture in these resolutions with all cameras, but you can’t. The ultrawide-angle snapper records only 1080p clips at 30fps, while the macro cam is limited to [email protected] no matter what resolution you’ve picked up from the selector.

Slow-mo video is available in 1080p @120fps.

Let’s talk about the main camera. The video bitrate is 40-42Mbps in 4K and about 20Mbps in 1080p at 30fps. Audio is recorded in stereo with a 96Kbps bitrate.

Despite the high bitrate, the 4K videos are poor in detail and with mediocre dynamic range. The noise is almost non-existent, and maybe an overly aggressive noise reduction is to blame for the loss in detail. The contrast and colors are pretty good, though.

 

 

 

 

 

The 1080p clips aren’t detailed either and we’ve seen many phones do better.

 

 

 

 

 

The videos from the ultrawide snapper have a bit cooler color rendition, and the detail quite poor, too.

 

 

 

 

 

The 2X toggle is also available in video recording, but digital zoom is what you’d be getting if you use it.

EIS is available only when shooting in 1080p at 30fps. The digital stabilization does a great job smoothing the camera shake at the expense of minor loss of FoV.

 

 

 

 

Wrap-up

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 doesn’t have the greatest chipset or the best of cameras, but it’s not pretending to be the best phone ever either. It is one very balanced mid-ranger that’s priced as low as an entry-level smartphone and yet delivers outstanding quality across the board.

The Redmi Note 8 has an impressively bright and large screen, can handle demanding games well, and shoots good pictures day and night. Note 8 lasts very long on a single charge, just like the old Notes.

 

 

 

 

Finally, the Redmi Note 8 is beautiful, yes, but what also makes it attractive is that it is among the first Xiaomi phones to get MIUI 11. And that’s something many are looking forward to.

At the end of the day we would have preferred a more potent chipset for the Note 8, but even as is, the handset offers a lot more than its price suggests. And that’s always has been the unwritten moto of the series, and it lives on with the Note 8.

The competition

The Realme 5s was just announced, and it’s already making it hard for the Note 8 as it costs the same. The new 5s model has a larger 6.5″ screen of 720p resolution, which makes the same Snapdragon 665 chip perform much faster. The cameras are the same on both ends, and the Realme can equally impress with its design. But what’s also brilliant is the 5,000 mAh battery within the Realme!

Realme 5 Pro is about INR 3,000 more expensive in India, and while it offers the same screen, camera arrangement, and battery capacity, it just excels in gaming with the Snapdragon 712 chipset with 4GB of RAM in the base model.

The Mi A3 by Xiaomi costs about INR 1,500 on top of the Redmi Note 8, but it offers a Super AMOLED screen of 720p resolution, which also makes it easier for the same Snapdragon 665 SoC to do better. The camera experience is similar, as is the battery autonomy. The Mi A3 is an Android One phone though, so if vanilla Android is your cup of tea – you should check it out.

Samsung Galaxy M30 is quite cheaper already and you can buy a high-res Super AMOLED and a larger battery at the same price, at least in India. The camera isn’t as versatile, but the proper OLED screen with HDR10 may easily make you forget about this.

Finally, the Redmi Note 8 Pro costs INR 5,000 more, but if you can afford it – you should get it. It is the super midranger we expected from Xiaomi, and the Pro version deserves its moniker. It has a much faster chip – the MediaTek Helio G90T, there is also a better main camera (64MP), faster storage (UFS 2.1), and a larger 4,500 mAh battery. Oh, and MIUI 11 is already available on the Note 8 Pro.

If you live in Europe though, the Redmi Note 8T (Note 8 with NFC) costs €180 – about the same as the Realme 5 Pro and the Mi A3, while the Redmi Note 8 Pro is about €230. And this makes for a really tough choice.

 

 

Realme 5s • Realme 5 Pro • Xiaomi Mi A3 • Samsung Galaxy M30 • Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro

 

 

The verdict

There were times when the new Redmi Note was the best in its niche, but that time’s gone now. With Realme going all-in, and Samsung trying hard to snag a piece of that pie, Xiaomi needs to step up its game. The Redmi Note 8 is a great smartphone, sure, but we somehow expected just a little bit more.

Xiaomi does not need to worry about losing its fans – they are not going anywhere. And the Redmi Note 8 is an excellent choice as it is a worthy sequel and also a proper phone to own and carry around. It’s the newcomers that have more options now, and they won’t be as impressed with the Note 8 as those once were with the older models.

 

 

 

 

Pros

  • Striking design, dual Gorilla Glass 5
  • Large screen, bright and with excellent contrast
  • Impressive battery life
  • MIUI 11 comes in a matter of days
  • Good all-round camera
  • Standalone microSD, 3.5mm jack, FM radio, IR blaster

Cons

  • Shady HDR10 support, seems non-existent
  • The performance is actually a downgrade since the Note 7
  • We expected better video quality
  • The 1080p capturing at 60fps is missing at launch