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Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review: Better Camera Performance And Faster Charging

oi-Rohit Arora
| Published: Thursday, November 7, 2019, 10:30 [IST]

Xiaomi has launched over a dozen of Redmi devices this year in the Indian market. There’s a Redmi smartphone in every price segment that caters to consumers’ needs. The company’s most recent product launch introduced two handsets- the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Redmi Note 8. We have already reviewed the Redmi Note 8 Pro, which is the company’s first 64MP camera smartphone and today we are going to talk in detail about the Redmi Note 8.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review
PROS
  • Premium Aesthetics
  • Crisp Full HD+ Display
  • Good Camera Performance For The Price
  • Long-lasting Battery Life
CONS
  • Bloatware In MIUI
  • MIUI Needs Some Optimization On Redmi Note 8
  • IPS LCD Display Lacks Color Accuracy
  • Not A Gaming Phone

The Redmi Note 8 is an upgrade to the Redmi Note 7s, which was the company’s most affordable smartphone featuring a 48MP camera at the time of its launch. The Redmi Note 8 steals that title from the Redmi Note 7s by offering a 48MP quad-camera setup at a starting price of just Rs. 9,999.

While the quad-lens camera setup alone is enough to turn heads, the Redmi Note 8 also packs in pretty solid hardware to top the list of recommended handsets in sub 10K price bracket. Does this make Redmi Note 8 the best budget smartphone in the Indian market? Let’s find out.

Redmi Note 8 Design- Redmi Note 7s With Some Cosmetic Changes

Redmi Note 8 Design- Redmi Note 7s With Some Cosmetic Changes

Even though the Redmi Note 8 is launched alongside the Redmi Note 8 Pro, the phone’s design is more closely associated with the Redmi Note 7 series devices. This particular design philosophy is now getting a bit dated and I believe the Redmi Note 8 is going to be the last phone in the company’s line-up to rock such a look and feel.

The front and back panel has the same flat design with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The plastic frame that holds the two sides firmly has rounded edges and corners which make the handset comfortable to hold. The right side of the frame houses the power button and the volume rockers which offer good tactile feedback.

Type-C Port, 3.5mm Headphone Jack, Dedicated MicroSD Slot

Type-C Port, 3.5mm Headphone Jack, Dedicated MicroSD Slot

The bottom has the Type-C port, microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack, and the mono speaker grille. The tiny notification LED is positioned to the left of the waterdrop notch and the IR blaster sits at the top. The SIM card tray with a dedicated microSD slot is placed on the left side.

The bezels around the screen are not very thick except the chin at the bottom of the display. The Redmi branding at the chin seems quite unnecessary. A blue colored trim runs around the display which also comes across as a desperate measure to differentiate the Redmi Note 8 from the Redmi Note 7 series line-up.

The back panel of the Redmi Note 8 looks striking. There’s a small circular fingerprint scanner and a big quad-lens camera setup stacked vertically at the top-left side. The camera bump is very prominent but you can minimize the effect by strapping the bundled TPU case in the box.

The quality of material used in constructing the Redmi Note 8 is good and the company has also equipped the device with P2i coating to make it splash-proof. The Redmi Note 8 feels quite robust and premium in hands for a device that starts at just Rs. 9,999. We are testing the Neptune Blue color variant which flaunts a blue/purple gradient finish. The smartphone is also available in Moonlight White and Space Black colors, which look more subtle and slightly more premium.

Redmi Note 8 Display- Crisp 6.53-inch FHD+ IPS LCD Display

Redmi Note 8 Display- Crisp 6.53-inch FHD+ IPS LCD Display

The Redmi Note 8 offers a 6.3-inches full-HD+ panel with 1080 x 2280 resolution and 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The crisp IPS panel works well for multimedia tasks and gameplay even though the color reproduction and the brightness levels are not the best-in-class. We managed to rectify the bluish tint by pairing the automatic contrast mode with warm color tones in the display settings.

The display is certified by TUV Rheinland for blue light reduction to reduce eye fatigue and is also protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 layer. Overall, it’s a pretty good screen for a phone that costs Rs. 9,999 for the base variant.

Redmi Note 8 Camera- All-Rounder Budget Camera Phone

Redmi Note 8 Camera- All-Rounder Budget Camera Phone

Let’s talk about the highlight feature on the Redmi Note 8. The smartphone features a 48MP quad-lens camera setup. The primary camera works on a ½-inch sensor with an f/1.79 aperture and 79.4° field of view. It is the same sensor that was offered on the Redmi Note 7s.

The additional three sensors comprises of an 8MP ultra-wide camera that captures 120° field of view, a 2MP depth-sensor and a 2MP macro lens for additional support to step up your photography game. For selfies, the Redmi Note 8 boasts a 13MP front-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture.

Redmi Note 8 Camera Performance daylight

Redmi Note 8 Camera Performance daylight

The Redmi Note 8 captures crisp and well-exposed shots in daylight. The color looks natural and there’s very little over sharpening happening on the software side. The 16MP pixel-binned shots have enough details to qualify as Instagram stories and posts. You can also enable dedicated 48MP camera mode for some extra details in images.

I was able to derive some good compositions from the 48MP shots with 50 to 60% zoom. It is only at the maximum zoom that the images start to lose details and show a posterized effect. The primary camera also allows you to record 4K videos at 30fps and 1080p videos at up to 60fps. The videos also come out crisp and show good dynamic range in ample lighting.

Decent Macro Shots

Decent Macro Shots

The 2MP macro lens isn’t always good at locking focus on the subjects. When it does, you can capture some decent macros. The textures are captured very well as long as the sensor is getting good amount of light.

Wide-angle Shots- Only Good For Daylight Photography

Wide-angle Shots- Only Good For Daylight Photography

As far as the wide-angle camera performance is concerned, the images show decent dynamic range and good contrast in daylight. You can some good landscape shots on the Redmi Note 8 if you are shooting in favourable lighting. The low-light wide-angle shots are not very good as the images show far-less details and color accuracy also takes a hit. But once again for a phone that’s priced as low as Rs. 9,999, you wouldn’t ask for more.

Redmi Note 8 Low-Light Camera Performance

Redmi Note 8 Low-Light Camera Performance

The dedicated night mode on the Redmi Note 8 is quite effective in bringing out the hidden details. Pictures shot with night mode look much better exposed but also get noisy. As the phone struggles to lock subjects, we often got blurry shots in challenging lighting. I would recommend using a tripod with night mode to frame good shots.

The 13MP front-facing camera is only good in daylight. The camera software tends to extra smoothen the skin tones which makes the final output very unnatural. In addition to the beauty modes, the selfie camera also includes a panorama selfie feature, which allows you to capture group selfies.

Overall, the camera performance on the Redmi Note 8 is good for the price-point. It’s feature-packed and works well as an everyday budget smartphone camera.

Redmi Note 8 Hardware Performance

Redmi Note 8 Hardware Performance

The Redmi Note 8 is powered by the 6th gen. Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC. We have tested this chipset on the Realme 5. The 11nm SoC uses the same old Kryo 260 cores making it slightly more power-efficient than the SD660. The smartphone has an Adreno 610 GPU unit to handle graphically intensive tasks. We are currently testing the 6GB + 128GB variant but the phone is also available in 4GB + 64GB variant.

The Redmi Note 8 can handle day-to-day tasks with ease. We did not face any major performance issues while using the handset as a daily driver. For instance, you can use Google Chrome with multiple tabs and can also edit pictures in third-party editing apps without any issues. There were minor jitters while jumping from one app to another with more than 15 apps running in the background, which is pretty normal for a budget device.

The gameplay is fluid as long as you are not playing heavy titles on a stretch. Long gameplay with game titles such as PUBG and Asphalt 9 heats the phone in a short time that causes noticeable frame drops and jitters. It is worth mentioning that we did not experience such heating issues on the Realme devices that are priced similarly. For some reason, the heat management is slightly better on the Realme smartphones.

Overall, the Redmi Note 8 is a budget device and expecting a lag-free performance during number-crunching tasks isn’t quite fair. You should consider the Redmi Note 8 Pro if you are always hooked to your phone for PUBG and other popular game titles.

Redmi Note 8 Software Performance

Redmi Note 8 Software Performance

Our Redmi Note 8 review unit is running the MIUI 10.3.3 stable version based on Android 9. The software performance on the Redmi Note 8 is smooth for most of the part. The UI is pretty responsive but lacks some level of optimization that can be felt while pushing the handset to its limits. Things get worse when unwanted advertisements start to bombard your phone. The only way to get past such spam notifications is to smartly tackle the app’s permissions.

The startup screen also tricks you to download at least a dozen applications out of which only four to five are usable. And this doesn’t end here. The phone also has some pre-installed bloatware that cannot be uninstalled from the device. Combined, these things heavily affect the user experience on the Redmi Note 8.

If you prefer stock Android user experience, we would recommend you to check out the Motorola’s recently launched Moto One series devices and even the most recent G8 Plus handset. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 13,999 and is a good overall package for stock Android fans.

Redmi Note 8 Battery Life And Audio Performance

Redmi Note 8 Battery Life And Audio Performance

The Redmi Note 8 with its 4,000 mAh battery unit can easily survive a day even with a bit of heavy usage. If you are a moderate user, the phone will last you at least 36 hours and even more in some cases. The battery refuelling process is now better than the predecessor devices as the company is offering an 18W fast-charger in the box.

As far as audio performance is concerned, it is decent but not groundbreaking. The audio delivery via bottom-firing single speaker unit is loud and clear but lacks bass. The audio sounds good for general use cases but headphones are recommended for an immersive multimedia experience.

Should You Buy Redmi Note 8?

Should You Buy Redmi Note 8?

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 is a pretty good package, especially the base variant that costs Rs. 9,999 and offers 64GB RAM with a dedicated microSD card slot. The smartphone offers a crisp Full HD+ display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection, capable camera and long-lasting battery life with 18W fast-charge support out-of-the-box. The software and gaming performance is not very satisfactory but the Redmi Note 8 still makes for a great all-round package for price-conscious consumers.

As a standalone device, it’s almost perfect but we just cannot ignore the competition in today’s time. Having said that, if you are ready to spend some extra bucks, the market offers some very good options such as the Redmi Note 8 Pro (base variant), Vivo Z1x, Realme XT, Moto G8 Plus, Vivo Z1 Pro, etc. If you don’t want to exceed the Rs. 10K mark, the base variant of the Redmi Note 8 is the phone you should go for.

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