The budget segment of the smartphone market is the most competitive with brands launching new smartphones each month. In several cases we see smartphones launching with only minor differences to cater to people with a limited budget and specific requirements. Xiaomi is one such example with multiple smartphones under the Rs 15,000 segment with minor differences.
There are phones that prioritize CPU, RAM, Storage, battery life or camera features and you can choose what suits you the best. The Redmi Note 8 was launched alongside the Redmi Note 8 Pro and has been an important phone in the under Rs 10,000 segment. There is also a Rs 12,999 variant, while the brand claims that they could have made the phone a little less expensive but didn’t want to compromise on the specifications or other aspects of the smartphone.
Design and Display
The Redmi Note 8 looks noticeably different from the Redmi Note 8 Pro, the phone more resembles the Redmi 8 that was launched a little while ago. The Redmi Note 8 is a decent looking budget phone of 2019 with generic specifications for the most part. The smartphone comes with a 6.3-inch display that covers most of the front and has a waterdrop notch on the top and includes a chin that is thick enough to fit in the brand logo. There is also a misaligned tiny white notification LED on the front of the device. Xiaomi has also tried to improve upon the design by adding a highlight color running around the edges of the front glass. The rear of the smartphone looks very different and holds no resemblance to the Redmi Note 8 Pro or the Redmi 8 itself. The camera setup is to one corner of the smartphone and does stick out a lot resulting in the awkward rocking of the smartphone at most times.
Xiaomi has built the front and the rear of the smartphone with Gorilla Glass 5 protection and both the sides have rounded edges, it is extremely difficult to keep the device free of smudges and fingerprints in our experience. The power button and the fingerprint sensor were easily accessible even with my smaller fingers while the volume buttons did feel a little too high. The bottom of the smartphone houses the USB Type-C port and the 3.5mm headset jack with the speaker grille.
The top of the smartphone houses an IR Blaster and the SIM and microSD tray is conveniently placed to the left. Despite the big screen size, it wasn’t too difficult to reach all the corners of the smartphone, and the effect of the camera bump was easily reduced by using the plastic case included in the box. The glass back of the smartphone wasn’t too slippery and it was pretty easy to get used to the look and feel of the device.
The 6.3-inch display on the Redmi Note 8 comes with a FullHD+ resolution and has an IPS panel rated at 84-percent of the NTSC color gamut. The display is also certified by TUV Rhineland for blue light reduction. The color reproduction and brightness levels are average which is just about what we expect from a budget smartphone under the Rs 10,000 price bracket. The display on the smartphone is pleasant and the FullHD+ display is crisp but not vibrant. The smartphone is decent for entertainment and most users won’t find much to complain about.
Performance and Software
The Redmi Note 8 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor which is commonly seen on the competitor smartphones in this price segment. The base variant of the smartphone comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, the higher variant comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage for an additional cost of Rs 3000. Given the difference in price, the smartphone successful targets multiple smartphones in different price ranges all the way from the Realme 5 and the Vivo U10 to the Realme 3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M30s.
The Redmi Note 8 came with MIUI 10 pre-installed based on Android 9 Pie, the smartphone is assured to receive the MIUI 11 update. The software does come with a lot of preloaded bloatware which can be uninstalled manually. The notifications and spam ads are still present unless you manually tweak the settings of apps like MIUI Browser and GetApps to name a few. MIUI ran smoothly on the smartphone and we didn’t feel any hiccups through most of our usage even when multi-tasking. In the AnTuTu scores, we got a result of 1,64,779 and Geekbench 5 returned a single-core score of 311 and a multi-core score of 1,321. While these results are decent for the price, we could get better results on the Vivo U10 that had a lower resolution display with the same processor.
The gaming experience wasn’t great, we ran the PUBG Mobile game and it defaulted to the low present with not so amazing graphics but the game ran smoothly at least. The gameplay suffered a little with occasional frame drops when we realized the pre-set manually. The Asphalt 9 game was a little lagged and we did notice the game stutter in a few races. All in all, the smartphone does get pretty warm while gaming for extended periods. The battery life of the smartphone was pretty good and we were never worried about running out of the battery despite playing games, streaming videos from Netflix and YouTube. With extended hours of usage, we were still left with about 25-percent of battery by the end of the day. The box comes with an 18W fast charger that charges the smartphone from zero to 81 percent in about an hour.
The Redmi Note 8 comes with a Quad camera setup on the rear, the primary camera has a resolution of 48MP and an f/1.8 aperture. The camera defaults to a lower resolution with pixel binning technology for better results and can record in 4K at 30FPS or 1080p at 60FPS> The secondary 8MP wide-angle camera has an f/2.2 aperture. The depth-sensing camera and the macro camera both have a 2MP resolution and get the job done. The MIUI camera application is very simple, there are three dots above the shutter button to switch between the 0.6x, 1x and 2x modes. While the 0.6x and the 1x buttons help shift between the primary and the wide-angle lens, the 2X mode is a software-based digital zoom. Switching the camera to the macro mode is using a separate toggle in the viewfinder alongside the flash and HDR controls.
The camera does struggle a little in the low light conditions and in the Macro camera, we had to tap the display multiple times to lock the focus of the camera. The photo quality was impressive overall, the primary sensor gave us crisp images that were bright with good detail overall. The subjects at a distance were a little grainy but the close-ups turned out great and had good color reproduction with natural depth of field. However, when capturing bright objects, the details were sometimes lost, this was also seen in contrasting backgrounds. The wide-angle camera shots often suffered clarity and imbalance of exposure, but luckily, there wasn’t much warping at the edges of the frame.
Although the camera did struggle to get a lock on the focus in low light conditions, the images were pretty decent except for occasional shots that turned out noisy and had motion blur. The wide-angle camera again had far less detail and it was best reserved for well-lit landscapes. The macro camera on the Redmi Note 8 was pretty good and was useful for creative framing, the depth of field was pretty good in the camera but the images captured weren’t of very high quality. The video mode captured good quality videos at 1080p but the 4k videos were pretty overblown and there was no noticeable stabilization.
The Redmi Note 8 comes with a 13MP front camera with an f/2.0 aperture, while the skin textured was smoothened and softened, the background remained crisp and attracted more eyes. The low light selfies did turn out a little grainy and blurry during the night but the overall image quality was pretty good.
The Redmi Note 8 starts at a very competitive price of just Rs 9,999 for the base variant and goes up to Rs 12,999 for the higher-end variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Xiaomi has been very thoughtfully while choosing the specification and pricing the smartphone, while the Vivo U10 with similar specifications can be purchased for a little it would lack out on the RAM, storage and higher screen resolution being offered on the Redmi Note 8. The Redmi Note 8 easily powers through most of the daily tasks without any issue and has a crisp display for most entertainment usage. The cameras on the Redmi Note 8 were also impressive at the price in favorable lighting conditions.