Redmi Note 8 Pro review: If dual cameras were the trend in 2018, the second half of 2019 has been about quad, or four, cameras at the back. Brands like Realme have already introduced phones with quad-cameras at the back, and now Xiaomi, the number one smartphone vendor in India, is following the trend with its Redmi Note 8 Pro and Redmi Note 8.
The Redmi Note 8 Pro comes eight months after the Redmi Note 7 Pro, but it packs some major upgrades. The biggest is the 64MP main camera at the back, an upgrade over the 48MP Sony IMX586 camera we saw in the earlier variant. It also carries a 2MP macro-camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP camera for depth detection. But camera isn’t the only big upgrade in the new Redmi Note 8 Pro.
This is also the first Redmi Note phone in a long time to run a MediaTek processor in India. The original Redmi Note 3G had a MediaTek chipset as well, but ran into legal trouble with Ericsson. The Redmi Note 8 Pro is powered by the MediaTek G90T gaming processor. Xiaomi claims it has worked closely with the chipset maker on this. This time around, Redmi Note 8 Pro also gets an HDR-ready display, it has a dedicated microSD slot and starts at 6GB RAM going up to 8GB RAM.
The phone comes with a bigger 4500 mAh battery and support for 18W fast charging. Xiaomi has also included the fast charger in the box, instead of forcing users to buy one separately. The Redmi Note 8 Pro also sports liquid cooling and improves on its water-resistance rating with IP52. It also sports a new Halo White and Gamma Green colour option in addition to the Black. But how does all of this translate in terms of performance? Read our review:
Redmi Note 8 Pro Specifications: 6.53-inch full HD+ (1080p) display | MediaTek G90T octa-core processor | 6GB or 8GB RAM with 64GB or 128GB storage with expandable storage support up to 512GB | 64MP main camera + 8MP ultra-wide + 2MP macro + 2MP depth camera + 20MP camera | 4500 mAh battery with 18W fast charging | MIUI 10 with Android Pie (9) |
Price in India: Rs 14,999 for 6GB RAM +64GB, 6GB RAM+128GB at Rs 15,999 and 8GB RAM +128GB at Rs 17,999
Redmi Note 8 Pro Review: Design, Display
The Redmi Note 8 Pro has a curved back design, though this is a broad and bulky device compared to the previous variant. One reason is the bigger battery. Redmi Note 8 Pro also has a bigger display at 6.53-inches, with the full HD+ resolution. The curved back means it is easier to hold this with one hand, but the size of the device might not always make it possible.
We got the White Halo colour option for review, which is very premium looking, especially with the metal frame on the side. But what doesn’t work for the Redmi Note 8 Pro’s design is that bulky camera module at the back that juts out a lot. Thanks to this, the device never sits flat on a surface and that can be dangerous at times, as once or twice it nearly slipped off the table.
The positioning of the fingerprint sensor right at the bottom of the camera module is not ideal either, because you will end up touching the lens like I did and covering it with smudges. The macro camera is placed away from the other three sensors to the right with flash on top of it. The idea here is to let people use flash to add more light when using macro shots.
The display on the Redmi Note 8 Pro continues to be one of the best for its price. It does come with Widevine L1 certification you can stream content at HD or full HD on YouTube, Netflix, etc. The viewing angles are good, and this is a sharp display, which works well in most scenarios. My only complaint would be the auto-brightness, which in some instances kept reducing brightness, especially when I was using the phone at night, and I did not find that ideal.
Redmi Note 8 Pro Review: Performance, battery
The Redmi Note 8 Pro runs the MediaTek G90T processor. Our review unit came with 8GB RAM and 128GB version, which is the most expensive of the lot. It scores 220693 in Antutu objective test, putting it below flagships like S9, which is impressive. In PC Mark, Work 2.0 performance test it scored 9871, which is again comparable to flagship phones. So as far as objective tests go, the Redmi Note 8 Pro is making all the right noises.
Games like Asphalt 9, Badland, Nova Legacy all ran without any hitches. I switched Asphalt 9 to high graphics settings and the phone had no problems handling it. The graphics looked smooth without any lag. In regular usage, be it just browsing on social media or using the phone to edit photos to keeping 20 tabs open on Chrome, the experience was smooth.
The only issue I noticed was that the camera was not responsive when taking photos at night. I kept pressing the shutter button to take a photo, but the app had frozen. The phone also got warm around the top when gaming for too long.
On the battery front, the Redmi Note 8 Pro has a 4500 mAh battery. I only had to charge this on alternate days. The 18W fast charger ensures a full charge in under two hours. With moderate usage, you can go up to two days on this phone, while heavy-duty usage means around one and a half days on the device.
The Redmi Note 8 Pro runs MIUI 10 based on Android Pie. Xiaomi has said it will get MIUI 11 by the end of December. It does come with Alexa pre-loaded, though Google Assistant is there as well. Once again with MIUI you will have to live with the ads and constant flood of notifications recommending you download this app or that app. The More apps folder has a number of apps that it just wants you to download, which is quite annoying.
Redmi Note 8 Pro Review: Camera
This is the part which Xiaomi is hyping up, given there’s a 64MP camera out here. The automatic resolution is 16MP. The camera certainly produces bright photos with accurate colour tones, even at night. The details are preserved in the photos. The selfies are quite impressive on this phone, and it actually creates a nice depth in Portrait mode, though it is not all perfect with edges on the hair.
I was impressed by the macro mode on this because it does let you zoom in and get some nice shots, even at night with accurate colours and minimal noise. But once again you will need steady hands to make sure the focus stays otherwise the results are not so good. The problem with macro mode is that the novelty will soon wear off for a lot of users. I would not recommend using a flash with this in low-light because the results are not so impressive.
The Night mode will brighten the scene, but once again you need to stay very still while taking this shot. There’s a dedicated 64MP mode to shoot at the higher resolution. You can double-tap on photos taken in this mode to view at HD resolution, according to the Xiaomi gallery app prompt. When you zoom in, yes the 64MP mode has more details, though not as sharp as one would want them to be, but it certainly packs in more than the regular 16MP mode.
The ultra-wide mode is not impressive. The difference in quality is noticeable compared to the main camera and it appears to be a downgrade. Even in a well-lit room, the results have too much noise. My major complaint with the camera was that at times, the focus would not lock. Perhaps Xiaomi will have to push an update to address this.
Redmi Note 8 Pro Review: Verdict
The Redmi Note 8 Pro has a lot riding considering it packs major upgrades such as four cameras, a 64MP main camera, a bigger battery, a new MediaTek processor. It is also being introduced in the market ahead of the crucial Diwali season. But along with more upgrades, Redmi Note 8 Pro starts at a higher price of Rs 14,999, though it now includes 6GB of RAM. The series now goes up to Rs 17,999.
For someone still using the Redmi Note 7 Pro, I would say wait. That is still a very good phone, and upgrading so soon does not make much sense, unless you are living with a damaged display. For Redmi Note 6 Pro or 5 Pro and those users on older versions of Redmi Note phones, the Redmi Note 8 Pro will make a more appealing option to consider, provided you are okay paying the slightly increased price tag. For anyone else looking to get a phone under Rs 15,000, Redmi Note 8 Pro should certainly be in your list of options to consider.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines