Just months after the launch of the Redmi 7A, Chinese electronics maker Xiaomi has launched its successor, the Redmi 8A, with a big screen, better design and a more powerful battery. With a price starting at Rs 6,499, the affordable smartphone comes in 2GB and 3GB RAM variants, both with 32 GB storage (expandable to 512 GB). People can choose from among sunset red, ocean blue, and midnight black colour variants. I used the 2GB sunset red model for good two weeks and here's how it performed:
The Redmi 8A is a beautiful phone, especially considering its low price tag. One of the reasons I say this is that it incorporates the trendy thin bezel design, usually seen in higher-end phones, makes an already decent 6.22-inch display seem even bigger. The screen's HD+ (1520 x 720p) resolution is slightly lower but the colours are vivid even under bright daylight. The screen is shielded by the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 — another feature found usually in expensive phones. The curved sides give the Redmi 8A a firmer, comfortable grip. On the back, Xiaomi has given the phone a textured finish with a somber touch. It has an Aura wave grip design, which, the company says, helps with the grip and it does seem that way.
The phone is bulky, which could be because of its massive 5,000 mAh battery under the hood, and using it with just one hand isn't always easy. In any case, at 190 grams, it is slightly heavy too. There's no fingerprint sensor but the face recognition works fine. It is also splash-proof with a P2i rating, which is a good considering the affordable price tag of the smartphone.
The Redmi 8A is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 octa-core chipset. It works smoothly but tends to lag when launching a heavy app (something like PUBG mobile game) or while switching between such apps. I imagine the 3GB RAM variant would perform better in this respect. The phone runs on the Android 9 Pie with Xiaomi's MIUI 10.3. As with other Xiaomi phones, you'll be bombarded with endless and needless MIUI and GetApps notifications, which is a major irritant.
Coming to battery, this is where Xiaomi has done a really good job. Not only does the Redmi 8A have a big 5,000mAh battery but it also provides a USB Type-C charging port. According to the company, the phone supports 18W fast charge, but you get only a 10W charger in the box and it charges the phone in a little over two hours. The battery backup is impressive and the phone easily goes on for almost two days with occasional gaming and turning the mobile data at all times.
The phone has a 12-megapixel camera with LED flash on the back and an 8-megapixel selfie camera that sits in the tear-shape hollow carved on the front. The back camera has an f/1.8 aperture with a dual-pixel autofocus. Apart from portrait and pro, you get a short video mode too. There are HDR and AI scene detection options. In good light, you can use the latter to get decent pictures with enough details, but the pictures tend to get grainy as sharpness dips in low light. Also, the HDR mode takes some time to deliver the output. You also get the 'beauty' option and various frames. All in all, the camera is decent but nothing much to write home about.
The Redmi 8A has a big display, catchy design and a good capacity battery with fast-charge support that makes it a decent option in the budget smartphone segment. However, the phone isn't without faults, and there are devices from brands like Realme that do better overall, but at Rs 6,499, it's a great buy.