Chinese electronics manufacturer maker recently launched the Redmi Note 8 Pro, a midrange smartphone, in India. This device marks several firsts for the company — a 64-megapixel sensor-based quad-camera set-up on the back, HDR display, built-in Alexa and a gaming-centric MediaTek Helio G90T mobile processor. From versatile imaging to unmatched gaming experience, the Redmi Note 8 Pro has all the makings of an all-round smartphone. But is it really one? Let’s find out:
Quite different in looks from its predecessors, the Redmi Note 8 Pro has a new design theme inspired by Xiaomi’s Android One platform-based Mi A3 smartphone. The phone has a glass build with Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and back, and a polycarbonate chassis painted in the same colour (we reviewed a gamma-green unit) as the phone. The glass on the back is curved on the sides and has a subtle reflective gradient design that looks premium.
While the phone’s overall build seems solid and the design looks premium, there are some areas that could have been better — the rear-camera module, for instance. The camera module juts out of the body, making the phone unstable on flat surfaces. It also makes the cameras prone to damage as the module will always be the first to hit the surface in case of accidental falls. Besides, the capacitive fingerprint sensor, integrated in the module, is a little inconvenient to use.
The Redmi Note 8 Pro has a 6.53-inch waterdrop-shaped notch screen of a fullHD+ resolution and a tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The screen has minimal bezels around it and the bottom chin also seems a bit thinner than what you see in other products in the same segment.
The screen is responsive and bright enough to be legible under direct sunlight. Despite being an LCD panel, the screen supports HDR and has a decent contrast and dynamic range. The phone’s Widevine L1 certification makes it compatible with high-definition video streaming from over-the-top platforms like Amazon Prime Videos and Netflix. Additionally, the HDR support makes the screen suitable not only for multimedia consumption but also compatible games — something that avid video watchers and gaming enthusiasts will appreciate.
The Redmi Note 8 Pro is Xiaomi’s first smartphone with a quad-camera set-up on the back. It is also the company’s first to boast a 64-megapixel primary sensor on the back. Besides, the phone’s rear camera set-up also has an 8MP ultra-wide sensor of an f/2.2 aperture and a 120-degree field of view (FoV); a 2MP macro lens; and a 2MP depth sensor. On the front, the phone has a 20MP sensor of an f/2.0 aperture.
The Redmi Note 8 Pro seems to justify the claim of being an imaging performer. Its primary sensor is a capable unit that takes detailed shots with a reasonable dynamic range and minimal noise in most conditions. A 16MP resolution and the pixel-binning technology allow the sensor to capture over-saturated images and project in a vivid but unnatural way.
For natural colours, you can set the sensor to its native 64MP resolution that results in a detailed imaging with minimal post-processing.
The phone’s ultra-wide sensor takes satisfactory (but not exceptional) shots. These have noise, soft corners and a prominent barrel effect. The macro lens, on the other hand, is a great addition to the mix. One of the best macro lenses available in smartphones, it supports auto-focus and takes detailed close-ups with ample background blur. Interestingly, the macro lens can also be used to capture videos, which come out neat.
The phone’s selfie camera is a capable performer, too. While earlier Xiaomi phones added unnatural glamour to selfies through aggressive post-processing, the Redmi Note 8 Pro’s selfie camera finds the right balance, beyond glamour and glitz.
Though the Redmi Note 8 Pro camera stands out on most counts, it has some limitations. The rear camera supports the night mode but this is limited only to the primary sensor. The camera’s user interface is intuitive but not practical. It shows all available modes at one place, even if the camera does not support them. For example, when the front camera is activated, the UI should ideally show only the modes that the front camera can use. Instead, it shows all the modes and takes you to rear camera if you select one that is not for the front camera.
Powered by the MediaTek Helio G90T mobile processor, the Redmi Note 8 Pro is a power-packed performer that delivers on most counts. It handles everyday tasks with ease and shows no weakness in handling processor- or graphic-intensive apps. It does warm up a bit, but not so much as to cause any discomfort. The phone has an in-built support for Alexa which you will love if you are a user of Amazon ecosystem products. Alexa is as good as Google Assistant in any case.
Though the phone’s performance is top-notch, the user experience gets tempered by advertisements and app recommendations that keep randomly popping up in the phone’s MIUI 10 UI. There is a provision to stop seeing ads, but the process (how to remove ads) is lengthy and cumbersome.
The phone has a 4500 mAh battery, which is good enough to keep the phone going for a day on normal use. The device comes bundled with an 18W fast charger, which replenishes the battery from zero to full in around two hours.
At Rs 14,999 (6GB/64GB), the Redmi Note 8 Pro is a complete package with all-round strengths. From a capable HDR display to impressive imaging and power-packed performance, the phone ticks all the right boxes and sets a new benchmark for midrange smartphones. The only irksome let-down, however, are advertisements and apps notifications. If you can find a way to live with them, the Redmi Note 8 Pro is an excellent choice in its segment for shutter bugs, multimedia enthusiasts and casual gamers.