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Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review: Affordable smartphone with imperfect design, UI

Except for the cameras, the Redmi Note 8 does not seem to bring any major upgrade to the Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7S

Shivansh Jauhri  |  New Delhi 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8

Chinese electronics maker recently launched in India the Redmi Note 8. A successor to the Redmi Note 7, the smartphone has got several upgrades, including a quad-camera module on the back, premium glass design with Gorilla Glass 5 protection, USB type-C charging and data transfer port, and fast charging support. Priced at Rs 9,999 for the base model (4GB RAM + 64GB storage), the phone seems to be a feature-rich option in the budget smartphone segment. But is it an all-round performer? Let’s find out:

Design and display

The Redmi Note 8 does not look any different from its predecessor. Its design might seem dated to some, but it has its own strengths. Like its predecessor, the phone has curved Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and back that most phones in the segment lack. The glass construction, however, makes the phone heavy (190g) and you might find it difficult to operate for extended hours. Moreover, the protruding rear-camera module makes it uneven on flat surfaces. Therefore, you might not find it convenient to use while it lies on the table top, or other flat surfaces.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8

On the front, the phone has a 6.3-inch screen with a dewdrop-shaped notch on the top for front camera. The display has prominent bezels all around it, and a thick chin – big enough to have Redmi embossed on it. Nonetheless, the display has fullHD+ resolution, another thing that not many phones in the segment have. It is bright, vivid and has good touch response. The phone has Widevine L1 certification to confirm its ability to play content from over-the-top platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix in high definition.

Camera

The Redmi Note 8 has a quad-camera set-up on the back. It has a 48-megapixel primary sensor of f/1.79 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor pf f/2.2 aperture, a 2MP depth sensor of f/2.4 aperture and a 2MP macro sensor of f/2.4 aperture and auto-focus lens. On the front, the phone has a 13MP selfie camera.

In daylight conditions, the Redmi Note 8’s rear cameras are a decent performer. The primary sensor takes detailed shots with satisfactory dynamic range and minimal noise. The ultra-wide sensor is good for landscape shots but tends to miss details and capture unnatural colours. It does, however, straighten the shots and show minimal barrel effects. The macro lens is a good addition to the mix. Though its auto-focus is slow, and sometimes inaccurate, it does impress with the output if you manage to get the focus fixed on the object.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8

For low-light imaging, the camera user interface has a dedicated night mode. It does brighten the dim-lit scenes but also captures noise; that hampers its overall utility. Moreover, the night mode works only with the primary camera, not the ultra-wide one.

The phone’s selfie camera is good, but it tends to process the images heavily, resulting in unnatural output. This may or may not impress everyone. Like the rear cameras, the selfie camera struggles in low light.

Performance

Powering the Redmi Note 8 is Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 system-on-chip, paired with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. The phone boots Android Pie operating system covered under Xiaomi’s proprietary MIUI 10 user interface. The phone’s performance is decent and it handles everyday tasks without any hiccups. The phone also handles graphic-intensive games, but not at their maximum graphics settings.

While the performance is decent, the phone’s custom UI tempers the user experience with irksome app notifications and advertisement in MIUI 10. Both ads and notifications can be turned off, but the process is cumbersome and lengthy. Moreover, the UI seems unpolished at places. For example, the UI takes some time to show caller's name on the screen, especially if you get a call while playing a game or using a video-streaming app.

Battery

The Redmi Note 8 has a 4,000 mAh battery, which is good for a day's use. The phone comes with 18W fast charger, which takes around two hours for the phone to charge fully. Though fast charging is a welcome addition, the phone heats up a bit if it is used excessively while charging.

Verdict

Except for the cameras, the Redmi Note 8 does not seem to bring any major upgrade over the Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7S. Perhaps that is a reason why decided to keep its price similar to its predecessor's. Nonetheless, the phone is a decent budget offering with sturdy design, capable display, good imaging, and satisfactory performance.

First Published: Tue, November 26 2019. 18:16 IST
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