Redmi 8: The best budget sub-Rs 10,000 phone in town?

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

Factors such as impressive build, decent cameras, good looks and good battery life make it one of the best budget buys this year

It is very rarely reviewers get to agree with promotional literature. Especially on mobile phones, where of late the trend is to exaggerate every tiny change and make colourful sales pitch. No maker is an exception to this rule, in India or abroad. That said, Xiaomi’s Redmi 8 is a surprise. Its Chinese maker tells you the phone, an upgrade of the Redmi 7 series, features three key faculties -- a 12MP Sony IMX363 dual camera setup, a 5000mAh battery and a USB Type-C port. And, interestingly, you agree with Xiaomi there. These three faculties are quite impressive given the price tag and can make the Redmi 8 one of the best budget phones of the year.

First things first. The phone looks suitably premium for the price. It has what the company calls an Aura Mirror finish, which looks really beautiful but its tolerance levels are very low when it comes to scars and fingermarks. You’re advised to be careful with your hands and about where you place the device while you’re not using it. Conveniently, Redmi has supplied a nice transparent back-cover for protecting the rear panel. That’s a good move and can help avoid some heartburn for the users.

Look and feel

The Redmi 8 comes with a 15.8cm (6.2-inch) high definition IPS LCD front panel. The display is good for the price; in fact much better than many of the phones in this range. The Redmi 8 sports a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection and has a splash-proof coating provided by P2i, a popular nanotech company that offers liquid repellant protection to electronic devices. The front panel corners are reinforced in such a way that accidental spills and drops won’t harm it much. This is impressive and quite handy since such phones are generally used by people who tend to subject it to rough use and falls are a routine.

The phone feels strong and at a bit heavy on your hands. The design (especially the notch, which is the norm in all new phones now) is really impressive; The phone in many ways is similar to Redmi’s recent addition, the 8A; and is in sync with the legacy of Redmi 7, which was equally sturdy and strong. The Redmi 8 has a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel, just below the shooters. The sensor responds very well, like in those mid-range phones and can be used to unlock a clutch of facilities as usual; the phone also supports AI face unlock, which is really fast in daylight environments and struggles -- not a surprise given the price tag -- in low-light conditions.

The Redmi 8 has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. This is again great for the price. Our first impressions suggest the phone is good for multitasking (we will update you on that later). You can easily play racing games, basic shooting games, character games, and games that are moderately heavy on graphic effects and that do not require lightning fast refresh rates. The phone runs on 12nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 (which is an upgrade of the tried and tested Snapdragon 435), which gives a better clock speeds of 2 GHz (that’s eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores if you are hungry for specifics) against the old 1.4 GHz. Which means, it is more power efficient and along with the 5000 mAh battery, the phone can easily last for up to two days if the usage is not so high.

The phone also supports 18W fast charging, and the box comes with a 10W charger. The USB Type-C port, which is an upgrade from the micro USB port on the Redmi 7, is neat and nice and can help enhance user experience and improve the longevity of the phone. If you have noticed the charging USB gill is an area that easily get damaged on most budget phones and Type C ports generally fare better on this front.

Camera, action

The Redmi 8 has an AI dual camera setup on the back, supported by a Sony IMX363 sensor, with dual PD (phase detection) autofocus. The camera responds fast enough and shoots decent images, thanks to the Sony sensor, which was famously used in Xiaomi’s Poco F1. The images are crisp and detailed, given the price. The camera works very well in both daylight and dimly-lit conditions. If you are a pro at handling cell cameras, this camera can do a really nice job.

The 8MP front camera with AI portrait mode is just cool. It focuses incredibly fast and understands and negotiates environment with impressive expertise. The AI faculty is also better in comparison with similar phones. The selfies don’t look very doctored and (yet) they won’t disappoint the narcissist you.

The audio of the Redmi 8 is good enough but we felt it could have been better. The Redmi 8 supports wireless FM Radio, dual SIM dual VoLTE and you can add a microSD card slot to expand storage up to 256GB.

Published on October 10, 2019
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