Technophile

Redmi Note 8 Pro review: New things come to the next in this popular series

Mala Bhargava | Updated on October 22, 2019 Published on October 22, 2019

The phone has four cameras including one that’s 64MP, a gaming centric MediaTek processor and Alexa on board

The Redmi series has been one of Xiaomi’s mainstays in India. The hardware and features offered at game-changing prices have really been difficult to argue with, making each generation of the series widely popular.

The Redmi Note 8 Pro and Note 8 launched a few days ago and went on flash sale for the first time on 21st October with over 1.5million interested and registered customers on Amazon alone. This time, it isn’t just a refresh but a bunch of new features altogether, set in a design that looks nowhere near mid-range.

We were lucky to get the Gamma Green variant of the Redmi Note 8 Pro for a look. The other colours are Halo White, which has an iridescent scheen, and the ever-popular black, called Shadow Black here because phone companies have become so fond of inventing colours. The green is a wonderful shade and mixes with black, depending on which way you turn the phone.

The back is made of glass with Gorilla Glass 5 protection and has a totally minimalistic look with the Redmi logo and tiny text telling you this is a 64MP camera. The cameras are arranged vertically but the last bump in the row isn’t a lens but the fingerprint sensor. It isn’t an in-display one and I find I don’t mind that at all as the finger rests on it quite easily and it’s very fast. But the bump is rather prominent making the phone unstable on a flat surface, so a case is recommended which anyway needs to protect the glass.

Display

 

On the front, we haven’t given up on the notch. It has a curvy one which is noticeable at least in the beginning, but one gets used to these things. The LCD screen is a 6.53 FullHD or 1080x2340 with HDR support, good brightness and vivid colours. This isn’t a light phone as it has a whopping 4,500mAh battery (with 18 watt charger) which I suppose is necessary since it’s meant to be powerful enough for gamers to use.

Processor

One of the reasons of the Redmi series’ popularity has been that it doesn’t compromise on the processor which has always seemed right for the price. The Redmi phones have come with Snapdragon processors but this time Xiaomi has used the MediaTek Helio G90T. It’s meant to be a gaming centric processor and several measures have been put in to ensure it stays cool inside that phone.

The processor is paired with one of three sets of specs depending on the variant you pick up. There’s 6GB RAM and 64GB storage for Rs. 14,999, 6GB RAM and 128GB storage and for Rs. 15,999 and 8GB RAM with 128GB of storage for Rs. 17,999. It uses UFS 2.1 storage.

MiUI

The phone runs on Android 9 with Xiaomi’s MiUI 10.4.2. The interface has tons of customisations, ones that Xiaomi consults it’s community of fans for all the time. To some, it will seem made for them, to others, it will mean missing a clean Android feel. The one big annoyance is pre-loaded apps (some of which fortunately can be off-loaded if you look carefully for the option) and notifications to get this, that or the other app. But the phone has a lot that users demand, including a memory card slot, put in specially on community request.

Camera

For just a little more money, Xiaomi is now putting in more camera power on its Redmi flagship. The four cameras on this device include a 64MP primary sensor with an f/1.7 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and a 120-degree field of view. There are also 2MP depth and macro lenses. That’s a full complement. The front camera is a 20MP. The latter two lenses are only 2MP though, so don’t expect wonders, but it still is fun to close in and in good light get some decent images. The ultra-wide lens is just okay but the main sensor gives some pretty good results with good detail and colours. You can switch between a default 16MP and the full 64MP from the camera app. There’s a pretty good night mode and without that on, the camera can struggle to focus rather a lot.

Double wake

One of the Note 8 Pro’s unique features is the fact that it can wake up when you say OK Google, and Alexa. One at a time, of course. The Google wake word is common to all Android phones but an Alexa wake command is not common and certainly not alongside Google.

Trying this feature out, OK Google worked as promptly as it always does. Calling on Alexa also woke the device up, but when locked with a password or any other method, the assistant would do nothing further. It actually needs one additional step to allow it to respond on locked screens — you have to dive into the settings where you’ll find an Alexa tab. Tap and select the option to allow it to respond. After that, it’s on par with the Google Assistant.

The Alexa app is on the phone, accessible prominently right on the bottom fixed row next to the Phone and Messages apps. Another prompt on the drop down drawer on the top invites you to tap the Alexa button when you need it. The integration goes a bit deeper in letting you receive Alexa notifications on the phone. If you’re already setup with an Alexa integrated speaker at home, the Alexa on this phone will let you control everything once you’ve entered your account as a one-time requirement.

Of course the one problem in using the phone Alexa in a place here you have other Alexa speakers is that there will be some confusion as both wake up. I have eight of them and nearly caused a riot. I expected the one closest to me to respond when I asked a question, but it turned out whichever one felt like, did so.

Published on October 22, 2019
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