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Redmi Note 8 Review: The Budget King For 2019?


Great value, as always

Whenever Xiaomi’s Redmi sub-brand releases new phones in the Philippines, whatever price point they’re in gets up-ended. It’s not hard to see why – the company’s focus on delivering hi-spec phones for very little money attracts everyone from the cash strapped to high-rollers looking for the best value phones, and no one does value for money better than Xiaomi.

And make no mistake, the Redmi Note 8 is absolutely one of the best budget phones you can buy today, and while the addition of the fourth camera on the rear is just feature-padding, the rest of the phone is so solid we can forgive Xiaomi for the marketing gimmick.

One of the best-looking budget phones out today

If there’s one thing you’ll notice immediately about the Redmi Note 8, it’ll be its shiny, gradient finish. Budget phones are starting to look as pretty as most mid-range devices nowadays, and the Redmi Note 8 is no exception to this.

Unlike the Redmi Note 8 Pro that has a curved back and a camera module that’s set at the center, the Redmi Note 8 has a flatter rear with its quad-cameras placed on the upper left side. The fingerprint scanner is located in the middle of the rear panel.

Xiaomi reps tell us that the body of the phone is encased in glass, which is a stark change from the typical plastic-clad phones that usually reside in the price range that the Redmi Note 8 sits in.

There’s room for both expandable storage and dual SIMs in the Redmi Note 8, which is a relief considering that the base version of the phone only comes with 32GB of internal storage out of the box.

The phone uses a Type-C connector, has a 3.5mm jack and an IR blaster at the top, which is standard for most Xiaomi phones nowadays.

Display is OK but could be better

The Redmi Note 8 has a 6.3-inch HD LCD panel with a water-drop notch in front. Bezels are acceptable considering the price, with the phone’s unique color gradient showing through the bottom bezel when you’re holding the phone.

Compromises had to be done to keep the price low, and one of the parts of the phone that Xiaomi had to cheap out on was the display. The LCD panel has OK colors but isn’t as sharp as we were expecting. Colors were a little muted, which was unfortunate.

Budget phone, mid-range processor

Just like with any Xiaomi phone, the Redmi Note 8 comes packing hardware that punches above its weight class.

In this case, the budget Redmi Note 8 is equipped with a mid-range, Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for the entry-level variant, with configurations going up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB of storage.

AnTuTu scores for the Redmi Note 8 are pretty good, and as expected the phone performs pretty much like a mid-range phone and is capable of running most Android games nowadays on high without any issues.

The only game we had problems with was Asphalt 9, recording sub-par frames and stuttering which we’ve encountered before in other Snapdragon 665-equipped phones.

As it were, the Redmi Note 8 performed beautifully, as we noticed no major issues with day-to-day use.

Quad-cameras are good enough for the price

Quad-camera smartphones are starting to be in vogue nowadays, and the Redmi Note 8 is one of the most affordable devices that comes with 4 cameras on its back.

Aside from the main 48-megapixel, Samsung ISOCELL GM2 main camera with an f/1.8 aperture, the Redmi Note 8’s three other cameras are identical to the more expensive Redmi Note 8 Pro’s: 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel depth-sensor and a 2-megapixel macro camera.

Images taken with the 48-megapixel main camera look great – there’s plenty of detail in the photos, dynamic range is good and low-light performance is what we’ve come to expect from the sensor.

The wide-angle camera is also pretty good, though we did notice some loss of dynamic range when shooting.

The Redmi Note 8 also has night mode for its main camera. Photos shot this way look a little cooler and post-processed than photos shot with night mode disabled, though shooting this way reveals plenty of details that the regular shooting mode may miss.

Astounding battery life

Like most phones today the Redmi Note 8 comes packing a large, 4000mAh battery with 18W quick-charging capabilities.

Unlike most phones nowadays, the power-efficient Snapdragon 665 processor allows the phone to run for a ridiculous amount of time before giving up the ghost.

Our PCMark battery benchmark recorded a run time of 15 hours and 29 minutes on a single charge – an astounding feat, which translates to around 2 days of battery life with moderate use.

Verdict: Buy this if you’re looking for a budget phone

As is the case for most Redmi releases, the Redmi Note 8 is really packed to the gills with value which makes it hard to ignore.

While the macro camera is more of a gimmick than a useful feature, the two other shooters on the rear of the phone produce excellent photos that rival many mid-range devices.

The phone’s capable Snapdragon 665 processor also delivers excellent performance, which makes the phone a great choice for budget mobile gamers.

Extended endurance via the 4000mAh battery means you’ll be charging less often, and if you’re not a heavy user you’ll probably get 2 days of use out of the phone.

While the display is lackluster, the rest of the package is good enough that you won’t mind that issue too much. The price of the phone makes it hard to ignore too: the phone is priced at Php Php 7,990 for the 3GB/32GB variant, Php 8,990 for the 4GB/64GB variant, and Php 9,990 for the 4GB/128GB variant.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 610 GPU
  • 3GB/4GB RAM
  • 6.3-inch Full HD+ LCD display, Gorilla Glass 5 Protection
  • 32GB/64GB/128GB expandable internal storage
  • Quad rear cameras: 48-megapixel f/1.8 Samsung ISOCEL GM2 main camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel depth-sensor, 2-megapixel macro camera; with LED, PDAF
  • 13-megapixel front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, NFC
  • Fingerprint scanner, face unlock, USB-C
  • 4000mAh battery with 18w quick charging
  • Android Pie with MIUI

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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4 Comments

  1. So disappointing not to see the fps scores for the games, even if it is the same with realme 5. With this high antutu score it deserves to have the fps scores shown too!

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