The Redmi lineup has been one of the most sought-after budget smartphones for years now, but with competition heating up in the segment, Xioami needs to step up its game to stay relevant. The Redmi Note 8 Pro is an attempt to do that and has a lot to offer for the price delivering new hardware and a set of much-needed features.
Packing the brand new Helio G90T chipset along with a huge 4,500 mAh battery with fast charging and a quad-camera setup on the back, the Redmi Note 8 Pro has all that it takes to be a competitive handset. At first glance, performance is comparable to flagships from last year while the camera setup aims to provide a versatile experience on the cheap.
Moreover, Note 8 Pro is one of the first devices to incorporate the brand new 64MP sensor from Samsung with native pixel-binning technology. We are expecting good low-light performance and competent Night mode to complement the overall camera performance.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro specs
- Body: 161.4 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm, 200g; plastic frame, Gorilla Glass 5 front and back.
- Display: 6.53″ IPS LCD, HDR support, 1080 x 2340px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 395ppi.
- Rear camera: Primary: 64MP, f/1.9 aperture, 1/1.7″ sensor size, 0.8µm pixel size, PDAF. Ultra wide: 8MP, f/2.2, 1/4″, 1.12µm pixels. Macro camera: 2MP, f/2.4, 1/5″, 1.75µm Depth sensor:2MP; [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] video recording.
- Front camera: 20MP, f/2.0 aperture, 0.9µm pixels. 1080p/30fps video recording.
- OS: Android 9 Pie; MIUI 10.
- Chipset: Mediatek Helio G90T (12nm): Octa-core (2×2.05 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55), Mali-G76 MC4 GPU.
- Memory: 6GB of RAM; 64/128GB storage; shared microSD slot.
- Battery: 4,500mAh; 18W MediaTek Pump Express and USB Power Delivery support.
- Connectivity: Dual-SIM; LTE-A, 4-Band carrier aggregation, LTE Cat-12/ Cat-13; USB-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; dual-band GPS; Bluetooth 5.0;
- Misc: Rear-mounted fingerprint reader; single down-firing speaker; NFC; FM radio.
Skimming through the specs sheet reveals only one drawback so far, and that’s the choice of cameras. In the quad-camera array on the back, a telephoto unit is missing. Instead, you get a dedicated macro lens, and it remains to be seen whether the macro camera makes any difference compared to taking a standard close-up shot with the main camera and then cropping. Those 64MP can be put to work.
In terms of design, the Redmi Note 8 Pro isn’t a big departure from its predecessor, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Redmi Note 7 Pro had Gorilla Glass 5 for its front and back, and the new Note 8 Pro has the same configuration. The side frame is made of plastic, which is more shock-absorbent than metal if you look on the bright side of things. Also, at roughly the same dimensions (the Redmi 8 Pro is negligibly wider and taller, of course), the new Note offers more screen – 6.53″ vs. 6.3″.
However, the same cannot be said about the weight. The Note 8 Pro is measurably heavier, and it’s easy to notice. At 200 grams, the handset is one of the heftiest around, and it’s top-heavy too. It interferes with the grip a little as the phone tends to lean to the front when holding it with one hand. Perhaps the camera stack adds to the weight more than the 4,500 mAh battery does.
Speaking of grip, as one would expect, the Redmi Note 8 Pro doesn’t receive any bonus points here. The glass back is slippery like any other glossy back, and while the frame successfully imitates metal, it doesn’t help with the grip either. The curved panel to the sides does help with ergonomics and usability with one hand though.
The camera bump on the back makes a strong impression, though. It sticks out more than we would like, and the phone wobbles when lying flat on its back. Interestingly enough, the macro lens isn’t on the bump, but it keeps the company to the LED flash on the right side of the array. Also, the highlighted camera is the 2MP depth sensor, and then comes the main 64MP shooter and then the ultra-wide. Finally, the fingerprint reader is sitting on the same bump.
It does make sense to put it there in a way as the bump helps you find the scanner by touch, but it also forces you to stretch your finger a bit higher to reach it, and you can sometimes smudge the ultra-wide camera with your attempts to unlock the phone.
We had no such trouble with the power button and the volume rocker, though. Both seem adequately placed on the right side, within thumb’s reach.
The bottom offers the usual speaker grille, USB-C connector, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The left side of the frame is reserved only to the SIM card tray while the top houses an IR blast – neat feature.
Which brings us finally to the front of the phone. It’s not something out of the ordinary as it houses a familiar screen design with a minimalist waterdrop-style notch and rather thin bezels around. At least considering the price range.
The lip appears to be smaller than before, the side bezels look the same, and the top one also seems a bit trimmed. Combined with the notch, however, is still big enough to house the front-facing camera, the ambient and proximity sensors. The earpiece is there too.
All in all, there are no major complaints about the design. It’s just as slippery as you’d expect from a glass sandwich handset, but it’s nicely built with premium feel in hand. The notch isn’t obtrusive, and the bezels are adequately thin. Only the fingerprint placement and the camera bump leave something more to be desired.