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Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Review: Hands-on

Redmi is Xiaomi’s budget phone brand, but while the phones always have impressively low prices, they also bring some decent features to the party, and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is perhaps the best example of that. The Redmi Note 8 Pro represents the most top-of-the-range of the Redmi Note 8 series, although the re’s not too much in common between the phones outside the user interface. And even though it’s more advanced than a few other Redmi phones, the Note 8 Pro is still definitely affordable. This is our Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Review: Hands-on.

Last updated on October 25, 2020 6:01 am

The Redmi Note 8 Pro has a collection of features you wouldn’t expect in a phone that’s so affordable – the re’s a 64MP main camera with three other snappers, a large Full HD+ screen, a large battery, and a decent chipset. So the phone has a lot of features you wouldn’t expect given the price tag, but does that mean the re’s a catch?

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Review: Design and Display

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro looks surprisingly similar to the Realme X2 Pro, so if you’ve seen that phone you’ve basically seen this too. It’s a big, pretty heavy phone, which is also pretty thick. On the back is a vertical camera bump in the middle at the top, which also contains a fingerprint sensor (which at first sight looks like one of the lenses).

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Review

The re is also another lens on the side. On the right side of the device is a volume rocker and an on/off button, and at the bottom is a USB-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. This backside is made of glass, which is quite rare at this price tag where most phones have a plastic backside.

The Redmi Note 8 Pro is quite coarse, thanks in part to the 6.53-inch screen, which is broken by a tear notch at the top. This is a 1080 x 2340 LCD screen, which is the display technique we would expect in a phone at this price, and while the colors may be a bit sub-par, the fairly high resolution makes up for it in part. While a large display is good for viewing content, social media and more, the phone is probably too big – we sometimes had trouble reaching the fingerprint scanner, so some users might find it prohibitively large.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Review: Camera setup

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro has a 64MP main camera, which is one of the big draws, but there is also an 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensor. The 64MP camera takes pretty good pictures when used in a well-lit environment, so if you like to take pictures of natural environments, or outdoors in any way, this can be a great tool for you. That said, the pixel size is quite small, so in low light (and night mode) the camera takes pictures that are quite noisy.

The ultra-wide snapper takes pictures that are… well, very wide, as the name suggests. The pictures look reasonable, but there seems to be a small distortion at the edges of the pictures, more than maybe in other handsets with distortion scanning software. As you can expect from 2MP sensors, the macro, and depth-sensitive cameras don’t seem super useful. Macro photos are quite low, although they’re fairly bright, and we haven’t noticed that the depth sensor affects image quality when shooting with or without the camera (the latter was achieved by sticking a finger in the way).

On the front is a 20MP selfie camera, which is a pretty high-resolution snapper for a budget phone, and we found that the pictures taken on it looked pretty good. If you are a productive selfie taker, this can be a decent phone for you if you have a budget.

Battery

The battery in the Redmi Note 8 Pro is 4,500mAh, which is a good size, but many budget phones have large batteries. We haven’t tested the Note 8 Pro enough to make a definitive judgment about the battery life, but our first impression is that it’s pretty good. We expect the phone to last at least a day with a full battery, maybe even the second day before you have to turn it on again. Speaking of which, the Redmi Note 8 Pro supports 18W fast charging, which is roughly average for a phone at this price, and while charging didn’t take too long, it wasn’t lightning fast either.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Review: Features and Software

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro runs Android 9 Pie out of the box, but it can be upgraded to Android 10, and Xiaomi’s MIUI 11 is put over the top. This is mainly an aesthetic change, but it’s worth noting that the phone comes with a fair number of bloatware apps that you could remove right away, such as Opera, a web browser app that is redundant when you have Chrome, and the Mi Community and Mi Store apps, which few people are likely to use.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Review

The chipset here is a MediaTek Helio G90T, which isn’t exactly the most premium piece of kit (MediaTek usually makes mid-range and budget phone interfaces), but for this low price, you could do a lot worse, especially since this is one of the company’s better chipsets. A surprising specification considering the low price is the fact that there is 6GB of RAM here, like many other phones with this price tag would only have 4GB.

When swiping between home screens and menus, the phone didn’t feel slow or sluggish, which is a big difference with the Redmi Note 8T. Gaming also felt pretty spicy, if we don’t increase the graphics too much, so if you’re a mobile gamer this might be one of the best phones for its price. It’s also worth noting that the Redmi Note 8 Pro was able to take several 64MP photos in a row without slowing down, freezing or crashing, which is a sign that there is some decent optimization in play here.

Price and Availability

The Redmi Note 8 Pro is available online, via Mi.com, Amazon or certain phone shops, depending on your region. You can pick it up for $399/£229 (about AU$600) if you want 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but if you want to reduce the storage to 64GB it will cost you $349/£209 (about AU$500). The cost in both cases is a lot higher in the US, so you’ll probably pay for the import costs as well. In the UK, however, it is quite an affordable price.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Review: Early Verdict

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro could be one of the best phones for its price, as it would easily continue as a mid-ranger in many ways. In fact, as we said earlier in this review, it has a lot in common with the Realme X2 Pro, and a lot more. Sure, the phone is a little bigger than we would like, which can deter some users. The re is also something more bloatware than we would like, although a quick removal spree that offenders should see.

Screen quality, key camera specifications, and battery life are all impressive for the price, so if we did our full review, we’d expect to see this rank pretty well in our list of the best cheap phones, and the best Xiaomi phones.

PROS
  • Low price
  • 64MP main camera
CONS
  • Fingerprint sensor rather high
  • Some bloatware
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