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Xiaomi Redmi 8 First Impressions: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
Xiaomi has expanded the company's budget product lineup in India with the launch of Redmi 8 smartphone. The base variant of the Redmi 8 (3GB RAM + 32GB ROM) is priced at Rs. 7,999. The 4GB + 64GB variant of the Redmi 8 will sell at Rs. 8,999; however, the first 5 million units of top-end variant (4GB + 64GB) will also be made available at Rs. 7,999 as a special offer. The Redmi 8 will be available starting 00:01 AM (midnight) on 12th October via Mi.com, Mi Homes and Flipkart. You can also purchase the handset across offline stores in India.
The successor to the Redmi 7 brings a refreshing new design, bigger battery cell, with 18W fast-charger support, but sadly runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 chipset. To recall, the Redmi 7 was launched in India in April 2019 with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset.
Even the recently launched Redmi 8A, which is the company's most affordable smartphone is also backed by the same SD439 chipset and comes at a starting price of Rs. 6,499. This raises a big question- Is Xiaomi Redmi 8 really an upgrade over the Redmi 7? Let's try to find this out with the first impressions of the smartphone.
Redmi 8 Design- New Design Looks Refreshing And Premium
Xiaomi is revamping the design of the company's entire product lineup. The recently launched Redmi 8A came in a new form-factor and looked quite interesting. The same goes for the new Redmi 8 handset. While the smartphone looks identical to the Redmi 7 from front, the back panel has been given a makeover. Build on the company's Aura design philosophy, the Redmi 8 flaunts a polycarbonate back panel with a glossy finish.
The vertically stacked dual-lens camera setup now sits in the centre along with the fingerprint scanner on a black strip. It reminds us of the Redmi K20 series smartphones. This minor shift in the placement of the camera module adds symmetry to the overall design. Combined with the new colour schemes, the Redmi 8 looks much premium than its predecessor. The smartphone comes in three colour variants- Sapphire Blue, Onyx Black and Ruby Red. We have got the Ruby red color variant and it looks gorgeous.
As far as the in-hand feel is concerned, the Redmi 8 is quite comfortable to hold. The button placement is quite functional and the design is also P2i splash-proof for better durability. Overall, this is by far the best-looking Redmi smartphone till date.
Redmi 8 Display- 6.22-inch FHD+ Display With Gorilla Glass 5 Protection
If you recall, Redmi 7 offered a 6.26-inch HD+ dot notch. The new Redmi 8 flaunts a smaller- 6.22-inch HD+ IPS LCD screen that makes the handset slightly more ergonomic to hold in one hand. The notch still remains at top and houses the similar 8MP selfie camera. The screen is vivid and very touch responsive but is not a true upgrade over the Redmi 7's display. The display on the Redmi 8 is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 coating.
Redmi 8 Cameras- 12MP+2MP Rear Camera, 8MP Selfie Camera
Xiaomi Redmi 8 sports the similar 12MP + 2MP dual-lens rear camera setup. The 12MP primary camera works on a Sony IMX363 sensor. The camera setup works on 'Dual Pixel autofocus' for faster focusing speeds. The camera setup also supports AI scene detection for up to 33 categories. As far as selfie camera is concerned, the Redmi 8 features an 8MP front-facing camera with AI Portrait mode to capture software-driven bokeh shots.
Like the Redmi 7, the Redmi 8 captures crisp shots in daylight. The camera's AI quickly detects the scene and applies the corrections to improve the output. The 2MP depth-sensor is doing a decent job to create bokeh. The 8MP selfie camera seems good for a budget handset. We will spend some more time with the Redmi 8 to evaluate its camera performance in detail.
Redmi 8 Hardware And Software- Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU + 3/4GB RAM
Coming onto the hardware, the Redmi 8 is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 chipset, which we have recently tested on the budget Redmi 8A smartphone. The CPU is paired with 3GB + 32GB and 4GB + 64GB configurations on the Redmi 8. You can expand the internal memory to up to 512GB via a dedicated microSD card slot.
While we haven't completely tested the Redmi 8's performance yet, the choice of CPU is very questionable. To recall, the Redmi 7 was launched with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 CPU, which still offers faster processing and downloads speed and better overall GPU performance.
However, the company has upgraded the RAM here. The base variant of the Redmi 8 gets 3GB RAM and the top-end variant gets 4GB. Will extra RAM compensate for the lack of a faster CPU? We will find it out in our comprehensive review of the smartphone. As far as the software is concerned, the Redmi 8 runs on the MIUI 10 based on the Android 9. The MIUI 10 offers several useful features and is quite user-friendly.
Redmi 8 Battery Life And Connectivity
The Redmi 8 brings a bigger battery cell. It is powered by a 5,000mAh battery unit that supports 18W fast-charging. The company ships a 10W fast-charger in the box though and you have to purchase the 18W fast charger separately. With a smaller HD+ display and a 4th gen. Qualcomm CPU, the big 5,000mAh battery cell will easily last for at least two days on a single charge.
For connectivity, Xiaomi Redmi 8 offers a Type-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, AI face unlock, wireless FM radio, dual-SIM, dual VoLTE, GPS, GLONASS, Bluetooth 4.2, and Wi-Fi.
Should You Buy The Redmi 8?
Xiaomi Redmi 8 is not a full-fledged upgrade to the Redmi 7. The smartphone brings a better design, bigger battery cell and up to 18W fast-charging support. The display, camera and connectivity remain almost unchanged. It is the underlying CPU that takes the biggest hit. Will the extra gigabyte of RAM make any difference in performance? We will put the Redmi 8 to its limits to find out the answers in our detailed review of the smartphone.