Kshitij PujariOct 09, 2019 16:08:52 IST
Over the past couple of years, Xiaomi has maintained market dominance in India's smartphone industry obliterating most of the competition with its mantra of providing class-leading hardware at a compelling price. With the launch of the Redmi 8 today at a starting price of Rs 7,999, Xiaomi's best-selling smartphone series is trying to reiterate this philosophy albeit in a significantly more competitive market than a few years back. I had a chance to play around with the device for a few hours and here are my first impressions.
Redmi 8: Build, Design and Display
The Redmi 8 is solidly built with a polished polycarbonate back and a sort of curved gradient finish which will remind you a lot of the Redmi K20 Pro (Review). The phone is easy to hold in one hand although the slippery edges make it hard to get a grip on it. I have been generally impressed with the design language that Redmi has been implementing on its budget phones over the past year. The Redmi 8 looks a lot more premium than what it is priced at. There is a dual-camera layout on the back which sits just above the fingerprint sensor.
The Redmi 8 also comes with a Type-C port which is a first for the Redmi series and there is also the familiar inclusion of the IR blaster, something which has been a staple for Redmi phones over the years. Xiaomi is also touting the Redmi 8 with P2i splash resistance this time around and I'll take their word for it, but don't go around dunking the phone in water.
Redmi 8 features a 6.2-inch HD+ display with a fairly obtrusive waterdrop notch and a large chin. Something that was slightly off was the peak brightness on the display which appeared to be quite low as I found it hard to read anything in harsh lighting.
Redmi 8: Chipset, RAM and Software
The Redmi 8 comes pre-loaded with MIUI 10 which is based on Android 9.0 Pie. I've always prefered a clean stock Android UI on smartphones but Xiaomi insists on pushing its bloaty MIUI skin under our noses. However, as far as skins go, MIUI is not all that bad and has improved significantly over the years. We should quite likely see an update to Android 10 later this year, but don't expect a long duration of security updates.
The phone makes use of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor along with 3 or 4 GB of RAM and 32 or 64 GB of internal storage. In my short time of using the device, the Redmi 8 performed quite well and had even defaulted to medium settings while playing PUBG Mobile, something I've not seen happen on entry-level smartphones. Of course, a full performance testing needs to take place before giving out a final verdict but so far I'm satisfied with the performance of the device.
Redmi 8: Camera and Battery
The Redmi 8 implements a dual-camera setup on the back with a 12 MP primary sensor and a 2 MP secondary sensor. In the short time I was using the phone it was able to churn out crisp photos as can be expected from a phone priced at Rs 7,999. It can record 1080p videos at up to 30 fps and can also shoot short 10-second videos with a single tap. On the front, we see an 8 MP selfie shooter which employs the face smoothening features that Xiaomi and almost all Chinese smartphone makers are infamous for. Our full review of the cameras will tell how good they really are.
The Redmi 8 touts a 5,000 mAh battery that supports 18 W fast charging which is really commendable in this price range. The low-resolution display and relatively low-powered chipset should not drain too much battery and to be sure of that, we will be conducting a thorough battery test in.... you guessed it, the full review.
Redmi 8 is in a class of its own in terms of design, camera and features, making it seem like a real value-for-money proposition. Software experience could be cumbersome for some. This price range is quite a fierce one to operate in as not only does Redmi 8 have to compete with other brands in this price range, but also older and more powerful Redmi products who have got a price drop now. Bookmark this site to read the full review of the Redmi 8 soon.