This year, we’ve seen budget phones filled to the brim with robust hardware. Even on the design front, the lines distinguishing budget and flagship devices are fast blurring. In order to stay ahead of competition and maintain its top spot, Xiaomi really needed to step up its game. Just a few days back, the company launched the Redmi Note 8 Pro with a 64-megapixel camera under the Rs 15,000 price segment. The Redmi 8A also recently made its debut with a few good features, which you will not find in any phone that costs Rs 6,499.

The new Redmi 8 is a decent upgrade over its predecessor. With this, you now also get a P2i coating, USB Type C, 18W fast charging, Aura Mirror design, and a bigger battery. With the Redmi 8, Xiaomi is trying to offer features that its predecessor lacked. So now with the same set of cameras, older chipset, and newly added features, is Redmi 8 a good buy? Read on to find out.

Design, display

These days you can buy a phone that looks way more premium than the actual price label suggests. In the past, most Redmi devices shared the same design language. But, now Xiaomi seems to be offering every new phone with a somewhat different design. We liked the wavy and textured design of the Redmi 8A, and the same is the case with the Redmi 8.

Xiaomi Redmi 8

Xiaomi has completely shifted from the metallic look of the Redmi 6 to glossy plastic back with a gradient paint job. The Redmi 8 comes in an all-plastic body, but it will feel like glass at first. It’s shiny and glossy too. But the fingerprints and smudges stick very easily. We noticed this within moments of unboxing the handset. Users can  however use the bundled TPU case. Also, the Sapphire Blue variant looks like a “Sapphire” (meaning Blue gemstone) when you look at it from an angle. It is kind of dusky, but looks premium. The curved body also helps offer a better grip.

The back is home to the dual-camera setup tucked away in the center. Unlike the Redmi 8A, there is a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, which is easily accessible. You also get USB-Type C at this price point, unlike the Redmi 7. Notably, Xiaomi is also shipping its entry-level 8A phone with the same, which other brands in the market should also take note of.

Both the Redmi 8 and its predecessor come with a big enough 6.2-inch display. This is the best screen size when compared with a 6.5-inch screen as this size does make one-handed use pretty cumbersome. The panel supports HD+ resolution, which is par for the course, considering the price it demands. The Redmi 7 offers a “Dot” notch display, whereas the latest one comes with a V-shaped like notch. You get a vibrant enough display, and it gets sufficiently bright outdoors. The handset has a good build quality with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and splash-proof coating across its whole body.

Performance, software

In this department, Xiaomi has taken a step back. Similar to the 8A, the Redmi 8 is built around a Snapdragon 439 chipset. This is a less powerful SoC than the Snapdragon 632 SoC that is currently powering the Redmi 7. For smoother operation, the company is at least offering 3GB RAM as the base version. You also get 32GB storage with the same model, which is expandable up to 512GB using a microSD card.

Xiaomi Redmi 8

When it comes to Redmi 8’s performance, it’s better if you keep your expectations in check. We got the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant. The handset can handle basic tasks well. But heavy apps took a little longer to launch. Gaming performance of the phone is fine, as long as you stick to basic or casual games. As for heavy titles like PUBG Mobile, you will not get a very smooth and enjoyable experience. Users can go for the newly launched Redmi Note 8 if they desire a better overall performing device.

Xiaomi recently also revealed that the Redmi 8 will get MIUI 11 starting November 13. The device currently ships with Android Pie with MIUI 10 on top. MIUI comes with both essential and unnecessary utilities. Just like other Xiaomi phones, you get the same set of bloatware apps with the Redmi 8 too. These include Opera Mini, DailyHunt, Amazon, and a lot more. The company has also added a few games, as well as its unnecessary apps, including Mi Community, Mi Browser, Mi Credit, Mi Store and more.

Watch: Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro First Look

You also get ads with MIUI, which users can try and avoid by not opening any stock apps like Mi Music, Mi Browser and Mi Video. We have even done a separate story on how you can block those pesky ads on Xiaomi smartphones. Apart from all these, you also get a few useful features like Dual Apps, Google’s Digital Wellbeing feature, Battery optimization and Second space.

Camera

Xiaomi has added two cameras at the back of the Redmi 8, similar to the Redmi 7. With the new one, you get a 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 primary sensor, which is the same sensor as on the Poco F1. But don’t expect that you will get the same level of output as both hardware and software also plays a big role when it comes to image processing. The primary camera is assisted by a 2-megapixel depth sensor for portrait shots. On the front, there is an 8-megapixel AI selfie camera.

You will definitely get good shots in daylight, which you can share via your social media accounts. It managed to get the metering right most of the time. You get crisp photos with appealing colors and sufficient details. The AI mode does detect scenes accurately and help offer an overall better photo quality with punchy colors. We also noticed that a few photos were too saturated.

Xiaomi Redmi 8
Users can get a quality image when outdoors (in daylight), but the same is not the case with the indoor images, lacking details. You can get usable portrait shots as the edge detection is not that bad, unlike the Redmi 8A. When the sun goes down, the photo quality deteriorates, which is expected. But this doesn’t mean you will get completely unusable shots. Selfies taken with this phone were fine when captured outdoors.

Battery

Xiaomi launched the Redmi 8A with a 5,000mAh battery under Rs 7,000. Now, the Redmi 8 also comes with the same battery. This further suggests that we will see most of the Redmi phones with the same cell in a bid to deliver a solid battery life. In real-world usage, the new Redmi phone doesn’t disappoint with its battery performance as it lasted up to two days on a single charge, even with moderate usage. Notably, the Redmi 8 offers support for 18W fast charging over Type-C. Charging speeds using the 18W charger were reasonably fast for the battery size. But you get a 10W charger with the phone.

Xiaomi Redmi 8

Xiaomi Redmi 8: Should you buy it?

As the budget smartphone segment is getting more competitive day by day, Xiaomi is now trying to offer some extra features that other phones lack. First of all, with the Redmi 8, you get USB Type C, and 18W fast charging support. You also get a new premium-looking design, which makes you think about whether it is a budget or an expensive phone. This device also comes with P2i coating, meaning it is splash-proof.

Considering the price it demands, we also liked the shots that Redmi 8 can capture in the daylight. You also get a much bigger 5,000mAh battery. Similar to the Redmi 8A, you get a big enough screen for binge-watching. The performance of the device is fine. So, overall, you can buy the Redmi 8 if you desire all these features by paying Rs 7,999. It should be noted that you get most of these features with the more affordable Redmi 8A too. For better overall performance, you can go for the Redmi Note 8 or Redmi Note 7S. But for these phones, you will have to pay more.

FeaturesXiaomi Redmi 7Redmi 8AXiaomi Redmi 8
Price749964997999
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 632 SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 439 SoCSnapdragon 439 SoC
OSAndroid 9 PieAndroid 9 Pie with MIUI9 Pie with MIUI
Display6.26-inch display -720x1520pixels6.22-inch HD+6.22-inch HD+
Internal Memory2GB RAM + 32GB storage2GB RAM with 32GB storage3GB RAM with 32GB storage
Rear CameraDual – 12MP + 2MP12MP12MP + 2MP
Front Camera8MP8-megapixel8MP
Battery4,000mAh5,000mAh5,000mAh