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Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Review

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The Redmi Note series has become one of the most popular mid-range smartphones in the world. Its previous model, the Redmi Note 7, has gotten tons of accolades and even became one of the best-selling devices worldwide — thanks to its great price-to-features ratio. That’s something the company will try to recreate with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro.

On paper, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro already made an impression with the tons of things that they were able to cram in for the price. Although, some eyebrows were raised when the company decided to go with a MediaTek chipset instead of a Qualcomm one.

What was the reason behind this move? Can it still deliver the best performance for the price? And in general, was it able to meet the high expectations that were set by its predecessor? We’ll find that out in our Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro review.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Specs

  • Android 9 Pie, MIUI 10
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 6.53-inch FHD+ IPS display, 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution, ~395ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • MediaTek Helio G90T octa-core processor
  • Liquid cooling
  • 6GB/8GB RAM
  • Mali G76 GPU
  • 64GB/128GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 256GB
  • 20-megapixel front camera
  • 64-megapixel (ISOCELL GW1 sensor, Quad-binning, f/1.8) + 8-megapixel (ultra-wide, f/2.2) + 2-megapixel (macro) + 2-megapixel (depth sensor) rear cameras, PDAF, dual-tone flash
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • HSPA+, 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • NFC, Infrared blaster, FM Radio
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 161.3 x 76.4 x 8.8mm
  • Weight: 199g
  • Colors: Black, Red, Blue, White
  • 4,500mAh non-removable battery, 18W fast charging

Design and Build Quality

Xiaomi used the same Corning Gorilla Glass 5 in front and back to this newer model. The frame is still made of plastic. They may use the materials, but the design of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is a clear departure from its predecessor.

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The Redmi Note 8 Pro now has a four-camera array, which is already a big aesthetic change. What’s more interesting is, the cameras are now in the middle. The three cameras are cradled in a vertical glass, with the fingerprint scanner joining them at the bottom.

You can get the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro in four different colors. The one we’re reviewing is the most eye-catching color option: the Forest Green model. It’s also available in Pearl White, Dark Blue, and Mineral Grey.

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Besides its striking look, the camera bump on the Redmi Note 8 Pro is pretty thick. We also have the fourth camera on the left, with the LED flash on top of it.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro has a sizable build when compared to the Redmi Note 7 Pro. In fact, it feels larger than other devices that we’ve tested. This thing weighs at 199g and 8.8mm thick. But thanks to its ultra-thin bezels, curved edges, and premium glass build, it still feels very nice and comfortable in the hands.

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We forgive the bigger size since we now have a bigger 6.53-inch display. A jump from the 6.3-inch screen that the predecessor has. The 4,000mAh battery was also upgraded to a 4,500mAh capacity.

Both the volume controls and the lock/power switch are on the right side. The buttons are made of plastic, but tactile enough to do the job. We just wish that they are placed a little lower, so people with smaller hands can easily reach it.

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Meanwhile, we’re only seeing the SIM tray on the left side. Disappointingly, the second slot is hybrid. So you can either have two nano SIM cards working, or sacrifice the other one for a microSD card (up to 256GB).

On the top, we have the noise-isolating microphone. An IR blaster is also here, which is common on most Xiaomi smartphones. This allows you to control your appliances like TVs, airconditioners, and others, even if they’re not smart gadgets.

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The headphone jack, USB Type-C port, primary microphone, and loudspeakers are in their usual locations at the bottom.

Besides its large screen, a ‘Dot Drop’ notch is on top of it for the 20-megapixel selfie camera. We also have the earpiece here, and an inconspicuous LED notification indicator, which you’d never know is there until it lights up.

Display

With a bottom bezel this thin, you’d think that the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro was able to have an OLED screen. But in fact, the device actually uses an IPS panel. It spans at 6.53-inches, with a FHD+ resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, with ~395ppi, HDR support, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection, and even a TÜV Rheinland eye protection.

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These are rare display features that you can find for the price, and it shows. This handset can get really bright if you’re using it in sunny outdoors. Or, too dark so you can comfortably scrub through social media apps before going to sleep.

The color quality still lags behind its OLED counterparts. However, it’s vibrant and colorful enough to make watching movies pleasing in the eyes.

Performance and Hardware

Let’s talk about one of the most controversial features of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro. In a surprising move, Xiaomi favored a MediaTek processor on its popular device. This phone runs on a MediaTek Helio G90T processor and is one of firsts to sport this new, centered for gaming chipset from MediaTek.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Benchmark scores

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Based on our testing, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro did deliver great performance. It even got higher scores in most benchmark apps compared to the competing Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor.

The unit that we’re testing is the 6GB/128GB model (6GB/64GB also available). It provided fast and snappy performance in light apps and other day-to-day workloads. The interface is fluid, taking pictures is fast, social media apps run with no hitch — everything is just smooth.

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Its gaming performance is also great. Partnered with its liquid cooling technology and Mali G76 GPU, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro handled popular titles like Call of Duty Mobile, NBA 2K20, and Mobile Legends at the highest graphics settings with really smooth frame rates. Most games even feel like they’re reaching the 60fps standard.

So, if you’re worried about the company’s move to use a MediaTek processor, you can rest your mind. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is a beast performer for the price. In fact, it dominated AnTuTu’s best performing list of midrange smartphones list.

Software and User Interface

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro initially shipped with Android 9 Pie and Xiaomi’s MIUI 10. Now, it’s running on MIUI 11 (still Android Pie), and we’ll check it out.

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Just like the previous iterations, the UI on the Redmi Note 8 Pro looks sleek, clean, and straightforward.

The lock screen is neat, with a full view of your incoming notifications. The app drawer is disabled out of the box, so all your apps are laid out on the home screen. Swiping up reveals a full-page Google Search that can do local and internet search.

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Smart Assistant is on the farthest side of the home screen. It has your shortcuts, recommendations, weather, and a simpler Google Search tab.

The control center is on the top, right above the notifications tab. You can configure everything about the device’s UI in the well-organized settings menu.

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The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro uses Google Keyboard, which is easy to type on and has a built-in internet search. The camera app is also intuitive and fast.

Xiaomi managed to keep bloatwares at the minimum on the Redmi Note 8 Pro. You can even uninstall most of them, so expect to get more storage space on this one.

Security

Xiaomi cleverly placed the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro below the cameras, disguising it as the fourth camera.

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Other than its clean and unique placement, the fingerprint sensor works accurately, fast, and reliably. No complaints here.

The face unlock also worked really fast, even in low-light. However, it only scans your face in 2D (instead of 3D) using the selfie camera, so it might be easily tricked. If you have sensitive information on your phone, you might want to stick with the fingerprint scanner.

Camera

One of the highlights of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is its cameras. It’s one of the firsts to use the new 64-megapixel ISOCELL GW1 sensor from Samsung. There’s also the 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 2-megapixel macro, and 2-megapixel depth sensors.

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Just like most camera phones, the 64-megapixel main camera takes great day-time images. The colors are punchy but not oversaturated, contrast is fine, and the dynamic range — although not the best — is acceptable.

However, just like its competitors, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is guilty of oversharpening the image. You can notice it when you zoom in on the image. Its low-light capabilities are also not the best. It produces more noise and the details do suffer, but the colors and contrast make the image bloom.

On the downside, the quality from its 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera is really disappointing. Even at good lighting, the details look soft and muddy, colors are also not the best.

Still, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro gives you an opportunity to cram in more subjects on a single frame. Great for taking group shots, tall buildings, or in our case, an entire Christmas tree.

There’s also the 2-megapixel macro camera. You can get pretty close to the subject with this one. But on some occasions, you might be better off cropping a 64-megapixel image to zoom in on a subject. With this, you can get closer and have a better-looking image.

Completing the quad-camera setup of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is the obligatory 2-megapixel depth sensor. Considering how intelligent camera softwares are getting, I’m not sure if having a dedicated depth scanner is still necessary. But nonetheless, the portrait shots it takes are clean and has great edge detection.

If you love taking selfies, you’d really appreciate the 20-megapixel front-facing camera of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro. The selfies it takes look clean with nice colors and contrast, the details are pretty on point too.

Just like most midrange devices, it has tons of face beautification features and built-in filters that you can play with. Portrait, and even the Pro mode, also works here.

Connectivity

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro comes with all the usual connectivity features. There’s the 4G LTE connectivity, dual-ban WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and Bluetooth 5.0. All of which worked reliably during our testing with no problems.

GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, and BDS support are also present. As an added bonus, Xiaomi included NFC, and an IR blaster so you can control your non-Smart appliances at home. It’s also nice to see Xiaomi implementing a dated USB Type-C port on the Redmi Note 8 Pro.

See also: Realme 5 Pro vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: Specs Comparison

Battery

Xiaomi put a relatively generous 4,500mAh battery on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro. It’s bundled with an 18W fast charger, which can fill it up to 100% in under two hours.

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Partnered with its efficient processor, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro was able to pull interesting battery test results. This thing can easily last you for an entire day with light to moderate usage. You can also game for hours without being too conservative, or worried that you’d need to reach for the charger anytime soon.

Verdict

We’ll get to it right away, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is easily one of the best — if not the best — smartphone that you can get for the price.

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For under Php13,000, you’re already getting a smartphone with a fast and reliable processor that’s great for gaming and everything else. You can enjoy all of its power with its large and vibrant display.

The primary camera is also a beast, although we just wish that the ultra-wide camera can capture better images. But the best part is, you can enjoy all of its features for hours in a day thanks to its reliable battery life.

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As a bonus, you’re getting all these features inside a unique and sturdy body. Cost-wise, that price tag is just really unbeatable. So if you really want to get your money’s worth, you can never go wrong with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro pricing and availability in the Philippines

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro has an official price of Php11,490 for the 6GB/64GB model, while the one that we just reviewed, the 6GB/128GB variant, is available for Php12,990.

It’s available in a growing number of Mi Authorized stores and Mi Zone kiosks nationwide. You can also get it at Xiaomi’s official store in Lazada Philippines.

If you’re interested in other Xiaomi products, check out their complete pricelist here.

Pros

  • Unique, sturdy design
  • Large display
  • Fast and reliable processor
  • Great battery life
  • Capable primary and selfie cameras

Cons

  • Macro and ultra-wide cameras could be better
  • A bit bulky

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