Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 8 series is shaping up to be another one for the books, thanks to the company’s typical, but effective formula of packaging good specs and competitive pricing into one device. Today, we’re taking a look the more affordable contender in the series, the Redmi Note 8, and if it can deliver the same experience that its predecessor did, or even better.

Redmi Note 8 Redmi Note 8 Pro
Display 6.3″ FHD+ IPS 6.53″ FHD+ IPS
Gorilla Glass 5 Gorilla Glass 5
Processor Snapdragon 665 Helio G90T
RAM 3GB/4GB 6GB
Storage 32GB/64GB/128GB 64GB/128GB
Rear Camera 48MP Main 64MP Main (Samsung GW1)
8MP Ultra-Wide Angle 8MP Ultra-Wide Angle
2MP Macro 2MP Macro
2MP Depth 2MP Depth
Front Camera 13MP 20MP
OS Android 9 + MIUI 10 Android 9 + MIUI 10
Battery 4,000mAh + 18W Fast Charging 4,500mAh + 18W Fast Charging
Interface USB-C USB-C
Color Neptune Blue Forest Green
Moonlight White Mineral Gray
Space Black Pearl White
SRP 3GB + 32GB (PhP7,990) 6GB + 64GB (PhP11,490)
4GB + 64GB (PhP8,990) 6GB + 128GB (PhP12,990)
4GB + 128GB (PhP9,990)

Design and Build Quality

Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasWhile primarily made of plastic, the Redmi Note 8 doesn’t feel like a flimsy phone at all. Its relatively compact footprint also means it’s easy to use with one hand, with the exception that it can get slippery at times.

Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasIt packs a Full HD+ display that uses a notched design, which is kind of expected for its price. The notch itself isn’t invasive to the viewing experience, which is actually quite decent, thanks to the very lively vibe that the screen gives off, plus punchy colors.

Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasButton placement – Volume and Power on the right, and SIM tray on the left. You get a USB-Port, along with a headphone jack and speaker grille at the bottom.

Performance

With a Snapdragon 665 and 4GB of RAM, we did expect the phone to handle typical day to day workload with ease, and for most of the time, it did. It’s not always smooth, as there were occasional stutters when navigating the UI, but it’s not deal-breaking.

Personally, 64GB of storage is more than enough for me, but for those who really do put a ton of stuff on their phone, there’s a 128GB option available, and that’ll only cost you PhP1,000 more.

Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasGaming-wise, we tried playing Call of Duty Mobile on High + Max FPS setting, and the phone performed well. Again, it’s not as fluid as say, on the Nova 5T, but it’s still an enjoyable experience.

Camera

As for its optics, well, the Redmi Note 8 has some good and weak spots, of course. From our sample photos, it seems that this phone’s built to take really good close up shots assuming there’s ample lighting. Images came out crisp, and with a decent amount of detail. Colors are also punchy enough.

Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasRedmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasRedmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasRedmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasRedmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasRedmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasWhere it struggles is when you’re taking shots of subjects with varying levels of brightness. The dynamic range simply just isn’t at par. Noise buildup is also noticeable in the darker areas.

Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasRedmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasRedmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasIt’s also quite a decent shooter at night, as photos came out with good detail and exposure. There’s a bit of noise here and there, but the overall quality is still more than acceptable.

Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasRedmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasThe front camera does a good job of capturing details of your face plus decent separation between subject and background, and edge-detection.

Software

The device has recently received an updated to MIUI 11, which bring a more minimalist feel. Despite touting better UI performance, there are still occasional stutters here and there, but again, not deal-breaking.

There are a few notable features that are worth a look, such as the very in-demand, Dark Mode, which saves you battery while offering a fresh new feel to the interface.

There’s also an option to not only hide the notch, but also move the contents of status bar downwards, which is a nice touch.

Lastly, there’s Game Turbo, which enhances gaming performance by prioritizing resources, while also stopping notifications or calls from getting in your way while playing.

Battery

Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget PilipinasUsing a more traditional video-on-loop test at 50% brightness and around 80% volume, the Redmi Note 8 was able to churn out around 14 hours of uptime from full to empty. Charging the device using a QuickCharge 3.0 wall charger took around 2 hours.

Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Review, Gadget Pilipinas, Gadget Pilipinas
Our Verdict
The Redmi Note 8 is a great all-around device for its PhP8,990 price tag. While not the most well-built, you get decent performance, capable optics, and great battery life. It's not perfect of course. The UI does stutter occasionally, and the dynamic range needs a lot of improvement. The protruding camera module also sort of ruins the design. Despite all that however, i'd still say that if you need a phone that's good at a a lot of things under the PhP10,000 price point, this one should be on your list. (Good, but not great).
Design
Performance
Camera
Software
Battery
Price
What's Good
Vibrant display
Decent gaming performance
Great battery life
Feature-packed UI
Competitively priced
What's Not
Dynamic range needs a lot of work
UI performance is inconsistent
Protruding camera module ruins the design
4.1