Xiaomi is one of India’s most prolific smartphone manufacturers, and by now we should be used to rapid refresh cycles. The Redmi Note 8 Pro replaces the Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review), which was launched in early March this year. As usual, the company is iterating to stay ahead of competition from the likes of Realme, Lenovo, Samsung, Nokia, and others. The big update with the Redmi Note 8 Pro is a 64-megapixel primary rear camera but there’s a less visible change too – the new MediaTek Helio G90T processor which was introduced as a chip designed especially for gaming smartphones. Read on for our first impressions of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro.
Xiaomi’s new Redmi Note 8 Pro has been priced starting at Rs. 14,999 with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There will also be a version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for Rs. 15,999, and finally the top-end version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for Rs. 17,999. Will powerful graphics and photo capabilities at these prices help Xiaomi cement its position? Do buyers have much to be excited about? We’ve been able to spend a little time with the new smartphone and here are our impressions, ahead of our full Redmi Note 8 Pro review, which is coming up shortly.
Physically, the Redmi Note 8 Pro feels like a big, heavy phone. It weighs a hair under 200g and is 8.79mm thick, which some people might find to be too much to handle. Not everyone will like the shiny chrome frame that runs around the sides of the body, and we found it a little too reflective and distracting at first. The screen has relatively narrow borders, but unfortunately there’s no getting rid of the waterdrop notch at this price level just yet.
The 6.53-inch full-HD+ screen of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro looks bright and crisp. There’s Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front as well as rear of this phone for protection against physical damage, and a reading mode certified by TUV Rheinland for blue light reduction.
The Halo White Redmi Note 8 Pro unit we were able to spend time with had an iridescent effect, much like what we’ve seen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (Review) and a few other recently launched mid-range devices. The cameras are arranged in two vertical strips; one large one centred to the phone’s rear and another small one to its right. The main strip does protrude a bit, and serves to stabilise this phone when it’s lying flat on a table. However, it does get in the way while holding this phone in landscape to play games.
The fingerprint sensor is at the bottom of the main strip. It’s smaller than usual, but very easy to reach since the strip is raised. We’ll see what this is like to live with in our full Redmi Note 8 Pro review. Xiaomi has said that having fewer cutouts gives the glass more structural strength, which is a good thing.
There are two small trays on the left for two Nano-SIMs and a microSD card. Interestingly, the Chinese version of the Redmi Note 8 Pro launched earlier doesn’t have a microSD slot; this was added specifically for India. As is common for Xiaomi phones, there’s an Infrared emitter on the top for controlling appliances. We also noted a tiny notifications LED to the right of the selfie camera. The rest of this phone’s design is all pretty standard – the buttons are on the right, and the USB Type-C port, 3.5mm audio socket and speaker are on the bottom.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro seen here in Halo White colour option, which has an iridescent effect