Easy choice muddied with ads

April 2, 2022 0 Comments

The Redmi Note series has become ubiquitous for high performance and good cameras, all under Rs 15,000. While it remains to be seen whether this price barrier will be violated next time, Xiaomi has been able to pack even more firepower and four cameras, including the new Note 8 Pro, without raising the price of the entry variant. This is the second Redmi Note Pro smartphone to be launched in India in 2019. If Realme and Samsung give Xiaomi a push for the top spot in the Indian market, then the Note 8 Pro is about to snatch the company’s answer. But with so many options now in the mid-range segment, is the Redmi Note 8 Pro the best mid-range smartphone to buy right now?


Let’s start with the hardware under the hood. Of all the Note series smartphones launched by Xiaomi in India, the Note 8 Pro is unique in one respect. It relies on a flagship MediaTek SoC instead of a Qualcomm mid-range processor. Xiaomi hopes that the phone will outperform others in gaming performance, which is why MediaTek Helio G90T powers the phone. What’s more, the base variant of the Note 8 Pro has 6GB RAM while the top-end has 8GB RAM installed. Storage ranges from 64GB to 128GB, making the Note 8 Pro stand out from the rest of the sub-15k range where 4GB RAM and 64GB storage is still commonplace.

On the benchmark, MediaTek G90T topped AnTuTu with 222904 in the mid-range segment, beating Redmi K20’s Snapdragon 730 by a good margin. Note that the price of Redmi K20 is much higher. In Geekbench 5, the Note 8 Pro scores 352 and 1374 on single-core and multi-core CPU tests, respectively. We compared the scores with the Exynos 9611-powered Galaxy M30s and they hit the neck.

During testing, Geekbench updated the app to Geekbench 5, a newer version of the benchmarking app. Geekbench 5’s score is not comparable to Geekbench 4’s.

The Helio G90T sports a Mali G76 MC4 GPU that matches the GPU used in Samsung flagship phones. On 3DMark Slingshot, the Note 8 Pro scored 2378, beating Realme X alone by 2690 points. The rest of the competition doesn’t match this score, which indicates that the graphics rendering on the Note 8 Pro is really good.

But that’s just the benchmark number. In the real world, Redmi Note 8 Pro works without interruption. There is no gap in the interface when it comes to apps and OnePlus 7 Pro, I could not feel the big difference in speed. Apps don’t take long to launch, especially heavy apps like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile. The camera, of course, takes a little longer to start, but once ready, it takes back-to-back shots without any shutter lag.

Gaming on the Helio G90T is an interesting one. This is why Xiaomi has chosen to go with this chipset, and in games like COD: Mobile and PUBG Mobile, you will see the difference in texture, distance drawing, smoothness and quality of choice. For one, the G90T can maximize graphics settings for all of our tested Android games. You can see our detailed gaming review of Redmi Note 8 Pro for more in-depth information.

(Temperature in degrees Celsius)

A word about excess heat. We mentioned earlier that the device may overheat during long gaming sessions. PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: After placing the phone through the one hour session of each mobile, we noticed that the surface temperature never exceeded 45 degrees, leaving the transparent case on. The device does not overheat until the temperature exceeds 50 degrees. However, by comparison, the Realme 5 Pro never goes above 41 degrees when it goes through the same pressure. So, by comparison, the Note 8 Pro runs a little warmer than its immediate competitors, but that’s not something you should be concerned about.

When Xiaomi announced the switch to MediaTek, most enthusiasts were concerned about the lack of development. However, we can confirm that Xiaomi actually worked with the developers and you can root the Note 8 Pro and flash it with custom ROMs. Gcam is available for Note 8 Pro which does not require any root.


Despite the announcement of Android 10-based MIUI 11 at the launch event, the Note 8 Pro runs on MIUI 10 based on Android 9. Xiaomi has promised that the update will be rolled out in December, although older devices like the Redmi K20, Note 7 Pro and I are getting likes as I write reviews. While the Note 8 Pro’s interface will feel familiar to every Xiaomi user for years to come, a big addition this time around is the Alexa integration. Thanks to the G90T, the Note 8 Pro is capable of supporting two waking sounds. So both Google Assistant and Alexa can be used, though not simultaneously. That said, the Note 8 Pro I tried 5 out of 10 times failed to recognize the word Alexa Walk.

Then comes the question of advertising in the UI. Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. Instead, Xiaomi now cleverly packages ads into its system apps, such as the app scanner (which is annoyingly triggered every time you download an app), or on the minus-one screen, or on the notification panel. The lockscreen wallpaper changes whenever you unlock the phone (which is done by a third party content provider), while the UI itself is puzzled with apps and games that Xiaomi recommends you download. Fortunately, you can turn off recommendations in the Settings app

MIUI is great for those looking for an engaging, hassle-free user experience, but with so many third-party integrations, it’s not a good option for privacy enthusiasts.

Battery life

This is the first time that the battery capacity of a Redmi Note smartphone is higher than the normal 4,000mAh. The Note 8 Pro comes with a 4,500mAh battery but if you think it prolongs the battery life of the Redmi Note 7 Pro, you’ll be disappointed. In fact, despite its high capacity, battery life is as good as its predecessor. The reason is MediaTek Helio G90T. It is based on a larger production process, and as such, the Redmi Note 7 Pro consumes more power than the Snapdragon 675. We noticed this during our gaming testing where the Note 8 Pro consumed significantly more power than the Note 7 Pro during our 15 minutes of PUBG mobile.

However, due to the high power, the percentage drop during our gaming sessions was basically the same. When viewing a 30-minute breaking bad on Netflix, the battery is reduced by 6 percent, while the 15-minute battery of a PUBG mobile is reduced by 6 percent.

The camera

The cameras of the Redmi Note 8 Pro are one step ahead of the Redmi Note 7 Pro At least on paper. The 64MP Samsung GW-1 has a much larger sensor and the Note 8 Pro also has a wide-angle and a macro lens. Clearly, there is no shortage of alternatives. But are they any better?

OK, 64MP photos look more or less the same with 48MP camera photos, you get 16MP resolution after binging instead of 12MP. That’s a good thing, of course, but we wouldn’t call it an upgrade to a 48MP camera. Unless you’re trying to zoom in to read that signboard away. Wide-angle lenses work best during the day. At night, it doesn’t do much good. Camera Night mode lets you zoom digitally by 2X but does not allow you to use a wide-angle lens. Macro lenses are a rarity in smartphones but I have found myself using that mode the least.

Here are some photos that we have highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of the camera with the Note 8 Pro –

Primary 64MP camera (f / 1.89 aperture, 1 / 1.7 ”sensor size, 0.8um pixel pitch)

The dedicated 64MP camera adds some level of processing to the photos in the dedicated 16MP mode. As a result, contrast and saturation often increase. Photos come out quite sharp with quick shutter response and autofocus.

Shot from iPhone 11 (for comparison)

The over-processing in this image is more prominent compared to the same shot taken by the iPhone 11. Notice that the iPhone is able to bring out the blue color of the sky as well as the walls. The Note 8 Pro whitewashes the entire sky while emphasizing the color of the walls.

Next, we looked at the dynamic range of the camera. Here, too, the sky is completely clipped while focusing on the wall. 64MP mode photos have even less dynamic range

Wide-angle lens (8MP f / 2.2, 1/4 “, 1.12um)

Shot from a 64MP primary lens

Shot from an 8MP ultraviolet camera

The Note 8 Pro’s wide-angle lens covers a much larger area than the primary camera, but the color reproduction is completely different. In both cases, the building was recognized by AI and the necessary algorithms were kept in gear, but even then, the photo of the ultra-wide lens looks quite different from the primary. The primary camera is also much sharper than the ultra-wide lens.

The degree of distortion in the ultra-wide lens is also higher than we would like. The image extends to the person in the frame to look quite artificial. Considering it was taken after sunset, there is also a lack of sharpness compared to shots taken using the primary camera.

Night mode

Night mode is quite convenient when shooting in low light. Save for the fact that you have to wait a few seconds and shoot only stationary objects, Night Mode creates vivid photos in low light. This is an area where the Note 8 Pro is visually better than the Note 7 Pro. As a result, the photos are sharp, vivid and have no sound at all

Indoor shots

The food photography with the Note 8 Pro is quite satisfying, just like the sushi in this sample. The camera captures the image with high sharpness and a lot of detail, although the focus around the edges seems to be a bit off.

Macro lens (2MP, f / 2.4, 1/5 “, 1.75µm)

The Note 8 Pro’s 2MP macro lens lets you get closer to 2cm of objects. As a result, you can take super close-up photos, which was not possible before due to the long focusing distance in wide-angle cameras. With the help of a macro lens, when you can technically go very close and take a picture of an object, you will not get as many details as you like. The sharpness is much lower than the primary lens and it is not a good idea to use it in low light.

Design and display

The Note 8 Pro has a good grip due to the curved corners. The width of the phone is also enough to use it with one hand. However, it is much heavier than the Note 7 Pro. We got the white color variant for review and it looks quite premium. Gorilla Glass 5 is on both the front and back and you’ll find a transparent case outside the box. Although it does not come with a pre-applied screen guard. As far as the build and design of the smartphone is concerned, the Redmi Note 8 Pro feels durable and premium.

The Note 8 Pro has a larger 6.53-inch display. The ratio of resolution and shape remains the same, while the waterdrop groove has shrunk so slightly. The welcome addition is HDR capability, although it only works on games like YouTube and PUBG Mobile. Having said that, we noticed that the display has a warm glow by default which can be adjusted manually in the display settings.

The last row

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is an upgrade on top of the Note 7 Pro in almost every count. At least on paper. In the real world, gaming performance and display quality have a boost when the added Alexa integration is welcomed by some. The quality of the camera is more or less the same despite having a new sensor and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Resolving a few burning issues, we initially concluded that the Note 8 Pro could be overheated during longer gaming sessions. Although the phone is warmer than the Realme 5 Pro, it does not exceed 50 degrees, which is what we consider to be the extra heating on the smartphone. Despite having a large battery, the battery life of the phone is as good as its predecessor. Seeing this, Xiaomi has taken a bold step by choosing to go with a MediaTek flagship SoC and it seems to have paid off. There’s no reason not to buy the Redmi Note 8 Pro, save for annoying ads in the UI.

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