realme 8i w/ 120Hz display & MediaTek Helio G96 Review

realme 8i Review




The realme 8i is currently the most affordable smartphone you can get from the realme 8 series but it’s something you shouldn’t underestimate. In fact, it’s an interesting device considering its starting price of PHP 9,990. For that, you can get a 6.6-inch FHD+ 120Hz display, a MediaTek Helio G96 processor, a 50MP main rear camera, and a 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging.

On paper, it already sounds convincing, but let’s see if this can be your next daily driver or maybe even gaming device!

Design and Construction

The realme 8i’s aesthetics reminds me more of the realme 8 5G edition with a glossy mirror-like back. There’s a subtle flowing gradient style going on when viewing the phone from different angles, and it actually looks pretty cool. However, as expected from a design like this, it’s quite slippery and due to its glossy finish, the back is prone to catching fingerprints and smudges, so it’s best to use a case on.

On the upper left corner, we get a protruding camera module that looks similar to its big brothers within the 8 series, except that it’s not covered in black. Well, this looks more seamless. We have the device in the Stellar Purple color, and it is also available in Space Black if you’re interested.

Upfront, it’s got a large 6.6-inch FHD+ screen with relatively slim bezels and a tad bit thicker chin part. There’s a small punch-hole notch on the top left corner that houses the 16MP selfie camera, right below the earpiece. If for some reason, the tiny notch bothers you, there’s still an option in the settings to cover it with a black bar.

realme didn’t mention any Gorilla Glass protection for this phone, but it does have a pre-installed screen protector on top.

For buttons and ports, on the right side are the power/lock button that also doubles as a fingerprint scanner.

Meanwhile on the left are the volume keys and a triple card tray that accommodates two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card.

There is nothing on the top, but at the bottom, you’ll find its 3.5mm headphone jack, main microphone, USB-C port, and speaker grille.

Display and Multimedia

realme 8i features a large 6.6-inch IPS LCD screen with a 2412 x 1080px resolution and a pixel density of 400ppi. Generously, we get a 120Hz refresh rate on board that can be switched between the standard 60Hz or you can just leave it on auto select so it will automatically choose the suited refresh rate for an app.

Additionally, the device also covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, so you can expect vibrant colors within the interface.

Overall, the display is more than enough for its price. Even if there’s no HDR support, we had no issues when viewing content on the device, even when using it outdoors, thanks to its 600 nits of max brightness. By the way, the realme 8i supports Widevine L1 DRM.

As for sound quality, sound comes out through the loudspeaker and lowly from the call speaker. Like most entry-level smartphones, the quality focuses more on the highs and mids. As much as it can be loud enough for a small room, it can sound tinny or airy so I wouldn’t set it at a max volume much. Then again, there’s always the headphone jack available if you want better sound output.

Cameras

Focusing on cameras, its triple-camera setup at the back is composed of a 50MP main, a 2MP macro, and a 2MP monochrome depth sensor. For selfies, there’s a 16MP front camera.

Checking out some samples, you can expect some depth effect when using the standard mode, and you can turn on the Dazzle AI color button to get more boosted colors. I wouldn’t recommend that you always leave it on though as it tends to overdo it sometimes. The HDR can be a hit or miss so make sure to tap to focus.

Unfortunately, there’s no wide-angle option here, but you can digitally zoom in from 2x, 5x, and up to 10x. Although it’s far from picture-perfect when zoomed to the max, at least it still gets the job done. Then again, if you want more details, then you can always take advantage of the 50MP lens which produces almost the similar color reproduction as in standard mode.

Meanwhile, the portrait mode works very well most of the time. When focused correctly, you can get excellent subject-background separation.


 

When it comes to night mode, you’ll get a mixed set of results depending on how much light is available for the camera to use. The results we got have lesser noise and noticeably sharp details.

For selfies, the front camera works best under natural lighting, falling more on cooler tones. But for lowlight environments, it often struggles, especially on the skin tone. We suggest taking multiple shots to get a decent one.

For videos, it’s capable of shooting up to 1080p at 30fps with an ultra steady mode option available, which is great to have in its range.

OS, UI, and Apps

The realme 8i runs on Android 11, skinned with Realme UI 2.0. If you’re a previous OPPO or realme user, this interface should be familiar and easy to go around with. It comes with a few bloatware and pre-installed apps such as Facebook, Netflix, Lazada, WPS, and Twitter that you can uninstall if you don’t plan on using.

If you like to tweak the look and personalize your phone, you can customize the icon style, colors, fonts, and a lot more in the settings. And like usual, you can also adjust the dark mode, selecting between three darkness settings: enhanced, medium, and gentle.

By default, the app drawer for the home screen is turned on, but you can change it in the settings to the standard mode or simple mode. And similar to most phones today, you get the option to navigate with gestures or the traditional on-screen buttons.

The realme 8i is available with either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. The one we have has 64GB, and right out of the box, there seems to be 46GB of usable space left. Good thing you can expand this device via a microSD card.

Performance and Benchmarks

Now underneath the hood, powering the realme 8i is a MediaTek Helio G96 chipset with a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU, and 4GB or 6GB of RAM. The one we have packs 4GB of RAM.

It also has ‘RAM expansion,’ which means that a portion of the storage (2GB, 3GB, or 5GB, 3 by default) is set aside to function in tandem with the actual RAM, dumping less critical tasks, and theoretically letting you have more apps cached and available when you need them.

We found the device to perform averagely decent for casual day-to-day use so if you’re going to use it for calls, messaging, social media scrolling, video streaming, and the like, it should do well as long as you keep the device optimized. Navigating the UI and launching applications was pretty smooth thanks to its 120Hz refresh rate.

Playing heavy games on the other hand can be a slightly laggy experience so we suggest playing under the lowest graphic settings available and take advantage of the Game Space app.

For some numbers, take a look at the benchmark scores we got:

• AnTuTu v9.2.1 – 262,744
• AnTuTu v9.2.1 Storage Test – 20,399 (522.7 MB/s Seq. Read, 155.4 MB/s Seq. Write)
• Geekbench 5 – 452 (Single-Core), 1,418 (Multi-Core)
• PCMark – 7,875 (Work 3.0)
• 3DMark – 1,098, 6.60 FPS (Wild Life), 2,208 (SSE)
• AndroBench – 518.85 MB/s Seq. Read, 251.21 MB/s Seq. Write

For security, you can unlock the phone via the side-mounted fingerprint scanner and face unlock. Both are generally reliable and quick but aren’t as snappy as higher smartphones, which you wouldn’t really notice on day-to-day use. The face-unlock can have some mishaps under low light conditions.

Connectivity and Battery Life

Connectivity-wise, it comes with standard connectivity features such as WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, and dual SIM 4G LTE. As for the battery, the realme 8i is equipped with a massive 5,000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging.

Under 120Hz display, the PC Mark’s Work 3.0 battery test rated it at 14 hours and 21 minutes, which is lower compared to what we got from the realme 8 5G that has the same battery capacity. Either way, this can provide a whole day of use even with some slight gaming under the standard 60Hz refresh rate or on auto select.

Conclusion

Okay, so finally let’s talk about the price. The realme 8i comes in two configurations: this 4GB + 64GB variant is priced at PHP 9,990, while the 6GB + 128GB variant is available for PHP 11,990. On its own, we can say that it’s a pretty impressive device as it can be relied upon for day-to-day casual use and even some slight gaming—plus the 120Hz refresh rate sure is icing on the cake.

But as some of you may also be thinking, there are still better options within its price range like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 that offers an AMOLED display, 33W fast charging, and dual speakers. Nonetheless, the MediaTek Helio G96 on the realme 8i performs slightly better, so we still recommend this device especially if you’ve been a long-time realme user.

With inputs from Aj Viray.

realme 8i specs:
6.6-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2412) IPS display
120Hz refresh rate
MediaTek Helio G96 processor
ARM Mali-G57 MC2 GPU
4GB, 6GB RAM
64GB, 128GB storage
Triple rear cameras:
• 50MP (main)
• 2MP (macro)
• 2MP (depth)
16MP selfie camera
4G LTE
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
GPS/GLONASS/ BEIDOU/GALILEO
Bluetooth 5.1
USB Type-C 2.0
Fingerprint scanner (side-mounted)
realme UI 2.0 (Android 11)
5,000mAh battery w/ 18W fast charging
164.1 x 75.5 x 8.5 mm
194 g
Space Black, Space Purple



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1 Response

  1. realme 8i says:

    Distinguished review and a special phone from Realme in a category at a good price

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