Xiaomi has launched the latest iteration of its Redmi Note smartphones with its Redmi Note 8 series. Apart from the standard Note 8, the smartphone brand is also offering a more premium version with the Redmi Note 8 Pro. The device has finally arrived in the Philippines officially, so here’s our full review.
Editor’s note (Oct. 9, 2019): The initial review was based on a Redmi Note 8 Pro unit for the Chinese market. Since we have already received the Global version, we have updated the review with new photos and revised the OS and Conclusion part to reflect this model. The rest of the review is retained.
Table of Contents
Design and Construction
The Redmi Note 8 Pro possesses a curved glass back and a rounded metallic frame. It comes in three colors, namely Jade Green, White, and Grey. Both the display and the rear are protected by Gorilla Glass 5. Upfront, the screen has a dewdrop notch where the 20MP shooter resides. Situated above is the LED notification light.
At the center of the rear, one can find the camera module and the fingerprint scanner. The scanner can be located just below the quad-camera setup. Both the cameras and the fingerprint scanner protrude slightly, making the smartphone wobble a little when set on a flat surface.
The hybrid dual SIM card tray can be found on the left, while the volume rocker and power button are on the right.
An IR blaster and a microphone sit at the top of the device.
At the bottom, one can find the single downward-firing speaker, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack.
Overall, the Note 8 Pro feels slightly hefty in the hands, but it isn’t uncomfortable to hold. Thanks to its glass construction, it does have a sleek and premium feel to it. Due to its size, though, do expect to bulge when kept in your pockets.
Display and Multimedia
A 6.53-inch FHD+ display comes equipped with the Note 8 Pro. As stated earlier, the display itself is protected with Gorilla Glass 5. The screen is an IPS LCD panel, though, and not an AMOLED panel. The blacks aren’t as deep as we’d like them to be; despite that, the color reproduction is still pretty accurate.
While the smartphone is usable under direct sunlight at 50% brightness, some users might have trouble doing so. It’s still recommended to set it at around 80% to the maximum if using outdoors.
Audio-wise, the single downward-firing speaker can get very loud but comes off as distorted when it’s set at maximum. The sound separation isn’t that great either.
OS, UI, and Apps
Android 9 Pie runs as the Note 8 Pro’s operating system, with MIUI 10.4.2 skinned on top of it. Apps are arranged on the home screen, and there isn’t an option to change it into drawer mode. Users also have the option of choosing between a system-wide light mode or dark mode.
The unit offered in the Philippines runs the Global Stable ROM, which means you have complete Google services, including the pre-installed Google apps. There are no Chinese apps, but preinstalled ones like Netflix, Facebook, Aliexpress, WPS Office, Opera browser, and a couple of games are here.
The device comes in two storage capacities, namely 64GB or 128GB UFS 2.1, with ours here having the former. Out of the 64GB, about 51GB of it is usable. Storage is expandable via a microSD card but via a shared slot.
For cameras, the Note 8 Pro has a 20MP front shooter, while on the rear sits a 64MP + 8MP ultra-wide + 2MP macro + 2MP depth quadruple setup. Redmi is touting that the Note 8 Pro is the first smartphone to have a 64MP snapper. Let’s see how it fares.
Selfie-wise, the standard camera mode produces decent pictures; however, it tends to overexpose highlights. Still, the photo quality is consistent even under various lighting conditions. For portrait selfies, the subject-background separation isn’t too great, but it’s not that bad either. The cutout of the bokeh seems rather aggressive, but it’s still good enough to use on social media.
Now, for the primary 64MP shooter, the details are sharp, readable, and are preserved even better in cropping. The color reproduction in images doesn’t appear natural, however. Photos also look decent under sufficient lighting conditions, with the exposure being handled very well. As for the portrait mode, the subject-background separation is similar to the front camera; it’s not bad, but it doesn’t look great either. It is possible to change the intensity of the bokeh after taking the photo, though.
The Note 8 Pro has a night mode as well, and while it works, the quality isn’t impressive. There’s a lot of noise, and the shots look somewhat artificial. The macro shooter is exciting as it allowed us to get close to the subject. In the right lighting, it’s fascinating to see how close you can go and view all the details.
Video-wise, the Note 8 Pro can shoot up to 4K at 30fps. It’s recommended to use a smartphone gimbal as the image stabilization of the device isn’t that great. One bonus feature of the Note 8 Pro is that it’s also capable of recording video using the macro lens.
Performance and Benchmarks
MediaTek Helio G90T powers up the Note 8 Pro, paired with 6GB or 8GB RAM, with our unit here having the former. We ran the device through our usual benchmarks, and here are the results:
- AnTuTu – 225,989
- Geekbench – 498 (Single-Core), 1,628 (Multi-Core), 1,769 (OpenCL)
- PCMark – 9,969 (Work 2.0)
- 3DMark – 2,346 (OpenGL), 2,401 (Vulkan)
- AndroBench – 523.3 MB/s (Read), 177.44 MB/s (Write)
It’s been reported that the G90T chipset heats the smartphone, but through our usage, it never felt extremely hot. Tasks such as browsing both web and social media, multitasking between apps ran smoothly without any slowdowns. Gaming-wise, we were able to play graphics-heavy ones such as Honkai Impact 3, PUBG, and Asphalt 9 without any lags or hiccups.
For biometrics, the Note 8 Pro has face unlock and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, apart from the usual passcode. They’re both quick in response, and the fingerprint scanner’s placement is also easy to reach.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The basic connectivity features such as Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, and Bluetooth are present in the Note 8 Pro. NFC support is also included in the device as well. Locating places and pinning them on maps and navigation apps isn’t even an issue. There’s also a gyroscope sensor, allowing users to experience AR apps with the smartphone.
Providing juice to the Redmi Note 8 Pro is a 4,500mAh battery with support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+. The PCMark battery test yielded us 11 hours and 12 minutes. As for our video loop test, the Note 8 Pro scored 17 hours and 10 minutes. The scores are somewhat disappointing, seeing that the device has a hefty battery capacity. It took us about an hour and a half to charge up the Note 8 Pro to a full 100.
The Redmi Note 8 Pro offers an overall robust smartphone with great camera hardware and a modest IPS display. The device’s chipset might be slightly controversial, but the 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage can offer smooth and lag-free performance. Not to mention, the large battery capacity. At this point, it’s already a significant upgrade if you’re coming from the Redmi Note 7 Pro. And given the official SRP, the Redmi Note 8 Pro is definitely one of the best value smartphones on the market.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro has the following SRP:
• 6GB + 64GB: PHP 11,490
• 6GB + 128GB: PHP 12,990
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro specs:
- 6.53-inch dot notch FHD+ (2340 x 1080) display
- Corning Gorilla Glass 5
- MediaTek G90T 2.05GHz octa-core
- ARM Mali G76 GPU
- 6GB, 8GB RAM
- 64GB, 128GB storage
- 64MP F1.7 + 8MP ultra-wide (120-degrees) + 2MP macro + 2MP depth quad-rear cameras
- 20MP front camera
- 4G LTE
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- USB Type-C
- Fingerprint scanner (rear-mounted)
- Loudspeaker w/ Smart PA technology
- MIUI 10 (Android 9 Pie)
- 4,500mAh battery w/ 18W fast charging
- Jade Green, White, Grey
What we liked:
- Sleek and premium smartphone construction
- Quad-camera hardware
- Video recording capability in Macro mode
- Overall smooth performance
What we didn’t:
- Protruding rear cameras + fingerprint scanner setup
- Average battery life
- IPS Panel can be dim under direct sunlight
With additional input from Miguel Ty.