“The Redmi 8 isn’t much different from its affordable sibling, the Redmi 8A”

It seems that the Redmi 8A launch in India set the brand on a launch spree. The brand has just taken the veils off the Redmi 8, while the Redmi Note 8 Pro launch is scheduled for October 16th. The topic of interested today however, is the Redmi 8, which comes across as a minor upgrade to the Redmi 7 (review), which was released back in April. With a starting price of Rs 7,999, Xiaomi’s newest offering does seem like an interesting device. To know why, join us as we take it through an unboxing followed by our initial impressions.

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If you’ve seen previous offerings from Xiaomi, then the Redmi 8 retail box would be familiar. It has the phone’s image on top and key specs listed at the back. Once you open it, you’ll see a cardboard enclosure which houses a transparent protective cover and documentation, along with the SIM-ejection tool. Beneath that, there’s the smartphone itself. Lastly, you get a 10W adapter and a USB Type-C cable.

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The first thing that will catch your attention about the Redmi 8 is its bright red hue at the back. The glossy panel doesn’t have any gradient pattern, yet looks really attractive with the K20-esque placement for the rear cameras and fingerprint reader. It also offers a unique look depending upon the angle the light hits its surface. Along with the red colour, you can also purchase the smartphone in black or blue options. Sadly though, the device is quite slippery and catches smudges within a few minutes.

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Up front, the Redmi 8 sports a 6.22-inch IPS panel with HD+ resolution that has a dewdrop notch up top. The screen is crisp and offers good brightness levels and viewing angles. It’s also protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 5. Thanks to P2i coating, the device can also handle splashes of water.

Similar to the Redmi 7 (review), its successor comes with dual cameras on the rear. The primary 12MP IMX363 PDAF-equipped sensor is paired with a 2MP depth shooter. For selfies, the device gets an 8MP shooter placed inside the cut-out on the fascia.

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Interestingly, while the Redmi 7 came powered by the Snapdragon 632 processor under the hood, the Redmi 8 features Snapdragon 439 octa-core SoC, the same chip which fuels the Redmi 8A too. Unlike its predecessor however, the base variant of the Redmi 8 now offers 3GB RAM, while the storage onboard is 32GB. The higher-end version provides you with 4 gigs of RAM and 64GB of built-in memory. You can expand the storage further by inserting a microSD card of up to 512GB.

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After creating the trend of 4,000mAh batteries, Xiaomi is now opting for 5,000mAh cells in its smartphones, and that’s what you get inside the Redmi 8 too. With such capacity, and power-efficient Snapdragon 439, the phone should easily last two days off a single charge, if not more. The phone also supports 18W fast charging, though you’ll need to purchase the power brick separately. On the software side of things, the device comes with MIUI running atop Android 9.0 Pie. You get a familiar interface and useful customisations, though my only gripe is that you can’t uninstall preloaded apps like Amazon, Facebook, etc.

Similar to the Redmi 7, the Redmi 8 price in India is Rs 7,999 for the default 3GB RAM model. The 4GB RAM version on the other hand, will set you back by Rs 8,999. The smartphone goes on sale from October 12th on Flipkart, Mi.com and the brand’s offline stores. In a way, there’s not much to differentiate the Redmi 8 from its affordable sibling, the 8A (first impressions), except the fact that the former comes with an additional camera on the back, gets a fingerprint scanner and has 3GB RAM. But perhaps that’s what Xiaomi is banking on… ensuring that consumers get more choice for a difference of just a couple of thousand rupees.

Photos by Raj Rout