“The Redmi 8A comes just months after the Redmi 7A, yet offers several improvements across the board”

It was just in July when Xiaomi took wraps off its entry-level offering – the Redmi 7A (first impressions). And in less than three months, the phonemaker has introduced a successor in the form of the Redmi 8A. Thanks to the cut-throat competition, even the numero uno smartphone brand has to be on its toes. In the sub-Rs 8k segment, Xiaomi competes directly with the Realme C2 (review) and Motorola’s recently-launched E6s (first impressions). So is the Redmi 8A a solid upgrade over the Redmi 7A, and more importantly, is it the clear choice in its price bracket? Well, I managed to spend some time with the device, and here’s how I’ll sum up my impressions.

As far as the Redmi 8A unboxing is concerned, you wouldn’t find anything surprising or different from previous retail boxes from the company. As soon as you open the packaging, you’ll see a cardboard enclosure that houses the documentation and a SIM-ejection tool. Then you are greeted by the phone itself. Lastly, there’s a wall adapter and a Type-C cable. I’m really glad that we’ve started seeing adoption of the Type-C port in the budget segment.

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Bringing our attention back to the Redmi 8A, the first thing that will draw your attention is that it’s quite big when compared to compact 5.45-inch display on its predecessor. That’s because the phone has been built around a 6.22-inch screen that bears a ‘dot’ notch up top, which is more modern as compared to no-notch front of the 7A. With HD+ resolution, the IPS panel is quite good and offers decent sharpness levels with accurate colours. There are minimal bezels around the three sides, and while the bezels at the bottom are thick, the 8A does offer a single hand-friendly design. Add to it the curves around the back, and you get a good grip too.

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Speaking of which, Xiaomi is upping the game in terms of the design in the category. The Redmi 8A is available in three colour options of red, blue or black. While that’s not unusual, you’ll certainly like the strip running in the middle, which gives the 8A a unique character. Furthermore, the back panel has a textured finish that ensures that fingerprints are kept at bay. Sadly, the phone still misses out on the fingerprint scanner, just like its previous avatar, though the face unlock does work quite well. Other design elements follow the usual placement.

The Redmi 8A gets improvements in the camera department too. The device ships with a 12-megapixel IMX363 sensor as opposed to the IMX486 module in the 7A. That said, it’s a single camera and it’d be interesting to see if the software-based bokeh can match dedicated depth sensors adopted by its rivals. For selfies, an 8-megapixel shooter is available on its fascia.

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With 4,000mAh becoming the norm, the 8A goes a step ahead by offering a 5,000mAh battery. Combined with the power-efficient Snapdragon 439 chipset – which powered the 7A too – and HD+ display, the device should easily last two days if not more. The octa-core SoC works in tandem with 2GB or 3GB RAM. Software-wise, the Redmi 8A boots Android 9.0 Pie-based MIUI.

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The Redmi 8A price in India is Rs 6,499 for the base model, and Rs 6,999 for the 3GB RAM variant. The device will be available to buy from Flipkart and Mi Homes starting September 30th, and is slated to be available via retail stores soon after. As always, Xiaomi has ensured that it offers a solid value proposition and the 8A also manages to edge out ahead of the Realme C2 with its powerful battery and unique design, even though it only has a single snapper at the rear. But if you want to know whether it’s a worthy buy or not, stay tuned for our review.

Photos by Zaid Hassen