Xiaomi has been on a launch spree since last year and has been ruling the affordable segment. So much so that for more than a year it has been India’s most popular smartphone brand. Its entry-level Redmi line of smartphones have basically been the best budget smartphones one could buy. Now comes in the Redmi 8A.
I’ve been using the Redmi 8A for quite some time now and it’s a surprisingly kick-ass. For a phone that costs just Rs 6,499, it offers everything one would need, making it a natural choice as a secondary phone and damn good first-time smartphone.
- The most unique element of the phone is its battery. With a rated capacity of 5000mAh, you’re sure to get through at least two days of medium usage. Often you’ll not get such a big battery on even a flagship phone which would mean lugging around a bulbous power-bank. In cases like this, the Redmi 8A can be a splendid back-up option. Adding to this, it supports 18W fast charging via USB-C, something we’ve never previously seen in the budget segment. A complete charge takes less than two hours and you’ll never have to worry about going off-the-grid.
- Another unique offering is the rear camera. Obviously, it’s a single lens setup and may seem inferior because multiple sensors have become a norm. However, Xiaomi has packed a Sony IMX363 sensor on the rear, something we’ve previously seen on the Pixel 3 series as well as the POCO F1. Now, we know that Google Pixel 3 was the best camera phone in 2018 and you’re basically getting the same optics on a phone that costs 10% of the price. Sure, you’re not getting Pixel 3 levels of performance, but you’re getting a serious camera for peanuts.
- On the front is a 6.2-inch LCD display that sufficiently bright and comes with Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Obviously, colours look a little washed out when compared to a flagship, but the phone also costs 1/10th of a Pixel. For day-to-day usage, you’ll never have complaints. This is a decent screen for watching YouTube or Netflix videos, some basic gaming and reading text, but what’s more important is the fact it sturdy with Corning’s glass.
- The user interface is a very subjective thing and the Redmi 8A ships with MIUI 10. From my usage, I’ve barely come across lags or stutters, delivering a smooth experience. In fact, the gestures are exceedingly effortless and it never feels like the phone is struggling to keep up with quick app switches. Gesture-based UI is quite hard to master and we’ve had lukewarm experience with mid-range phones from Realme as well as Vivo. Adding to this, MIUI does pack a few tricks of its own that ultimately help you navigate the phone faster. This includes customisable quick shortcut toggles from all physical as well as software-based buttons.
- We don’t expect an entry-level phone to have a unique design. The Redmi 8A’s design is a breath of fresh air in a segment filled with basic poly-carbonate bodies. It feels sturdy and looks quite premium. Xiaomi has also added reinforced corners for better drop protection, so you won’t have to worry about being gentle on it. It also comes with P2i splash resistance.
- Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 439 processor that comes with eight-cores, two of them are clocked at 1.95 GHz while the other six are energy efficient at 1.45 GHz. This same processor also powers the recently launched elder sibling — the Redmi 8. Don’t expect to run PUBG at high graphics on this, but you sure will get all other apps smoothly through. The base option comes with 2GB RAM and even though it should be sufficient for regular apps, we recommend going for the 3GB variant. You also get expandable storage and dual SIM support to manage all the extra data as well as secondary numbers.
The Redmi 8A successfully delivers all features one is looking for in a secondary phone. Whether you’re looking for a backup phone to manage extra SIM cards or need a media consumption device, this phone will ace all of it. These affordable phones have been the backbone of Xiaomi in India and there’s a reason why millions of them are sold every month.