Xiaomi’s Redmi Note range of smartphones have been the most popular smartphones in India in the last 3 years. And with good reason, as these phones have provided the ultimate balance between battery life, performance and day to day frills like the cameras. But as the smartphone becomes a more commoditised entity, this phone is now evolving into a more power-packed offering. It retains the most what makes the Redmi Note range great while adding bits from gaming smartphones which makes this a gamer’s phone first than anything else, making it a true successor to the Poco F1, with no Poco F2 in sight.
- Xiaomi has evolved the design language on the Redmi Note 8 Pro which features a curved back, and bevelled edges which makes this a phone a large phone that’s easy to hold on to. This is important because it also has a huge 6.53-inch full HD screen which has a screen to body ratio of more than 91%. It also looks wicked in the green colour.
- I’m calling this a monstrous gaming phone because of the Mediatek Hello GT90t which is a powerhouse and easily the most powerful chip to be in a phone that costs less than Rs 20,000. This phone is also liquid-cooled which means its performance is touching that of phones running the Snapdragon 855+ chip while providing sublime gaming performance on games like PUBG and Call of Duty Mobile running at maximum settings.
- This phone packs a 4,500mAh battery which is the largest battery we’ve seen on a Redmi Note smartphone. It also supports 18W fast charging in the box. This converts to around 30 hours of battery life and a full charge in 2 hours using a fast-charging system that’s widely used.
- This phone has a four-camera system on the back which also comes with Samsung’s 64-megapixel sensor coupled with a depth sensor, a macro lens and a wide-angle camera. This is a very versatile camera system which also a good low light performance. There is also a very decent 20-megapixel selfie camera.
- The biggest problem on this phone is that MiUI is now starting to look stale and it doesn’t feel as responsive as stock Android. While some older Xiaomi phones have been updated to MiUI 11, this phone is stuck on MiUI 10. That also means this phone is based on Android 9 Pie and still hasn’t received the update to Android 10. This probably because Mediatek hasn’t been fast enough to update the Helio GT90t.
- The 6.53-inch display is nice and even supports HDR playback on Netflix, but it isn’t as nice as the OLED screen on the Realme XT. The competition has levelled up and Xiaomi has to do more to respond.
- Many people will be wary that this phone is powered by a Mediatek processor instead of a Qualcomm one as they are known for weak battery life and overheating. This is perhaps the reason why Xiaomi added liquid cooling and a larger 4,500mAh battery.
- Compared to the Poco F1, this phone doesn’t represent an insane value which has been the forte of the Redmi Note line. You can’t discern that the Redmi Note 8 Pro is faster than the Poco F1 while it is now on newer software and has the added benefit of a Qualcomm processor.
Overall, the Redmi Note 8 Pro is a fantastic phone but certainly, it is now being geared towards gamers more than mainstream consumers even though it will work brilliantly for most people. That being said, the truth is the competition is levelled up for Xiaomi and phones from Realme are looking increasingly competitive, apart from Android One offerings from Nokia and Xiaomi’s own phones which eliminate the runaway no-brainer that a new Redmi Note has always had.