Four cameras, 6.53-inch FHD screen and less than Dh1,000 - that's the Note 8 Pro for you
It sounds eerily familiar. And while it's not what you think it is, it has its own proposition to make; indeed not a full-fledged flagship, but with a number of specs found in that tier - at a price way lower.
The Redmi Note 8 Pro is exactly that, another contender in the seemingly endless parade of mid-range smartphones with specs that seem to blur the lines between that level and those above it. Redmi, for the uninitiated, is the sub-brand of China's Xiaomi, a consistent member of the global top five mobile phone vendors.
And... no, don't expect a stylus around here. This device has a 6.53-inch FHD screen that dons a 'dot drop' front camera (it will always be 'teardrop' to me), maximising your digital real estate; it's also bright and good to the eyes. Buttons and ports are standard: volume rocker and power on the right, card tray to the left and 3.5mm audio port and USB-C slot below. Both its front and back are adorned with glass.
Directly below the cameras on the rear is a fingerprint scanner that reacts quickly. Its face unlock feature, meanwhile, is also pretty snappy, but gets slower when the lights go darker. It doesn't prompt you to set it up when you're using the device for the first time, but you can do that in settings.
Now the Redmi Note 8 Pro has a quad-lens camera, and headlining it is a hulking 64MP sensor, supported by ultra-wide, macro and depth lenses. The 64MP HDR mode isn't on by default; you'll have to select it within the camera app. Using it would give more detail to your shots, though some parts could appear under or - more often - overexposed. But overall, I am more than satisfied with how images turn out.
In low-light situations, while night mode will fix things up, be prepared for noise, especially in darker backgrounds. The 20MP selfie camera offers some tricks that are commonplace, including the ability to adjust blur and apply studio lighting and other effects. I like this capability, though it isn't perfect when it comes to trimming out edges.
When it comes to battery life, the device lost 14 per cent in our standard one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test, which is pretty high. It did, however, last me until before noontime the following day. The heavier stuff you use it for, the more it saps the juice out.
But here's some good news: the Note 8 Pro comes bundled with an 18W fast charger; from zero, it went up to 16 per cent in 15 minutes, 35 per cent in half-an-hour, 74 per cent in one hour then crawled to full charge in one hour, 51 minutes.
Xiaomi's Redmi Note 8 Pro is a serious, well-rounded phone - with four cameras to boot - at the Dh1,000 level. The camera and battery hold up pretty well, but there's always room for improvement. Despite those - given the versatility it brings to your hands - this is a steal at its price.
Processor: MediaTek Helio G90T octa-core; Mali-G76 MC4
Platform: Android 9.0 Pie, MIUI 10
Display: 6.53" FHD+, 2340 x 1080, 395ppi, HDR, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Storage: 64/128GB, expandable up to 256GB
Main camera: Quad-lens: 64MP (f/1.9) wide + 8MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide + 2MP (f/2.4) macro + 2MP (f/2.4) depth, HDR, 10x digital
Front camera: 20MP (f/2.0)
Battery: 4500mAh; 18W charger
I/O: USB-C, 3.5mm audio
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC (Google Pay); dual-SIM
Price: Dh949 (64GB)/Dh1,049 (128GB)
Pros: Good camera (in good light), solid build, expandable memory
Cons: Rigid use eats up a lot of battery, camera struggles at night
Author's Rating: 4/5