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Hands on: Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro review

New design and cameras with improved performance

What is a hands on review?
(Image: © Xiaomi)

Early Verdict

On paper, the Redmi Note 8 Pro looks like a solid upgrade to the previous generation which was already a great smartphone for its price, to begin with.

For

  • Upgraded quad-camera setup
  • 18W fast charging
  • HDR display
  • New Aura design
  • Dedicated microSD card slot
  • Large screen to play around

Against

  • MIUI 11 update comes in December

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro has been launched alongside the regular Redmi Note 8 and follows the Note 7 series, which were announced earlier this year. The Redmi Note 7 Pro was a massive upgrade to the popular Note series of the company as it finally featured a revamped design along with a good boost in performance and an impressive camera for the price.

And now, after eight months, Xiaomi went ahead and upgraded everything that the Note 7 Pro was with new hardware and software features. Let’s take a look at everything the Redmi Note 8 Pro brings to the table.

Price and availability

Xiaomi has three variants of the Redmi Note 8 Pro, with the base model having 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. It is priced at Rs 14,999. The second variant has 128GB storage and is priced at Rs 15,999 while the top-end model with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage retails at Rs 17,999.

The phones will be available starting October 21 from noon on Amazon India, Mi India Store, and Mi Home. It will also be available with major offline stores in the next few weeks.

Design & Display

(Image credit: Future)

The phone has a new design, somewhat similar to the company’s K20 series of phones. The resemblance appears due to the central position of the camera module on the back, which is separated with a fingerprint sensor and LED flash.

Taking it into the hand, it felt a little hefty than expected, so we checked the numbers and found the Note 8 Pro to be 24grams more than the Note 7 Pro. The bigger display does play a part in increasing the weight, but you get a large screen estate to play with, so no complaints here.

(Image credit: Future)

The phone features a 6.53-inch Full HD+(2340 x 1080 pixels) resolution display flush with a waterdrop notch cutout on the front. Xiaomi has even narrowed-down the bezels on the Note 8 Pro to 4.2mm, which gives the phone a 91.4% screen-to-body ratio. 

Now, we all like to watch videos and play games on our phones, and that big screen will let us do just that. The screen on the phone is also certified for HDR playback, which means your viewing experience, be it gaming or watching movies, just got better and at this price range, it's just icing on the delicious cake.

The Redmi Note 8 Pro is covered in Gorilla Glass 5, both front and the back, for protection against accidental falls or daily wear and tear. Additionally, the phone has P2i nano-coating for protection against usual splashes of water that come in the way.

Under the hood

(Image credit: Future)

Xiaomi’s new Redmi Note is special because it is powered by a MediaTek chipset, which hasn’t been the company’s go-to chipmaker, at least for the Note series for a while. However, MediaTek’s Helio G90T chipset was announced recently for providing top-notch performance with a focus on gaming capabilities. 

The G90T is fabricated on a 12nm architecture process and is supported by an octa-core CPU and Mali-G76 MC4 as the GPU with speeds up to 800MHz. The new chipset is capable of providing 34% more power than the Redmi Note 7 Pro, which is powered by Snapdragon 665 chipset. While we’ll test the phone ourselves when it comes in for review, the benchmark scores show G90T getting way ahead of the Snapdragon 710, 712, and even 730G in some aspects.

The Redmi Note 8 Pro will be available in three configurations-- 6GB RAM + 64GB storage, 6GB RAM + 128GB storage and 8GB RAM + 128GB storage. Xiaomi has included a dedicated slot for microSD cards to expand the storage to up to 512GB, which has especially been done for the Indian variant of the phone.

The Note 8 Pro runs on MIUI 10 based on Android 9.0 and is scheduled to get upgraded to MIUI 11 by the end of this year.

Xiaomi has also added the LiquidCool technology to the Note 8 Pro paired with dual pyrolytic sheets to cool down the phone by four to six degrees in those heated moments where you're working your way towards a ‘Chicken Dinner.’

The phone has WiFi X Antenna, which prevents blocking of signal when the phone is held in landscape mode when playing games or watching videos.

The Redmi Note 8 Pro also comes with Amazon Alexa out-of-the-box as the Helio G90T chipset is the world’s first chip to support dual wake-up word for virtual assistants. So technically, users can say “Alexa” or “Hey Google” for initiating Amazon’s and Google’s assistants, respectively. 

As for the battery, the Note 8 Pro has a 4,500mAh battery, which supports 18W fast charging with the adapter provided in-the-box.

Cameras

(Image credit: Future)

The Redmi Note 8 Pro is also Xiaomi’s first phone to come with a quad-camera setup consisting of a primary 64MP camera that uses the Samsung GW1 sensor. There’s an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens with a 120-degree field of view and an f/2.2 aperture, a 2MP macro lens with a minimum focusing distance of 2cm and a 2MP depth sensor for creating portrait pictures.

The camera system on the Note 8 Pro can do 10x digital zoom, shoot in 4K and record 960fps slow-motion videos. On the front, there’s a 20MP selfie camera housed within the notch.

We’ll test out the cameras on the phone when it comes in for a full review.

Early Verdict

On paper, the Redmi Note 8 Pro looks like a massive upgrade to the previous generation, which was already an excellent smartphone for its price. The recent developments in technology have allowed Xiaomi to experiment with a new chipset that’s capable of obliterating the competition. 

From dual cameras on the Note 7 Pro to 64MP quad-camera setup on the Note 8 Pro, the Note series has come of age. And if there’s something Xiaomi does better than any other smartphone manufacturer right now is that its offerings have a high price to value ratio.

Having said all that, we’re looking forward to testing out the Redmi Note 8 Pro in detail, especially the new cameras.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.