While the Redmi Note Pro series is the mid-range leader for Xiaomi, the company has maintained a fantastic tier-two option for users who don’t want to spend as much, but still want some of the niceties introduced by the new generation of hardware. Accompanying the Redmi Note 8 Pro, a phone that we rated very highly in our review, is the all-new Redmi Note 8. The phone comes in somewhere between the Redmi Note 7S that it replaces, and the higher-end Redmi Note 8 Pro.
The Redmi Note series has almost always been an easy recommendation for its best-in-class performance. Can the Redmi Note 8 continue the momentum? We find out in the Android Authority review.
Redmi Note 8: The big picture
The Redmi Note 8 enters a competitive landscape that has more than a few quality options available to buyers. Between the brand appeal of Samsung, clean software offered by Motorola, and growing threat of Realme’s focus on design and specifications, Xiaomi has taken big steps forward. Including a quad-camera setup and fast-charging should certainly help the Redmi Note 8 bridge the gap. However, the design is starting to look a bit dull and the internals are slowing their advances.
What’s in the box
- Redmi Note 8
- TPU case
- 18W charger
- USB-C cable
- SIM ejector tool
Xiaomi has stepped up its game with in-box contents: It now throws in an 18W fast charger in the box. Additionally, you’ll find the usual TPU case, USB-C cable, and SIM ejector tool. It would have been nice to see a pair of earphones thrown in for good measure, but you’ve probably got a favorite pair lying around anyway.
- 158.3 x 75.3 x 8.4mm
- Gorilla Glass 5 front and back
- Waterdrop notch
- Rear fingerprint sensor
The design of the Redmi Note 8 leans more towards the Redmi Note 7S than the Redmi Note 8 Pro. While the latter incorporates a curvy design and a luxurious build that belies its price, the Redmi Note 8 is very much a mid-range smartphone as far as looks go. The entire design is an extension of the flattened-out, glass-and-metal sandwich that first debuted on the Redmi Note 7. Yes, Xiaomi’s budget portfolio can get quite complicated.
The Redmi Note 8 places its 6.3-inch display under Gorilla Glass 5, which is flanked by not-too-large bezels on three sides. Xiaomi’s decision to run a color-matched blue trim around the display area is questionable. Personally, I think it cheapens the look of the phone, but you may feel differently. The chin at the bottom is inoffensive even though the Redmi branding comes across as a bit much. A small notification LED sits to the left of the waterdrop notch. The LED is just a bit too small to be noticeable from a distance, but it is better than not having one at all.
It is hard to fault the construction of Xiaomi devices, and the Redmi Note 8 is no exception. From the volume rocker and power button, to the SIM tray and USB-C port at the bottom, high-quality construction is apparent everywhere. The buttons are solid with no wobble and they offer near-perfect tactile feedback. The phone even has an IR blaster that you can use to control electronics like televisions and air conditioners.
The rear panel is also made of Gorilla Glass 5 and sports a subtle blue/purple gradient. A fingerprint scanner sits in the center and is as fast as they come. The quad-camera module, however, sits way too far above the surface glass. This causes the phone to rock when placed on a table, and it will inevitably catch on to your pocket when sliding it in.
Overall, the Redmi Note 8’s design should appeal to most. Sure, it isn’t quite as exciting as the Redmi Note 8 Pro, but that’s a concession you have to make for a lower price point.