Redmi Note 8 Pro review: Four cameras where one would do

The Redmi Note 8 Pro adopts the new premium-looking 8 series styling, and comes with four cameras and a new chipset. On paper it all sounds pretty great for the price, but how does it stack up in practice? Find out in our Redmi Note 8 Pro review.

About this Redmi Note 8 Pro review: I used the Note 8 Pro for two weeks in Berlin, Germany and New York, USA on Google Fi. Throughout the Note 8 Pro review period, the phone was running MIUI 10.4.4.0 on Android 9 Pie (PPR1.180610.011) with the August 1 security patch. Xiaomi provided the review unit to Android Authority.

What’s new since the Note 7 Pro?

Cameras: The main thing is the quad-camera system on the Note 8 Pro, which, to be honest, isn’t as exciting as it may at first sound. One is a depth sensor, another a macro shooter, and then there’s a wide-angle and regular lens. The Note 7 Pro only had a standard lens and a depth sensor, so it’s still a nice upgrade. We’ll dive into the cameras a little deeper later. The new selfie camera also gets bumped up to 20MP from 13MP on last year’s model.

Battery: There’s a battery bump here too, from 4,000mAh in the Note 7 Pro to 4,500mAh in the Note 8 Pro. The Note 8 Pro battery is pretty good, with all-day battery life definitely possible and an 18W charger in the box.

Chipset: Where the Note 7 Pro used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675, the Note 8 Pro switches to the MediaTek Helio G90T chipset. It handles gaming very well and the Note 8 Pro certainly doesn’t feel like it suffers in the performance department. You might be disappointed to know there’s no Snapdragon action here, but you really shouldn’t worry.

Design: The Note 8 Pro adopts the new design styling of the 8 series, and pairs Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back with a polycarbonate frame. I actually like the plastic trim here, as it doesn’t feel cheap, helps keep costs down, and should provide slightly better impact resistance than metal. Regardless, the Note 8 Pro is pretty hefty at 200g.

BUY NOTE 8 PRO AT AMAZON

Redmi Note 8 Pro review MIUI tools folder

How’s the Note 8 Pro’s screen?

  • 6.53-in IPS LCD
  • Full HD+ (2,340 x 1,080)
  • 91.4% screen-to-body ratio
  • 19.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Gorilla Glass 5
  • HDR support

The Redmi Note 8 Pro display is an IPS LCD, which is a bit of a shame considering you can get OLED panels at this price point. Nevertheless, while it isn’t fantastic it’s still pretty good for an LCD. It gets super bright and looks fine, with a relatively subdued color palette and good contrast. If you like your displays super-saturated this won’t be to your liking, but I don’t mind it.

There’s a nice dark mode on the Note 8 Pro, and despite using an LCD panel, the contrast levels are sufficient for it to not look gray. The resolution is sufficient for me, but the panel is a little cool out of the box. You can adjust the display to make it cooler or warmer and there’s a color wheel for subtle adjustments. You’ve also got several contrast options, so it’s pretty easy to tweak to your liking.

Redmi Note 8 Pro review App Vault

What’s the Redmi Note 8 Pro battery like?

The Redmi Note 8 Pro battery is pretty good if you’re not using the highest screen brightness settings all the time. It comes with an 18W charger and it also supports USB-PD and Quick Charge 4.0. In my testing, Xiaomi’s claims of a full charge in two hours were spot on. That’s not great, but it’s not terrible. A 35% charge is possible in half an hour of charging, and an hour’s worth of charging will get you to 65%.

My worst battery results came on days spent mostly outside, on cellular data, taking lots of photos and with high screen brightness. Those days would get me between three to four hours of screen-on time. On regular days spent half inside and half outside with settings to match, I was averaging between four and six hours. My best days delivered in excess of eight hours because I was inside connected to Wi-Fi all day with low screen brightness.

See Also: Phones with the best battery life  |  Fastest charging phones

Redmi Note 8 Pro review USB C port and headphone jack

Does it have a headphone jack?

Yes it does, and it’s really good. The Note 8 Pro scored very well in our audio testing for headphones. Even if you don’t rely on wired headphones all the time, the Note 8 Pro has you covered on the wireless front too. The presence of AptX, AptX HD, AptX Adaptive, AAC, and LDAC give you plenty of Bluetooth codec options. As with wired audio, the Note 8 Pro scored very well against the competition when it comes to Bluetooth. 

The Note 8 Pro scored very well in our audio testing for headphones, both wired and wireless.

The only real audio let-down here is the mono bottom-firing speaker, which, while okay, isn’t loud or crisp enough for my liking. This isn’t exactly make-or-break, but it’s good to know if you prefer speakers over headphones.

Beyond the 3.5mm jack, the Note 8 Pro also has an IR blaster and FM radio, plus it has NFC for Google Pay. There’s still no official IP rating here, but the Note 8 Pro is supposedly splash resistant. You should be okay if you get caught in the rain.

Redmi Note 8 Pro review back glass against wood

What’s it like for gaming?

  • Media Tek Helio G90T
  • Mali-G76 GPU
  • LiquidCool vapor chamber
  • 6GB/64GB, 6GB/128GB plus microSD

It’s great. The 12nm Helio G90T is really capable on the gaming front. In our testing, the Note 8 Pro slightly outperformed the Redmi K20, which runs the Snapdragon 730 mobile platform. MediaTek was going after the Snapdragon 730 with the G90T and from what I’ve seen it has succeeded.

MediaTek was going after the Snapdragon 730 with the G90T and from what I’ve seen it has succeeded.

The Note 8 Pro has a LiquidCool vapor chamber for heat dissipation. Regardless of whether I was gaming or running benchmarks, I never noticed the chassis getting warm to the touch. Combine this with HyperEngine game optimizations — which switch to a combination of Wi-Fi and cellular data if your Wi-Fi signal gets weak — and you shouldn’t notice any hiccups or lost frames while gaming. The Note 8 Pro can also connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks simultaneously.

It won’t be an easy task for MediaTek (or me for that matter) to convince you that the G90T is up to snuff for gamers. I’d suggest heading to a store where you can try it out for yourself. I wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard mobile gamer, but from what I saw during my Note 8 Pro review period, Qualcomm silicon isn’t everything. The G90T certainly does a good job on the Note 8 Pro.

Redmi Note 8 Pro GFX Bench results
Redmi Note 8 Pro Geekbench 4 results
Redmi Note 8 Pro Basemark results
Redmi Note 8 Pro AnTuTu benchmark results
Redmi Note 8 Pro 3DMark results
Redmi Note 8 Pro Geekbench benchmark resuts

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What’s the Redmi Note 8 Pro camera like?

  • Main camera: 64MP, f/1.9, 79-degree FoV, 0.8-micron pixel size, 1/1.7-inch sensor, PDAF
  • Wide-angle: 8MP, f/2.2, 120-degree FoV, 1.12-micron pixel size, 1/4-inch sensor
  • Macro: 2MP, f/2.4, 1.75-micron pixel size, 1/5-inch sensor 
  • Depth: 2MP, f/2.4, 1.75-micron pixel size, 1/5-inch sensor
  • Front-facing: 20MP, f/2.0, 0.9-micron pixel size

It’s complicated. The Note 8 Pro camera oscillates between surprisingly good and not great at all. In daylight, the 64MP Samsung GW1 produces good results at 16MP with tons of detail and good contrast. There’s a fair bit of post-processing going on though, and over-sharpening is clearly visible when you zoom in on the results. Thankfully, colors aren’t oversaturated and come out quite natural looking.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of 64MP shots on the Redmi Note 8 Pro.

Manually switching to 64MP in daylight is a satisfying move. 64MP shots maintain all that detail and allow you more freedom to crop after the fact. They do take up a lot more space than pixel-binned images (18MB versus 7MB). Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of 64MP shots on the Redmi Note 8 Pro. You can check out all the full-sized images here if you want to pixel peep.

Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 191553
Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 191524
Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 014634
Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 014612

The 64MP sensor gives you options in low-light because native pixel-binning means you can absorb more light data at 16MP. If you’re super-steady, you can get some decent nighttime photos. Even shooting at 64MP at night is possible, and I often preferred those photos for their naturalness to the 16MP version.

Night mode was generally quite good but the results weren’t always reliable. You really need to be leaning against something for super clear night mode shots. If you get it right, Night Mode will produce some of the best results you’ll get out of the Note 8 Pro. Night mode nicely drops highlights while bumping the dark spots without overdoing it. Regardless of whether you’re in Night Mode or 16MP mode, there’s still a fair bit of visible noise at night and don’t even think about taking a photo while moving.

Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 165830
Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 165817
Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 165822
Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 185319
Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 185311
Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 185324

The wide-angle camera is a lot of fun during the day, but I wouldn’t even touch it at night. For instance, just check out the blown-out highlights and weirdly purple sky in the wide-angle shot above. The lack of versatility here is a let-down, making me wonder why Xiaomi bothered going in on a wide-angle lens it doesn’t utilize properly.

It’s the same story with the 2MP macro camera. It’s fun, but it also suffers from over-sharpening and is little more than a novelty you’ll probably rarely use.

The depth, macro, and wide-angle lenses are nowhere near as good as the primary shooter.

The 2MP depth sensor theoretically should provide better-looking bokeh and cleaner edge detection in portrait mode. I couldn’t tell the difference between portrait mode photos taken with it doing its thing and others when I covered it with my finger. As with most cameras, the cutout and naturalness of portrait mode shots were pretty debatable. If you ask me, the depth, macro, and wide-angle lenses are nowhere near as good as the primary shooter.

Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 230836
Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 134851
Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 130304

Selfies were pretty detailed thanks to the 20MP front-facing camera, but it struggled in low light environments. At the very least I wasn’t an over-smoothed beauty queen in the resulting images, so I’ll give Xiaomi points for naturalness.

The best “extra” in the Redmi Note 8 Pro camera is surprisingly not one of the lenses, but the 2x digital zoom available in the camera app. It relies on the massive 64MP sensor, but the results are quite often indistinguishable, if not better than, a cropped and enlarged normal photo. As a result, the Note 8 Pro could have come with just the primary lens and I don’t think you would be missing out on anything.

Redmi Note 8 Pro camera sample 161028

Generally speaking, HDR is okay but nothing to write home about, especially on the wide-angle camera. The Note 8 Pro tends to blow out highlights a bit and struggles with dynamic range. Because of this, some shots end up too dark in the shadows with strong contrast while others are too light and come out kind of flat. Despite having four lenses, the Note 8 Pro unfortunately lacks the versatility you might expect from a quad-camera phone.

The Note 8 Pro could have come with just the primary lens and I don’t think you would be missing out on anything.

Redmi Note 8 Pro review camera app in action

Redmi Note 8 Pro specs

Display 6.53-inch IPS LCD, 19.5:9 aspect ratio,
Waterdrop notch,
Full HD+ (1,080 x 2,340) resolution,
91.4% screen-to-body ratio
HDR support
Chipset MediaTek Helio G90T
(2 x Cortex A76 and 6 x Cortex A55 cores)
Mali-G76 MC4 GPU
RAM/Storage 6GB/64GB
6GB/128GB
Camera Rear:
64MP main (Samsung QW1), f/1.9, 79-degree fov, 0.8-micron pixel size, 1/1.7-inch sensor, PDAF
8MP ultra-wide, f/2.2, 120-degree fov, 1.12-micron pixel size, 1/4-inch sensor
2MP macro, f/2.4, 1.75-micron pixel size, 1/5-inch sensor
2MP depth sensor, f/2.4, 1.75-micron pixel size, 1/5-inch sensor
4K video at 30fps, Full HD video at 30/60fps and slo-mo at 120fps, HD video at 30fps and slo-mo at 120, 240 and 960fps (interpolated)
Front:
20MP, f/2.0, 0.9-micron pixel size, Full HD video at 30fps
Battery 4,500mAh
18W charging
Quick Charge 4.0 and USB-PD support
USB-C
Dimensions 161.4 x 76.4 x 8.8mm
Weight 200g
Colors Forest Green
Mineral Gray
Pearl White
Biometrics Capacitive fingerprint scanner
Face unlock
Sensors Proximity sensor, In-screen ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Electronic compass, Vibration motor, IR blaster
Headphone jack Yes
Connectivity LTE FDD: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B20/B28
LTE TDD: B38/B40
WCDMA: B1/B2/B4/B5/B8
GSM: B2/B3/B5/B8
Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz): 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Direct/Wi-Fi Display
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC

Redmi Note 8 Pro review camera closeup

Is the Note 8 Pro worth the money?

Absolutely. There’s nothing super revolutionary here, but for the price you pay, the package is pretty solid across the board. The quad-camera is a bit of a let-down, but is made up for by the reliable 64MP sensor. The Note 8 Pro has a good battery, decent screen, solid build quality, capable software (that of course won’t be to everyone’s liking), and excellent audio whether you’re wired or wireless.

There’s nothing super revolutionary here, but for the price you pay, the package is pretty solid across the board.

The Note 8 Pro’s most obvious competitor is the Realme XT, which also has a 64MP sensor, but takes things up a notch with an OLED panel and in-display fingerprint sensor. Regardless, the Note 8 Pro is a good option among many good options, just don’t be lured by the promise of its four cameras.

You can pick up the Redmi Note 8 Pro on Amazon in the US for $265, in Europe for €249, and in China for 1,399 yuan. It will be coming to India on October 16.

Buy Redmi Note 8 Pro on Amazon