Review Redmi 8A: Lots of Smartphone for under $100
We already gave you the first leaks to the supposed Redmi 8A a few months ago. Meanwhile the new low-budget smartphone has been available for quite some time and shows again how much smartphone you can get for less than $100.
- Redmi 8A (2/32 GB)
- Redmi 8 (3/32 GB)
- Redmi 8 (4/64 GB)
Technical data of the Redmi 8 & 8A
|Xiaomi Redmi 8A||Xiaomi Redmi 8|
|Display||6.22 inch IPS LCD Display (1520 x 720 p) with 270 ppi||6.22 inch 19.5:9 HD (1520 x 720 pixel) LC Display (270 PPI)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 Octa Core @ 2 GHz & 1.45 GHz||Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 Octa Core @ 2 GHz & 1.45 GHz|
|Graphic chip||Qualcomm Adreno 505 GPU @ 650 MHz||Qualcomm Adreno 505 GPU @ 650 MHz|
|RAM||2 GB LPDDR3||3/4 GB LPDDR3|
|Internal memory||32 GB eMMC 5.1 (expandable up to 512 GB)||32/64 GB eMMC 5.1 (expandable up to 512 GB)|
|Camera||12 Megapixel Sony IMX 363 with f/1.8 aperture||12 Megapixel Sony IMX 363 with f/1.8 aperture + 2 MP depth sensor|
|Front camera||8 Megapixel OV8856 with f/2.0 aperture||8 Megapixel OV8856 with f/2.0 aperture|
|Battery||5.000 mAh with 10 Watt charger (supported 18W)||5.000 mAh with 10 Watt charger (supported 18W)|
|Connectivity||USB Type-C, BT 4.2, GPS/BDS/GLONASS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Dual-SIM||USB Type-C, BT 4.2, GPS/BDS/GLONASS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Dual-SIM|
|Features||Face Unlock||Fingerprint Sensor, Face Unlock, Infrared|
|Operating system||MIUI 11 Interface based on Android 9||MIUI 11 Interface based on Android 9|
|Dimensions / Weight||156,48 x 75,41 x 9,4 mm / 188g||156,48 x 75,41 x 9,4 mm / 188g|
Redmi 8A & Redmi 8 – the differences
As the name suggests, the two entry-level models differ only in a few functions. First of all, there is the more striking reflective design of the Redmi 8, which is based on current flagships. However, the entire case of both smartphones is completely made of plastic, which is more than understandable in this price range. Both Redmis are available in black, red and blue; only the 8 series is available in green. But the biggest difference is probably the fingerprint sensor, which you only get in the more expensive Redmi 8.
The second camera on the back is only responsible for additional depth information for portraits, so it can be neglected. More important is the infrared transmitter, which is also not available on the Redmi 8A. Finally, the memory configurations are different: While the Redmi 8A in the Global version is only available with 2 GB working memory and 32 GB mass storage, the Redmi 8 offers the choice between 3/32GB or 4/64GB. All other technical data of the two phones are completely identical and therefore all statements can be transferred to the Redmi 8.
Top processing for under $100
As smartphones are getting bigger and bigger and nowadays you rarely find a screen diagonal below 6 inches, the A devices of the Redmi series were popular. Now this is changing with the Redmi 8A, which is based on a 6.22″ diagonal and is a good deal larger than the Redmi 7A. Nevertheless the Redmi 8A fits well in the hand and actually looks a bit smaller than the current standard, even if it is only a few millimeters. The 8A measures 156.5 x 75.4 x 9.4 mm and weighs 188 g, which is mainly due to the 5,000 mAh battery.
Even though the 8A is no longer as beautifully small as the 7A, it remains “handy” for current conditions. The phone lies very comfortably in the hand with its slightly hatched back, which is also less susceptible to unsightly fingerprints. The vertical strip as well as the edges are not hatched, but belong to the same piece of plastic, so there is no edge between the back and the edges.
The fact that plastic is used is forgiven for the low price. Even the single camera sits almost completely in the housing, which is actually a plus point these days. “Funny” is also that both the upper and lower edges are flat, so that you can definitely put the mobile phone down. All in all, there is nothing to criticize about the workmanship and it is certainly difficult for laymen to see that you can get the phone for less than $100.
The buttons on the right side have a good pressure point and the real dual SIM slot (2x SIM + microSD) sits flush in the case. The headphone jack is located on the bottom left and a USB-C port is located in the middle next to it. So now you get USB-C even in the cheapest Xiaomi series! The mono loudspeaker sits right next to it.
Contemporary display & design on the front
The Redmi 8A has also come out on top in 2019 and now 2020. One relies on a Waterdrop-Notch, which is centrally located at the upper edge of the screen. An old, new trend is the Redmi-Branding, which is located on the lower edge of the screen. This is also implemented in the Redmi Note 8(T), but in our opinion it makes the border look thicker than it actually is. The screen has a diagonal of 6.22 inches, which makes it slightly smaller than the 6.3″ display of the Redmi 7, but much larger than the 5.45″ display of the Redmi 7A. The resolution of the IPS panel is also “only” 1520 x 720 pixels (HD+). Thus we end up with a low pixel density of 270 ppi. The manufacturer protects the display with Gorilla Glass 5.
The lower resolution is definitely visible, especially if you hold a FullHD display next to it. However, a 720P display is of course also usable and, as with the Notch, you get used to it. The color rendering automatically adapts to the ambient light by default, but can be completely adjusted to your own wishes if necessary. The brightness is okay in the price range, but reading can be difficult in direct sunlight. Moreover, there is a slight backlight bleeding at the lower edge of the screen, which only gets really annoying at acute viewing angles.
Furthermore, there is of course also a read/night mode and the popular Dark Mode. The double tap to wake up and lift to wake up also works as usual. Additionally, you get a real 10-point touchscreen here, which reacts very well and quickly to input. Thus, one can only really criticize the backlight bleeding and the not quite as high maximum brightness in this price range. You couldn’t find a better display for under $100, though.
Finally more memory
Interestingly enough, the first leaks to the Redmi 8A were absolutely right. So the same processor is used as in the previous Redmi 7A: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439. The Octa-Core is still the strongest Snapdragon from the inexpensive 400 series and is based on the 12 nanometer manufacturing process. Thanks to the 2.0 GHz & 1.45 GHz clock frequency, the SD439 delivers enough power for a budget phone. In fact, it’s not the first time you’ve used the same CPU for two generations.
In China, you can get the Redmi 8A with either 3/32 GB or 4/64 GB memory, but the Global version with LTE and Play Store, which we tested, is only available with 2GB LPDDR3 memory and 32 GB eMMC5.1 mass storage. Fortunately, the memory is expandable by up to 512 GB in an independent slot. So the 32 GB are bearable, but I would have liked to have 3GB RAM.
The fact that there is a lack of RAM and its speed in places is quickly noticed when multitasking five or more apps. These apps then have to be completely reloaded when they are opened again. Sometimes the multitasking overview is jerky and the Redmi 8A also stutters in the other system navigation. Generally it takes 0.5-1 second for most inputs to execute the desired action and load all contents. This would all be very bad, if we were not in the budget class. On the other hand, the performance is then completely fine and as expected.
MIUI 11 brings more fluid system
At the time of release MIUI 10 was still running on the Redmi, but has now been replaced by MIUI 11, which is still based on Android 9 Pie (security update 12/2019). Redmi has done itself a big favor, because since the update the 8A runs much more smoothly. What the mobile phone needed 2 seconds for before, is now running in one. The software has been optimized even better and the daily use is much more comfortable.
In addition, MIUI 11 can do a lot and offers many settings and customization options that you normally only find on higher priced smartphones. Unfortunately you have some bloatware preinstalled (FB, WPS Office, Netflix, AliExpress, Mi Community), but you can easily uninstall it. If you can overlook that, you get a versatile and absolutely polished system here, and thanks to Xiaomi’s update policy, you will have it in the future, too.
Same, solid camera
Contrary to many reports, Xiaomi doesn’t equip the Redmi 8A with the Sony IMX363 sensor, but with the IMX486. This was also already used in the Redmi 7A. Maybe the better sensor is only used in the version for China or India. That’s a real pity, because the IMX363 would have been a significant improvement, because it is currently still used in Google Pixel 4. After all, the aperture is relatively bright with ƒ/1.8, and Xiaomi’s software is of course also good. But you only notice this when you take the final photo, because the photos don’t look so good in the viewfinder:
The photos are altogether okay and make a good first impression. Colors and contrast are right and skin tones are well hit. However, if you look at the pictures on a larger screen, you quickly notice that there is often a lack of sharpness and details. The shutter release time is nice and short in good light and with HDR turned off, but as soon as it gets darker or the automatic HDR starts, the 8A needs a second. Also the processing afterwards takes a few seconds with HDR before you can see the result.
The darker the scene, the more noise is generated and as soon as there is no or hardly any natural light left, the photos quickly become useless. To capture a sunrise, the quality is still sufficient, only many details are missing.
New compared to the 7A is the portrait mode, which works fine with one camera thanks to Xiaomi’s software. The separation of foreground and background is not always as clear, especially at the transitions. As a result, the object in the foreground often has slightly blurred edges.
An 8 MP front camera sensor (OV8856) with a small f/2.0 aperture is available for selfies. This can also be used for Face Unlock, which is not very fast but reliable. A good pin or more complicated pattern is of course safer.
The selfies are not very sharp or detailed, but in good light they are enough for a snapshot or two. Especially on smartphone screens the blurriness is hardly noticeable and we definitely had worse front cameras for more money in the test.
Top battery life thanks to 5.000 mAh
The battery has been enlarged once again compared to the 7A, the Redmi 8A offers a full 5,000 mAh battery capacity. The Redmi 7A delivered with 17 hours already a record runtime, which should be surpassed again. And it did: The 8A lasted an outstanding 18 hours and 49 minutes at 66% screen brightness. That’s even more impressive when you consider that we had still set the brightness to 50% in the 7A. In practice, the Redmi 8A will last for 2-3 days, depending on use – so here you would have a great festival phone.
The budget smartphone is charged via the USB-C port with 10 watts, at least when using the included adapter. Then the full charge from 0% to 100% takes 2 hours and 50 minutes. The phone also supports 18W Quick Charge 3.0, so if you have such a charger at home, you can fill the 5,000 mAh battery in 2 hours.
The low-budget smartphone offers a dual-SIM slot as well as a memory expansion via microSD slot (up to 512GB), so you don’t have to decide on this. Both SIM slots also support VoLTE. In our Global version LTE is also supported. Local Internet is provided by the 802.11 b/g/n WiFi module. Positioning is done via GPS, GLONASS and BDS. Of course you have to do without NFC. Some of you may be happy that it supports FM radio and the headphone jack is also available.
A lot of mobile phone for little money
Even though Xiaomi generally maintains a short release rhythm, the successor of the Redmi 7A has just been released very quickly. We were more than enthusiastic about the 7A at the special offer price of about $80 and the 8A is actually just a bigger 7A with a new back design, USB-C port, better front camera and bigger battery. At the same time, the price is only increased by $10, further consolidating our pole position in the low-budget market.
The only negative aspects are the moderate brightness of the screen, its backlight bleeding and the not always smooth performance. For the price these points are absolutely no deal-breaker, so I can recommend the Redmi 8A as a beginner or second mobile phone.To the gadget