Review Redmi Note 8 Review & Redmi Note 8T for Europe: Finally with NFC!

The Redmi Note 8 has just been introduced as Redmi Note 8T for Europe! The Note 8T offers the same Specs as the normal Note 8 with the addition of NFC for e.g. Google Pay. So the biggest criticism of the Note 8 with this European version is obsolete. The Redmi Note 8T will be available from November 15th for 199€ with 4GB/64GB (249€ for 4/128GB). You can find all information about the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (Pro) here.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T

The Redmi Note series from Xiaomi and Redmi respectively is probably the most popular smartphone series from the tech giant. While the Redmi Note 8 Pro is more than convincing in the test, but focuses more on gaming instead of runtime, the “normal” Redmi Note 8 seems to be a no-brainer again. Or has there been too little change here?

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone in Hand

Redmi Note 8 at Banggood from $186.69

Redmi Note 8 at Amazon from $195

Redmi Note 8 at Geekbuying from $199.99

Technical data of the Redmi Note 8

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 (T) Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
Display 6,3″ IPS LC-Display 6,53″ IPS LC-Display (2340 x 1080p), Gorilla Glass 5
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 @ 2 GHz MediaTek Helio G90T Octa-Core @ 2.05 GHz
Graphic chip Adreno 610 Adreno 610
Main memory 4/6 GB 6/8 GB LPDDR4X RAM
Internal memory 64/128 GB 64/128 GB
Main camera 48 MP with ƒ/1.79 aperture + 8 MP wide-angle + 2 MP depth sensor + 2MP macro camera 64 MP Samsung GW1 + 8 MP wide-angle + 2 MP depth sensor + 2 MP macro camera
Front camera 20 Megapixel 20 Megapixel
Battery 4.000 mAh with Quick Charge 3.0 18W 4.500 mAh with Quick Charge 3.0 18W
Connectivity LTE Band 1,3,5,7,8 WLAN AC, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Bluetooth 5.0, Dual SIM, NFC for 8T LTE Band 1,3,5,7,8, WLAN AC, GPS/Galileo/GLONASS/BDS, Bluetooth 5.0, Dual SIM, NFC
Features Fingerprint Sensor | USB Type-C | Face Unlock | Headphone Jack Fingerprint Sensor | USB Type-C | Face Unlock | Headphone Jack
Operating system MIUI 10.3, Android 9 MIUI 10.3, Android 9
Dimensions / Weight 159,21 x 75,21 x 8,1mm / 186 g 161,3 x 76 x 8,8 mm / 199 g

Redmi Note 7 or Redmi Note 8?

We have mentioned here on the blog many times that the current middle class models from China are very similar. If you look at the Redmi Note 8 from the front, you can only tell it apart from its predecessor by two details. Both have the 6.3 inch display in common, which occupies most of the front. To accommodate the front camera, the eighth generation also implements a Waterdrop notch, which is now a bit more “curved” and doesn’t have the round drop shape like its predecessor. Below the display the Redmi logo attracts attention, in fact they said goodbye to such a branding – at least we thought so. Unfortunately, this makes the lower edge of the screen look thicker, even though it’s 6 mm as thick as the Redmi Note 7.

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone Screen Edge Redmi Branding

At least our test device in the white Colorway reminds us of the iPhone X. However, this is only due to the aluminum-look case frame, which as usual offers power and volume buttons on the right and houses the SIM slot on the left. In black and blue Colorway, however, the case frame fits better with the rest of the look.

Redmi Note 8 smartphone keys side

If you take a closer look at the back, you can already see the main difference between the Note 7 and the Note 8: the camera. In the upper left corner Xiaomi positions the quad camera module, in the Redmi Note 8 Pro it sits centrally. Only the fingerprint sensor is located there. The Redmi lettering is located in the lower left corner and runs parallel to the long side. But do you need two brandings on your mobile phone? Not even Apple is that much in love with itself.

Redmi Smartphone back Redmi Logo

Processing & Handling

Meanwhile, it can be said that the times of miserably processed China smartphones are over. Xiaomi is certainly a reason for this and set the bar very high early on, the Redmi Note 8 is no exception. “Soft” transitions between the frame and the two glass backs, well milled recesses and pleasant pressure points make up the workmanship here. But as with the Redmi Note 8 Pro, you also have to criticize the camera bump that protrudes far out of the case with 2 mm. This can’t be relativized by the included case, the competition from Huawei solved it better in the Honor 9X.

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone back side top

The ergonomics have not changed due to the same design. The Redmi Note 8 fits perfectly in the hand, the outwardly curved case frame feels good. If you’ve ever had a 6,3″ smartphone in your hand, you know what to expect. Even with slightly smaller fingers you can reach the side keys as well as the fingerprint sensor really well. It also sits comfortably in the housing and is not part of the camera module like its big brother.

Redmi Note 8 smartphone backside whole

Still with a LC display

Since Xiaomi has generally changed little here, it’s quite possible to use the same IPS LC display with the 6.3″ diagonal. Fortunately, in contrast to the Xiaomi Mi A3, you can rely on a Full HD+ display resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels in the currently popular 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The resulting pixel density of 409 ppi, i.e. pixels per inch, is just as standard as the 1500:1 contrast ratio of the IPS panel. In fact, the panel has been tested by TÜV Rheinland.

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone Display

The Redmi Note 8 has to compete with the Oppo Realme 3 Pro, which is currently on #1 of the best China smartphones under $200. In fact, Xiaomi’s new mid-range phone is a bit ahead, but both panels are on a very similar level. The display of the RN8 is a bit cooler, but also slightly brighter. The contrast ratio but also the sharpness are identical in both, there are no differences even on closer inspection. When it comes to functionality, the Redmi Note 8 convinces as usual: no input lags, precise inputs and support for 10-finger multitouch.

MIUI with many setting options

In the display settings, you now get a little more setting options than in previous generations. The color temperature of the panel can be adjusted via the color palette, and there are also three presettings for the contrast ratio. Also the dark mode is already integrated here, but it only makes optical sense. Since it is an LC display, the black pixels are also illuminated and not only the bright pixels, as is the case with an AMOLED, thus eliminating the energy-saving effect. In addition, there is a read mode, automatic brightness and the possibility to get the mobile phone out of sleep mode with a “double tap”.

Redmi Note 8 MIUI display settings

Meanwhile you can happily hide the notch at the top of the screen if you like. The setting can be found under “Full-Screen Display” at the top. This is now also the case with the Global Versions.

Redmi Note 8 MIUI Display Notch

Well-optimized performance as usual

The normal Redmi Note 8 is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665. This CPU can also be found in the Xiaomi Mi A3, for example, but is only a slight upgrade to the SD 660 from its predecessor, the Redmi Note 7. But that’s not uncommon, the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 6 Pro also used the same CPU. The performance is still more than sufficient for all everyday applications, the clock frequency of 2.2 GHz will take care of it. Thanks to the 14 nm manufacturing technology, the processor is also relatively energy efficient. The Adreno 610 GPU is used for graphics applications.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 665

Also here the Redmi Note 8 has to compete with the Realme 3 Pro, which has the better cards with the SD 710 on the data sheet. But you won’t notice much of this in practice, Xiaomi has done a great job here and once again turned the Redmi Note 8 into a very high-performance mobile phone. Apps often open even faster than the competition, there are no problems in multitasking and I haven’t noticed any delays worth mentioning yet. Fortunately, this speed also runs through the whole system, no matter if it’s unlocking or triggering the camera.

Redmi Note 8 Benchmarks

Therefore, gaming also goes well, smaller games are no problem at all and even more demanding games like PUBG can be played very smoothly on medium settings and with minimal lags on high settings. This is also confirmed by the benchmark results. The results are actually the same as on the Xiaomi Mi A3 with the same CPU, but not necessarily better (except PCMark) than on the Redmi Note 7 with the theoretically somewhat weaker Snapdragon 660. Nevertheless: Benchmarks are not everything and should only be used for orientation.

Four cameras for less than $200!

The innovation and highlight of the new Redmi Note smartphone is the camera. Xiaomi has doubled the number of sensors on the back, instead of two you get four sensors. The main sensor is the same 48 megapixel Samsung GM-1 sensor with a ƒ/1.79 aperture, which also sits in the predecessor. The big brother, the Redmi Note 8 Pro, appears with the 64 megapixel Samsung sensor. However, both share the remaining three sensors: 8 megapixel ultra-wide angle camera with 120° shooting angle and ƒ/2.2 aperture, 2 megapixel macro camera and 2 megapixel depth sensor for portrait shots. So we only get two different focal lengths or three different “functions”.

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone quad camera top

In fact, there is no noticeable evolution compared to the Redmi Note 7, after all, it’s the same hardware. Nevertheless: In the price range we still get good to very good shots, which can shine with a nice, albeit somewhat cool, color profile. The sharpness is also on a good level, but the zoom-in shows some loss of detail. The outdoor shots offer nice, rich colors, Xiaomi’s good photo software comes into its own here. The autofocus works quickly and reliably, the camera app is typical MIUI and not quite as overloaded as with the competition.

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone test photo main camera flowersRedmi Note 8 Smartphone test photo main camera cityRedmi Note 8 Smartphone main camera test photo sheet

Unfortunately, the 48 megapixel mode doesn’t bring the clear advantage for me here either. Afterwards you can zoom into the picture a bit further, but unfortunately there are not much more details. Unfortunately this increases the file size so much that you should really think about activating it.

The Ultra Wide Angle Camera

2019 is probably the year of the ultra wide angle camera, it replaces the zoom camera that had become more and more important before, which also completely waived the Note 8. With the 8 megapixel resolution, you get a sufficient resolution, which well conveys the usual “fish eye” effect. For this you have to live with a loss of detail at the edges of the picture, here it gets grainy relatively quickly. After all: the distortion correction works properly. Here you probably use the same sensor as in the Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite, only the Xiaomi Mi 9 has a better sensor with 16 MP resolution.

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone test photo wide angle BoxRedmi Note 8 Smartphone camera wide angle

Portrait photos

Even if you might not suspect it, one of the biggest strengths of Xiaomi’s cameras are portrait shots. The edge detection is exemplary and doesn’t have to hide from industry giants like Apple, even in a smartphone for less than $200. The Bokeh is clearly natural as for example at Huawei and Honor and is currently with Realme probably among the top 3. Here you profit from the additional 2 megapixel depth sensor, which collects additional image information during portrait shots.

Redmi Note 8 test photo main camera portrait

In the end, the photos look exactly the same as in normal mode, except that the foreground (person or object) is clearly separated from the background. The images feel a bit darker, but that’s only minimal. Due to the bokeh effect, the objects also appear somewhat sharper. It’s cool that you can adjust the aperture both before and after the photo and thus save it.

Macro shots

Already with the Redmi Note 8 Pro my personal highlight was the macro camera. Even though the 2 megapixel resolution is unfortunately very low, the effect still comes into its own. You can get close to objects, up to 2 cm close-up is possible. But you really give a lot of details, but it’s still fun to just try it out a bit. That’s more than enough for WhatsApp and Instagram, but not for a printout.

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone test photo macro camera

Front camera

Selfie fans also get their money’s worth with the Redmi Note 8. The 13 megapixel resolution provides a lot of details and a high sharpness, even if you don’t necessarily want to zoom in all the time. In terms of sharpness and focus, it can also compete with an iPhone 11, although Apple’s color profile is a good bit more natural here.

Redmi Note 8 front camera test photo studio

We would like to especially praise the portrait mode, which works excellently and also trumps the edge detection of the iPhone 11. Even fine hairs are detected and either cut well or taken into focus. Here, too, the aperture can be adjusted afterwards.

Redmi Note 8 front camera test photo portrait comparison

The battery king is back

One reason for the massive popularity of the Redmi Note series was always the battery life. The Note 4 set the popular “2 days without problems” mark at that time and since then this value has held up to the Note 8 Pro. This one focused more on the gaming performance and only a 9-10 h runtime, but the “normal” Note returns to its old strength. With 13 hours in the battery benchmark, it builds on old strengths and takes you through two days with ease. That’s even though the 4,000 mAh battery hasn’t increased since the last generation.

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone battery benchmark

Fortunately the Note 8 also supports 18W Quick Charge 3 and in fact Xiaomi also includes a charger for it! This isn’t a matter of course in the price range, but it ensures that the phone is fully charged in about 90 minutes despite the 4,000 mAh battery – very neat!

Connectivity

The connection possibilities of the Redmi Note 8 and Redmi Note 8 Pro differ only in one detail: The normal Note 8 does not come with NFC! That’s a shame, after all you get a Dual Nano SIM slot plus memory expansion via microSD! This is actually more of a rarity and for some a reason to buy. VoLTE should also be supported. In addition there are 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Dual Band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, A-GPS and GLONASS – this is the current standard.

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone Dual SIM

With our test device, the China version, we mainly have H+ and 4G. Even with “only” H+ in the O2 network, the connection is very good and even video streaming via YouTube hardly takes a second to preload – very good. The Global version contains all important LTE bands, so we clearly recommend the purchase of the Global version. Even with telephone calls you get a good voice quality, with which the other side has always understood us satisfactorily.

Redmi Note 8 Smartphone connections

On the bottom side there is a USB Type-C slot, which was introduced with the last generation also with the Redmi Notes. In addition, Xiaomi is happy to stick to the popular 3.5 mm jack connector, so you can continue to use your headphones. As already mentioned, the fingerprint sensor is located on the back, which reacts lightning fast and reliably. Alternatively you can also use Face Unlock, which is not so safe but also works fast enough.

Redmi Note 8 with MIUI operating system

If it is not a Xiaomi smartphone of the Mi A series, then one has to do it with Xiaomi always with the MIUI operating system. In the global version, which we recommend to you, the operating system is completely in several languages and all relevant Google services are pre-installed. We have the China version in the test, which runs only in English and Chinese, but is currently at MIUI 10.3.6 Stable. Of course this interface is based on Android 9, the Android security patch is from September 2019, so it’s very up-to-date.

Redmi Note 8 Android Security Patch

If you don’t know MIUI: This is Xiaomi’s own operating system/interface, which is based on Android, but offers its own look and feel as well as its own ecosystem including services like the Mi Cloud or Mi Drop. You don’t need an App Drawer, but you benefit from Xiaomi’s aggressive battery management in addition to these good services. The China version comes with a relatively large amount of bloatware, which is largely omitted in the Global version. Nevertheless you can also uninstall some apps there at the beginning. There are many MIUI fans, after all, the software is always well tuned to the hardware and offers a rich range of functions. The launcher can also be easily replaced, Xiaomi’s own Poco Launcher 2.0 would be an alternative recommendation.

Install Redmi Note 8 Pro Google Play Store
Also with the China version you can easily install the Google services.

If you already have the China version, you can also easily install the Google services. Just search the Mi App Store for Google and download the Google Installer, which will install the Google Framework. That way you have at least access to the Google Play Store, which is not officially certified.

Conclusion: A No-Brainer

The Redmi Note 8 fits well into the series and is once again an absolute no-brainer! Good performance, really strong battery life and a good and versatile quad camera on the back are currently unbeatable for the price of less than $200. In addition there are cool features like the real Dual SIM slot plus memory expansion, Face Unlock and the jack. The only thing you really have to do without here is NFC. If you need that, take a look at the big brother, the Redmi Note 8 Pro.

Like between the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 6 Pro last year, the difference between Redmi Note 7 and Note 8 is again marginal, but a bit bigger. The quad camera is cool, but for owners of a Redmi Note 7 I wouldn’t recommend getting the new generation, it’s too much the same. But if you come from Note 5, for example, this is a considerable step forward without having to give up the long battery life.

If you want the advantages of the Redmi Note series, you won’t go wrong with the Redmi Note 8 and will probably find the best smartphone under $200. Only the Realme 5 Pro can compete with the Note 8 for this place – we are curious!

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Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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