Xiaomi Redmi 8A review: Good budget phone, but camera needs work


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Xiaomi Redmi 8A review: The budget phone from the company does well when it comes to design and offers a good performance for its price. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

In India, the Xiaomi or Mi brand is synonymous with Redmi phones given it is these devices, which dominate the company’s portfolio. Each year, we see Xiaomi introduce Redmi phones at an array of price points; the Redmi Note Pro and Redmi Note series are aimed at those who want that extra power and performance, the Redmi series is for those looking for slightly more affordable options, while the Redmi A series is the most affordable of the lot.

In fact, Xiaomi’s Redmi 5A was one of the best-sellers from the company, and had sold nearly 10 million units by October 2018, one year after its launch in 2017. The Redmi 8A marks some major changes compared to its previous iterations.

For one, it has the newer design from Xiaomi, which the company calls the ‘Aura’ design. Redmi 8A has a bigger display with a notch and is splash-resistant. This time there is no 16GB storage option. Redmi 8A starts at 32GB storage as the base, which is good to see on a budget phone that costs Rs 6,499 for 2GB RAM+32GB and Rs 6,999 for 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. Here’s our review of the Redmi 8A smartphone, and whether it is a good budget performer.

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Redmi 8A comes with a bigger display this time. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Redmi 8A specifications: 6.22-inch HD display| Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor with 2GB or 3GB RAM + 32GB storage expandable to 512GB | 12MP rear camera + 8MP front camera || 5,000mAh battery with USB Type-C charging port and 18W fast charging |P2i splash-resistant coating | Android Pie with MIUI 10

Redmi 8A price in India: Rs 6,499 for 2GB RAM+32GB

Redmi 8A review: What’s good?

Redmi 8A is certainly a massive design upgrade over the previous Redmi 7A and Redmi 6A phones. The phone continues with the plastic body, but the Aura design makes this look more chic. The Red-coloured version which we got for review, might be a little too bright for everyone, but the red with the orange tint looks very stunning in my view. The back has a wave pattern, which feels quite nice to the touch.

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Redmi 8A in the red colour, which has tint of orange of towards the bottom part. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

The Redmi 8A also gets a bigger display at 6.22-inch, though this is still an HD+ resolution (720p). I had no trouble using the display even in bright sunlight, and the text remains legible. For video consumption, gaming, the display is adequate considering the price of the phone and resolution. Xiaomi has also added Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front of the display. Still I noticed one massive scratch on the display, though I must point out that the device had a rather serious fall from my dressing table, which likely contributed to this. The fact that the display didn’t crack is good to see.

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With Redmi 8A, the company has done away with 16GB options for the phone and now storage starts at 32GB. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Redmi 8A also comes with P2i coating, which is rarely seen on phones in this price bracket. It also comes with Type-C USB port now at the bottom. Xiaomi has bumped up the battery to 5000 mAh, which means even with the most hard-core usage you will be able to extend the battery life to one and a half days. Moderate usage means you can easily go to two days. Redmi 8A also comes with 18W fast charging support, though for that you will need to buy the charger separately. The in-box charger comes with 10W standard charging, and it takes a little over two and a half hours to get this to full charge .

Redmi 8A runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor, and we had the 2GB RAM variant for review. It also comes with a dedicated microSD slot with up to 512GB support, which is appreciated in the budget segment.

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Redmi 8 has a single 12MP camera at the back. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

In terms of regular performance Redmi 8A showed no trouble or apps crashes, though at times there is a lag, especially when one is taking photos. Games like Asphalt 9, Badland run fine on the Redmi 8A, but  given the HD resolution display, they don’t always look the best. There was no major lag, while gaming or even when I more than 10 tabs open on Google Chrome, which can be an issue on budget phones. But I did notice that the Redmi 8A got warm around the camera part when gaming for too long.

I do wish Xiaomi had added a fingerprint sensor. For some reason force of habit meant that I would keep touching the camera sensor thinking that the fingerprint sensor was there. The Face unlock however, works accurately to open the device.

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Redmi 8A camera sample taken indoors at night. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)


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Redmi 8A camera sample taken in bright outdoor lighting. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)


Redmi 8A, Xiaomi Redmi 8A review, Redmi 8A vs Redmi 8, Redmi 8A review, Redmi 8A specifications, Redmi 8A price, Redmi 8A price in india, Redmi 8A sale
Redmi 8A camera sample inside a room with natural light, and the image tends to be overexposed on the edges. This was taken with HDR mode turned on. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)


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Redmi 8A camera sample taken outdoors. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)


Redmi 8A, Xiaomi Redmi 8A review, Redmi 8A vs Redmi 8, Redmi 8A review, Redmi 8A specifications, Redmi 8A price, Redmi 8A price in india, Redmi 8A sale
Redmi 8A camera sample. Once again, the edges are over exposed, even though this was taken in the evening, when the sunlight was not so bright. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Redmi 8A: What’s not good?

Redmi 8A continues with a single 12MP camera, with the Portrait mode available on the camera app as well. The front camera is 8MP. The camera remains the weak point in this device, and not just because sometimes the pictures lack details. No, not all photos are terrible, and some shots came out quite nice.

But there were issues with focus, and noticeable shutter lag when shooting pictures. Selfies, especially the ones taken indoor are washed out, and in Portrait mode, the edges with the hair are not perfect. In many of the images, there is a tendency to overexpose the edges, which can causes a noticeable burn.  In the Redmi budget phones, the camera is yet to get that significant upgrade, which would make it seem like a vast improvement over the previous generation.

In the software bit, Redmi 8A runs Android Pie based on MIUI 11. I did notice that there is a new GetApps app in the phone now along with Mi Store, which also has apps. I am not sure why two such apps are needed. I would suggest turning off notifications for this GetApps, because it keeps sending app recommendations, which is annoying. Another request would be if Xiaomi could tone down with the browser notifications and the constant app recommendations.

Redmi 8A: Verdict

The Redmi 8A is a good option for those looking to get a stylish phone under Rs 7,000. The phone is certainly above average, compared to what you usually get on budget phones, and the big battery size is another plus. The camera still needs some work, but then this holds true for most budget phones. For those still on older the Redmi 5A or even Redmi 4 series or Redmi 6A, Redmi 8A is a good upgrade to consider.



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