Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review

GSMArena team, 27 Nov 2019.

Boots MIUI 10, but not for long

The Redmi Note 8 boots the MIUI 10 ROM based on Android 9 Pie but allegedly, Xiaomi has already started seeding the MIUI 11 update.

While lightweight and intuitive, MIUI is no vanilla Android, so it will take a couple of hours for the purists to get the handle of it.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 reviewRedmi Note 8 and Note 8 Pro

You can unlock the screen via the snappy rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The reader is easy to set up and is always on, so it works fast. The accuracy is very good, too, a notch under the most accurate we've encountered but still great for your daily unlocking.

You can also set up face unlock in addition to it - it's even faster as the Note 8 wakes up the moment you pick it up. Note that the face unlock option may not be available in all regions and is far less secure than the fingerprint scanner.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 has a Dark mode - it will switch all system colors from white to black, and this way, you can save some battery juice by darkening most of the screen. Note that not all apps support the dark mode, but the majority do.

Dark mode - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Dark mode - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Dark mode - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Dark mode - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Dark mode - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review
Dark mode

There is no app drawer in MIUI, so all your apps are just sitting there on your homescreen, but you can still add them to folders. Of course, you can always install a third-party launcher if you miss the app drawer.

Here are the default home screens on Redmi Note 8. There's a weather widget in the upper right corner across from a large clock widget. There is a Quick Card pane, the leftmost one. It contains different cards with relevant information - recent apps, step counter, notes, calendar events, the weather, and favorites, among others. You can configure what shows up here, or you can disable this altogether.

Lockscreen - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Homescreen - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Homescreen - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Tools - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Quick Card - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Settings - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review
Lockscreen • Homescreen • Homescreen • Tools • Quick Card • Settings

The task switcher felt a bit awkward at first, but we've grown to like it. It shows all of your recent apps in two columns. Tap and hold on a card for the split-screen shortcut, or just swipe it left or right to close it.

Recents and Split Screen - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Recents and Split Screen - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Recents and Split Screen - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Recents and Split Screen - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review
Recents and Split Screen

Themes are supported on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8, but the app appears only when the phone is set to a supported region, say India.

MIUI also offers a Security app. It can scan your phone for malware, manage your blacklist, manage or restrict your data usage, configure battery behavior, and free up some RAM. It can also manage the permissions of your installed apps and allows you to define the battery behavior of selected apps and applies restrictions only to the apps you choose.

MIUI also offers proprietary Gallery, Music, and Video player. In some regions, the music and video apps include paid streaming options. An FM radio app is available, too.

The Redmi Note 8 has an IR blaster on its top, and you can install the Mi Remote app from the Play Store and configure your phone as the one remote to rule them all.

Security app - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Security - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Gallery - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review File Manager - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review FM radio - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review Mi Remote - Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review
Security app • Security • Gallery • File Manager • FM radio • Mi Remote

In some markets, the pre-installed applications by Xiaomi will show ads, which is how Xiaomi is compensating for the relatively low prices of its devices. We're reviewing a global version of the Redmi Note 8, and we noticed a couple of ads in some apps (like File Manager), but not as aggressive as if you were running on an Indian or Chinese version of MIUI.

Finally, we want to mention our disappointment in the Auto Rotate option. The phone seems very sensitive and even slight variations in the orientation make it switch to Landscape. What's worse is that when lying on a flat surface, the wobbling because of the big camera hump is enough to trigger Landscape Rotation when you are typing on the keyboard. We had quite a few of these unwanted Landscape switches and then we had to pick up the phone shake it and then put it back.

Performance and benchmarks

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 is powered by the Snapdragon 665 chipset. It's a relatively new chip from mid-2019, and it's available in few smartphones, one of which is the Xiaomi Mi A3. This chipset represents a minor upgrade over the Redmi Note 7's Snapdragon 660 chip, but we'll discuss the raw performance in a bit.

So, the Snapdragon 665 chip is based on the more efficient 11nm manufacturing process compared to the 14nm Snapdragon 660. It has the same processor as the SD660 - an octa-core Kryo 260 CPU with 4x2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold (Cortex-A73 derivative) & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver (Cortex-A53 derivative). Well, almost the same - the high-performance Kryo cores are actually clocked 200MHz lower than the same on the Note 7's SD660.

There is a new Adreno 610 GPU, which, unfortunately, isn't more powerful than the Adreno 512 inside the old 660 chip. It should supposedly deliver similar performance for 20% less battery though.

The Snapdragon 665 has a new DSP and a new ISP for 48MP camera support. Its modem is the same as on the S660, though.

Now, let's run some benchmarks.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 review

The raw CPU multi-core performance is excellent - the phone did better than most of its competitors and is bested only by the Realme 5 Pro's Snapdragon 712 CPU.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme 5 Pro
    6106
  • Xiaomi Mi A3
    5686
  • Realme 5s
    5596
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
    5590
  • Huawei P30 Lite (perf. mode)
    5549
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    5411
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    4933
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    4188
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    4146

The single core performance is nothing to talk about, really - it's on par with the competition.

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme 5 Pro
    1913
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    1650
  • Huawei P30 Lite (perf. mode)
    1576
  • Realme 5s
    1533
  • Xiaomi Mi A3
    1531
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
    1512
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    1342
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    1319
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    1311

The Redmi Note 8's Snapdragon 665 has Adreno 610 GPU, which should be similar to Redmi Note 7's 660 chip and its Adreno 512 but more power-efficient. Well, it turned out that its raw performance is actually a bit lower than on the Snapdragon 660's GPU, so any graphics upgrade is definitely out of the question here.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi A3
    27
  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    24
  • Realme 5 Pro
    22
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
    15
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    13
  • Huawei P30 Lite (perf. mode)
    13
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
    11
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    9.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    7.4
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    7.3

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    14
  • Xiaomi Mi A3
    13
  • Realme 5 Pro
    12
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
    7.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    7.7
  • Huawei P30 Lite (perf. mode)
    6.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
    5.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    5.9
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    4.6
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    4.6

3DMark SSE 3.1 Unlimited

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    2439
  • Realme 5 Pro
    2253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    1409
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
    1220
  • Realme 5s
    1140
  • Xiaomi Mi A3
    1131
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
    1126
  • Huawei P30 Lite (perf. mode)
    988
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    645
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    587

Finally, the compound AnTuTu test puts the Redmi Note 8 on par with the Mi A3, P30 Lite, and the Realme 5s, but it's still behind the Realme 5 Pro.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    224759
  • Realme 5 Pro
    182765
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
    141915
  • Huawei P30 Lite (perf. mode)
    141600
  • Xiaomi Mi A3
    140633
  • Realme 5s
    139103
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    139075
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    115605
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    101651
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    96550

The Redmi Note 8 is fast, but not the fastest around. Its processor is snappy and a very dependable performer across various CPU-intensive tasks, but the GPU behavior is a mixed bag. Hiccups do happen in games, even when scrolling through MIUI, and while not that disturbing, they are still noticeable.

What we didn't observe, however, is the phone getting hot - not even when running those benchmarks for longer durations. There is no noticeable performance throttling after longer runs either. Overall, the Redmi Note 8 offers an acceptable level of performance for the class, but you will be able to tell that you have a budget phone in your hands if you do some gaming.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 21 Sep 2022
  • I@a

Yeah,me too

  • Rick
  • 14 Jun 2022
  • ptr

It was a good phone at the beginning...maybe cause I was so excited to have a new phone. But before the 1st year of having it, bugs and crashes started annoying me. Nowadays, after recent updates the phone no longer has split screen and that's...

Ours work well