Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro review
Quad-camera array with a dedicated macro lens
Quad-camera on the back sounds impressive on paper, especially at this price range, doesn't it? In reality, however, things aren't as they seem because one of the cameras is used for depth sensing while the other 2MP sensor is used for macro shots, so there's no telephoto lens either. On the other hand, there aren't many - if any at all - that have a proper telephoto camera.
Anyway, the other two sensors are the standard 64MP plus an 8MP unit coupled with an ultra-wide lens. The 64MP sensor is new to the scene and should be a significant upgrade to the popular 48MP option in the last year or so. It's a large 1/1.7" sensor with 0.8µm pixels, and the lens has f/1.9 aperture. Native pixel-binning is at play here, so the image output is 16MP.
The ultra-wide camera is 8MP with f/2.2 aperture, and it's 1/4" big, 1.12µm pixels and no autofocus feature, though. The Dedicated macro lens is 2MP f/2.4 aperture and rather big 1.7µm pixels.
And finally, the front-facing camera sitting on the notch is 20MP with f/2.0 lens, so we expect sharp images coming out of this sensor.
But before we jump into the pixel peeping, let's take a quick stroll through the camera menus.
Switching between modes is like in every other camera app - swiping left and right will take you through all modes while tapping in the upper right corner of the screen where the "hamburger menu" resides will expand the options. The real settings menu is in there as well, and it doesn't offer anything out of the ordinary.
There's also a dedicated 64MP mode as opposed to before when you had to go to Pro mode and tap on the 48MP icon to shoot 48MP resolution stills. Speaking of Pro, this one offers pretty much all the settings you'd need - white balance, focus, ISO, and shutter speed. The Pro mode works with the normal camera, the ultra-wide, and the macro. Manual 64MP pictures are also an option.
The daylight photos with the main camera look nice at first, but upon closer inspection, some things need to be addressed. For example, there's visible oversharpening, and while the HDR is doing a nice job, it leaves a bit more to be desired. Some highlights look clipped, but shadows, on the other hand, are okay. Still, we would say that the daylight photos are a win as they provide plenty of detail, juicy colors without being over the top and great contrast.
Compared to the Realme XT, the Redmi resolves more detail and images appear to be sharper in general. The HDR performance on both phones seems to be similar, but the Redmi tends to go for darker exposures. Also, the XT's noise reduction algorithm acts up sometimes producing artifacts around high-contrast subjects and irons out some details along the way too. When pixel-peeping we like the Redmi Note 8 Pro's rendition of details better but the difference is not huge.
Interestingly, switching over to the 64MP camera, photos still look great. The level of detail is downright impressive, and gone are the sharpening halos. There is some noise when you look closely, but you get better detail in return. On the contrary to our usual recommendation, this time around using the full 64MP resolution might have its benefits if you are shooting well-lit scenes. You'd be impressed by the detail it achieves in this mode. File size however is a consideration, as these files clock in around 17MB each.
The Redmi continues to resolve more detail, although grainier in general. Also, the Redmi gets rid of the sharpening halos while the XT holds on to those halos and still looks less sharp than the Redmi. The difference in the exposure metering can be observed here as well.
Sadly, the ultra-wide camera is far from being as good. Of course, in some rare cases for social media posting and if you wish to fit something into the scene, sure, go ahead. But if you want a quality photo, the ultra-wide camera won't deliver. The photos turn out to be soft even when there is enough light. Processing is rather similar to the one on the main camera in terms of color and contrast, but dynamic range is worse, the images are soft, and the rendition of detail reminds us of a toy camera.
To our surprise, the 2x zoom images look pretty decent given that they are cropped from the main 64MP camera. We don't know whether the cropping is done from the native 64MP sensor readout or the downsized 16MP photo. Either way, the results are surprisingly good and will do just fine for social media posting. Sometimes you'd have a hard time telling it's a cropped image and not something shot on a proper telephoto camera. It's needless to say that the processing is identical to the standard photo mode.
The Redmi is a clear winner in the 2x zoom battle as XT's photos are quite soft compared to the Redmi's.
At night, the performance of the main camera in the standard Photo mode isn't stellar, but it's comparable to its rivals. Images appear soft, but the dynamic range is rather good capturing enough detail in the highlights and shadows without noticeable noise. Colors are punchy, and the contrast is pleasant.
Surprisingly, the 64MP mode is still usable even if there's not enough light. The photos are noisier, but there is still more detail than the regular 16MP images. The processing also seems slightly different than in the normal Photo mode - the HDR algorithm seems to be doing a better job in 64MP mode. Go figure!
Zoomed photos have the benefit of using the main sensor. Even flagships use a cropped photo from the main sensor when there's no sufficient light. The resulting low-light images here have plenty of noise and the overall processing matches the one from the normal photos.
Switching on the Night mode allowed the camera to capture more detail in the shadows, while the highlights are the same. Best of all, the level of resolved detail becomes noticeably higher - the photos are sharper and more detailed.
There's an overall appeal of the Night photos by the Redmi Note 8 Pro which made us appreciate it more than other competing solutions. It improves on key areas of the image without going overboard and make it look unnatural.
All in all, we recommend using the Night mode even if there's enough light coming in as opposed to our usual recommendation of using it only when the scene is almost pitch-black. The Night mode is the way to go in almost all low-light situations.
And as for the ultra-wide lens, well, let's just say that the night photos coming out from this camera are barely usable. While you may get okay daytime photos with the ultra-wide camera, you won't have such luck at night. And there's no Night mode to help either.
Now let's take the time to compare the phone to some of its competitors in a more controlled environment.
And here's how it stacks against other 64MP and 48MP sensors.
Of course, we took the macro camera for a short spin too, but the results aren't impressive by any means. Our initial expectation was that the macro lens would probably be obsolete with the presence of the large 64MP sensor that can capture lots of detail. Also, the main 64MP sensor is capable of capturing more light, and it's apparent from the photos you see below.
Yes, the macro lens allows you to get close to the subject and get everything in focus, but the results would be pretty much the same if you crop out the center of the photo from the primary camera and cut out the blur. That's what you get when shooting with such a large sensor. The detail you get from the 64MP camera is unrivaled, though.
Portraits are good with natural skin tone, wide dynamic range, and enough detail. The edge detection fails in more complex scenes. We would say it delivers less than we expected from a phone with a dedicated depth sensor.
And keep in mind that there's a blur strength effect mimicking the aperture. By default, it's set to f/4.0 (the first photo above), which isn't enough to give the photo that dramatic effect so you might want to "open up the lens" with f/2.0, for example, to achieve a more pronounced bokeh effect.
These are one of the best selfies we've seen on a midranger. The HDR works great, the camera produces sharp photos, and even the edge detection isn't all that bad. When introduced to low-light scenarios, the 20MP camera did pretty well.
The phone supports 4K recording at 30fps or 1080p at either 30 or 60fps. The slow-motion mode allows you to go as high as 960fps at 720p, but we are pretty sure there's some interpolation at play there since there's not nearly enough processing power in the chip to achieve those frames at that resolution.
Anyway, 4K video recording looks nice although they are a bit too contrasty and colors are over-saturated. Some may like it this way, but we felt compelled to point it out. The detail is good, though, and dynamic range is more than okay.
Switching over to 1080p will, of course, reduce the level of detail but maybe a bit more than one would expect. The rendition is identical to the 4K mode.
The phone also allows 1080p recording with the ultra-wide camera, but there's nothing good to say about that mode.
The 2x zoom video, however, appears to be pretty nice too. It's not "telephoto nice," but it would do.
And here's some samples from our posters for a proper pixel peeping session.
Does anyone know any app could do "raise near ear to answer" and works well
- 10 Nov 2021
I can't delete my blutooth pair names..
- 30 Oct 2021
After updating the version to miui 12.5.3, the battery drains quickly and the connection to the handsfree is a little late than before.
- 26 Sep 2021