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Realme 8 Pro review: worthy challenger to the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max?

The Realme vs Xiaomi battle continues in 2021, and this time you have got two very strong contenders in the form of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max and the Realme 8 Pro. We have already talked about the value and performance of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max in our review, and now we have got a chance to try out the Realme 8 Pro that promises the thrill of megapixels along with other key features.

Also read: Realme 8, Realme 8 Pro launched in India: first sale date on Flipkart, launch offers

The sub-Rs 20,000 bracket is highly competitive now, and the Realme 8 Pro is another option in the market that’s looking to grab your attention. So, how well does the new Realme mid-range phone fare amongst its peers? We find out more about that in our review.

Design and display

  • 160.6 x 73.9 x 8.1, 176g
  • 6.4-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD+, 1000 nits brightness

Realme 8 Pro has a few things going in its favour when it comes to the design appeal and overall aesthetics. The textured back panel is a neat touch that makes it look unique and also minimises fingerprints and smudges. Having said that, the ‘Dare to Leap’ branding is an eye-sore, and we do not understand the purpose served by adding it to the panel.

The unique design finish of the Realme 8 Pro feels good in the hand

The size of the device, along with its dimensions measuring 8.1mm in thickness and weight of 176 grams, makes it easy to use with one hand and comfortable to hold as well.

That large ‘Dare to Leap; branding is an eye-sore

Having four cameras has allowed Realme to play around with the design of the module. So, instead of going for the common L-shaped camera module, it has stacked all the sensors into a square-shaped unit. However, because of this, the cameras are protruding more than we’d like. The power button and the volume rocker sit on the right of the phone. The headphone jack is placed next to the USB Type-C port and bottom-firing speaker.

USB Type-C port and the bottom-facing speaker on the Realme 8 Pro

Talking about the display, the 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen has been borrowed from the Realme 7 series. The lack of high refresh rate support works against Realme, but even then it is hard to complain about the overall screen quality that offers 1,000 nits of brightness. The punch hole cut out housing the front camera is at the top-left.

The 16-megapixel selfie camera sits inside the punch-hole cut out

The performance of display is typical of any AMOLED screen that we have come across. The 6.4-inch display throws punchy colours, with the right amount of contrast that makes content pop out to give that immersive feeling.

Super AMOLED display misses out on high refresh rate support

The panel does miss out on HDR10 support, but most of you might not see that as a deal breaker. It is another matter altogether if you find the lack of refresh rate options not to your liking.

Realme 8 Pro gets an in-screen fingerprint sensor

The on-screen fingerprint sensor is quick to register your ID and unlock the device without any lag.

Cameras

  • Rear: 108-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, 2-megapixel macro sensor and 2-megapixel B&W sensor
  • Front: 16-megapixel sensor

Just like Xiaomi, Realme has adopted the 108-megapixel sensor for the 8 Pro, but has chosen the Samsung ISOCELL sensor. The quad rear camera system includes 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens, 2-megapixel macro sensor and 2-megapixel B&W sensor. In the front, you get a 16-megapixel selfie camera that supports video calling as well.

Quad rear cameras on the Realme 8 Pro

As you can see from the images below, the primary camera makes a great impression, both in day and low light conditions. The details are intact, even though you will notice over-saturation, making the green and blues a lot brighter than what they are to the naked eye.

Talking about the secondary cameras, the results were similar to what have seen with other phones in this range. The ultra-wide lens manages to hold its own when the conditions are bright, but suffers when the light takes a hit.

Talking about the front selfie camera housed under the punch hole design, images came out nice and bright without the beauty mode turned on. Even in low light, the built-in flash manages to fill the frame with light, but you definitely see a drop in the textures visible on the face.

Suffice to say, Realme has focused on making the cameras the hero of the phone. But even then, it is hard to deny that a software tweak or two could deliver better results from the main sensor.

Performance, software and battery

  • Android 11 with Realme UI 2.0
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G
  • 6GB+ 128GB, 8GB + 128GB
  • 4500mAh battery, 50W SuperDart Charge

It’s not just the screen that Realme has borrowed from its previous devices. The Realme 8 Pro comes powered by the same Snapdragon 720G chipset that we got with the Realme 7 Pro as well as the Realme 6 Pro. There could be two reasons for this.

The global chip shortage could have forced the brand to stick to the older processor. Or, Realme decided to use the same version to keep the cost down. Either ways, Realme 8 Pro in 2021 is using a chipset that powered its predecessor and that does not bode well for the device. Performance-wise however, there is not a lot to complain about, right now.

But over the years, the aging chipset will wear down, owing to its performance demands. You can play graphics-intensive games without any issues, multi-tasking will cause no hiccups or stutter, but psychologically, buyers would think, should I spend my money on this, instead of buying a phone with a newer chipset?

You get two RAM options – 6GB and 8GB, both paired with 128GB internal storage that is further expandable using the dedicated microSD card slot.

Realme has finally offered its smartphone with the Realme UI 2.0 version built over Android 11. This interface is definitely a lot cleaner, the notifications have toned down and makes for better reading of the software as well.

And finally, you have the 4500mAh battery that benefits from using a power-efficient chipset. You can easily get the phone to last for a day and more with moderate usage. During our lengthy video loop test, we got the phone to stretch from 70 to 50 percent over six hours on full brightness, which is impressive to say the least. The lack of high refresh rate screen also plays its part here.

Interestingly, Realme says the 8 Pro supports 50W fast charging which is slower than what you got with the 7 Pro. But the brand has bundled a 65W charger in the box, which doesn’t seem logical.

Bottomline

We started the review pitting the Realme 8 Pro against the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. While the Realme 8 Pro is priced lower at Rs 17,999 (the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max starts at Rs 18,999), the price difference is not much of an advantage.

Realme 8 Pro has got a tough fight on its hands

On the Realme 8 Pro, the lack of a high refresh rate is a definite bummer. Then, you have a year-old chipset powering this phone that could age quicker than you’d want. What we did appreciate about this phone is its design, screen quality, the primary camera and the battery life. The 108MP camera plays a big part in making this device more than competitive in this price segment which is flooded with options.

The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max also brings a 108MP camera and AMOLED display to the table, but adds a 120Hz high refresh rate, bigger 5,020mAh battery and newer Snapdragon 732G chipset to the mix. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max loses out with slower 33W fast charging and a 64GB base variant. While both devices are excellent options in the sub-Rs 20,000 price segment, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max has a few advantages over the Realme 8 Pro, if you can afford to spend the extra money that is.

Pricebaba’s rating: 8 / 10

What works

  • Slim, compact design
  • Super AMOLED display
  • Android 11 out of box
  • Impressive primary camera
  • Long battery backup
  • 50W charging support

What doesn’t

  • Display lacks high refresh rate
  • Older chipset
  • Dare to Leap branding is an eye-sore
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