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Realme 8 review: the Realme 7 in new packaging

On: April 7, 2021

Realme has been quite busy this year in a bid to compete with Xiaomi. We are barely 3 months into the year and the brand has launched its Realme X7 series, Realme Narzo 30 series, and the Realme 8 series in the country. The last one comprises the Realme 8 and 8 Pro (review), successors to the Realme 7 series.

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

I have been using the vanilla Realme 8 for some time now, and I personally feel that it’s not really a worthy upgrade over last year’s Realme 7. The brand has replaced the 90Hz LCD panel with a Super AMOLED display on the new launch, with most other specs remaining the same. So how does it fare? Let’s find out in my review.

Design and display

  • 160.6 x 73.9 x 7.99mm, 177g
  • 6.4-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD+, 90.8 percent screen-to-body ratio, 1,000 nits brightness

Realme’s new “Infinite Bold Design” might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The dual-tone finish with the “Dare to Leap” branding on the right is either loved or hated by many. Thankfully, the Cyber Black variant I received has a very subtle branding, which is only visible when you look at it from an angle. Having said that, the glossy polycarbonate rear panel is a fingerprints and smudge magnet, forcing me to slap on the provided case within hours of unboxing it.

I personally like the camera module on the back with quad cameras sitting in a square grid, which gives Realme 8 a unique look. The camera module does jut out a bit, making it wobble on the surface. Putting on the case solves the issue to a large extent. The right side of the frame houses the power button and volume keys, whereas on the left there’s a dual nano-SIM card tray with dedicated microSD card slot. You’ll find a Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a speaker grill on the bottom.

The Realme 8 is just 7.99mm thin and weighs 177g. This makes the handset quite lightweight and I didn’t have any wrist fatigue binging on all three episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in one sitting, while holding the phone in hand.

Speaking of binge-watching a show, the Realme 8 comes with a 6.44-inch Super AMOLED screen with 2,400 x 1,080, 180Hz touch sampling rate, and 1,000 nits peak brightness. There’s no high refresh rate like the Realme 7, which has a 90Hz panel albeit an LCD unit.

Having said that, the AMOLED panel offers vibrant colours and inky blacks as expected. The text is sharp and I didn’t have any issuse while using the device outdoors, though the brightness could have been better.

Cameras

  • Rear: 64-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, 2-megapixel macro sensor and 2-megapixel B&W sensor
  • Front: 16-megapixel sensor

Coming to the camera setup on the back, the Realme 8 retains the same configuration as the Realme 7. The new launch features a 64-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.79 aperture, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel mono camera. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera on the front housed in the punch-hole cutout. You get the whole shebang of camera features including Starry Mode, Neon Portrait, Dynamic Bokeh, Dual-view Video, and a new Tilt-shift mode.

The 64-megapixel primary camera captures highly-detailed pictures with good colour production during the day. I did find some images to be overexposed, especially when shooting a backdrop of brightly lit sky. The wide-angle and macro lens produce sharp images but the colours look washed out, which is to be expected.

Coming to the night mode, the Realme 8 captures decent images without the dedicated night mode enabled. However, once the night mode is enabled you get improved exposure, reduced noise, and the halo effect around a light source is reduced to a great extent as well.

As for selfies, the 16-megapixel front camera captures detailed and impressive looking self portraits in daylight but quality drops noticeably as the sun goes down. There’s also a dedicated selfie portrait mode, which does a good job of separating the subject from the backround, but I feel the edge-detection could have been better.

Performance, software and battery

  • Android 11 with Realme UI 2.0
  • MediaTek Helio G95
  • 4GB+ 128GB, 6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB
  • 5,000mAh battery, 30W SuperDart Charge

Just like the Realme 8 Pro, the standard Realme 8 also borrows its processor from its predecessor. The handset is equipped with the MediaTek Helio G95 chipset that also powers the Realme 7. However, this time around instead of 6GB + 64GB and 8GB + 128GB configurations, Realme is offering 128GB storage in all variants with, 4GB, 6GB and 8GB RAM. I received the 8GB model  for the purpose of this review.

The Realme 8 handles day to day tasks with ease and multitasks like a breeze even with around 12-18 apps running in the background. However, the mileage may vary for the 4GB RAM variant. As for gaming, The phone handled Alto’s Odyssey and Call of Duty on high graphics without any stutters. The smartphone did get slightly warm after an hour of gameplay, which is not really a dealbreaker.

As for the software, the Realme 8 boots Android 11-based Realme UI 2.0, which comes with a refreshed interface and newly added features. You get new customisation options including icons, accent colours, and three different dark modes namely enhanced, medium, and gentle. There’s also an Always On display, but you get only one clock style for it. On the flip side, the Realme UI 2.0 comes with a fair bit of bloatware including Facebook, Snapchat, Soloop, and Amazon, among other. The good news is that these apps can be uninstalled.

Lastly, the Realme 8 features the same 5,000mAh battery and supports 30W fast charging as the Realme 7. The battery charges from zero to 100 percent in around 1.5 hours, which is decent. During my usage, the handset easily lasted me a full day on a single charge with around 10-15 percent battery to spare.

Bottomline

Realme seems to be following a pattern when it comes to the standard variant. Just like the Realme 7 (review) was an iterative upgrade to the Realme 6, the Realme 8 is a minor upgrade over Realme 7. The only difference between the two is the AMOLED display on the latest launch, and some might prefer the Realme 7’s 90Hz LCD over it.

At Rs 14,999, the Realme 8 competes directly with the Redmi Note 10 Pro starting at Rs 15,999. By paying Rs 1,000 extra for the latter’s base variant, you get a 6.67-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 732G processor, and a much sophisticated design.

If you can stretch your budget a little, you can get Realme’s own Narzo 30 Pro 5G (review) for 16,999. The handset comes with 5G-enabled Dimensity 800U chipset, and 120Hz display, but it misses out on the 64-megapixel primary camera.

Pricebaba’s rating: 7 / 10

What works

  • Super AMOLED display
  • Reliable performance
  • Android 11
  • Good battery life with fast charging

What doesn’t

  • Bloatware in Realme UI
  • No high refresh rate
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.