Hands-On: Xiaomi Redmi 8A Preview

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Redmi 8A

Xiaomi entered the Indian market back in 2014. In just a couple of years, it was clocking in the revenue of over a billion dollars. Such tremendous success was mostly attributed to its strategy of delivering excellent hardware at an affordable price. With its online sales model and relatively thin margins, Xiaomi proved that even sub 10k smartphones can deliver a good smartphone experience. With its latest phone, the Redmi 8A, the company is now trying to bring down the price of a decent smartphone closer to the 5k mark.

Design And Build

We received the blue unit, which looks quite good for an entry-level smartphone. Its build quality is surprisingly good too. The Redmi 8A is one of those rare phones you don’t have to be careful with. Although its plastic, the body is quite robust. I can tell that this handset can put up with rough use. Xiaomi has added the P2i coating for splash resistance.

Taking a break from the reflective gradient back, Xiaomi has opted for solid colors. The phone also has a fine texture pattern on its back. Does it help with the aesthetics? No. But it does a phenomenal job with the grip. Xiaomi is clearly aiming for utility over style. That said, the Redmi 8A doesn’t look bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Moving onto the front, the phone has over 80 percent of the screen-to-body ratio. That’s quite impressive for a budget handset. However, if you are coming from a mid-range phone, it is hard to miss the Redmi 8A’s thick chin. The company has ditched the fingerprint sensor to keep the cost in check. But let’s face it, you get what you pay for.

Display

The phone has a 6.2-inch display that follows the phone’s rounded corners. It has a waterdrop notch to accommodate the selfie camera. The panel is an IPS (In-Plane Switching) type, which offers wider viewing angles compared to a regular LCD. The screen has HD+ resolution, which translates to the pixel density of 270 ppi. That’s quite low for a modern smartphone, but then the manufacturer can’t get around cutting corners at this price point. On the bright side, the handset is actually quite bright. And it is protected by the Gorilla Glass 5, which is hardly seen in this segment. Xiaomi offers other self-explanatory enhancements such as color temperature adjustment, sunlight mode, and night mode.

Experience

Xiaomi’s latest entry-level smartphone runs Android 9 Pie loaded with feature-packed MIUI 10. I like how the phone offers app lock, cleaner, Wi-Fi file sharing, and optimizer functionality right out of the box. Xiaomi has done a good job with the aesthetics too. The icons look neat and the color scheme is not flashy either.

The biggest problem, however, is Xiaomi’s ad infested UI. It even stops you during the app installation process to plug adverts. You can get rid of it by disabling the personalized ad recommendations. Apart from that though, there’s not much to complain about. The phone runs fairly smooth owing to its Snapdragon 439 chipset. The device comes in 2 GB and 3 GB RAM variants, with the latter being pricier by Rs 500.

While I haven’t got the chance to properly test the Redmi 8A’s 5,000 mAh battery, I can tell that it lasts really long. If you don’t play a lot of games, the phone falls short of offering two days of battery life on a single charge. We are yet to take the Redmi 8A’s camera for a spin. For a thorough review, keep an eye out at this space.


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