With the launch of Samsung's Galaxy M30s, Huawei Y9 Prime and Redmi Note 8 Pro, budget segment looks set for yet another showdown. All three smartphones punch above their price point with some exciting features. For Huawei Y9 Prime ( ₹15,990), it's the large bezel less screen with a retractable front camera. The Galaxy M30s ( ₹13,999) packs in a massive 6,000mAh battery without feeling hefty, while the Redmi Note 8 Pro ( ₹14,999) offers the magic of four cameras on a single device.
With glass back design on the back and thin bezel display, Redmi Note 8 Pro retains most of the design elements of the predecessor.
There are minor changes to jazz up the look, like the teardrop cut out at the top of the screen instead of the circular cutout on the former and more sophisticated colour options-- halo white, gamma green and shadow black.
With a large 6.5-inch screen and a 4,500mAh battery on board and four cameras on the back, the Redmi phone tips the scales at 200g. Surprisingly, it doesn't feel top heavy or unmanageable at any point. Among rivals, weighing at 188g, the Galaxy M30s is lighter in comparison, yet manages to offer a 6.4-inch screen and long lasting 6,000mAh battery.
Xiaomi has kept the micro SD card slot separate from the SIM slots, so users can access all three simultaneously.
The Huawei Y9 Prime, with an almost bezel less screen and dual tone finish, looks far more premium. It is one of the few handsets at this price point to offer a true edge-to-edge screen.
The 6.53-inch LCD screen is the biggest in the Redmi Note series. It has a standard resolution of 2,340x1,080p and wide aspect ratio of 19:9. It is a bright enough screen to enable an enjoyable gaming and video playback experience. The Galaxy M30s has a similar resolution but it looks a tad more vibrant with slightly richer colours. With the layer of Gorilla glass 5, Redmi Note 8 Pro has an edge over rivals in terms of durability.
All three smartphones run Android 9 with their respective custom UIs on top. Each looks very different and brings something unique to the table, but by and large the driving principle behind them is the same-- to offer plenty of features and customisation options. Redmi Note 9 Pro's MIUI looks more polished of the lot, while with the Galaxy M30s' One UI and Huawei's EM UI, users get more customisation options.
This is the first Redmi smartphone in years to be running on a MediaTek processor. Paired with up to 6GB RAM, the MediaTek Helio G90T lives up to most of our expectations and the standards set by previous Redmi Note smartphones. It can handle most every day tasks without a stutter and even manage to handle games like eFootball PES 2020 and Call of Duty Mobile at 60fps smoothly.
In terms of battery back, the Galaxy M30s is way ahead of Redmi Note 8 Pro and lasts almost up to two days on moderate use.
It seems Xiaomi has finally started taking photography and social media enthusiasts more seriously.
The 48 MP snapper on the Redmi Note 7 Pro and now the 64MP camera on the successor is a testament to that. The icing on the cake is the three additional cameras -- 8MP for 120degree ultra wide photos, 2MP for macro shots and 2MP for enhancing depth of field in bokeh shots.
The 64MP camera isn't enabled by default, and has to be switched on manually in the camera modes. It delivers well-lit shots with sufficient detailing for social media posts. Colours look realistic and have not been overblown for effect. Low light and night shots also produced colours and detail well. The 64MP mode has its limitations like the zoom in doesn't work in it. Macro mode is a fun addition and will inspire you to take more close up shots. It allows focus from as close as 2cm.
With Galaxy M30s and Y9 Prime, Samsung and Huawei have managed to draw the spotlight away from Xiaomi, which on its part doesn't intend to wait and watch and has rushed in Redmi Note 8 Pro sooner than we expected.
Overall, the Redmi Note 8 Pro lives up to most of our expectations. It is not an outright winner but is certainly better placed than its predecessor to take on rivals. If you are looking for a combination of camera and performance, the Redmi Note 8 Pro is the phone for you. If battery backup and display experience are more important, the Galaxy M30s is a more viable option.
The Huawei Y9 Prime is notable for its more futuristic bezel-less design.