Realme 8i Review: All-Rounder on a Budget?


The Realme 8i was launched in India as the successor to the Realme 7i and a more affordable option than the Realme 8. The key features of this new smartphone are its 120Hz display, MediaTek Helio G96 SoC and 5,000mAh battery. It is also interesting that the starting price of Realme 8i is Rs. 13,999, which places it in one of the most competitive segments in the market. Can the Realme 8i beat the competition, or should you consider other alternatives? I tested the Realme 8i to find out.

Realme 8i packs in a 5,000mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging

Realme 8i price in India

NS realme 8i Available in two variants. The base variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage is priced at Rs. 13,999 in India, while the higher variant with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage is priced at Rs. 15,999. You have two color options to choose from, Space Black and Space Purple. I had the top-end version in Space Purple for this review.

realme 8i design

The Realme 8i has grown a bit compared to its predecessor. It sports a large display with a hole for the camera in the top-left corner. The borders are thin at the edges but are comparatively thick at the top and bottom. A fingerprint scanner is placed on the power button on the right, while the volume buttons are on the left. I found that the position of the buttons was great as I could reach them without stretching. There is also a SIM tray on the left side of the frame. The frame is flat at the top and bottom, and while the top is empty, the bottom looks busy with a 3.5mm headphone jack, primary microphone, USB Type-C port, and loudspeakers.

The body of the Realme 8i is made of plastic and the rear panel has an “arc beam” texture that pops when light is thrown on it. This panel is glossy and picks up fingerprints easily. The light color of my review unit made the smudge very easily visible. The camera module is in the top left corner and protrudes slightly. At first glance, it may look like there is a quad-camera setup but this phone has only three cameras. Flash is located in one of the blanks.

Realme 8i Back Panel 2 Gadgets360 Realme 8i Review

The Realme 8i has a plastic back panel that picks up smudges easily

my true form has kept the thickness of this phone under control, and it measures just 8.5mm, but the weight, at 194g, is noticeable. The Realme 8i packs a 5,000mAh battery and comes with an 18W fast charger in the box.

realme 8i specifications

The Realme 8i sports a 6.6-inch LCD display with full-HD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. It’s an upgrade to a 90Hz 720p panel realme 7i. The Realme 8i has a Dynamic Refresh Rate feature that switches between six preset frame rates (30Hz, 48Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz) depending on what you’re doing on the smartphone. It also has a 180Hz touch sampling rate and a peak brightness of 600 nits.

Powering the Realme 8i is the MediaTek Helio G96 SoC, making it the first smartphone in the country to sport this hardware. There are two RAM and storage options: the base variant has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while the higher priced one has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Realme offers a Virtual RAM feature that allows the smartphone to use some storage space as RAM. You can assign virtual RAM up to 5GB with the top variant.

Realme 8i Display Holepunch Gadgets360 Realme 8i Review

Offers 120Hz refresh rate display on Realme 8i, which is unusual at this price point

The storage on the Realme 8i can be expanded using the dedicated microSD card slot. It also has two Nano-SIM slots and supports 4G as well as VoLTE on both. There’s also dual-band Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 5 and three satellite navigation systems.

In terms of software, the Realme 8i runs Realme UI 2.0 on top of Android 11. My unit had the September Android security patch. The smartphone came with a fair amount of bloatware pre-installed, such as Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, Dailyhunt, Moz, Josh, and a few others. You can uninstall all these apps, but there are some realme first-party ones too. During use, I received push notifications from Themes and the Realme Store app.

realme 8i performance

The Realme 8i didn’t feel slow in any time, and UI navigation felt smooth thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. The device could keep app load times within acceptable limits, and multitasking was easy. Virtual RAM was enabled and set to 2GB by default on my unit, and can be expanded up to 3GB or 5GB. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner unlocks the smartphone quickly. I liked the bigger display of the Realme 8i, which can be quite bright from the outside. There are two color modes, Vivid and Gentle. You can also change the color temperature of this panel. I found the speaker to be loud enough. However, at full volume, the sound was tinny.

I ran my benchmarks on the Realme 8i to see how it stacks up against the competition. In AnTuTu, the Realme 8i scored 337,297 points, while it scored 538 and 1,714, respectively, in Geekbench 5’s single-core and multi-core tests. It scored 8,477 in PCMark Work 3.0. These scores are slightly higher than redmi note 10s (Review), which I’ve tested before. For graphics benchmarks, the Realme 8i managed to score 3,332 in 3DMark Slingshot, and in GFXBench’s T-Rex and Car Chase tests, it scored 55fps and 12fps, respectively.

realme 8i camera module Gadgets360 Realme 8i Review

The triple camera setup is designed to look like four cameras

I played BGMI on the Realme 8i, and it defaulted to the HD setting for graphics and high frame rates. The game was playable at these settings without any problems. I played for 28 minutes and saw an 8 percent drop in battery level. After such a long time the phone got a little hot to touch.

The battery life of the Realme 8i was good. This phone can last for about 2 days with my usage. In our HD video loop test too, the phone lasted for 21 hours and 17 minutes. It is better than some other smartphones in this price segment. Realme supplies an 18W charger in the box, which is capable of charging the battery to 30 percent in 30 minutes and 56 percent in an hour.

realme 8i camera

While it looks like the Realme 8i has a quad-camera setup, it only has three sensors. The primary one is a 50-megapixel Samsung sensor with f/1.8 aperture. The other two are a 2-megapixel B&W camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. The Realme Camera app sounds familiar. It houses all the different shooting modes at the bottom of the viewfinder, which makes it easy to switch between them. There’s an AI toggle at the top, and when enabled, AI can detect what you’re shooting and make adjustments accordingly.

The Realme 8i uses pixel binning to deliver a 12.5-megapixel output from its 50-megapixel sensor. Daylight photos taken with the Realme 8i were average. Distant objects did not have much detail. The phone also sharpens the image a bit. You don’t get the ultra-wide-angle camera on the Realme 8i, but you can shoot at the full 50-megapixel resolution. Photos shot at full resolution have better detail, especially in distant objects.

Realme 8i Daylight Camera Sampler (Tap to View Full Size)

Close-ups taken from the Realme 8i were good. The phone managed colors well and added soft depth to the background. You can shoot portraits with the Realme 8i and it lets you select the level of background blur before taking the shot. I liked the edge detection and the subject was sharp too. The macro camera lets you get very close to your subject and produces good results, but output is limited to 2 megapixels.

Realme 8i close-up sample (tap to see full size)

Realme 8i Portrait Sample (Tap to see full size)

Realme 8i Macro Camera Sampler (Tap to View Full Size)

Low-light camera performance was not the best in this price segment. There was no noise in the output but the detail was less. The phone also failed to capture the darker areas of the frame properly. The use of Night Mode helped in capturing the details in the shadows better and the images were also bright. There was also some improvement in details and objects were sharp.

Realme 8i low-light camera sample (tap to see full size)

Realme 8i Night Mode Sampler (Tap to View Full Size)

Selfies taken in daylight and low light with the Realme 8i were good. Portrait selfies had good separation between subject and background, although beautification is on by default.

Realme 8i Portrait Selfie Sample (Tap to View Full Size)

Video recording tops out at 1080p for the primary as well as the selfie camera. Footage is not static by default, and vibrations are visible. There is an Ultra Steady mode but it doesn’t help in stabilizing the footage to a great extent.

Decision

The super-competitive Realme 8i has been launched at sub-Rs. 15,000 segments in India, and a lot of competition to avoid. What’s more, it is not limited to other manufacturers, as Realme itself sells a number of smartphones in this price segment.

The strength of the Realme 8i is the performance. Its MediaTek Helio G96 SoC and 120Hz display help in providing a smooth user experience. Battery life is also good, but the 18W bundled charger seems insufficient, especially when we’ve seen phones like this realme narzo 20 pro (Review) Bundled with a charger up to 65W.

The Realme 8i isn’t a perfect all-rounder, and its cameras fall short of my expectations. If photo and video quality is not important to you, then you can consider buying this phone, but if you prefer something that does it all at this price level then you can also consider this . realme 7 (Review) which is an older model but a step up in Realme’s hierarchy.

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