Realme 8 Review: Steady Performer Caught in Note-land

Up against very stiff competition

by: - Last updated on: April 6th, 2021
Key Takeaways

The Realme 8 sticks largely to the Realme 7 template, with a few design changes and the addition of an AMOLED display.
The phone is a decent performer in most departments, although the Dare to Leap logo on the back might divide opinions.
At Rs 14,999, the Realme 8 goes up against the Redmi Note 10 series and the now-discounted Poco X3, which is tough going.

It did not make as many waves as its Pro sibling with a 108-megapixel main sensor, but the Realme 8 still has an important role to play. It is the brand’s flag bearer in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment and also its biggest challenger to perhaps the most successful phone series in recent times, the Redmi Note in general, and the Redmi Note 10 Pro in particular.

realme 8 review

A familiar spec sheet with some changes…

That leaves the Realme 8 with quite a lot to do. And we are not too sure it actually succeeds in doing what is expected. Let us get one thing out of the way – the Realme 8 is a very decent proposition in many regards. It comes with a 6.4 inch Super AMOLED full HD+ display (with a 60 Hz refresh rate, rather than the 90 Hz on the Realme 7) and runs on the impressive MediaTek Helio G95, which is known as one of the best gaming chips in the Rs 15,000 price range and comes with a large 5000 mAh battery with support for 30W fast charging.

The brand has also taken an interesting approach to RAM and storage, by bringing down the base model RAM to 4GB but increasing the base model storage to 128 GB – the phone is available in 4 GB/ 128 GB, 6 GB/ 128 GB, and 8 GB/ 128 GB models. Truth be told, we feel more RAM in the base model would have had a greater impact on performance, given that the phones come with expandable storage (there is a dedicated microSD card slot), but then extra storage never hurt anyone.

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On the camera front, the Realme 8 broadly sticks to the Realme 7 formula, with four cameras at the back, spearheaded by a 64-megapixel sensor and accompanied by an 8 megapixel ultrawide, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. However, the 8 gets a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor rather than a 2-megapixel depth sensor, although the difference is not a telling one. The selfie camera remains a 16 megapixel one, as in the Realme 7. It is a spec sheet that remains largely familiar, with the display being the main point of departure.

…and a design that Dares to Leap. Literally!

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All this with Realme UI 2.0 on top of Android 11, and in a design that will turn heads. Yes, it is a little more compact than the Realme 7 and lighter too, but what people will notice are the “Dare to Leap” words in large font placed vertically on a band on the glossy carbonate back. We got the Cyber Black variant on which the words were not immediately visible (they become visible only when you tilt the phone at a particular angle), but take our word for it, they will spark some discussion. We like the effort the brand has made to get attention, but we are not sure everyone will appreciate it. The front is a standard tall display, but this time it is a Super AMOLED one, with a fingerprint scanner below it (and not on the side, as in the Realme 7 – something we have often said we prefer).

There is no dust or water resistance, and while there is a 3.5 mm audio jack, we are a little disappointed by the absence of stereo speakers, considering the Redmi and Poco brigade in this price zone has them.

A steady performer with a good display

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The Realme 8 turns in an expected performance with all that hardware. The Super AMOLED display is a definite improvement over the LCD one on the Realme 7, even though it loses out on the slightly higher refresh rate. It does not seem as bright and colorful as the ones on the Redmi Note 10 but is definitely one of the better displays in its price segment. Watching content on it, whether videos or games, was pleasant, although we would have liked stereo speakers for a more complete multimedia experience.

On the subject of gaming, the MediaTek Helio G95 once again turns in a good performance, and handles most heavy-duty games at medium settings easily, and can even run some at maxed-out settings for a while before the odd lag creeps in. We would put this as among the best gaming phones in its price segment. Multi-tasking was good too, and we were able to switch between apps without any hassle, as long as we did not run too many heavy apps at the same time. Mind you, we wonder if the 4 GB variant would handle things as smoothly (we had the 8 GB variant).

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The camera performance of the Realme 8 is also largely a good one. We found the videos a little too wobbly at times, but stills in good light had decent detail and good colors. Saturation was just a little on the higher side, but we do not see too many people complaining about it. Low light performance has been improved over the Realme 7 in terms of colors but details are not the greatest (not a deal-breaker at this price point). Selfies are good if a little aggressive on the skin smoothing side, but these are decent cameras for the price point, although we do hope the wobbling in videos gets sorted out.

[Click here for full resolution pictures and additional samples]

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The 5000 mAh battery lasts a bit more than a day of normal use (We expected a little more, to be honest), and can get fully charged in a little over an hour. The phone comes with Android 11 out of the box with Realme UI 2 on top of it. The UI comes with its own associated apps but it runs smoothly and has a number of customizations for those who like that sort of thing.

A good phone, up against very tough competition

The Realme 8 starts at Rs 14,999 for the 4 GB/ 128 GB variant, with a 6 GB/ 128 GB option available for Rs 15,999 and a 8 GB/ 128 GB variant for Rs 18,999. That price would have been considered competitive a mere month or so ago, but with the likes of the Redmi Note 10 Pro and the Poco X3 (now) floating around in the vicinity, the Realme 8 has its work cut out. It does deliver a very solid performance in most departments, but the competition comes with some very formidable trump cards, including newer processors, more RAM in base variants, and higher refresh rates.

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The Realme 8 is a good phone but while it is a competitive one, it does not really bring anything startlingly new to the table – in fact, at times it even does not seem a big step forward from the Realme 7. It is a very good option for those who want to stay in the Realme ecosystem and want a Super AMOLED display, but it has some very formidable competition to contend with.

Buy Realme 8

Pros
  • Good display
  • Generally smooth performance
  • Good battery life
  • Good cameras
Cons
  • Design is divisive
  • Not the greatest sound (no stereo speakers)
  • Video recording is wobbly
  • Not a huge improvement over the Realme 7
Review Overview
Looks & design
Performance
Camera
Software
Price
SUMMARY

The Realme 8 sticks largely to the Realme 7 template, with a few design changes and the addition of an AMOLED display. At Rs 14,999, the Realme 8 goes up against the Redmi Note 10 series and the now-discounted Poco X3, which is tough going.

3.8

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