The Redmi 8A is a typical Xiaomi smartphone - it packs some high-end specs and somehow still manages to cost peanuts. Only this time, Xiaomi seems to have outdone itself – at least that’s what it looks like looking at the Redmi 8A. The Xiaomi Redmi 8A brings many industry firsts to the entry-level smartphone segment including a 5,000mAh battery with 18W USB Type-C charging and a splash-resistant design with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for just Rs 6,499. The rest of the phone is pretty good too.
The Redmi 7A which was launched barely two months ago was not bad at all. You can check out my full review here. But there were still a few caveats. The phone didn’t look modern enough at a time when Xiaomi was itself rehashing the whole under Rs 10,000 price segment with phones like the Redmi 7 and Redmi Y3. The Redmi 7A did not have any sort of protective coating. Also, base storage started at just 16GB in the Redmi 7A.
I know launching a new smartphone is easier said than done in this day and age of iterative updates, but it’s brands like Xiaomi that have spoiled us for choice in the first place – with phones like the Redmi 8A. The Redmi 8A, even though it is coming barely two months after the Redmi 7A, is a thorough rejig of its predecessor in more ways than. While keeping intact its biggest selling point – a highly aggressive price tag. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that, on paper, the Redmi 8A is the most exciting – read, feature packed – entry-level smartphone that you can get in India today at least. There’s no other smartphone quite like it.
-- The body of the Redmi 8A is made entirely out of plastic and there’s no fingerprint scanner here - like the Redmi 7A. The design is different though. The Redmi 8A comes with an aura design rehash, like the Redmi 7 and Redmi Y3. Unlike the Redmi 7 and Redmi Y3 however, the Redmi 8A has a textured back to enhance ergonomics – Xiaomi is calling the design of the Redmi 8A aura wave grip design. Not that the Redmi 7A was shabby to hold, but the Redmi 8A is surely a step up.
-- With the new design, also comes a choice of new colours. The Redmi 8A will be available in three options - Midnight Black, Sunset Red and Ocean Blue.
-- Another key highlight of the Redmi 8A is its P2i hydrophobic coating – which is also found in the Redmi 7 and other new-age budget Redmi phones. This makes the Redmi 8A resistant to light splashes of water/rain.
-- While the Redmi 7A came with thick bezels at the top and bottom, the Redmi 8A packs a more modern waterdrop-style notch design – Xiaomi calls it dot notch. That’s also the same design that Xiaomi uses in the Redmi 7 and Redmi Y3. The screen is now protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
-- More precisely, the Redmi 8A comes with a 6.22-inch 720p+ IPS LCD display - that’s bigger than the Redmi 7A’s 5.45-inch screen.
-- Core hardware remains the same though. Just like the Redmi 7A, the Redmi 8A is also powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor. This is paired with up to 3GB RAM and up to 32GB storage which is expandable by up to 512GB via a dedicated micro-SD card slot. The dual SIM phone runs Android 9 Pie-based MIUI 10 software.
-- There’s a sizeable 5,000mAh battery inside and USB Type-C port for charging and data syncing – with support for 18W fast charging although Xiaomi isn't bundling a fast charger in the box.
-- On to the cameras, the Redmi 8A comes with a 12MP rear camera with Sony’s IMX363 sensor and f/1.8 aperture. On the front, the Redmi 8A comes with an 8MP camera. Both the front and rear cameras onboard the Redmi 8A can so software-based portrait photography.
-- While the base variant with 2GB RAM and 32GB storage will sell for Rs 6,499, the top-end model with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage will cost Rs 6,999. The Redmi 8A will be available for buying from Mi.com and Flipkart from September 29 (11:59PM) and from Xiaomi’s Mi Homes from September 30 – with availability across other offline stores to follow later.
(Photos by Saurabh Singh)