The latest creation from mobile brand Realme is the Realme 8i which is an upgrade on last years Realme 7i. If you compare both side by side the 8i comes with a better display and refresh rate. In this review, we will also look at other changes between the 8i and the 7i.

So the Realme 8i costs 199 euros/£170 making this a budget-friendly device without cutting corners.  In fact, its seen some improvements on the previous 7i model. The 8i now comes with a MediaTek Helio G96 chipset but am not sure why but realme has dropped the ultrawide from the camera which leaves a few question marks.  

Realme 8i Review

Other improvements are seen in the display as now you get a 120Hz refresh rate meaning this phone is ideal for gamers. So let’s take a deeper look at this phone.

Also Read: Realme 8 review

Design

The body of the realme 8i as expected is made of plastic and but it’s the rear panel that comes with a texture that looks so cool in daylight but is a bit of a fingerprint catcher especially the space purple version. The space black version we have does hide the fingerprints better. 

Realme 8i Review

The camera module is positioned in the top left and does stick out a little. This phone’s camera set-up is missing an ultrawide lens so it only has 3  camera lenses with the 4th spot for the flash. 

Realme 8i Review

The 8i is also 194g in weight which you might think is a little heavy but remember this phone also comes with a 5000mAh battery that also comes with fast charging. 

The Realme 8i  does come with a bigger display compared to the previous model and has a 16MP selfie camera in the top left corner. The phone is not very thick, meaning you won’t have any issues with handling it and you won’t need to stretch your fingers.

Realme 8i Review

Moving to the side of the phone the right side has the power button that also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. 

Realme 8i Review

On the left-hand side, you have the volume controls and the sim card tray as well. 

Realme 8i Review

Last but not least at the bottom of the phone is a USB-C port, Loudspeaker and 3.5mm headphone jack that seems to be returning especially for the more budget-friendly devices. 

Realme 8i Review

Display 

The Realme 8i has a 6.6 inch LCD display covered with flat tempered glass with a Full HD+ 1080p  resolution and that 120Hz refresh rate but does allow you to use a preset frame rate from 30Hz to 120Hz depending on the task you are carrying out.

I was very surprised by the 120Hz refresh rate considering the cost its seems more of a premium feature. However, unfortunately, there is no HDR support. 

In terms of brightness, you get about 433 nits when the brightness was adjusted when using the auto-brightness feature it can reach 540nits. I found the minimum brightness is exceptional we got 0.6nits at point white which is amazing for a phone like this.

Under the Bonet/Performance 

The realme 8i is powered with the MediaTek Helio G96 chipset which is a massive improvement from the previous 7i model. Paired with this you get a 6GB of RAM that comes with a 128GB of storage option. There is also a 4GB RAM/64GB storage option which is a little cheaper.

Realme 8i Review

Looking for some extra storage you can use a microSD card that offers that extra storage. In addition to the storage, the 8i also comes with dual-band Wi-Fi and supports Bluetooth 5 and is 4G enabled it also comes with NFC technology so perfect for the contactless payment world we live in.  

In terms of software, the 8i runs with Android 11 with realme UI 2.0 running on top. You will find the phone comes with a series of pre-installed apps to help you get started such as the normal social media apps and other apps such as Amazon.  

In terms of the Realme UI that supports different icon packs meaning you can customize the way, the screen looks such as the colours used, notification drawer icons and even the system front. You even have a theme store meaning you could change the way the phone looks every day.

There is also a dark mode and the UI 2.0 this feature has been enhanced as it offers 3 different styles:

  • Black
  • Dark Grey
  • Light Grey

This can be scheduled to use dark mode at certain parts of your day for example on the daily commute when you want to be a little more private/

In terms of performance, the navigation on the phone felt very smooth and this is due to that 120Hz and this keeps app loading time down. This is also helped by the RAM expansion feature that virtually adds an additional 2GB to your RAM. 

When running the benchmark testing the Realme 8i has one of the most powerful processors in its price point. The offscreen performance scores are on par with that of the realme 8. We found the phone to be excellent for gaming as it would default to the HD settings for a higher frame rate but just note this might have an impact on the battery. So overall the 8i is good for multitasking and using more demanding apps. The whole time we used the 8i we never felt like it lacked performance and offered an excellent experience. 

Finally, the battery life gives you a 5000mAh battery life that depending on the usage could give you 2 days of battery life if you play your cards right. If you are like me and enjoy a good Netflix film or use this device more regular, for a wide range of activities expect just over a day worth of use. 

When it comes to the time you need to charge the phone realme give you a fast charging option which takes you from zero to 30% in 30min and fully charged in 1 hour. 

Camera Review by our camera expert James Robertson Milligan Instagram – @Lifesizephotography

Realme have always excelled in the camera department as a dominant rival the Samsung range of phones and the Realme 8I is certainly no different with its triple Ai camera delivering an impressive up to 50mp photo, it’s clear that Realme has not skimped or overlooked the capabilities of its cameras on this handset. Let’s take a more detailed look. 

  • 50 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/2.76″, 0.64µm, PDAF
  • 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
  • 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)

Features: LED Flash, HDR, Panorama


The camera is nice and easy to use with a dedicated button on the home screen which when pressed takes you straight in with no lag at all. The autofocus works well and is relatively smooth and quick. using the zoom is not tricky at all and is smooth and easy to use. The only letdown on this device is that it doesn’t have an ultra-wide-angle and I would have thought Realme would have added this as it’s a Triple AI phone, I love shooting in wide-angle and this for me would be a deal-breaker but that’s my personal feeling. 

So, what functions does this camera come with?  

It comes with all the usual you can expect with portrait, panorama, 50m mode but again this mode does not support zoom, expert mode, night mode, ultra-Macro and the usual video modes. I have loved using the camera on this phone and to be honest, it’s a massive contender and could easily be up there with my iPhone 12 pro for camera capabilities as well as giving my DSLR a serious run for its money. 

Would I ditch my DSLR for this phone?

Let’s just say this, I would use my DSLR less on days out if I had this in my pocket! So let’s get down to business and check out a few sample pics taken from this handset! 

50mp Mode, I love the crisp clean image’s that you get from this and the well-defined colours that come out in the pictures are just excellent!  

Realme 8i Review

Realme 8i Review

Panoramic –  I like using panoramic to get as much scenery and detail in as possible to a picture especially if I’m out at an area of interest and beauty, I personally find panoramic great when I am out especially sunsets when you have excellent scenery around you, and again this handset has sheer beauty with the outcome.

Realme 8i Review

Super macro-  I love super macro and I love the detail you can get when you get up close and personal, the level of detail you get from this phone is certainly up there and handles just as good as the super macro lens I have on my DSLR camera. The colour and the clarity are just amazing! and it shows! 

Realme 8i Review

Portrait –  How I love portraits and the subtle pictures that you get and once again on this device it’s no let down at all! The nice subtle background blur and the focus you get is just amazing on this phone, I used my trusty model for this picture and what a great picture you get as a result! 

Realme 8i Review

Normal mode-  You get some real crisp clean images on this phone and some great results, I do like using this function for simple point and click and you get great results as shown in the sample pics that I have taken. 

Realme 8i Review

Realme 8i Review

The all-important selfie camera, this camera weighs in at 16mp and you always get a great result again for a front-facing camera, it’s crisp. clean and smooth.

Realme 8i Review

Zooming! the zoom on this phone is not the best, admittedly you don’t get too much camera shake when on full zoom but the picture is a bit of a letdown on the 10x zoom I wasn’t impressed, some phones you get good zoom pics but it just doesn’t happen on this device (see pics 7&8) 

Realme 8i Review

In conclusion, I would not personally buy this phone only because it lacks the wide-angle, and as a photographer, I do a lot in wide-angle but then that’s just me!

Realme have clearly put a lot of thought and effort into the camera on this device and it works well and performs excellent for any type of picture you want, if it had a wide-angle then I would 100% consider this phone! 

As for all the other features and functions and the use of photo editing apps such as Snapseed you could really turn a stock photo into something awe-inspiring that would turn many heads and definitely get you noticed in the world of photography! 

Moving on to the video recording the 8i offers 1080p and the footage isn’t stabilised by default and shakes are visible. There is an ultra steady mode but in testing, this was not very useful. 

Verdict

The Realme 8i is an impressive upgrade on the previous 7i model at £170 it also won’t hurt the wallet too much.  What makes this device stand out is in its performance that 120Hz refresh paired with that MediaTek Helio G96 chipset provides a really smooth experience.

 

I was also impressed with the 5000mAh battery life and the fact you can take advantage of the fast charging. However, the only negative for me is the camera and that lack of ultrawide angle which I feel is a real shame to be missing. Apart from that, the camera will still serve you well both during the day and the night and help you get some fantastic shots. 

Would I buy it?

Well the Realme 8i is a decent handset but its not perfect but considering the cost could it be perfect? The 8i does not offer that ultrawide shooter and is also missing out on that 30W fast charging. However, if you can look past these negatives then the Realme 8i offers a wonderful design and if you look past the lack of ultrawide and the poor zoom you can get some great pictures. 

If you love previous realme devices am sure this will be an enjoyable upgrade and it’s your first time to Realme am sure you won’t be disappointed. 

Product Rating:

  • Design: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
  • Features: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
  • Camera: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
  • Battery Life: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars
  • Value for Money : 5.0 out of 5.0 stars           

Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0 stars – 4.4 Stars      

Also Read: Realme 8 review

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