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Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T hands on: Storming the budget battlefield

Price when reviewed : £180

The Xiao must go on

Of the two smartphones Xiaomi launched in Madrid today, the Redmi Note 8T is perhaps the least interesting. It doesn’t benefit from the fancy 108MP camera, nor does it look quite as fancy, but crucially it’s the cheapest of the pair.

At that sort of money and specification, it won’t trouble the OnePlus 7T Pro quite like its pricier stablemate will. The Redmi Note 8T has a different set of reasonably priced smartphones in its sights, but it’s not the only phone gunning for Motorola’s lucrative budget crown.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T review: Key specifications, price and release date

  • 6.3in IPS, FHD+ screen, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor
  • 3GB or 4GB RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB or 128GB storage (expandable via microSD)
  • Four rear cameras: 48MP (f/1.8), 8MP wide (f/2.2), 2MP macro, 2MP depth
  • 13MP (f/2.0) selfie camera
  • 4,000mAh battery (18W)
  • Android 9 Pie
  • UK price: £180
  • UK release: 22 November

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T review: Design, key features and first impressions

A cursory glance at the specifications suggests that Motorola may have something to worry about here. For the same price as the new Moto One Macro, there’s a 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor inside the Note 8T, which is paired with either 3GB or 4GB of RAM and a choice of 64GB or 128GB of expandable storage.

This octa-core chipset sits comfortably within the upper mid-range of Qualcomm’s ever-expanding portfolio, and it’s the very same processor that powers the more expensive Moto G8 Plus. It’s certainly a worthwhile upgrade on last year’s Snapdragon 660.

Xiaomi hasn’t made cutbacks elsewhere, either. In particular, the Redmi Note 8T doesn’t look or feel cheap – despite the price – and that’s thanks to the new 2.5D curved glass design, which not only adds an element of protection with a coating of Gorilla Glass 5, but it also has the added benefit of making the phone feel much more premium than it actually is. The same layer of protection extends to the front of the phone too, so it also feels nice and smooth under the finger.

As for all the other physical particulars, the Redmi Note 8T continues to impress. There’s a USB Type-C port, which supports fast charging speeds up to 18W, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a speaker which, according to Xiaomi’s press release, is self-cleaning. Apparently the speaker expels dust and debris through low-frequency sonic pulses, although you won’t be able to do this at launch.

Crucially, Xiaomi has finally decided to include an NFC reader into its low-end lineup, so you should be able to use the Redmi Note 8T at the ticket barriers on the Tube, and for mobile card payments.

Finally, let’s talk cameras. The Redmi Note 8T cooks up an intriguingly unique proposition on this end of the price scale, in that it offers a 48-megapixel camera for less than £200. That’s stonkingly good value for money, especially when you consider that this tech in smartphones is still in its infancy.

I don’t know how Xiaomi has managed to keep costs so low, but the 48-megapixel camera is also flanked by an additional trio of cameras. There’s a further 8MP wide-angle lens, with a field of view equivalent to 120-degrees, alongside a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP depth-sensing unit for extra help with blurred background portraits.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T review: Early verdict

Now that I’ve said all that, it’s worth circling things back around to the price. It might not provide an upper limit of what a smartphone can feasibly offer in 2019, but when you consider that it costs as little as £180, then the Redmi Note 8T begins to present astonishingly good value for money.

I’m yet to test it thoroughly, but at this early stage I’m mightily impressed with what the Redmi Note 8T has to offer. Motorola better watch its back, because its budget reign may be usurped in the coming months.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T specifications
ProcessorOcta-core 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 (4x2GHz, 4×1.8GHz)
Screen size6.3in
Screen resolution2,340 x 1,080
Pixel density409ppi
Screen typeIPS
Front camera13MP (f/2.0)
Rear camera48MP (f/1.8), 8MP wide (f/2.2), 2MP macro (f/2.4), 2MP depth (f/2.4)
Dust and water resistanceNo
3.5mm headphone jackYes
Wireless chargingNo
USB connection typeUSB Type-C
Storage options64GB or 128GB
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD (up to 256GB)
Cellular data4G
Dual SIMYes
Dimensions (WDH)161 × 75 × 8.6mm
Operating systemAndroid 9
Battery size4,000mAh

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