Realme is determined to dominate the low-end segment of the smartphone market. The company has just launched the latest model, Realme 8i, which costs EURO 190 for the 4/64 GB version and EURO 200 for the 4/128 GB version. When compared to its competitors, Realme 8i stands out with its 120 Hz screen, making it the most affordable smartphone with such a high refresh rate. Additionally, it is more powerful than the previous Realme 7i processor. I had the opportunity to use the Realme 8i before its release and can confirm that it is a great choice for people with a budget in the range of EURO 190-200. With its impressive features and affordable price, I can definitely recommend this phone.
The main advantages and disadvantages of Realme 8i
- Super fast finger and face unlock
- Headphone jack
- Larger screen relative to Realme 7i without enlarging the phone size
- A screen with a higher resolution and higher refresh rate than in the predecessor – a big change
- Up to 120 Hz screen refreshing
- Full dual SIM
- The specification ensures comfort and smooth operation
- Complete equipment – there is NFC and a gyroscope
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Android 11 with the promised update to version 12
- Good quality daytime photos from the main camera
- Good enough quality for night shots
- Long battery life
- Unsealed plastic housing, easy to get dirty
- Noticeable decrease in brightness when looking at the screen at an angle
- Only one camera is of good quality
- The quality of the movies is below average
- Slow charging – almost 2.5 hours
The design of the Realme 8i has been made to look similar to the other 8 series smartphones manufactured by the company. This is mainly evident in the camera island and the fingerprint reader, which has been moved to the power button located at the back of the phone’s housing. The frame and back of the phone are made of plastic, and it comes in two different colors in Poland – black and purple. The color is not uniform, but has a characteristic gradient from a more saturated color to silver. However, the glossy finish highlights smudges and fingerprints, making it prone to touch marks.
Both fingerprint and face recognition features work exceptionally fast and almost every time, making the Realme 8i very convenient to use. On the lower edge, the phone has a USB C port, a headphone jack, and a single speaker. The loudspeaker works well for hands-free mode, allowing you to listen to podcasts without any issues, even in noisy environments. However, when playing music at high volume levels, the sound quality is less pleasant to the ear – some sounds merge, and the high tones have a sharp and shrill character.
Unfortunately, the housing is not sealed, and the manufacturer did not provide any standard of water and dust resistance. On the plus side, the Realme 8i is a newer model than the Realme 7i, and despite having a larger screen diagonal, it did not increase its dimensions and even reduced the thickness of the housing.
The Realme 8i has several key improvements over its predecessor, the Realme 7i. The most noticeable improvement is its screen. The Realme 7i had a 6.5-inch panel with only 720p resolution and a 60 Hz refresh rate, while the Realme 8i boasts a 6.6-inch FHD+ display with a resolution of 2412 x 1080 pixels and a 120 Hz refresh rate. The pixel density has also increased to 400 PPI, and the frames are narrower. Additionally, the central notch has been replaced with a round hole on the left side of the screen. Overall, the display is significantly better than its predecessor, both on paper and in practice. The higher resolution and refresh rate are easily noticeable to the user, and the Realme 8i is currently the cheapest smartphone with a 120 Hz refresh rate. However, it’s worth noting that the Realme 8i uses an IPS panel, not an AMOLED one like more expensive phones.
The Realme 8i also allows for customization of its display settings. Users can choose from a dark theme, eye comfort mode to reduce blue light, two color modes, and adjust the color temperature and screen refresh rate.
Overall, the display quality of the Realme 8i is impressive, especially considering its price range below this price range. While AMOLED screens offer better contrast, the brightness, viewing angles, and color saturation of the Realme 8i’s panel are satisfactory. The only downside is that the brightness of the panel decreases when viewed at an angle.
Specification and Operating System
The Realme 8i features a powerful 8-core Mediatek Helio G96 processor with 2 x 2.05 GHz and 6 x 2.0 GHz clocks. This processor change enables the use of the 120 Hz screen and newer UFS 2.2 memory. In Poland, there are two variants available: 4 GB RAM and 64 GB for the system and files, and 4 GB RAM and 128 GB for the system and files. The version with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage was provided for testing purposes, but it won’t be available on the market. This shouldn’t significantly impact the test results. Additionally, the Realme 8i supports microSD memory cards and non-hybrid dual SIM, which allows you to use two nano SIM cards and a memory card simultaneously.
- Antutu 9 – 341177
- Geekbench 5 – 532/1888
- Androbench sequential read/write – 520/485 MB / s
It’s no secret that phones priced below a thousand zlotys do not perform as well and typically rank lower on the Antutu scale. However, this does not affect their usability as budget phones have already reached a level of efficiency that allows for comfortable usage. The phone runs smoothly without any issues, and the high screen refresh rate enhances the feeling of fluidity in animations. Overall, the phone’s performance can be described as good enough.
The connectivity package of the Realme 8i includes LTE, WiFi AC, the latest Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC. However, 5G and WiFi 6 are not available on this device. The sensor kit on the Realme 8i consists of an accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, light intensity sensor, and digital compass. To determine location, the phone uses GPS, Beidou, Glonass, and Galileo.
In the past, budget phones usually lacked NFC and gyroscope. However, the Realme 8i has both features. One can seamlessly watch 360-degree videos and tilt the phone to look around precisely. As of August 5, 2021, the Realme 8i runs on Android 11 with security updates. The user interface overlay is Realme UI 2.0.
The phone comes with several system applications, including a voice recorder, compass, phone manager, and Soloop for movie editing. The device also has a smart sidebar with shortcuts to applications and functions, and screen recording is possible. During testing, the Realme 8i showed no performance or stability issues.
While the Realme 8i smartphone has only one camera, the design may suggest otherwise with its three or four camera-like outlines. However, upon closer inspection, one of the “lenses” is actually an LED flash. This is a deceptive practice by the manufacturer and should be condemned by consumers.
The “set” of cameras looks like this:
- 50 MP, f / 1.8, 26mm, PDAF – the main and only useful camera on the back of the housing
- 2 MP, f / 2.4 – macro
- 2 MP, f / 2.4 – stage depth measurement
- 16 MP, f / 2.1 – selfie camera
I am more interested in the quality of the recorded images than the number of cameras. The Realme 8i camera does not disappoint in this regard. The tonal range is sufficient, colors are saturated and clear. The color scheme of the camera is successful, which is often not the case with photos from inexpensive smartphones. The night shots are fine despite the lack of optical stabilization. Therefore, I consider the main camera to be really good. The only compromise is the lack of a wide-angle camera, but I prefer one good camera over two medium ones or adding more by force. The depth or macro camera is not as important as the wide-angle camera, so it is easier to forgive such a procedure.
Selfie quality is good and supports portrait mode with background blurring. The video quality is limited to 1080p, and the detail is pretty average. Although the video is digitally stabilized, artifacts appear when walking.
The camera app encourages the use of x2 and x5 magnification, which are at hand. However, this is only digital magnification, and the drop in quality is visible. In addition to photo and video modes, we can find here ultra night mode, portrait, 50M, dual view video, slow motion, time-lapse movie, movie, expert, panorama, text scanner and ultra macro.
The Realme 8i comes with a 5000 mAh battery and an 18 watts charger. However, the charging times are not very impressive as it takes almost two and a half hours to fully charge the battery and half an hour’s charge only gives you 30% battery life. On the other hand, when the screen brightness is set to half and refreshing at 120 Hz, the phone can work for almost 19 hours when playing YouTube videos. This is a good result, indicating that the battery life of the Realme 8i is excellent and can easily last for two days with moderate use. However, charging the phone takes a lot of time, and a few minutes of charging won’t make much of a difference.
Compared to its competitor, the Realme 8i stands out primarily because of its screen. The 120 Hz FHD display is a significant improvement from the 720p and 60 Hz that the Realme 7i offered last year. Moreover, it is probably the most affordable smartphone on the market with such a high screen refresh rate. The phone comes equipped with essential features such as NFC for payments and a gyroscope for 360-degree video playback. Its main camera captures good-quality images, and the phone has a long battery life, making it a reliable performer. Although the phone could charge faster and offer better performance or more cameras, such features are usually found in more expensive devices. Upgrading from the Realme 7i to the 8i means that you no longer feel like you’re using a budget phone, instead, you’re handling a device that is comparable to the more expensive smartphones. If you’re looking for a device priced below a thousand zlotys, then the Realme 8i is an excellent choice.
We love: the 120 Hz screen
We don’t like: slow-charging
Who is it for Realme 8i:
- For those looking for an inexpensive but comfortable phone
- For people who value high smoothness of the display
- For those looking for long battery life
- For photographers, mainly with the main camera
For whom it is not Realme 8i:
- Not for those who want to take pictures with other than the main camera, e.g. wide-angle
- Not for those looking for fast-charging