Back in March 2021, Redmi announced that it sold over 25 million units of the original Redmi Note 8 globally. And to celebrate the milestone, in May the company introduced a refreshed version of the Redmi Note 8, dubbed Redmi Note 8 2021.
Xiaomi clearly meant to keep this all popular device in circulation, but the reality of chipset shortages across all industries meant that the chipset had to be swapped to keep the model afloat.
The swap of the Snapdragon 665 chipset with a MediaTek Helio G85 represents a side-grade at best, since it does bump up the Bluetooth radio to Bluetooth 5.2, but at the same time limits video capture to FullHD, instead of 4K. You also get an extra splash-resistant coating compared to the original model.
The Redmi Note 8 2021 can no longer be had with 6GB of RAM either, just 3GB or 4GB, but, on the flip side, its entry-level storage has been bumped up to 64GB, instead of 32GB.
The color options are now fewer too – Moonlight White, Space Black and the Neptune Blue we have on our review unit. Nebula Purple and Cosmic Purple are no longer options.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 2021 specs at a glance:
- Body: 158.3×75.3×8.4mm, 190g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), plastic frame.
- Display: 6.30″ IPS LCD, 500 nits (typ), 1080x2340px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 409ppi.
- Chipset: MediaTek Helio G85 (12nm): Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G52 MC2.
- Memory: 64GB 3GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM; eMMC 5.1; microSDXC (dedicated slot).
- OS/Software: Android 11, MIUI 12.5.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 48 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.2, 120-degree, 1/4.0″, 1.12µm; Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4; Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4.
- Front camera: 13 MP, f/2.0, (wide), 1/3.1″, 1.12µm.
- Video capture: Rear camera: [email protected]/120fps; gyro-EIS; Front camera: [email protected]
- Battery: 4000mAh; Fast charging 18W.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (rear-mounted); FM radio; Infrared port; 3.5mm jack.
Other than that, the Redmi Note 8 2021 is essentially the same as its 2019 predecessor both on the outside and in all of its other specs and hardware. The camera setup is the same, so are the display and the battery. Also identical – the price tag, which is probably the biggest bummer of all, since all of the specs changes could have been stomached alongside a nice price drop.
Even so, prices change, and the Redmi Note 8 2021 could still become a viable budget opting at the right MSRP. Let’s dive in and see how the changes have affected the new Redmi Note 8 2021.
The retail box for the Redmi Note 8 2021 unsurprisingly looks quite similar to that of the regular Redmi Note 8. A few different text placements and a different wallpaper printed on the box are pretty much the only distinguishing features. The box itself is a standard two-piece affair – nice and thick cardboard all around.
In terms of included accessories, you get a nice and thick transparent TPU case so you can confidently start using the phone straight away.
There is a notable value add-in the included 22.5W Quick Charge 3+ charger included in the box. This is an upgrade from the 10W charger that came with the original Redmi Note 8. It is still a USB Type-A unit and there is a relatively short Type-A to Type-C cable in the box as well.
Depending on your region, some units will come with a factory-applied screen protector. And while it may not be the most premium piece of shielding, it’s still very much appreciated.