Realme 8i was launched in India as the successor to the Realme 7i and is a cheaper option than the Realme 8. The main features of this new smartphone are the 120 Hz display, the MediaTek Helio G96 SoC and the 5,000 mAh battery . Also of interest is the starting price of the Realme 8i at Rs. 13,999, which makes it one of the most competitive segments in the market. Can the Realme 8i outperform the competition or should you consider other options? I put the Realme 8i to the test to find out.
Realme 8i price in India
The Realme 8i is available in two versions. The basic variant with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage costs Rs. 13,999 in India, while the higher variant with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage costs Rs. 15,999. You have two color options to choose from, Space Black and Space Purple. I had the top-end version in Space Purple for this test.
Realme 8i design
The Realme 8i has grown slightly compared to its predecessor. It has a larger display with a hole for the camera in the top left corner. The edges are thin on the sides, but comparatively thicker at the top and bottom. There is a fingerprint scanner on the right, while the volume buttons are on the left. I found the key positioning very good because I could reach it without having to stretch. The SIM tray is also located on the left side of the frame. The frame is flat at the top and bottom, and while the top is blank, the bottom looks busy with a 3.5mm headphone jack, primary microphone, USB Type-C port, and speaker.
The housing of the Realme 8i is made of plastic and the back panel has an “arc ray” texture that pops open when light falls on it. This panel is glossy and takes fingerprints with relative ease. The light color of my test device made stains very visible. The camera module is located in the upper left corner and protrudes slightly. At first glance, it might seem like there is a quad camera setup, but this phone only has three cameras. There is a lightning bolt in one of the rooms.
Realme has kept the thickness of this phone in check, measuring just 8.5mm, but the weight of 194g is palpable. The Realme 8i has a 5,000mAh battery and comes with an 18W quick charger in the box.
Realme 8i specifications
The Realme 8i has a 6.6-inch LCD display with Full HD + resolution and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. This is an upgrade over the 90 Hz 720p panel of the Realme 7i. The Realme 8i has a dynamic refresh rate feature that switches between six preset frame rates (30 Hz, 48 Hz, 50 Hz, 60 Hz, 90 Hz, 120 Hz) depending on what you’re doing on the smartphone. It also has a touch sampling rate of 180 Hz and a peak brightness of 600 nits.
The Realme 8i is powered by the MediaTek Helio G96 SoC, making it the first smartphone in the country to be equipped with this hardware. There are two RAM and storage options: the basic variant has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, while the more expensive variant has 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Realme offers a Virtual RAM function that allows the smartphone to use some storage space as RAM. With the top variant, you can allocate up to 5 GB of virtual RAM.
The storage on the Realme 8i can be expanded via the dedicated microSD card slot. It also has two nano SIM slots and supports 4G as well as VoLTE on both. There is also dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 5, as well as three satellite navigation systems.
In terms of software, the Realme 8i runs Realme UI 2.0 on Android 11. My device had the September Android security patch. A lot of bloatware was preinstalled on the smartphone, like Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, Dailyhunt, Moj, Josh and a few others. You can uninstall any of these apps, but there are some first-party Realme apps as well. While using it, I received push notifications from the Themes and Realme Store apps.
Realme 8i performance
The Realme 8i never felt slow at any point, and the UI navigation felt smooth thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. The device was able to keep the app loading times below acceptable limits and multitasking was possible without any problems. Virtual RAM was enabled by default on my device and set to 2GB, and that can be increased to 3GB or 5GB. The fingerprint scanner on the side unlocks the smartphone quickly. I liked the Realme 8i’s large display, which can be bright enough outdoors. There are two color modes, vivid and gentle. You can also optimize the color temperature of this panel. I found the speaker loud enough. At full volume, however, the sound was tinny.
I ran our standard benchmarks on the Realme 8i to see how it compares to the competition. In AnTuTu, the Realme 8i achieved 337,297 points, while it achieved 5 538 and 1,714 points in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. It achieved 8,477 points in PCMark Work 3.0. These values are slightly higher than those of the Redmi Note 10S (Review), which I tested previously. As far as the graphics benchmarks are concerned, the Realme 8i achieved 3332 in 3DMark SlingShot and in the T-Rex and Car Chases tests of GFXBench 55 fps and 12 fps, respectively.
I played BGMI on the Realme 8i and it defaulted to the HD graphics and high frame rate setting. The game was playable with these settings without any problems. I played for 28 minutes and noticed an 8 percent drop in the battery level. The phone got slightly warm after such a long time.
The Realme 8i’s battery life was good. This phone could last about 2 days with my use. Even in our HD video loop test, the phone ran for 21 hours and 17 minutes. That’s better than some other smartphones in this price range. Realme includes an 18 W charger in the box, which can charge the battery to 30 percent in 30 minutes and to 56 percent in one hour.
Realme 8i cameras
While it looks like the Realme 8i has a quad camera setup, it only has three sensors. The primary one is a 50 megapixel Samsung sensor with an f / 1.8 aperture. The other two are a 2 megapixel black and white camera and a 2 megapixel macro camera. The Realme camera app feels familiar. It has all of the different shooting modes arranged at the bottom of the viewfinder so you can easily switch between them. There’s an AI switch on the top, and when it’s on, the AI can detect what you’re recording and make adjustments accordingly.
The Realme 8i uses pixel binning to deliver 12.5 megapixel output from its 50 megapixel sensor. Daylight photos taken with the Realme 8i were average. Objects in the distance didn’t have a lot of detail. The phone also easily sharpens images. You don’t get an ultra-wide-angle camera with the Realme 8i, but you can take photos with the full 50 megapixel resolution. Photos taken at full resolution had better details, especially with objects in the distance.
Close-ups with the Realme 8i were good. The phone handled colors well and added a soft depth to the background. You can take portraits with the Realme 8i and select the amount of background blur before taking a picture. I found the edge detection good and the subject was also sharp. The macro camera lets you get super close to your subject and creates decent results, but the output is limited to 2 megapixels in resolution.
The low-light camera performance wasn’t the best I’ve seen in this price range. There was no noise in the output, but there was little detail. The phone was also unable to correctly capture darker areas of the frame. Using night mode helped capture details in the shadows better, and the images were brighter too. It also had some improvements in the details and the objects were sharper.
Selfies taken with the Realme 8i in both daylight and low light were decent. Portrait selfies had a good separation between subject and background, even though embellishment is turned on by default.
Video recording reaches 1080p for both the primary and selfie cameras. By default, the footage is not stabilized and camera shake is visible. There is an ultra-steady mode, but that doesn’t help stabilize the footage to a great extent.
The Realme 8i was introduced in the super competitive Sub-Rs. 15,000 segment in India and faces a lot of competition. Incidentally, this is not limited to other manufacturers, as Realme itself sells several smartphones in this price segment.
The realme 8i’s strong point is its performance. The MediaTek Helio G96 SoC and the 120 Hz display ensure a smooth user experience. Battery life is good too, but the included 18W charger feels inadequate, especially after we’ve seen phones like the Realme Narzo 20 Pro (review) with chargers up to 65W.
The Realme 8i is not a perfect all-rounder and its cameras fell short of my expectations. If photo and video quality is not that important to you, you might consider purchasing this phone, but one step up the Realme hierarchy.