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realme 8i review: 120Hz for less

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We’re now at the tail end of the year and realme released yet another value-driven smartphone in the realme 8i.

The handset surprised with an eye-catching design, but it’s no slouch in the specs department. It sports a 6.5-inch FHD display, a MediaTek Helio G96 chipset, and a 50MP main camera, all for a starting price of Php 9,990.

realme 8i Price Philippines

Paper specs look good, but we’re looking deeper to see if it lives up to the hype it’s generating. Let’s dive in.

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Inside the Box

The realme 8i comes in that iconic yellow box with the customary set of accessories that include a travel charger, a USB-C cable, a silicone case, a SIM eject tool, and the usual set of documentation.

realme 8i review

In the box:

  • realme 8i
  • Phone case
  • Pre-installed Screen protector
  • 18W Fast Charger
  • USB-C cable
  • SIM tray ejector
  • Documentation

Design and Display

With the realme 8i, I feel like realme is showing off its design skills. The handset certainly has a very eye-catching design, sporting a shiny mirror finish and vertical and V-shaped reflections. It truly does look striking and very much a head-turner.

Despite the glossy finish, it was not as slippery as first perceived. But it is still very much a fingerprint magnet, which, thankfully is easy to wipe off.

realme 8i review
realme 8i review

The phone has a plastic and glass construction. It’s solidly built with a sleek and slim profile that feels good in the hand.

ALSO READ: realme tops PH smartphone rankings for Q3 2021; Number one for three consecutive quarters

The triple cameras at the back have an interesting look as well, made to look like a four-lens setup. But a closer inspection reveals the bottom right camera cutout actually houses the LED flash. I find this a better implementation, rather than having an empty cutout with just text on it.

realme 8i review
realme 8i review

At the front, you have the 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS display which boasts a 120Hz refresh rate. In the display settings, it is on Auto Select by default. You can change this to Standard or High if you want, but it’s best to just leave it on auto.

On the left side, you have the volume rockers and the triple slot SIM tray. On the right is the fingerprint scanner, which is pretty fast and accurate. The headphone jack, microphone, USB-C port, and mono speaker are at the bottom. The top side, however, is bare.

Performance and Battery

The realme 8i was fast and snappy throughout the review. The MediaTek Helio G96 did a good job of keeping things quick and responsive. Our review unit has 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The handset’s basic navigation is quite fast and snappy, and thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, animations felt smooth.

realme 8i review

The handset has no issues with most apps and games, exhibiting acceptable loading times without any issues. Graphics-intensive games are best enjoyed with reasonable graphics settings. I tried Genshin Impact, which ran fairly well. The gameplay was good, without much issue. It did become slightly warm, which is normal.

Here are some benchmark scores:

  • AnTuTu Benchmark: 236,321
  • Geekbench 5: 536 (single-core); 1800 (multi-core)

As for the battery life, the realme 8i can last up to a day. You can realistically stretch that to two days if you use it sensibly. Using the 18W fast charger, it takes more than two hours to reach 100%. An hour of charging, meanwhile, will give you a bit over 50%.

Cameras

Despite the appearance of a quad-camera setup, the realme 8i actually has three — a 50MP main camera and a pair of 2MP lenses for macro and black and white. If you’ve used a realme phone before, then you’ll feel right at home with the camera app. For those who haven’t tried it yet, realme’s camera app is intuitive and straightforward to use.

The 8i’s 50mp camera bins to 12.5MP. The resulting photos are decent. It’s not groundbreaking, mind you. You get good colors and details. It’s more than enough for social media.

realme 8i camera sample
realme 8i camera sample

Close-ups look especially nice, again with good detail and colors. The blurring of the background looks okay as well. Indoor shots are average and quite usable at best. Night mode looks good, with more details and a boost in sharpness. Darker areas are brighter as well.

ALSO READ: realme narzo 50A review

As for the 16MP selfie camera, colors and skin tones look pleasant with good detail. It comes with AI Beautification, smoothing out complexion. This is best used in moderation, however, as too much beauty mode makes selfies look unrealistic.

Check out our sample photos below:

Final Thoughts

The realme 8i is quite the capable phone, a good all-rounder if you will. It has decent cameras and an eye-catching design. But what makes it special (especially for the price) is its performance and the 120Hz refresh rate.

realme 8i review

The MediaTek Helio G96 is quite capable, and can even satisfy gamers on a budget. And the 120Hz display offers a smooth experience that is hard to find in this range. What’s more, its battery life is good as well, although I feel the handset would have benefited from a faster charger.

I’m not saying that the realme 8i is the perfect device, far from it. It does have its flaws. But for the price, the user experience offered by the Helio G96 and the 120Hz display is hard to pass up.

Price and Availability

realme 8i 4GB+64GB: Php 9,990
realme 8i 6GB+128GB: Php 11,990

The realme 8i comes in Space Black and Stellar Purple. As an early-bird offer exclusively on Lazada, the 4GB + 64GB will be available for Php 8,990, while the 6GB + 128GB will be available for Php 10,990. The promo is from November 17, 12 MN to November 21.

realme 8i specs

Display6.5-inch FHD+ IPS Display, 2400 x 1080, 120Hz Refresh Rate
ProcessorMediaTek Helio G96, 2.05 GHz Octa-core
RAM4GB/6GB LPDDR4X RAM
Storage64GB/128GB UFS 2.1 Storage
Rear Cameras50MP Main, f/1.8
2MP B/W
2MP Macro
Front Camera16MP Selfie Camera
Network4G LTE, Dual SIM
ConnectivityWi-Fi AC Dual Band, Bluetooth, GPS
OthersSide Fingerprint Sensor, USB-C
OSrealme UI 2.0, Android 11
ColorsSpace Black, Space Purple
Battery5000mAh Battery, 18W Fast Charging
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Author

Bryan is a tech enthusiast and self-admitted geek who enjoys blogging and watching NBA clips on YouTube. He has over 20 years of experience in corporate communications, marketing services, and customer relations from different industries such as telecommunications and banking.

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