realme 8 Review: Pros & Cons of a Dazzling Smartphone
After using the realme 8 for several weeks, I realized that it focuses more on photography and the overall smartphone experience.
It features a dazzling and bold design choice, a Samsung-made Super AMOLED display, and a 64MP quad-camera system with several shooting modes but still powered by the same MediaTek Helio G95 chipset.
PROS: What I like about the realme 8:
- Bright and vivid Super AMOLED display
- Dazzling and bold design choices
- Feature-packed and capable cameras
- Long battery life & fast charging speed
CONS: What I didn’t like about the realme 8:
- Less than impressive gaming performance
- Optimizations needed for some camera modes
realme 8 Review: DESIGN
The realme 8 flaunts a new “Infinite Bold Design” with a dazzling two-tone back panel. The larger left portion has a glossy finish with micro-patterns underneath while the narrower right portion has a mirror finish with the brand’s “DARE TO LEAP” slogan.
It’s reminiscent of Nike’s “Just Do It” and I think many users will like it despite being slightly polarizing. The mirror finish also gleams with eye-catching rainbow colors in certain angles making the device stunning, especially at night.
At 7.99mm and 177 grams, it’s a sleek and nimble smartphone. It’s comfortable to use although the back panel can use a wipe every so often to remove accumulated smudges.
The front of the device is occupied by its tall display with a tiny punch-hole for the selfie camera on its top left corner. It also has narrow bezels all around except for the chin but it’s not that disruptive.
realme 8 Review: DISPLAY
The screen of the realme 8 is a 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED panel with a tall 20:9 aspect ratio, 60Hz refresh rate, and 180Hz touch sampling rate.
It’s an upgrade in terms of screen technology compared to the usual LCD panels. It’s brighter when used outdoors with a peak brightness of 1000 nits. This means I can read text messages and Facebook posts even under the noontime sun.
It also has vivid colors and deep blacks that make dark mode and night-time reading so much better and less straining to the eyes.
However, it’s a downgrade in terms of screen refresh rate. This is noticeable if you’ve been using a high refresh rate smartphone before. It’s is a brave choice for realme and I appreciate it.
A high screen refresh rate consumes a lot of battery power and can sometimes cause overheating if not managed properly by the system. It makes the user interface feel substantially smoother but at a cost.
The realme 8 retains the 180Hz touch sampling rate which means the display reads touch inputs quicker. This is a better feature for gamers who need a low latency display. Most of the popular games in the Philippines are also limited to 60 fps except for NBA 2K20.
realme 8 Review: CAMERA (with Sample Pictures)
The realme 8 has a quad-camera setup at the back. This is composed of a 64 Megapixel main camera, 8 Megapixel ultra-wide camera, 2 Megapixel macro camera, and another 2 Megapixel monochrome depth sensor.
These are controlled through the realme camera app with an intuitive layout. Different modes are easily accessible including Night mode, Starry Mode, Slow Motion, Movie mode, Expert mode, and more.
Here are some sample pictures:
In the default shooting mode, the 64MP camera uses pixel binning technology to produce 16 Megapixel pictures. These look good with plenty of details, vibrant colors, and a well-calibrated dynamic range.
I love how it rendered the fur of the newborn puppy in the sample picture. It also captures greenery and skin tone faithfully. Colorful subjects like the rainbow bench and flower look pleasant as well with no oversaturation.
The 8MP ultra-wide camera captures a wider field-of-view perfect for landscape shots – up to 119°. However, it doesn’t have the same sharpness as the main camera.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the realme 8’s camera is its Portrait mode with different styles for the background blur.
Neon Portrait results in the most beautiful portrait shots from the device. It works best at night and produces dreamy lights in the background but background separation still needs improvement especially with complex backgrounds.
Dynamic Bokeh emphasizes movement and AI Color Portrait turns the background black and white while keeping the subject in full color.
Low-light photography is another area where the realme 8 excels at. It produces impressive Night Mode shots in 3-4 seconds while the Starry Night mode can capture the night sky.
It has a tendency to render the night sky with a bluish tint though. This can be further optimized through software updates or processed through apps like Snapseed.
On the other side of the realme 8 is a 16 Megapixel selfie camera that takes sharp selfies with balanced skin tone and overall color saturation.
I also noticed that it optimizes the dynamic range in video calls making faces look pleasant despite a poorly lit environment.
Meanwhile, its main rear camera can record videos up to 4K resolution at 30 frames per second. The videos look sharp with natural-looking colors and electronic image stabilization but there are noticeable artifacts when the lighting isn’t optimal.
There are also several video content creation features perfect for social media stories and vlogging.
Dual Video records videos from both the rear and front cameras while Slo-mo captures videos at up to 120 frames per second. There’s also a Movie mode that mimics the interface of a dedicated video camera.
realme 8 Review: PERFORMANCE
The realme 8 uses a MediaTek Helio G95 chipset with 8GB of RAM, and 128GB UFS 2.1 storage which is expandable up to 512GB via micro-SD.
Apps open quickly and scrolling down news feeds and websites feel smooth. Switching across different apps is also seamless with virtually no lag on the phone’s interface.
It scored 2.79 seconds on the RealPi benchmark, 533 points in Geekbench 5 single-core, 9,906 points in PCMark work 2.0, and 355,711 points on Antutu Benchmark v9.
Of course, it’s important to talk about the realme 8’s gaming performance. I’ve played several games on the device and measured the average frame rate using GameBench Pro.
It achieved average frame rates of 56 FPS in Mobile Legends, 50 FPS in Call of Duty Mobile, and 30 FPS in PUBG Mobile. These were all conducted with the games set at HIGH graphics quality.
The results are slightly lower than the realme 7 which runs on exactly the same chipset. Software updates must have made these games a bit more resource-intensive. The general gaming performance is still smooth but lags are bound to occur during clashes and team fights.
Here’s a more detailed gaming review: realme 8 Gaming Review with FPS Tests
realme 8 Review: CONNECTIVITY & AUDIO QUALITY
The realme 8 is a dual-SIM smartphone with 4G LTE connectivity, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Hi-Res audio certification.
It can provide fast mobile internet speeds in areas with decent LTE signals. Connection to Wi-Fi networks can be spotty at times though. Some might also argue that 5G connectivity should be included in mid-range smartphones now but a huge portion of the country is simply not yet ready.
Meanwhile, voice calls sound alright on the phone’s earpiece and loud enough through the loudspeaker albeit slightly tinny due to the slim body. The best sound quality comes from the 3.5mm audio jack or through Bluetooth earphones that support AAC like the realme Buds Air 2 Neo.
realme 8 Review: SOFTWARE & SECURITY
The realme 8 comes with Android 11-based realme UI 2.0 software out of the box. It looks neat and intuitive with well-arranged settings and useful features.
However, there are several pre-loaded apps that users may not actually use. Its built-in theme store also pushes notifications that can be annoying but can be easily disabled.
For security, the device has an under-display fingerprint scanner that’s quite fast and accurate. There are also privacy features like “Private Safe” for your secret files, a child-friendly “Kid Space”, and “App Lock” for individual apps.
realme 8 Review: Battery Life and Charging
A large 5,000mAh battery keeps the realme 8 up and running for almost two days on a single charge when used conservatively. In my normal usage, it usually has around 35% of battery charge left after a day.
It scored an impressive battery life score of 14 hours and 37 minutes on the PCMark Battery Life Test 2.0 with its screen brightness set to 50% and Airplane Mode turned on.
I also found the charging speed of the realme 8 to be exactly the same as the brand’s claim of 65 minutes. Using the bundled 30W DartCharge adaptor, it re-charged from 0% to 100% battery capacity in 1 hour and 5 minutes.
realme 8 Review: CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATION
The realme 8 smartphone has a dazzling design, high-quality display, feature-packed cameras, and a long-lasting battery. However, its gaming performance is held back by the same chipset as its predecessor.
It’s a great choice for aspiring content creators and can dazzle your social media feeds with good-looking selfies and gorgeous travel or stay-at-home photos. However, I’m not fully on board with recommending it to hard-core gamers.
The realme 8 is now available in realme stores online on Lazada and Shopee as well as physical realme stores and kiosks.
realme 8 Review Summary
The realme 8 smartphone has a dazzling design, high-quality display, feature-packed cameras, and a long-lasting battery.
- 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED Display (1080 x 2400 Pixels), 411 ppi
- Android 11 Operating System
- MediaTek Helio G95 Chipset
- 8GB of RAM
- 64 Megapixel Rear Camera with LED Flash
- 16 Megapixel Front Camera
- Dual SIM
- 128GB UFS 2.1 Internal Storage
- Expandable Up to 512 via microSD
- 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE & GPRS Networks
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 5.1
- USB Type-C
- 3.5mm Audio Jack
- Fingerprint Sensor
- 5000mAh Battery
- 30W Fast Charging (Dart Charge, 100% in 65 minutes)
- ₱13,990.00 Official Price in the Philippines
- ₱12,990.00 - Price drop on April 1, 2022