realme 8i: A budget-friendly, eye-catching all-around smartphone

In their mission to provide premium yet affordable devices to more Filipinos, realme is back with another mid-range challenger in the Philippines: the realme 8i. This smartphone, which has been launched today (November 16, 2021), boasts a 120Hz Ultra Smooth Display, a MediaTek Helio G96 chipset – which is a first for realme, 5000mAh battery with quick charging, 5GB virtual RAM, and a 50MP AI Triple Camera to name a few. It’s also more affordable than the realme 8!

Being stuck at home led people to rely more on their smartphones for both work and entertainment, so all-around devices are more preferred now vs those that only excel in certain areas. The realme 8i has a decent mix of everything, but its strength is definitely on its smooth UI experience and performance paired with good camera specs and quick-charging battery. For a closer look, here are our thoughts after five days of testing:

DESIGN AND DISPLAY

realme 8 was already shiny as is, but the realme 8i is even shinier with its trendsetting gradient finish following realme’s flowing design concept. Compared to the realme 8, 8i doesn’t have a bold text at the back so we can better appreciate the glossy back design. I got a Space Black color, but at certain angles, it looks maroon/dark purple-like or even bright grey. It’s also available in Stellar Purple but I personally prefer Space Black. It’s definitely eye-catching, especially when used under the sun. Note, however, that it’s a fingerprint magnet so you’ll have to clean the smudges regularly to maintain the sleek appearance.

Left: realme 8i, Right: realme 8

The back looks very smooth except for the upper left area with cameras that protrude a bit. It still gives off a clean look since realme 8i’s fingerprint scanner (also an off-on button) is strategically placed on the right side of the device, while the volume keys and SIM card slot can be found on the left side.

There’s nothing to see on the top portion of the realme 8i, but down at the bottom are its 3.5mm jack, USB-C port, speaker grille, and the mouthpiece. As someone who doesn’t have enough time to charge Bluetooth earphones all the time, having a 3.5mm jack comes handy.

In front is its 6.6-inch LCD screen with a small punch-hole on the upper left corner for the 16MP front camera, and an almost unnoticeable grille for the earpiece. The bezels are not that thick, giving it a 90.80% screen ratio.

The realme 8i sports six different refresh rates (30Hz,
48Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz) that can help conserve battery power, but the 120Hz refresh rate is what caught our attention as it’s usually available only for smartphones at a high price range. With a 100% DCI-P3 Color Gamut and a 180Hz touch sampling rate, it’s more enjoyable to binge-watch videos and play games on this phone even when you’re under the sun or a bright source of light. The screen can go up to 600 nits or as low as 1 nit to keep our eyes comfortable, no matter how bright or dark our surroundings are.

CAMERA

At first glance, the realme 8i seems to have quad cameras, but in reality, that’s a 50MP AI Triple Camera at the back. The fourth one is for your camera flash/ flashlight!

realme 8i’s main camera features a 50MP sensor that helps make images look clearer and brighter, a 2MP Black and White Lens for artistic portraits, and a 2MP Macro Lens for zoomed-in snapshots. In front is a 16MP selfie camera which amazingly supports Panoselfie Mode for wider selfies, HDR Mode, and AI Beauty Mode. Here are sample photos for reference:

Zoom samples:

50M samples:

Night Mode samples:

Selfie samples:

Overall, it produces crisp and clear photos, especially when taken in well-lit areas. It doesn’t overexpose photos taken under direct sunlight and it also provides a decent image when on Night Mode. The zoom options are also good, but it doesn’t have an Ultra Wide mode, which the realme 8 has. Clear enough for Instagram Reels and TikTok content, too!

PERFORMANCE AND STORAGE

realme wasn’t joking with their #InfinitelySmooth hashtag because the realme 8i really does have a smooth performance, thanks to its MediaTek Helio G96 chipset. Although the unit I got does not support Virtual RAM, realme 8i’s 6GB + 128GB variant has a 5GB Virtual RAM — a new technology which uses the phone’s internal storage as a makeshift RAM to increase the total amount of RAM on the smartphone. As per AnTuTu scores, realme 8i is almost at par with the realme 8 (which I have been using for months now).

Based on my experience in using the realme 8i a couple of hours a day on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Viber, Pokemon Unite, in-app video editing, and browsing, I’d say that this smartphone can keep up with multitaskers, busy bees on the go, and even gamers.

There are two variants available in the market — a 4GB+64GB variant (which I have) and a 6GB + 128GB variant, both with LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.1 storage.

When it comes to its loudspeakers, the audio is pretty average with not a lot of bass sounds (regular blog readers would know how much I love looking for bass when reviewing audio). Still good enough for streaming!

BATTERY

USB Type-C charger

Although 5000mAh is a common battery capacity for similar smartphones, what makes the realme 8i special is its 18W fast charge capability which can bring the battery up to 50% in just 36 minutes. Power saving mode is also available in case you need to keep your phone alive for an entire day while using multiple apps.

According to realme Lab tests, the realme 8i can keep up for as long as:

  • 28 days on standby mode
  • 47 hours of continuous call
  • 40 hours of continuous music
  • 11 hours on YouTube
  • 8 hours straight of playing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (probably around the same time for Pokemon Unite)

SPECIFICATIONS

Display100% DCI-P3
90.80% screen ratio
Resolution: 2412 x 1080
Size6.6 inches
164.1mm x 75.5mm x 8.5mm
Weight194g
Systemrealme UI 2.0 based on Android 11
ProcessorMediaTek Helio G96
12nm Production Process
2.05Ghz
StorageRAM: 4GB / 6GB LPDDR4x
ROM: 64GB / 128GB
Storage expandable up to 256GB

*Only 6GB version supports 5GB virtual RAM technology
Main CameraAI Triple Camera
50MP Primary Camera
f/1.8, HDR, 5P Lens

2MP B&W Lens
f/2.4

2MP Macro Lens
f/2.4
AI Front Camera16MP, 5P Lens
AI Beauty, HDR, Panoramic View, Timelapse
Battery5000mAh (typical value)
18W Fast Charge
ConnectivitySIM Card Type: Dual nano-sim cards
microSD Expansion / Triple Slot
VoLTE

Wireless: Supports 2.4G/ 5G Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
SensorsGPS / Beidou / Glonass / Galileo
Magnetic Induction Sensor
Light Sensor
Proximity Sensor
Accelerometer Sensor
Fingerprint
ColorStellar Purple, Space Black
Inside the boxrealme 8i, 9V2A Adapter, Micro-USB Cable, Important Information Booklet with Warranty Card, Quick Guide, SIM Card Tool, Screen Protection Film

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

Both the Space Black and Stellar Purple variants of the realme 8i will be available online exclusively on Lazada and in all realme offline stores and partner dealers nationwide starting Wednesday (November 17, 2021), 12:00 MN.

The realme 8i 5+64GB variant will retail for Php 9,990 SRP, while the realme 8i 6+128GB variant will retail for Php 11,990 SRP. Early-birds are also entitled to an exclusive Php 1,000 discount for both variants on Lazada starting November 17. Worth it for the features!

P.S. If you love freebies, realme also has an ongoing #realmeWithYou Christmas Raffle Promo. Those who will purchase the realme 8i or any device worth a minimum of Php 5,000 from November 15, 2021-January 2, 2022 will automatically be given a chance to win realme TechLife prizes and an all-new Mitsubishi Mirage G4. More details are at facebook.com/realmePhilippines.


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