Budget smartphones have improved drastically over the past year. We have seen better cameras, more powerful processors, and bigger batteries in these budget-friendly devices. Also, there is no denying that Xiaomi and Realme have been trying to outdo each other for the past few months, and the customers have benefited as a result. Realme was the first to launch a smartphone with a 64-megapixel camera in India, the Realme XT. This smartphone also sported other impressive specifications at an aggressive price. Not wanting to be left out, Xiaomi has now launched a competitor to the Realme XT in the form of the Redmi Note 8 Pro. This new model tries to one-up its competitor, but has it cut corners to do that? We put the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Realme XT in a head-to-head comparison to find out.
The Realme XT (Review) and Redmi Note 8 Pro (Review) both sport Corning Gorilla Glass 5 at the front and the back. These smartphones have curved glass at the back that helps give them a premium look and feel. Both models sport big displays, with the Redmi Note 8 Pro's screen measuring 6.53 inches while the one on the Realme XT measures 6.4 inches. Both also have dewdrop notches at the top, which house their selfie cameras.
We found the buttons on the Realme XT to be more ergonomically placed, while the volume buttons on the Redmi Note 8 Pro were a bit too high for our liking. The fingerprint scanner on the Redmi Note 8 Pro is also positioned slightly out of reach at the back but this isn't an issue on the Realme XT as it has an in-display fingerprint scanner. However, both worked equally quickly in our experience. Both Redmi Note 8 Pro and Realme XT have dedicated microSD card slots along with dual Nano-SIM slots, which is nice.
Both these smartphones have their USB Type-C ports at the bottom, along with their primary microphones, 3.5mm headphone jacks, and loudspeakers. The Redmi Note 8 Pro sports an IR emitter at the top, which the Realme XT doesn't have one, giving Xiaomi's phone a small lead in terms of functionality.
At 183g, the Realme XT is lighter compared to the 200g Redmi Note 8 Pro. This could be down to the bigger 4,500mAh battery in the Redmi Note 8 Pro while the Realme XT packs a 4,000mAh battery. Surprisingly, the Realme XT packs the more powerful charger of the two, the VOOC 20W fast charger, while the Redmi comes with an 18W charger.
This is where these two smartphones start to differ. The Realme XT sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 SoC while the Redmi Note 8 Pro packs in the more recent MediaTek Helio G90T SoC. Xiaomi has also ensured that the Redmi Note 8 Pro has an upper hand by offering 6GB of RAM in the lowest variant. In contrast, the base variant of the Realme XT has only 4GB of RAM. Let's take a look at the variants and pricing.
The Realme XT has three configuration options. The base variant has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 15,999. The middle variant has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage; while the top variant has 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage. These two are priced at Rs. 16,999 and Rs. 18,999 respectively.
Xiaomi has managed to undercut the Realme XT, with the base variant of the Redmi Note 8 Pro offering 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage forRs. 14,999. The middle variant has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and is priced at Rs. 15,999, while the top-end variant has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for Rs. 17,999.
Both smartphones use UFS 2.1 storage and have dedicated microSD card slots for storage expansion. The Realme XT packs an AMOLED panel with an in-display fingerprint scanner, while the Redmi Note 8 Pro has an LCD panel with support for HDR. Both these smartphones sport full-HD+ resolutions and offer the option to tweak the colour temperature of their panels.
Each phone takes a different approach when it comes to software. The Redmi Note 8 Pro runs MIUI 10 on top of Android 9 Pie and offers several useful features, although it also serves up lots of annoying ads. The Realme XT runs ColorOS and has lots of preinstalled apps but we did not encounter spammy ads as we did on the Redmi Note 8 Pro. You can go through the full reviews of these two smartphones to decide which UI will suit you better. We prefer Realme's ColorOS over MIUI purely because it doesn't get as spammy.
Performance is of course extremely important. When the Redmi Note 8 Pro was launched, we were curious to see how it would fare against the Realme XT. The new MediaTek Helio G90T SoC powering the Redmi smartphone turned out to perform better than the relatively older Snapdragon 712 SoC, and is a good choice especially if gaming is important to you. We had the top-end 8GB versions of both smartphones for this comparison.
When watching videos on these smartphones, we preferred the output of the Realme XT's screen, because it delivered better blacks and punchier contrast thanks to the use of an AMOLED panel.
With the kind of performance both these smartphones pack, we never noticed any lag or stuttering while using them. Navigating through the menus and multitasking between apps was a breeze, as both devices have more than enough grunt to deliver expected performance.
We ran our standard set of benchmarks to see how the two compare, and the results weren't surprising. With its newer MediaTek Helio G90T processor, the Redmi Note 8 Pro did better in most tests.
In AnTuTu, the Redmi Note 8 Pro managed to score 2,27,626 which is higher than the 2,16,809 scored by the Realme XT. In PCMark Work 2.0, the Redmi Note 8 Pro scored 10,161 compared to 7,836 clocked by the Realme XT. Geekbench 5 was the exception, as the Redmi Note 8 Pro scored 273 and 943 in the single-core and multi-core tests respectively whereas the Realme XT scored 317 and 1,492 in the same tests.
As for graphics, the Redmi Note 8 Pro managed to score 58fps and 26fps in GFXBench's T-Rex and Manhattan 3.1 scenes, while the Realme XT scored 58fps and 23fps respectively. In 3DMark's Slingshot Extreme OpenGL test, the Realme XT managed 2,094 points but the Redmi Note 8 Pro edged past it again with 2,131 points.
We played PUBG Mobile on both these smartphones to see how they can handle gaming. Both the Realme XT and the Redmi Note 8 Pro could run the game at high settings without any issues. We did not notice any stuttering on either device. We played a match for about 30 minutes on each smartphone and noticed that the Redmi Note 8 Pro was warmer than the Realme XT at the end, and had a higher battery drain at 11 percent compared to 5 percent drain on the Realme XT.
The phones have different capacity batteries, with the Realme XT packing a 4,000mAh unit while the Redmi Note 8 Pro has a higher 4,500mAh capacity. In our HD video loop test, it was the Realme XT that came out on top with a massive lead by managing 20 hours, 36 minutes, whereas the Redmi Note 8 Pro managed a still respectable 14 hours. The Realme XT also managed quicker charging thanks to the more powerful bundled charger and its smaller battery. It managed to charge up to 46 percent in half an hour, while the Redmi Note 8 Pro got to 32 percent in the same time.
So while the Redmi Note 8 Pro is the more powerful device of the two, the Realme XT can stay away from the charger for longer.
Surprisingly, both smartphones take the same approach to cameras and have the same combination of cameras. Both smartphones sport rear quad-camera setups consisting of a 64-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. At the front, the Realme XT has a 16-megapixel selfie camera while the Redmi Note 8 Pro packs in a 20-megapixel one.
The camera apps on both these smartphones are easy to use but the one on the Redmi Note 8 Pro is just more polished, making it more user-friendly. As we mentioned in this device's review, we would like Xiaomi to position the macro camera toggle better. Realme hides the different camera modes in a menu which makes finding some of them a little hard.
We took photos with both smartphones at the same time to see how they perform under identical conditions. Both models were quick to focus and we rarely had any issues. Photos taken in daylight were better on the Realme XT with more accurate colours and marginally better details. This phone also metered light slightly better helping it expose frames more naturally.
In bright scenes, both phones enable HDR automatically. We preferred the shots taken by the Realme XT, as the Redmi Note 8 Pro sharpened them a bit too much. Shots taken with the wide-angle cameras were better on the Redmi Note 8 Pro, as the Realme XT produced a cooler colour tone and tended to overexpose shots.
In low light, the AIs on these smartphones can automatically apply settings to capture night scenes better. We noticed that the Realme XT delivered brighter shots. When using the Night modes on both phones, the Realme XT still delivered better results.
When shooting closeups, both smartphones could lock focus quickly and their respective AI's could detect what we were shooting. Both also managed similar levels of detail, but the Realme XT had more accurate colours while the Redmi Note 8 Pro was slightly off the mark. However, when taking closeups in low light, the Redmi Note 8 Pro surprised us with its colour reproduction and details, managing to outdo the Realme XT.
We noticed that the Redmi Note 8 Pro let us set the level of blur when taking portrait shots, but that wasn't the case with the Realme XT. Both phones separated subjects from their backgrounds well and captured good details, but the Realme XT seemed to be applying a beautification filter to faces. The Redmi Note 8 Pro tended to overexpose backgrounds slightly, which wasn't the case with the Realme XT. Portraits shot in low light were better on the Redmi Note 8 Pro thanks to better details.
We also put the macro cameras on these smartphones to the test. Both will let you use the LED flash while taking a macro shot to prevent shadows from ruining the output. In daylight, the Realme XT managed to capture better detail both with and without the LED flash on. In low-light, the Redmi Note 8 Pro managed better macro shot than the Realme XT.
Selfies taken with both the phones had good amounts of detail but we preferred the Redmi Note 8 Pro here as it got the colour tone better. The Realme XT exposed backgrounds better than the Redmi Note 8 Pro, but had a cooler colour tone. Selfie portraits came out looking good with both phones, but the Redmi Note 8 Pro edges ahead of the Realme XT once again.
Video recording maxes out at 4K 30fps for both smartphones, and both are also capable of recording footage at 1080p 60fps as well as 1080p 30fps. There is EIS on both smartphones and they do a good job at stabilising the output. Video shot on the Redmi Note 8 Pro looked more dramatic, as the phone bumped the contrast and sharpness up, whereas the Realme XT delivered more natural-looking results.
Videos shot in 4K weren't stabilised but we found the Redmi Note 8 Pro to have slightly boosted contrast. Videos shot at night had a shimmer effect, but it was more prominent on the Redmi Note 8 Pro. The Realme XT delivered better video in low light by metering light better.
The Realme XT (Review) and Redmi Note 8 Pro (Review) are both very capable devices that offer excellent value for money in their price band. Xiaomi was second to market with the Redmi Note 8 Pro and has taken full advantage of that by pricing it more aggressively. By undercutting the Realme XT and offering better specifications, the Redmi Note 8 Pro scores big in terms of value for money, which might sway buyers in its direction.
However, the Redmi Note 8 Pro does have a few chinks in its armour. While the processor is more powerful, it runs slightly warm under load. This phone also isn't as power efficient as the Realme XT when at idle. Despite its bigger 4,500mAh battery, the Redmi Note 8 Pro didn't outperform the Realme XT in terms of battery life. Also, while there isn't a huge difference between the camera performance of these two devices, the Realme XT did manage to get the better shot in more scenarios.
If you are purely looking at a gaming device that can handle all the hot current titles, the Redmi Note 8 Pro should be your pick. On the other hand, the Realme XT is the better all-rounder here, and Realme should consider cutting the price of this device to further heat up the competition.