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realme 8i Unboxing, First Impressions, First Camera Samples

OPPO
Huawei
On schedule, the country's top mobile maker earlier introduced its newest affordable gaming and photography-focused smartphone—the realme 8i.
realme 8i Unboxing, First Impressions, Camera Samples
This is the realme 8i

realme is boasting that this handset is packed with a premium-looking design, 120Hz extra-smooth display, fast Helio G96 chip, and a 50MP triple-cam for the starting price of PHP 9,990 for the 4GB/64GB version and up to PHP 11,990 for the 6GB/128GB version.

Coming from the realme 7i, this device is packed with notable upgrades in the display and chipset department.

So, is it worth the hype? This is part 1 of our review.

Unboxing/Accessories

Everything inside the box
Everything inside the box


Similar to nearly all realme smartphones, the 8i arrived in a bright yellow box with a simple print of the company's logo and the model name of the phone.

Inside, you will see one another box. Inside that small box, it has a TPU clear case, a SIM ejector tool, and paper documents. Next is the handset itself with a pre-installed screen protector on the display. Underneath, you will find the 18W USB-C power brick and the USB-A to USB-C data/charging cable.

As expected, there are no free earphones with a mic included. Other than that, this is a near-complete package.

Build Quality/Design

Back design
Back design

The realme 8i is featuring materials that you will commonly see on slightly pricier mid-rangers.

The curved back panel is made out of shiny glasstic material. realme claims that the frame is metal, but it has a  polycarbonate-like finish. What we like here is it has chamfered edges. The front panel uses 2.5D curved glass.

Unlike the realme 7i, there is no mention of Corning Gorilla Glass to enhance the durability of its display. There is no rubber gasket in the display part as well.

Still, this type of build should be good enough to withstand a few light bumps and drops. But to be sure, use the FREE case inside. Also, prevent the device from getting wet as much as you can.
Back cam design and the triple-tray slot
Back cam design and the triple-tray slot

In terms of design, it has plenty of similarities coming from its pricier realme 8 and 8 Pro siblings. But, it is a bit more simple and without the love it or hate it big "Dare to Leap" print.

Sleek profile, no "Dare to Leap" print!

realme is calling this the "flowing design concept" for a shiner and smoother appearance. For us, they are correct as its 3D curved glasstic back is really shiny. It also has a streak-like shine depending on where the light hits it.

The unit that we have is the Space Black version, but there is also a Stellar Purple colorway with a more glossy metallic look.

It has a rectangular camera hump with a transparent design to house the square triple-cam camera + LED flash placement of the phone. This hump is not as thick as other bumps.

This is a beautiful back cover. My only concern is it is very prone to fingerprint smudges. It attracts dust more than what I like as well.
Fairly slim bezels
Fairly slim bezels

In the front, it uses a 6.6-inch large display with a top-left punch-hole housing the selfie camera. The bezels on top and the sides are slim for a more immersive viewing experience.

Understandably, the chin bezel is a bit thick. But, it is noticeably slimmer than a few more expensive smartphones like the PHP 16,995 Moto Edge 20 Fusion.

Nice display with reasonable bezels!

As a result, realme is boasting that it has a 90.8 percent screen-to-body ratio. This is not bad for the price.
HD Netflix-ready!
HD Netflix-ready!

By the way, this is an LCD panel with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, 180Hz touch sampling rate, FHD+ 2412 x 1080 resolution at 400 ppi. It is one of the very few at this price point with a 120Hz panel for smoother animations on the UI and supported apps or games. This even has Widevine L1 for those who love watching high-definition Netflix content on the go.
Top, bottom
Top, bottom

On top, it is clear. Below, you will see the 3.5mm headphone slot along with the microphone holes, USB-C port, and single speaker grille.

At the left, you will find the pinhole to access the triple-slot tray (dual nano SIM + dedicated microSD card slot) and the volume up and down keys. On the right, you will see the power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader.
Left, right
Left, right

realme claimed that this is an Ultra-Fast Side Fingerprint. So far, it is fast, but we are experiencing misreads from time to time. Will confirm in the full review if it is my fault or my device have a problem.

The device measures 164.1 x 75.5 mm x 8.5 mm and weighs 194 g. This is a pretty big device, so it will be better if you will hold it with two hands. Comfort in the hands is decent due to its smooth finish, but it is a bit slippery. The weight is just right.
Triple-cam in a square hump!
Triple-cam in a square hump!

For cameras, the device is is using a 50MP Samsung main sensor with an f/1.8 aperture. This is likely the new JN1 sensor with Double Super PD. It is paired with a 2MP f/2.4 macro camera for up to 4cm close-up shots and a 2MP f/2.4 B&W camera to assist in taking portrait photos.

Attractive main camera specs!

If you will notice the primary camera has a lower megapixel count than the 64MP of the realm 7i. But, this new 50MP sensor has a faster focusing speed in low light. From memory, the photos it takes are better as well.

Personally, I'm just a little disappointed that realme dropped the ultra-wide camera. They should have removed the macro cam and B&W camera and retained the more useful ultra-wide shooter instead.

Anyway, these are the first few snaps we took using the realme 8i.

First Camera Samples

Daylight shot
Daylight shot
2x, 5x zoom
2x, 5x zoom
Indoor normal vs 100 percent crop
Indoor normal vs 100 percent crop
Low light portrait mode
Low light portrait mode
Low light no Night mode
Low light no Night mode
Low light, no Night mode vs 100 percent crop
Low light, no Night mode vs 100 percent crop
Low light vs Night mode
Low light vs Night mode
Low light selfie, no Night mode
Low light selfie, no Night mode

realme's camera game even at affordable price points is improving. Autofocus is quick. The shots we took in daylight are vibrant and highly detailed. It is well exposed as well. Even the dynamic range is mid-range-like.

For indoors, even with artificial light, details are crisp. The macro mode falters in dimmer locations, but it is usable in well-lit conditions.

In low light, we were surprised that even the Portrait mode is not that grainy. We noticed that the autofocus is quick with minimal hunting even in the dark. Edge detection is not bad for the price as well.

The best part, even if you don't use the Night mode, shots won't be that grainy in the dark. There are even times where I prefer to not use the Night mode as it is more natural-looking and not cartoonish.

If you will recall, low light shots on affordable phones often require the Night mode to take decent photos.
Out of curiosity, we decided to check the point and shoot low light performance of the realme 8i against a high-end smartphone, the Galaxy S21. See it for yourself above.

For selfies, we haven't explored it that much. But, this is a decent selfie shooter. In the dark, it will fall short though.

For videos, this can take up to 1080p with Ultra Steady for both the back and front cameras.

We will share our complete thoughts in the full review.

realme 8i Specs

Display: 6.6-inch 2.5D curved LCD w/ 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, 180Hz touch sampling rate, FHD+ 2412 x 1080 resolution at 400 ppi
CPU: 2.05GHz 12nm MediaTek Helio G96 octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-G57 MC2
RAM: 4GB/6GB LPDDR4X
ROM: 64GB/128GB UFS 2.1 expandable via microSD card slot up to 1TB (dedicated)
Back Camera: 50MP f/1.8 Samsung JN1 w/ Double Super PD + 2MP f/2.4 4cm macro + 2MP f/2.4 B&W + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16MP f/2.45
Battery: 5,000mAh w/ 18W fast charging
OS: Android 11 w/ realme UI 2.0
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), dual VoLTE 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, face unlock, dual-mic, USB-C, Colors: Space Black, Stellar Purple
Dimensions: 164.1 x 75.5 mm x 8.5 mm
Weight 194 g
Price: PHP 9,990 (4GB/64GB), PHP 11,990 (6GB/128GB)

As of the moment

AnTuTu score
AnTuTu score

Our first experience with the realme 8i is mostly positive. The design is sleek, the display is smooth and immersive with slim bezels, and the performance is fast thanks to the new MTK Helio G96 chip.

So far, quite good!

The speed is quite good for the price even the unit that we have is the base 4GB/64GB version. Just note that the extended RAM tech is only available for the higher-end variant for now. This can even run a few not that demanding games at high settings with minimal heating.

The battery is also looking solid so far. We charged it to full last night and we still have 57 percent left in the tank. In case you are wondering, we are using it as our secondary phone for this review.

What impressed us the most so far is its photography performance as mentioned above. This is strong for the price.

My issue so far is the price of its 6GB/128GB model is near the price realme 8 5G with Dimensity 700 and up to 8GB/128GB memory configuration.

But, this could still be a good option if you are looking for a realme smartphone with a higher refresh rate and a newer 50MP camera at affordable price points.

See you guys in our full review.
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