New Year New Phone

I was gifted a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge in 2016 by my sister and have been using it till now. It was a 32gb and I have been maxing out the storage for at least a year now. Even with a 64gb SD card, it seems that it’s not enough. I suspect it’s just all the background files that are taking up space on my phone. Even clearing the cache from apps doesn’t help. If I reformat it it should be be better. Before Android 8, when the S7e updated, it would lag very bad. I had a lot of problems with it. But after doing a hard reset, it became very smooth.

Anyway, because of this memory problem and the dying battery, I felt I needed a new phone. My S7e battery was draining very fast. I needed to plug it in at all times and if I charged it up to 100% and used it continuously for an hour or so browsing through my social media and Chrome, the battery will drop by 40% or more. Also I think there were some issues with connections (4G) some times.

But other than that, I have had no complaints with my S7e. It’s light, it’s thin, the screen’s good (although yellowing now), is still being updated (although I don’t think it will getting Android 9) and the camera is very very good. Even when compared to some of the newer phones, the camera is very good. Who really needs a quad camera set up? My apps rarely crashed and although it does feel a little laggy (that I think a reformat will clear up), it’s still a really good phone. It did get hot quite a lot of the time though. I used to put it in the freezer to cool it down.

I started looking at other phones to see what to get. Should I get a flagship or a mid-range? There are so many options now. I was looking at the Honor 20 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Huawei P30, Huawei Mate 20X, Samsung Galaxy A70, OnePlus 7T, OnePlus 7 Pro and the Realme X2 Pro.

I wanted a big-ish screen and I wanted to have an SD card slot which some of the phones above did not have. Especially the Honor, OnePlus and Realme.

Also recently, I decided that I might want to get the Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S pen to read with so I didn’t want to spend so much on the phone. I was really quite convinced about the Realme X2 Pro and the OnePlus 7 Pro because they came with a lot of RAM, 12gb and 8gb respectively.

The Redmi Note 8 Pro seemed like a good balance. It was half the price of the Realme X2 Pro and the specs are decent. Besides the MediaTek SOC (I had some experience with them a long time ago) everything seemed OK and it came with a dual SIM with SD card hybrid slot. My Redmi Note 8 Pro comes with the 6gb and 128gb configuration. This is the official model. I noticed I could have gotten an imported 8gb and 256gb configuration but I think I’d prefer official warranty.

Coming from an samsung galaxy S7 Edge, the experience so far has been pretty good. I really like the Always On Display on my S7E so that was one of the first things I noticed. Screen-wise, I think you can tell the LCD vs AMOLED. But my S7E is yellowing anyway.

I like all the things I can customise in the Xiaomi settings. I like there are fake buttons at the bottom because I really like the real button on my S7e. I feel MIUI is OK so far. Don’t like ads in their File Manager. I liked the Google ‘set up my device’ function. So easy. When I got the phone, it was on MIUI 10 but last night, I got MIUI 11 and noticed a Phone-to-Phone set up function. Too bad. But otherwise, I have no complaints with how Google has done it so far. I like dual apps functionality on MIUI. Now I don’t need Parallel apps anymore. It eats up a lot of storage.

I haven’t decided if I want to put 2 sim cards into my phone yet. I transferred my sd card from S7e into my RN8P and noticed that when I take a pic, RN8P does not automatically save the photo into my sd card like the S7e. I liked this feature. I don’t know if I can set this yet. But I think I’ll look into that.

I connected the RN8P bluetooth to my car audio and listening to spotify, it sounds a little tinnier compared to my S7e. Not sure why yet.

I don’t like the swipe up gesture that leads to Mi Browser. On my S7e when I swiped up, it’d take me to my apps drawer. I liked that I could search for apps on my phone in S7e without having to go into Google to do that. Also, now that MIUI does not have an apps drawer, I had to put the apps into folders so I can access them quicker. We’ll see how I feel about this.

The phone was a little warm when I was setting up the phone but other than that, I haven’t noticed anything untoward yet.

So far the phone feels faster than my S7e. Luckily I hadn’t reset my S7e yet because I still needed the authenticator app and I wanted to make sure that the login to my apps on the RN8P were working before I did anything drastic and lost access. I think I’m going to appreciate that the Xiaomi camera allows me to capture QR codes. My S7e camera doesn’t have that function, I think.

I set up my fingerprint which seemed quite easy to do and it unlocks my RN8P really fast. I disabled that on my S7e ‘cos it wasn’t really very good. I have not tried face recognition yet. Not sure if I want to yet. Xiaomi is good because they give a soft TPU cover in the box. So the phone is protected right from the start. I like that it comes with a cover for the charger so it protects it from dust. I don’t know if I like that the RN8P camera protrudes a bit. I’m afraid that might get scratched easily. Should I get a protector for the cameras? Afraid that might mean cloudy photos.

I got a cheap tempered glass to protect the screen from now. Very smudgy but at least it protects the phone for now.

Moving from a Samsung to a Xiaomi was effortless. I like that Xiaomi does not force us for now to sign in to Mi Cloud or Mi services. Unlike Samsung that I feel forces us at times, it’s good that Xiaomi does not force us to set up an account with them. The only thing it forces us to do is use mi Browser. I also like the 3 finger screenshot gesture.

The themes that I can access and things are OK. I don’t think I’ll use them though. The RN8P is definitely weightier than my S7e with a leather case and also a little large in my big hands. Not sure what it’ll be like if I have to carry it around yet.

Also I turned off the App Vault (‘cos it’s not necessary and the shortcuts are not stuff I use every day) and I turned off the swipe up and open Mi Browser for now. The alarm clock is a bit soft too. Also with MIUI 11 you get it with nature sounds. Very cool. Also I like the double tap to wake phone. Inasmuch as I miss my Always On display on my S7e, I think it will help me be more focused and not look at my phone as much or be distracted by incoming notifications. I might turn off the wake lock screen for notifications function. Also I used a bit of Google Assistant because it seems to be quite integrated on the RN8P. Perhaps I’ll use it more in coming days but it has been quite accurate so far.

We got 2 Redmi Note 8 Pros. My sister got one and I got one. She got the green one that looks really good and I got the white one. My sister said hers came pre-installed with games but I’m pretty sure mine did not. So strange. We got it at the same time and from the same shop. I think is because I did a hard reset again and did not start installing stuff on first turn on. She didn’t bother to do that.

One thing I really love about my RN8P is that it comes with a 4500 mah battery. Because I had battery problems on my S7e I’m hoping the 4500 mah will last a long time (at least a day’s use) without needing to charge it. After I bought the phone, I noticed that the screen is TÜV Rheinland certified and has anti-blue light function which is great and that it comes with a liquid cooling system to ensure the phone doesn’t get as warm. Also a major plus is that the phone comes with an IR blaster. My sister had the Redmi Note 4 Pro before this and she found the IR blaster very useful. So I am glad that Redmi still includes it. It’s a major reason why we purchased this phone. My sister’s RN4P had a power button problem so that’s why she changed hers as well.

If I weigh this, I almost bought the Realme X2 Pro for twice the price of the Redmi Note 8 Pro. So now I can get my Galaxy Tab A with S pen and have a new phone at the same price as an expensive flagship. I think that’s wonderful.