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Realme 8i Review: All-Rounder on a Budget?

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Realme 8i was launched in India as the successor of the Realme 7i and a more affordable option than the Realme 8. This new smartphone’s headlining features are its 120Hz display, MediaTek Helio G96 SoC, and 5,000mAh battery. What is also interesting is the Realme 8i’s starting price of Rs. 13,999, which puts it in one of the most competitive segments in the market. Can the Realme 8i outshine the competition, or should you consider other options? I put the Realme 8i to the test to find out.

The Realme 8i packs in a 5,000mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging

 

Realme 8i price in India

The Realme 8i is available in two variants. The base variant, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, is priced at Rs. 13,999 in India, whereas the higher variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is priced at Rs. 15,999. You have two colour options to choose from, Space Black and Space Purple. I had the top-end variant in Space Purple for this review.

Realme 8i design

The Realme 8i has grown slightly compared to its predecessor. It sports a bigger display with a hole for the camera in the top-left corner. The borders are thin at the sides but comparatively thicker at the top and the bottom. There’s a fingerprint scanner mounted on the power button on the right, while the volume buttons are on the left. I found the button positioning to be very good as I could reach them without needing to stretch. The left of the frame also has the SIM tray. The frame is flat at the top and bottom, and while the top is blank, the bottom looks busy with a 3.5mm headphone jack, primary microphone, USB Type-C port, and loudspeaker.

The body of the Realme 8i is made of plastic and the rear panel has an “arc beam” texture that pops when light falls on it. This panel is glossy and picks up fingerprints rather easily. The light colour of my review unit made smudges visible very easily. The camera module is in the upper left corner and protrudes slightly. It might look like there’s a quad-camera setup at first glance but this phone only has three cameras. One of the spaces has a flash positioned in it.

realme 8i back panel 2 gadgets360 Realme 8i Review

Realme 8i has a plastic back panel that picks up smudges rather easily

 

Realme has kept the thickness of this phone in check, and it measures just 8.5mm, but the weight, at 194g, is noticeable. The Realme 8i has a 5,000mAh battery and comes with an 18W fast charger in the box.

Realme 8i specifications

The Realme 8i has a 6.6-inch LCD display with a full-HD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. This is an upgrade over the 90Hz 720p panel on the Realme 7i. The Realme 8i has a dynamic refresh rate feature which switches between six preset frame rates (30Hz, 48Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz, 90Hz,120Hz) depending on what you are doing on the smartphone. It also has a 180Hz touch sampling rate and a peak brightness of 600 nits.

Powering the Realme 8i is the MediaTek Helio G96 SoC, making it the first smartphone to sport this hardware in the country. There are two RAM and storage options: the base variant has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while the higher priced one has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Realme offers a Virtual RAM feature that allows the smartphone to use some storage space as RAM. You can assign up to 5GB of Virtual RAM with the top variant.

realme 8i display holepunch gadgets360 Realme 8i Review

Realme offers a 120Hz refresh rate display on the 8i, which is uncommon at this price point

 

Storage on the Realme 8i is expandable using the dedicated microSD card slot. It also has two Nano-SIM slots and supports 4G as well as VoLTE on both. There’s also dual-band Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 5, and three satellite navigation systems.

In terms of software, the Realme 8i runs Realme UI 2.0 on top of Android 11. My unit had the September Android security patch. The smartphone came with a fair amount of bloatware preinstalled, such as Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, Dailyhunt, Moj, Josh, and a few others. You can uninstall all these apps, but there are also some Realme first-party ones. During use, I did receive push notifications from the Themes and Realme Store app.

Realme 8i performance

The Realme 8i did not feel slow at any point, and UI navigation felt smooth thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. The device could keep app load times under acceptable limits, and multitasking was easy. Virtual RAM was enabled and set to 2GB by default on my unit, and that can be bumped up to 3GB or 5GB. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner is quick to unlock the smartphone. I liked the big display on the Realme 8i, which can get bright enough outdoors. There are two colour modes, vivid and gentle. You can also tweak the colour temperature of this panel. I found the speaker to be adequately loud. However, at full volume, sound was tinny.

I ran our standard benchmarks on the Realme 8i to see how it stands against the competition. In AnTuTu, the Realme 8i scored 337,297 points, whereas in Geekbench 5’s single-core and multi-core tests it managed 538 and 1,714 points respectively. In PCMark Work 3.0 it scored 8,477 points. These scores are slightly higher than those of the Redmi Note 10S (Review), which I have tested previously. As for graphics benchmarks, the Realme 8i managed to score 3,332 in 3DMark SlingShot, and in GFXBench’s T-Rex and Car Chases tests, it scored 55fps and 12fps respectively.

realme 8i camera module gadgets360 Realme 8i Review

The triple camera camera setup is designed to look like four cameras

 

I did play BGMI on the Realme 8i, and it defaulted to the HD setting for graphics and High frame rate. The game was playable at these settings without any issue. I played for 28 minutes and noticed an 8 percent drop in the battery level. The phone did get slightly warm to the touch after that long.

Battery life on the Realme 8i was good. This phone could last me about 2 days with my usage. Even in our HD video loop test, the phone went on for 21 hours and 17 minutes. This is better than some of the other smartphones in this price segment. Realme supplies an 18W charger in the box, which is capable of charging the battery to 30 percent in 30 minutes and 56 percent in an hour.

Realme 8i cameras

While it looks as though the Realme 8i has a quad-camera setup, it only has three sensors. The primary one is a 50-megapixel Samsung sensor with an f/1.8 aperture. The other two are a 2-megapixel B&W camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. The Realme camera app feels familiar. It has all the different shooting modes laid out at the bottom of the viewfinder making it easy to switch between them. There is an AI toggle at the top, and when enabled, the AI can detect what you are shooting and make adjustments accordingly.

The Realme 8i uses pixel binning to deliver 12.5-megapixel output from its 50-megapixel sensor. Daylight photos taken with the Realme 8i were average. Objects at a distance did not have much detail. The phone also sharpens images slightly. You don’t get an ultra-wide-angle camera on the Realme 8i, but you can shoot at the full 50-megapixel resolution. Photos shot at full resolution did have better detail, especially in objects at a distance.

Realme 8i daylight camera sample (tap to see full size)

 

Close-ups taken with the Realme 8i were good. The phone managed colours well and added a soft depth to the background. You can shoot portraits with the Realme 8i and it lets you select the level of background blur before you take a shot. I found edge detection to be good and the subject was sharp as well. The macro camera lets you go super close to your subject and does manage decent results, but the output is limited to 2 megapixels in resolution.

Realme 8i close-up sample (tap to see full size)

Realme 8i portrait sample (tap to see full size)

Realme 8i macro camera sample (tap to see full size)

 

Low-light camera performance was not the best I’ve seen in this price segment. The output did not have noise but it was low on detail. The phone also failed to capture darker areas of the frame properly. Using Night mode helped capture details in the shadows better, and images were brighter as well. It also had some improvement in details and objects were sharper.

Realme 8i low-light camera sample (tap to see full size)

Realme 8i Night mode sample (tap to see full size)

 

Selfies taken with the Realme 8i in daylight as well as low light were decent. Portrait selfies had good separation between the subject and the background, though beautification is in by default.

Realme 8i portrait selfie sample (tap to see full size)

 

Video recording tops out at 1080p for the primary as well as the selfie camera. Footage isn’t stabilised by default, and shakes are visible. There is an Ultra Steady mode but that doesn’t help stabilise footage to a great extent.

Verdict

The Realme 8i has been launched in the super-competitive sub-Rs. 15,000 segment in India, and has to fend off a lot of competition. What’s more, that isn’t limited to other manufacturers, since Realme itself sells multiple smartphones in this price segment.

The strength of the Realme 8i is performance. Its MediaTek Helio G96 SoC and 120Hz display help deliver a smooth user experience. Battery life is good too, but the bundled 18W charger feels inadequate, especially when we’ve seen phones such as the Realme Narzo 20 Pro (Review) bundled with up to 65W chargers.

The Realme 8i is not a perfect all-rounder, and its cameras fell short of my expectations. If photo and video quality aren’t all that important to you, you could consider buying this phone, but if you would prefer something that does it all at this price level you could also consider the Realme 7 (Review) which is an older model but one step up in Realme’s hierarchy.



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Microsoft Partners With Inworld to Bring AI Game Development Tools to Xbox

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Microsoft Partners With Inworld to Bring AI Game Development Tools to Xbox


Microsoft is teaming up with Inworld AI to create game development tools for Xbox, enabling developers to create characters, generate entire scripts and quests, and more. The multi-year deal brings an AI design copilot and an AI character runtime engine to the forefront, both of them being totally optional to use and to varying degrees. Of course, the use of AI in art has been criticised by many for simply lacking originality, in addition to running the risk of fewer jobs for artists — a growing fear among many considering the alarming number of layoffs seen at game studios this year in an attempt to cut costs.

“At Xbox, we believe that with better tools, creators can make even more extraordinary games,” Haiyan Zhang, GM, Xbox Gaming AI, said in a blog post. “This partnership will bring together: Inworld’s expertise in working with generative AI models for character development, Microsoft’s cutting-edge cloud-based AI solutions including Azure OpenAI Service, Microsoft Research’s technical insights into the future of play, and Team Xbox’s strengths in revolutionizing accessible and responsible creator tools for all developers.”

The aforementioned AI design copilot is a toolset that will help game designers turn prompts into scripts and dialogue trees. In contrast, the character runtime will enable dynamically generated plot beats and quests. We’ve already seen heavy AI integration in games by way of procedural generation — a more recent example being the 1000+ planets in Starfield. Not to mention, enemy AI has been around for way longer.

Inworld made headlines in August when it launched a modded story mode for Grand Theft Auto V, Sentient Streets, in which players had to investigate the rise of a bizarre AI-worshipping cult — a segment loaded with characters that spoke in AI-generated dialogue, on the fly. The mod was later taken down by publisher Take-Two, leaving a permanent strike on the creator Bloc’s YouTube channel. As per The Verge, Inworld’s AI technology can also be used for narration in top-down RPGs to warn players about any events awaiting off-screen and respond to questions like we’ve seen in the past year with AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Bing Chat. Microsoft has also been heavily banking on artificial intelligence, having made a $10 billion (about Rs. 83,254 crore) investment in OpenAI. The company has also integrated AI tools into its popular suite of services and also added an AI copilot to Windows.

Despite being a Microsoft-affiliated AI toolset, it would be interesting to see whether titles using them will be allowed to thrive on other platforms. In July, Valve claimed that it would be cracking down on games that included AI-generated assets if the developer didn’t own the copyright to the piece of art. For the uninitiated, when you insert a prompt to create something in AI, the software simply repurposes existing assets found online and mushes them together — basically stealing from other artists and writers without appropriate commercial licenses. Infringing them would lead to the game not being distributed on Steam, forcing the developers to seek proper licenses for the asset by reaching out to the AI companies involved. It’s unclear how Microsoft’s partnership will play out — as long as AI content is being used as a catalyst to innovate and create something new, it should be fine.


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BSNL Offers Free 4G SIM Upgrade: Here’s How to Get It

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BSNL Offers Free 4G SIM Upgrade: Here’s How to Get It


BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) is a state-owned telecommunication company in India. Earlier this year in May, the government said that the firm started rolling out 4G services in the country. By December, the networks were said to be upgraded to 5G. However, at the India Mobile Congress, BSNL chairman P K Purwar said that the company will launch 4G services in December and then roll it across the country by June 2024. The chairman added that the 5G upgrades will take place after June next year.

In a post on X shared by BSNL’s Andhra Pradesh (@bsnl_ap_circle) unit, the company confirmed that BSNL users can upgrade their older 2G or 3G SIMs to a 4G SIM for free. Not only will the upgrade be free, but a promotional image shared with the post suggests that users who opt for the upgrade will also receive 4GB of free data that will be valid for three months. It is speculated that BSNL is aiming to boost its upcoming 4G services with this offer. The announcement was first spotted by Telecom Talk.

To access the free data offer and the free upgrade, BSNL users are requested to get in touch with executives at BSNL’s Customer Service Centre, franchisee or retailer stores, or contact one of their Direct Selling Agents (DSA). The promo image also adds in a finer print that the offer is available with certain terms and conditions, but hasn’t detailed any, so far.

Reliance’s Jio recently launched the 4G-supported Bharat B1 feature phone in India. The handset is priced at Rs. 1,299 in India. Alongside 4G connectivity, the phone comes with JioCinema and JioSaavn applications pre-installed.

The Jio Bharat B1 is equipped with the JioPay application, which is said to allow users to make UPI payments. Aiming to increase accessibility, the phone supports 23 languages overall, including multiple regional languages.


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Realme GT 5 Pro Teased to Feature 3,000 Nits Display; More Details Revealed

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Realme GT 5 Pro Teased to Feature 3,000 Nits Display; More Details Revealed


Realme GT 5 Pro’s launch date is not far away. The Chinese smartphone brand on Tuesday (November 7) confirmed the arrival of the new GT series smartphone in its home country. The Realme GT 5 Pro is teased to come with a display with over 3000 nits of peak brightness. It is also confirmed to pack a larger heat dissipation area for thermal management. The handset will ship with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC. The Realme GT 5 Pro is expected to come as a successor to the Realme GT 5 that debuted in China in August.

Realme, via Weibo, announced the arrival of the Realme GT 5 Pro in China. The display of the handset is confirmed to offer 3000 nits peak brightness. It has also been teased to offer heat dissipation with a surface area of around 10,000mm2. It is confirmed to ship with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC. The post doesn’t specify the exact launch date of the smartphone, however, given the release of the teasers, the launch could be just around the corner.

The Realme GT 5 Pro has been in the news a lot lately. It is expected to feature a 6.78-inch (1,264×2,780 pixels) AMOLED display and is tipped to come in 8GB, 12GB, and 16GB RAM options along with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB inbuilt storage options.

For optics, the Realme GT 5 Pro is said to have a triple rear camera unit comprising two 50-megapixel sensors and an 8-megapixel shooter at the rear. The camera setup might include a Sony LYTIA LYT808 sensor, an OmniVision OV08D10 secondary sensor, and a Sony IMX890 telephoto sensor. For selfies, there could be a 32-megapixel sensor at the front. It is said to carry a 5,400mAh battery with support for 100W wired charging and 50W wireless charging.

The Realme GT 5 Pro is expected to come with upgrades over Realme GT 5. The latter was launched in China in August with a price tag of CNY 2,999 for the base model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.


The Motorola Edge 40 recently made its debut in the country as the successor to the Edge 30 that was launched last year. Should you buy this phone instead of the Nothing Phone 1 or the Realme Pro+? We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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