Introduction - Gets All You Need
Xiaomi’s Redmi smartphone series has gained quite a cult following with many models selling millions of units in just a few days or so. Xiaomi’s Redmi series packs in great value for money specifications and are priced at a cut-throat price tag that other OEMs might find uneasy to quote and Redmi 9 Power is not different. The device arrived in December 2020 and brought in the cavalry with its budget specifications at a price tag of Rs.10,999/- for the entry model.
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Redmi 9 Power packs in a few pros and a few cons as well that we have mentioned in this review after extensive testing the device for a few days.
Prices in India, Variants, Availability
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power arrives in two storage configurations. The base is a 4GB+64GB UFS 2.1 storage priced at Rs 10,999/- while the higher 4GB+128GB UFS 2.2 flash storage variant is priced at Rs 11,999/- in India. This is of course true that the 128GB variant is slightly quicker than the entry variant. The device is available on both the Mi India website and Amazon India as well as key retail stores in the country. Amazon India is offering a great exchange offer as well although it depends on the PIN code you mention there to exchange. Plus, there are offers on No Cost EMI and EMIs as well. You can choose between Fiery Red, Electric Green, Mighty Black, and Blazing Blue colourways.
- Redmi 9 Power Device
- USB Type-C Cable
- 22.5W charger
- SIM ejector tool
- Clear protective case
- User manual
Specs at a glance
Before we talk in detail about Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power, let’s have a quick look at the key specifications.
- Display: 16.58 centimeters (6.53 inch) FHD+
- Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
- Storage: 4GB/64GB, 4GB/128GB
- Software: MIUI 12 based on Android 10
- Rear cameras: 48MP quad rear camera, ultra-wide, macro mode, portrait, ai scene recognition, night mode, hdr, pro mode
- Selfie camera: 8MP
- Battery: 6000 mAh, 18W charging support
- Weight: 198g
- Dimensions: 162.30 x 77.30 x 9.60mm
Now, let’s move ahead and see what makes the Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power a powerhouse beast.
Design and Build - Outright Gorgeous
Call it outright gorgeous and you won’t be wrong. Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power checks many of the major trends of 2020 including an edge-to-edge display, a rectangular camera setup, textured and gradient back panel, and so on. The phone tips on the slightly heavy side of the weight scale at 198 grams although certainly not heavier than its counterparts in the Redmi 9 series despite packing in a ginormous 6,000 mAh battery.
Redmi 9 Power has a sturdy build quality and finishes with a plastic back, aluminium frame, and a glass front design. Even with plastic, it doesn’t feel cheap as its textured and gradient back saves it from the usually affordable phone appearance. Plus, the textures on the back panel relieves it from any fingerprints and smudges that it may have accumulated in case it had a glossy finish. I felt good holding the phone with all the buttons placed in the right place. The phone’s dimensions make it just the right size as it is neither too big nor too small in hands which is a boon. There’s a speaker on top that when used with the bottom one, creates a stereo speaker system.
You’ll get an IR emitter and a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top, the bottom has a USB Type-C port, a bottom-firing speaker, and a primary mic followed by a SIM tray on the left. Finally, there’s a power button and a volume rocker on the right and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner integrated into a power button, and that all make up its connectivity and accessibility features which are well-positioned and just at the right place to access it.
Display - Quite Satisfactory
Talking about the display tech on-board Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power, it is a 6.53-inch IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 1080×2340 pixels and with a rich 395 PPI density. It has a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top for protection and comes with a tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The display has a typical brightness of 400 nits.
I tried the Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power for a while and its display is a mixed bag, to be honest. It is a giant 6.53-inch IPS LCD panel with a 395 PPI density. Its 400 nits brightness performed well indoors while I found out that it can perform outstandingly even when outdoors although you must not try to use it under a scorching sun as the brightness isn’t that capable to show the display in such conditions.
The auto-brightness on-board works pretty fine and tunes the brightness automatically as per the scene. The display is edge-to-edge that gives you a wholesome viewing experience without any obstructions. You do get a waterdrop shaped notch but that is the only thing that barely comes in your sight when holding a mammoth device in hand. Xiaomi did a great job minimizing its bezels although it goes as narrow as a budget phone could get with the chin still coming out as thick.
I would have loved Redmi 9 Power if it arrived with slightly higher brightness and the colours could have been more saturated and true to life. Then, you also have limitations of an LCD panel which can only go to many extremities. Overall, if I chuck one or two of its shortcomings, the display is satisfactory.
Performance - Justifies The Price
Talking about the processor under the hood, you get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 chipset manufactured on an 11nm fabrication node. It has eight cores as usual with four high-performance cores clocked at 2.0GHz while the other four cores are power-efficient running at 1.8GHz. It is flanked with an Adreno 610 GPU under the hood. Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power comes with 4GB RAM only while offering a 64GB UFS 2.1 flash storage while a higher 128GB variant comes with UFS 2.2 flash storage. The device comes with Android 10-powered MIUI 12 out-of-the-box.
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There’s only one RAM variant i.e. 4GB so no matter what storage trim you buy, you get 4GB RAM only. The device does perform well and there was no problem in multitasking with apps. I was able to load apps faster and the Snapdragon 662 SoC does give the required computational power to use the phone without any hassle.
When tested with AnTuTu benchmarking platform, the phone scores a whopping 180,054 points while scoring 317 and 1323 points on single-core and multi-core tests on Geekbench 5 respectively. For context, the device does trials behind the Redmi 9 Prime which has higher benchmarking scores for sure.
When subjected to heavy games like Call of Duty Mobile, Redmi 9 Power did manage to run it although you will have to spare some time loading it. Plus, you need to keep the frame and graphics at medium as overclocking might turn your phone into a NoPhone. Even when playing games on medium settings, I noticed a certain rise in the temperature in just 5 minutes so you need to keep it calm and cool for better gameplay. A 20 minutes gaming session dropped the battery life to 5 per cent which isn’t that bad given that the phone has a humongous approx 5,600 mAh power left to use.
It comes with Widevine L1 which is required to stream HD content on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video among other streaming services.
Software - Filled With Bloatware
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power arrives with an MIUI 12 skin on-board with Android 10 out-of-the-box. If you don’t know, although MIUI 12 offers many features compared to a stock Android, it comes with a bunch of bloatware that you can’t uninstall. Plus, there’s an ad service that runs when you turn on the device showing you ads on a custom UI level which is a major letdown. I am talking about ads when you go to the Settings app and not about the ads shown on any app or website.
The MIUI 12 does have some calibre though including quick toggles, dark mode, Game Turbo, Ultra Battery Saver, and so on. With MIUI 12, expect a software update every week.
Cameras - Acceptable At This Price
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power sports a quad-camera setup with the primary sensor being a 48MP shooter with an aperture of f/1.8 along with PDAF, 0.8micrometer pixel size; a secondary 8MP ultrawide sensor with f/2.2 aperture and 120-degrees field-of-view, and finally, two 2MP sensors comprising a depth and macro sensors arranged in a rectangular camera setup. The front camera housed in a waterdrop-shaped notch has an 8MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture with 1.12micrometer pixel size.
Cameras have become an integral part of any smartphone no matter the price tag. In the era where clicking selfies and group-fies is often given more importance than having higher performance, cameras rule. Talking about Redmi 9 Power, it does have pretty legitimate and nice-looking daytime photography. All details are retained and the subject is lit with an acceptable level of dynamic range. Switch the lens to ultrawide snapper and you will see a higher field of view although it compromises over the details as well as distortion at the edges which is often a part where most UW cameras suffer.
It could take you some time to lock in the focus on a close object but once you get it, the depth sensor works in conjunction with the primary sensor to shoot portrait photos with blurred background. In fact, edge detection is also good although it might suffer a bit when capturing complex edges.
When it comes to the low-light shots, I got an average result which whitewashed images and lacks details. Turn on its dedicated night mode and now you get far better images than using without the night mode on. Talking about the selfies, I got decent selfies in the daytime with portrait mode shining as well but you see, low-light photography is still average and you can even see grains in the shots.
Redmi 9 Power tops at 1080p when it comes to video recording for both front and rear camera setup. You don’t get video stabilization which is in-line with the price tag and the low-light videos are average as well. This comes in-line with other Redmi 9 devices such as the Redmi 9 Prime.
Battery - Strongest Suit
The battery is one of the strongest suits of the Xiaomi 9 Power that I am reviewing. It packs in a whopping 6,000 mAh battery which is the heart and soul of it and that is why it has “Power” in its name. The battery pack is capable of delivering around one-and-a-half-day of battery life without any work. It is virtually a powerhouse delivering a good 17 hours and 39 minutes on an HD video loop test.
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An 18W fast charging tech on-board the device delivering the juice to completely charge the battery in about two minutes. A mere 30 minutes of charging gives you 30 minutes which is 1/3rd of the battery life and good for a few hours of calls, browsing, texting, and more if not less.
Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics
Redmi 9 Power packs in a stereo speaker system where the bottom-firing loudspeaker and a top-firing speaker creates a stereo effect. It enhances the sound quality on the device when gaming or watching any movie or TV show for that matter. The audio quality is on par with the price tag although not that loud but with clarity and without any distortion even if you max out the volume level.
About the connectivity features, the device is packed with a Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band support with Bluetooth v5.0 with LE and A2DP. It also supports GPS consisting of BDS, Glonass, and A-GPS. There’s no NFC on-board but you get an infrared sensor, a USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack where the latter is a major plus, to be honest.
About the security features, apart from the usual PIN and Pattern lock, you also get a fingerprint scanner on the side. Redmi 9 Power packs in a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that doubles as a power button too. It has been praised for its convenient position which is easy to reach and more convenient than a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. But to be honest, using any finger other than the thumb will be a bit of a task which is a case in any side-mounted FPS. There’s a facial recognition mechanism in place too which is easy to set up and quick to unlock.
Pros & Cons
- FHD+ display
- 6000 mAh battery
- 18W fast charging
- 48MP Quad Camera
- Stereo Speakers
- Old-school Notch design
- Dated 60Hz refresh rate
- MIUI bloatware
At the end of the day, you have to decide whether to buy Redmi 9 Power or when for the next series or choose any other phone in the series to spend on. There are a few things that set the Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power apart from its siblings such as the large battery, stereo speaker, a Snapdragon processor instead of a MediaTek processor (Redmi 9 Prime), and so on. Overall, the software experience on any Redmi 9 series smartphone will be the same so you can’t say that the software is any different. The cameras are good but not that excellent but acceptable for the price tag of Rs 10,999/-.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a phone which is under Rs 12,000/-, has a large battery, and you are using it for purposes like media consumption, calls, texts, browsing, and not some hardcore stuff, we give it a go.