Xiaomi does roll out quite a handful of high-calibre affordable smartphones often and Redmi 9 Prime is one of them. To our surprise, Redmi 9 Prime packs in a quality display and does justice with its ‘Prime’ moniker of-board. It packs in a hefty 5,020 mAh battery paired along with a gaming Helio G80 chipset, a quad-camera setup at the back, and more. The device has a 3.5mm headphone jack that adds to its USP although it does have a few shortcomings such as a slower 10W charger that comes packed in the box.
All that in a price tag of below Rs 10,000 and that is what makes Redmi 9 Prime a must consider for when it comes to buying a budget phone with fewer compromises. Let us talk a little more about how the Redmi 9 Prime performs in the real-life scenario out of the box.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime is available in two storage trims i.e. a 4+64GB which is available at a price tag of Rs 9,999/-. A higher variant with 4GB+128GB is available at Rs 11,999/- on Amazon India and Mi.com. The device is available in Space Blue, Mint Green, and Matte Black colour variants. Expect 3-4 days for the delivery on Amazon India. Offers such as 5 per cent instant discount on HSBC Cashback card, No Cost EMI, among others are also live for Redmi 9 Prime. But hey, wait, take this as a disclaimer that you are gonna have a hard time ordering this device for yourself because the flash sales by Xiaomi make it harder for you to grab this budget king Redmi 9 Prime.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime showcases a standard Xiaomi packaging with nothing extra-ordinary, except the ‘Make In India’ tag. The box contents include:
- Redmi 9 Prime device
- Transparent plastic case
- 18W fast charger
- USB Type-C cable
- User Manual
Before talking about Redmi 9 Prime in-depth, let’s look at crucial specifications first.
- Display: 6.53-inch Full HD+ display (2340 × 1080 pixels)
- Processor: MediaTek Helio G80 octa-core SoC
- Memory & storage: 4GB RAM with 64GB/128GB internal storage
- Software: MIUI 11 based on Android 10
- Rear cameras: Quad Camera Module, 13 MP main + 8 MP wide-angle + 5 MP macro + 2 MP depth
- Selfie camera: 8MP
- Battery: 5,020 mAh, 18W fast charging
- Build: Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the front, Splash resistant (P2i coating)
- Weight: 198 gram
- Dimensions:163.32 x 77.01 x 9.10mm
With that cleared out of the way, let’s dive deep into each aspect of the smartphone and see why I called the Redmi 9 Prime a perfect contender under the 10k price segment.
We have seen a lot of phones with a plastic frame and back panel. Even though Redmi 9 Prime is one of them, Xiaomi has got a 10 of 10 scores when it comes to showing off its design chops. Redmi 9 Prime sports a plastic back with it has an excellent build quality. On top of that, the back panel is matte textured that looks artistic especially if you check out its Space Blue variant although others are equally mesmerizing too.
Xiaomi has curved the edges from both front and back allowing a better grip when you use it which is instrumental given that the phone is truly huge and bulky at 198 grams but it doesn’t like it for sure. The buttons are placed in close proximity for a better one-handed use that adds to its oomph factor as well. The back panel is smudger resistant although I would recommend using a phone cover to prevent any accidental damage to it.
At the back, Redmi 9 Prime sports a textured circular finish with a vertically stacked quad-camera setup that looks a bit like Poco X2 and does sway its way among its competitors. Finally, the front display has a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection so it will take the blow of several drops at the least.
A slim front-facing earpiece is lined at the edges of the front display just above the waterdrop-shaped notch. You’ll find a 3.55mm headphone jack, a bottom-firing speaker, a primary microphone, and a USB Type-C port at the bottom where the latter adds a premium touch to it. A power button and volume rockers are located on the right side in just the right position for a comfortable reception. Finally, there’s a 3-slot tray for two nano SIMs and an SD card is located on the left.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime sports a colossal 6.53-inch IPS LCD panel boasting a resolution of 1080×2340 pixels. It has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and comes with 395 PPI density which is premium at the sight of it. This was the take on the specifications that the display offers.
When I used the phone for a week, there are a few things that I realized about the display. First up, it has an FHD+ display and with a price tag of just Rs 10,000, no doubt you are hitting a goldmine given the fact that most of the phones in this price range are 720p supported. The display mounted on Redmi 9 Prime is vivid, vibrant, and colours are punchy with a decent brightness of 400 nits. The brightness could have done better since you might not be able to view the screen in peak sunlight but that is adjustable at this price tag.
The display is huge enough for a greater viewing experience and in fact, viewing angles on this display is pretty wide as well. The display is very responsive, it has a regular 60Hz refresh rate so don’t expect it to magically smoothen the transitions better than any 60Hz device.
You can watch on-demand movies and TV series on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other OTT platforms at HD+ resolution thanks to the Widevine L1 certification. Overall, the display has an upper-hand in terms of sharpness and colour reproduction which is something you should look for. When you would sit and compare this one of the Narzo devices as well like the Realme Narzo 10A, you will find the display better in a lot of terms, especially the brightness and visibility.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime sports a Mediatek Helio G80 octa-core SoC clocked at 2.0GHz along with Mali-G52 MC2 GPU along with 4GB/6GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB of eMMC 5.1 storage. Although the storage isn’t that fancy, it is still worth it, given the price tag.
The Mediatek Helio G80 processor is optimized for delivering smooth gaming and multitasking processes. It is the same processor that you would find on Realme Narzo 10. You won’t feel any lag in day-to-usage thanks to the overall hardware configuration and the software tweaks allowing a better and smooth transition from one app to another although you could see a bit of a lag in case there are multiple apps open and you are trying to switch between them.
Playing PUBG Mobile on Redmi 9 Prime is problem-free as well although you would see frame rate drop after more than 30 minutes of gameplay. To be honest, since the phone is available at just Rs 9,999/-, you may have to compromise over a few things including the overheating issue that kicks in some time of hardcore gaming on the phone.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime comes with Android 10 and MIUI 11.0.2 with July 2020 security patch although it must have been now upgraded to the MIUI 12. MIUI is known for its abundant amount of preloaded bloatware and apparently, there’s no difference with this device as you will see a lot of them. The most concerning part of the phone is its ads as you would find them everything asking you to install apps for cash and so on. Although you can disable these ads (or at least most of them), use ADB tools to get rid of MSA and bloatware, the UI is still filled with a lot of bloatware to fix.
As per the camera specs, the Redmi 9 Prime sports a rear quad-camera setup with a primary 13MP sensor, an 8MP ultrawide sensor, a 5MP macro, and a 2MP depth sensor maxing video resolution of 1080@fps. At the front, you find an 8MP front camera maxing out video resolution at 1080p@30fps.
By the sight of it, you know that Redmi 9 Prime has a basic camera setup. Again, the higher variant competes for head-on with Narzo 10A which sports a 48MP sensor so definitely you would have second thoughts between Redmi 9 Prime and Narzo 10A from Realme.
The camera app is pretty easy to use even if you are a novice. Quick settings and toggles that you find on the camera app are filters, HDR, AI among others. The camera setup takes decent shots at daytime although nighttime photography is fairly average that doesn’t come as a surprise. The main camera does balance colours properly with details that are not that bad, to be honest.
The ultra-wide-angle camera takes the beat with a lower dynamic range although it can capture fairly wider photos retailing most of the details in good lighting conditions. Moreover, shots look pretty good with no distortion on the edges which is something even high-end phones might suffer.
The macro sensor takes quality macro shots at a distance of 4cm with decent contrasts and details with good colours and more. It is the same macros sensor from Redmi Note 9 Pro Max in India. Next up, the portrait mode that uses primary and the 2MP depth sensor takes fairly impressive shots in abundant lights with better background blur and punchy colours on-board. Finally, the front camera grabs decent photos in the daytime while no doubt nighttime photography is fairly average. It has an AI working to adjust settings but overall, it is average.
With a huge 5,020 mAh battery, you can expect more than a worth of mixed usage. Xiaomi has tweaked the power-saving mechanisms with MIUI that keeps the battery alive for more than a day on a single charge even if it is subjected to streaming videos on YouTube, music, a good session of PUBG, and other activities that would drain the battery. But what bugs me is that the phone sports a 10W charger which takes a good three hours to juice up this huge battery. A 30 minutes charge would give you 19 per cent which is enough for a long phone call or streaming more than half of a movie without any hassle. At the end of the day, the charging is very slow at 10W. You can extend it to 18W although you would have to buy a faster charger for it.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime sports an earpiece speaker and a bottom-firing loudspeaker on-board which produces pretty much an average sound quality with loudness best for watching movies without having to plug in an earphone. It also has a 3.5mm headphone allowing users to connect to earphones and headphones with a 3.5mm and even a USB Type-C connector thanks to the USB Type-C port it has for charging.
Connectivity features on Redmi 9 Prime include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with dual-band support, Bluetooth v5.0 with LE and A2DP support, GPS with A-GPS, BDS, and Glonass support and so on. There’s an IR emitter that you can use to control appliances such as smart TVs.
The security on Redmi 9 Prime is on point with its price tag. Apart from the usual PIN, pattern, and password options, there’s a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner which has become quite a norm. The FPS is masked in the vertical camera setup that was difficult to spot at first. This leaves the entire back panel free of any obstruction. Lastly, there’s a facial recognition system that is also reliable to use just like the fingerprint scanner.
- Quad Camera Setup in a fancy circular module
- 18W fast charging supported
- Dedicated microSD card slot
- Massive 5020mAh battery
- Headphone Jack is still present
- The heaviness of MIUI skin can hinder the performance of the device.
When it comes to the specifications at Rs.9,999 (the price tag), Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime does make a strong contender since it has a few specs of the Note 9 series as well while arriving at a most affordable price tag. Its strong suites are its display, the giant battery, and a decent overall performance thanks to the processor and the mix of software, it does have a few shortcomings. It is quite big with a slow battery charger, an average camera setup and a slightly expensive higher variant paying just a few bucks away would get you a Redmi Note 9 with much better specifications. But Redmi 9 Prime is a lucrative bundle of joy if you want something good at a strict 10K budget.