Redmi 9 Review
Xiaomi Redmi 9 series comprises a tonne of smartphones each targeting the budget category. Redmi 9 is the heavyweight contender that pits against the likes of Realme C11, Realme C12, Poco C3, among others. Redmi 9 brings on-board a 13MP dual rear camera, Helio G35 SoC under the hood, a beefy 5,000 mAh battery, and more. Starting at Rs 8,999/-, Redmi 9 targets users in the super budget-friendly segment with some upgrades over Redmi 9A and Redmi 9i.
Here’s a hands-on review on Redmi 9 that you must read to know more about this new budget champ.
Redmi 9 Price in India, Variants, Availability
Xiaomi Redmi 9 is available in two storage trims on Mi.com and Amazon India. It 4GB+64GB model arrives at a price tag of Rs 8,999/- while the 4GB+128GB variant is up for sale at Rs 9,999/-. You can choose between three colour options i.e. Sporty Orange, Sky Blue, and Carbon Black. Avail up to Rs 8,500/- off on utilizing Exchange Offer on Amazon India and Mi.com.
Redmi 9 Specs at a glance
Before we talk in detail about the Xiaomi Redmi 9 let’s see what the on-paper specs look like?
- Display: 16.58 centimeters (6.53-inch) HD+ display
- Processor: Mediatek Helio G35
- Storage: 4GB/64GB
- Software: MIUI 12 based on Android 10
- Rear cameras: 13MP + 2MP with AI Portrait
- Front camera: 5MP
- Battery: 5000 mAh, 10W
- Weight: 196g
- Dimensions: 164.90 x 77.07 x 9.00 mm
Redmi 9 Design and Build
Xiaomi Redmi 9 sports a plastic unibody and the build quality is good for the price tag. The phone is tall with significant bezels around all four sides of the front panel. There’s a mini dewdrop-shaped notch which seems outdated though but it exists.
The frame is curved on all four sides while there are curved edges attached to the back panel that further enhance grip and usability. The phone is comparatively lighter at 194 grams and with 9mm thickness, Xiaomi has done a good job balancing the weight although it is still tall so you will have to perform some gymnastics reaching to the top of the screen.
The back panel is textured with diagonal lines passing through the panel a few millimeters apart and the pattern repeats itself across the whole panel. A circular recessed section at the centre houses its rear fingerprint scanner. On the other hand, a slightly raised camera bump with a square setup gives you access to dual sensors plus a LED flash and a dummy lens on top. There’s a Redmi branding at the bottom and that’s pretty much everything you have when it comes to the back panel.
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When it comes to ports and buttons, Xiaomi Redmi 9 has a SIM card slot on the left; followed by a power button and volume rocker on the right; a headphone jack on top along with a secondary mic, and there’s a bottom-firing speaker, micro USB port, and a primary mic at the bottom and that’s all about it.
The phone has some degree of water-resistant coating, however, I wouldn’t suggest splashing water on the phone whatsoever.
Redmi 9 Display
The Indian version of Redmi 9 packs in a 6.53-inch IPS LCD panel boasting a 720×1600 pixels resolution at 269 PPI density. The display has a 20:9 aspect ratio and has an 81% STB ratio.
The display mounted on Redmi 9 is HD+ which means anything over 720p is simply scaled down to 720p itself. This includes YouTube as well while OTT platforms are restricted to 480p. Viewing angles on Redmi 9 is surprisingly better than that of Realme C12 and C15, among others. The display offers a good colour representation only capped with a limited resolution. The brightness is a concern on the Redmi 9 just like its other siblings Redmi 9A and Redmi 9i.
The display is viewable indoors, however, as the ambient light increases, the screen becomes difficult to view. In fact, you would find it difficult to view the screen in harsh sunlight even if you decided to put your hand over the display to block excess external light.
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As the phone falls in a budget category, there are no frills such as no high refresh rate, no inky colours, and no L1 certification. The bezels on all four sides are widely thick but that’s okay.
Redmi 9 Performance
A MediaTek Helio G35 SoC handles the processing on the Redmi 9 with a max 2.3GHz frequency flanked by a PowerVR GE8320 GPU. The device has an eMMC 5.1 storage system with two configurations i.e. 64GB+4GB and 128GB+4GB.
The MediaTek Helio G35 SoC is, of course, an upgrade over the Helio G25 SoC but at the end of the day, it is an entry-level chipset that is gaming-oriented at least to some extent. AnTuTu scores on Redmi 9 were 98,084 points when I tested it which is around the same as that G35 SoC performs at.
Overall, the chipset lets you do all the day-to-day tasks with ease. You will see some lag and stutter when you open multiple apps but that’s because the G35 SoC is underwhelming in terms of performance. I played a few games including Asphalt 9: Legends. You can play it but keep the graphics at the lowest settings to get good gameplay but the performance is still considerably underwhelming.
Redmi 9 Software
Xiaomi Redmi 9 arrives with MIUI 12 out-of-the-box with Android 10. Depending upon when you are reading this, it might have received MIUI 12.5. The MIUI 12 offers a tonne of features along with a high degree of bloatware. Spam notifications and ads are common among Redmi 9 or pick any Xiaomi device and all these phones suffer the same fate.
Redmi 9 Camera
Xiaomi Redmi 9 brings on-board a dual rear camera setup that uses a 13MP primary sensor with PDAF, f/2.2 along with a 2MP depth sensor hailing an f/2.4 aperture. There’s a 5MP front camera setup on board with an f/2.2 aperture. It is a marketing gimmick to integrate two super low-resolution decorative sensors just so that OEMs can call their phones a triple rear camera setup in spite of having just one usable camera.
Anyways, talking about the cameras, daylight photography on Redmi 9 is fairly average. The shots look decent although the small primary sensor doesn’t capture all finer details. You get autofocus on the primary camera but it isn’t that snappy so you might end up manually focusing on objects at times.
The primary sensor used a dedicated depth camera for portrait shots. I saw that it was convincing enough in the daytime. However, edge detection takes a hit sometimes, especially when the lighting conditions are inadequate.
The macro sensor works as intended. It does get the job done in the daytime although you would need abundant light to capture good-quality shots. Lowlight photography is largely a mess without the use of LED flash.
Night Time shots without a dedicated night mode are below average. The AI does highlight a few details but overall, you will eventually end up with grainy photos with low light shots and details are generally weak. Turning on the flash will improve the details retention a lot, however, it does require the subject to be in proximity rather than a few meters apart.
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Selfie shot mounted on the Redmi 9 is average. Since it will be mostly used for selfies and video calls, it does get the job done in the daytime when the light is abundant. In fact, low light photography bores good results as well.
Redmi 9 Battery
Redmi 9 is fitted with a 5,000 mAh battery under the hood. This may not be the biggest battery though but it is much more than the average on budget phones right now. I tested the battery on various fronts and it shows impressive results. An HD video loop test ran for over 18 hours and 44 minutes before the battery drained completely.
I have been using Redmi 9 for a while and with mild to moderate usage, the battery life can be around a day and a half. You can turn on its battery saver mode to squeeze every ounce of the battery life without needing to plug the charger immediately.
The charging speed is at 10W which is slow but on-point with the usual charging speed found on budget phones nowadays. There’s no fast and wireless charging as usual.
Redmi 9 Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics
Redmi 9 is a Sub-10K INR smartphone so a stereo speaker setup is unlikely in most cases. Redmi 9 doesn’t paint a different image as it offers a single bottom-firing loudspeaker that is loud. It isn’t the best but it gets the job done.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 is not much different from Poco C3 as both the devices share the majority of specifications. This includes support for Wi-Fi n, Bluetooth v5.0 with LE and A2DP, GPS including BDS, Glonass, and A-GPS systems. With Redmi 9, you get a micro USB 2.0 port and a 3.5mm headphone jack as well.
You get a dual SIM slot with Redmi 9 and you can use two 4G SIM cards with LTE-A connection. Call quality and connectivity aren’t an issue with Redmi 9. The sound quality on the earpiece is optimum as well although everything is on par with the price tag and nothing is surprising about it.
You get an assortment of different safety mechanisms on Redmi 9 just like any other smartphone. You have the usual dish aka PIN and Pattern as well as cuisines like a fingerprint scanner mounted at the back which is snappy although a bit of delay is noticeable at times. You also get a facial recognition system that uses the front camera on a 2D-based method to unlock the phone. It isn’t that quick though but at least you have options to use either of them.
Pros & Cons
- Large display
- Excellent battery life
- Underpowered processor
- Downgraded to a dual-camera setup
Xiaomi Redmi 9 is an entry-level smartphone. It packs in entry-level specifications and nothing comes out as bad but as average. However, getting an Helio G35 SoC is something you should think about twice as the processor is underwhelming. You can shell out a few hundred bucks more to get Redmi 9 Prime which is way better in many ways. Unless you are okay with the downgraded specs or strapped with a tight budget, I don’t think Redmi 9 is the best option available out there. You can still look out for Redmi 9 Prime, Realme C15, among others.