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Redmi 9 Review: Simply The Best Budget Phone

The Good

  • Excellent performance
  • Full HD display
  • Good build
  • Good front camera
  • Nice battery and fast charging

The Bad

  • Tiny speaker
  • Low-light rear camera performance is not great

Xiaomi launched it’s new budget phone Redmi 9 in Nepal a few weeks ago. This is the most basic phone from the Redmi 9 series that consists of the Redmi 9A and Redmi Note 9 Series.

Redmi 9
Redmi 9

Redmi 9 is available in two variants: 3/32GB and 4/64 GB for Rs. 16,999 and Rs. 17,999. The one I have is the 4GB variant and I used this device for more than a week.

The specs of Redmi 9 is by far the best you can get at this price range. And, it’s impressive that Xiaomi has managed to pack in such good hardware inside the Redmi 9. So, how good it really is?

Redmi 9 Specifications

  • Body: 163.3 x 77 x 9.1 mm, 198 g, Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
  • Display: 6.53 inches, ~83.2% screen-to-body ratio, 1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~395 ppi density), Gorialla Glass 3
  • Chipset: Mediatek Helio G80 (12 nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • GPU: Mali-G52 MC2
  • Memory: 32GB 3GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM, eMMC 5.1
  • OS: Android 10, MIUI 12
  • Rear Camera: 13 MP, f/2.2, 28mm (wide), 1/3.1″, 1.12µm, PDAF
    • 8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm
    • 5 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
    • 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
    • Video: [email protected]
  • Front Camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 27mm (wide)
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 5020 mAh battery, Fast charging 18W
  • USB: 2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go
  • Misc: Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, proximity, compass, 3.5mm Headphone jack
  • Colors: Carbon Gray, Sunset Purple, Ocean Green, Pink/Blue

Redmi 9 Price in Nepal: Rs. 16,999 (3/32GB) / Rs. 17,999 (4/64GB)

Redmi 9 Review

Pleasing Design

  • 163.3 x 77 x 9.1 mm
  • 198 g
  • Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

Redmi 9 has a striking design on the rear as the camera module has been enclosed in a circle. The plastic back has a textured finish except for the circular part that wraps the camera module and fingerprint sensor.

Redmi 9 Buttons
Redmi 9 Buttons

The frame is also made from plastic but it is built solidly and feels robust. The only complaint I have is the fingerprint sensors placement. It is right below the camera sensor, so my finger would dirty the camera sensor when I was unlocking the phone.

The rear houses a quad-camera setup with a rectangle camera module alongside the oval-shaped fingerprint sensor. The sides curves into the frame and the edges are curved as well.

On the front, it’s using the waterdrop notch design. The side bezels and chin are quite thin for a smartphone.

Ergonomically, I like how it fits in the hand. It isn’t slippery and I can easily use it with my single hand. Redmi 9’s build and design are excellent for a phone at its price tag but if you want something more premium you can opt for Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9 which is slightly more expensive.

FHD LCD Display

  • 6.53 inches FHD IPS LCD
  • 1080 x 2340 Resolution
  • 19.5:9 Aspect Ratio
  • 395 ppi
  • 60Hz panel
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3

The Redmi 9 has a 6.53 inch 1080×2340 (FHD+) LCD display. It’s a 60Hz IPS Panel so you won’t be getting deep blacks and saturated color reproduction. The color reproduction is pretty good with a neutral color scheme. You can also opt for slightly saturated colors from the display settings menu if you like that.

Redmi 9 Display
Redmi 9 Display

As for the brightness, Xiaomi claims a brightness of up to 400 nits but it’s not too bright. You won’t have problems using the phone out on a sunny day. The bezels are quite minimal and the display is relatively big at 6.5 inches, so I enjoyed watching videos on the Redmi 9. Furthermore, it supports Widevine L1 too. So, you can watch HD content on Netflix if you’re into that.

Camera

  • Rear Camera: 13 MP, f/2.2, 28mm (wide), 1/3.1″, 1.12µm, PDAF
    • 8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm
    • 5 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
    • 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
    • Video: [email protected]
  • Front Camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 27mm (wide)
Redmi 9 Camera
Redmi 9 Camera

13 MP Main Sensor

The 13MP main snapper on Redmi 9 is really good for its price. It produces good looking photos with nice details under good lighting conditions.

ALSO READ: Infinix Hot 9 Play Review: A Value Packed Budget Phone

The images are not as saturated, it does have a hint of saturation but the colors tend to appear more natural. Its dynamic range is fine and the HDR also helps in high dynamic range situations. However, it does lose out details on the darker part of the images.

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As we move on to low light situations, we can notice noise on the images. The images lose out lots of detail and start looking blur and out of focus. It doesn’t have night mode as well, so you cannot improve the low light photos. Low light photography is not good on the Redmi 9

Ultrawide Angle Camera

Redmi 9 has an 8MP ultrawide angle sensor which is quite good for the price. Ofcourse the details are only average and you can notice noise even in daylight. But, I do not expect the ultrawide angle camera at this price segment to be really good.

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It has a nice FOV of 118 degrees and you will be happy with its images during daylight. You can notice distortion on the ultrawide angle photos as well but it’s not bad.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy M21 Review: Value Packed Mid-Ranger

Macro Sensor

Last but not least, it has a 5MP macro sensor as well and it’s good. You mostly get 2MP macro sensors with phones in this category, so that extra detail does make pictures more appealing. The color profile is similar to the main sensor and the images look quite good overall.

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Portrait Mode

Redmi 9 has a 2MP depth sensor to assist in portrait photos. Talking about the portrait photos, I’m impressed.

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The depth effect doesn’t look artificial and that’s what I most tend to give attention in portrait photos. Moving on, edge detection is quite good but of course, it’s not perfect. Also, the face tends to be warmer in portrait photos. But I like the HDR on the Redmi 9. It definitely helps to keep the background highlights under control.

Front camera

Now on to the front camera, I like it. The 8MP sensor takes some good photos under good lighting. The details are fine as well and the HDR works really well. Your selfies won’t be blown out even if there’s plenty of light in the background. It works well indoors as well. But, the detail will be slighlty low under low lighting.

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The portrait mode on the front camera is also surprisingly good. It works well most of the time and has good edge detection. But, the background will get blow out if there’s too much backlight on the background.

Video

Redmi 9 can capture videos up to 1080p 30 fps. The video quality is not as impressive as the videos look soft and lack details. And, there’s no stabilization as well.

You can capture videos with the Ultra wide-angle sensor as well and it has a macro video feature too.

Performance

  • Mediatek Helio G80 (12 nm)
  • Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • Mali-G52 MC2
  • 32GB 3GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM, eMMC 5.1

Redmi 9 features a budget gaming chipset; MediaTek Helio G80. And, it comes with two configurations: 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM / 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM.

Redmi 9 Performance
Redmi 9 Performance

MediaTek Helio G80 is a really good chipset and it excels in gaming. It is made in a 12nm process and has Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55) CPU along with Mali-G52 MC2 GPU.

Redmi 9 is smooth on a day to day basic usage. Web browsing, app opening, and app switching have been pretty smooth. I haven’t had any performance issues with Redmi 9.

Regarding gaming, I tried PUBG and COD Mobile on the Redmi 9. You can play PUBG in HD graphics and high fps setting. PUBG runs smooth and I didn’t come across major lags or stutters on PUBG. The frame rate was also quite consistent. For COD, you can play it in medium graphics and it runs really good.

Redmi 9 is an absolute beast for gaming under Rs. 20,000. It has the best performance under Rs. 20,000 without any doubt.

Security

In terms of unlocking options, you can use the fingerprint sensor or face unlock but I prefer the fingerprint sensor. It’s quick and reliable but I don’t like its placement. It’s right below the camera sensor so, you will accidentally touch the camera sensor while using the fingerprint sensor.

If you prefer, you can use face unlock as well. It is quick and works well in most situations.

Speaker

The speaker on the Redmi 9 is not that loud given it only has a single speaker. Sound quality is nice, it feels thin if you play rock songs but it’s good for pop songs and videos. Speaker is only decent, it should have been a bit louder.

Battery and Charging

  • Non-removable Li-Po 5020 mAh battery, Fast charging 18W support but comes with 10W charger
  • USB 2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go

The 5020 mAh battery on the Redmi 9 is impressive. On average usage, I was getting around 6 and a half hours of screen on time. So, it will easily last more than a day.

ALSO READ: Xiaomi Mobiles Price in Nepal: Features and Specs

But the charging is quite slow as it takes 3 hours to charge it from 0 to 100% using the 10W charger. However, it does support 18W charging.

Software

  • Android 10, MIUI 11

Redmi 9 runs on MIUI 11 on top of Android 10. I have mentioned a lot about MIUI in my reviews of Redmi Note 9 pro but I like that you can use the app drawer by default on the Redmi 9.

Redmi 9 Software
Redmi 9 0S

I didn’t have any software related issues with the Redmi 9. MIUI 11 has been optimized well on the Redmi 9 and the OS feels smooth. It will get the MIUI 12 update pretty soon as well.

Should You Buy Redmi 9?

Of course! It’s a must buy mobile phone under Rs. 20,000.

Redmi 9 costs 17k and 19k respectively for the 3GB RAM and 4GB RAM variant. And, I will say that you won’t find a better phone than Redmi 9 at this price tag right now. It has an FHD display which is very rare for this segment. On top of that, it has a chipset that is capable of running heavy games.

Well, it’s quad-camera setup is also quite. The battery is top-notch but you should invest in an 18W fast charger if you buy the Redmi 9.

Hands down, Redmi 9 is the best phone under Rs. 20,000. It can even rival some phones that cost upwards of 20k.

I hope you like our review of Redmi 9. If you have any questions regarding this device, then drop it in the comments below. I will try my best to answer each of them.

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