Redmi 9 review: A promising mid-ranger for casual gamers


In order to connect to its younger fans, Xiaomi created the Redmi 9 promising better cameras and features optimized for gaming at a budget-friendly price. Touting a bigger-than-average screen size and chic gradient color design, this might just be the next mid-range smart phone that will end up in most millennial’s bucket lists this year.

In this review, we will explore what makes the Xiaomi Redmi 9 hip and appealing. What can young people expect when using this phone as part of their daily grind?

The Unit with the 10W in-box charger, 18W wired fast charger, SIM pin, Warranty and Instruction Booklet, and Gray Jelly Case

The phone runs on the MediaTek Helio G80 chipset which is specially designed for young gamers keen on leveling up their A-Game.

Hit the play button below to watch our Redmi 9 video review on YouTube:

Redmi 9 snapshot

  • Display: 6.53″ FHD+ “Dot Drop” display; 400 nit (typ) brighness; 163.32 x 77.01 x 9.1 mm; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • OS: MIUI 11 based on Android 10 (Android Q)
  • Chipset + GPU: MediaTek Helio G80; 12nm process technology; octa-core Cortex-A75 & Cortex-A55, up to 2.0 Ghz
  • Memory + storage: 3GB + 32GB, 4GB +64GB (expandable microSD, up to 512GB)
  • Camera: (Rear Camera) 13MP wide-angle camera, 8MP ultra wide-angle camera 118° FOV, 5MP micro camera, 2MP depth sensor; (Front Camera) 8MP Selfie camera.
  • Battery: 5020mAh (typ) battery; 18W wired fast charging;
  • Price (Philippines):  P6,990 (3GB + 32GB), P7,490 (4GB +64GB)
Top edge - Redmi 9 (Philippines)
Top edge – Redmi 9 (Philippines)

Build quality, display

The back display design is a bit significant to Pocophone F1 (Poco F1) and the Redmi Note 8 which were released much earlier. Like its predecessor, the camera on the Redmi 9 is located in the middle top half of the phone.

READ: Redmi Note 8 Pro review: A serious mid-range threat

It is also with the same display size and dimensions as Redmi note 8, but they placed a “splash-proof nano coating” to the back; removing the glossy feature and turn it into matte, plastic finished design.

Back handheld – Redmi Note 8 Pro (Philippines)

The physical buttons (power, volume) and the centered rear camera module looks very similar to what we would find on the Redmi Note 8.

We applaud Xiaomi’s efforts to include useful, value-added features such as a dedicated dual SIM and Micro SD slot, which allows us to use two SIM cards simultaneously, and a Micro SD expansion card at the same time.

Audio jack, USB port - Redmi 9 (Philippines)
Audio jack, USB port – Redmi 9 (Philippines)

We also appreciate the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack and a USB type-C port for power delivery and wired data transmission.

Application performance

Redmi 9 ships with Android 10 (Q) out of the box, so expect smooth and seamless application performance and task switching. The built-in 32GB internal storage may fill up quickly given the size of games and applications nowadays. Thankfully, it is expandable up to 512GB via microSD slot.

Gaming performance

The Redmi 9 runs on the MediaTek Helio G80 chipset which is specially designed for gaming enthusiasts. We installed several games on the Redmi 9, all of which ran smoothly without stuttering.

With it’s 6.53 FHD+ “Dot Drop” display, in-game graphics were vibrant, and the large screen size is good for long gaming sessions. It handled popular mobile games such as Mobile Legends or Marvel Super War easily with high frame rate mode enabled and graphics set to medium quality.

What makes it more appealing for gamers is the expandable 516 memory, which allows us to store more games, although you might observe some slowdown when loading larger games at the beginning, things eventually get back up to speed once the game is fully loaded.

Entertainment, sound

The 1080 x 2340 pixels full FHD IPS LCD display on the Redmi 9 big, bright, and vivid, making it a good choice for watching video content. Its lightweight design of 198 grams and 19.5:9 display ratio makes so easy to carry in the palm of your hands.

Volume rocker, power button - Redmi 9 (Philippines)
Volume rocker, power button – Redmi 9 (Philippines)

It also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect the phone from accidental scratches, as well as TÜV Rheinland low blue light certification, making it safer for binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix.

Selfie camera - Redmi 9 (Philippines)
Selfie camera – Redmi 9 (Philippines)

We did notice that the screen is not as bright when used outdoors, so you may want to bring up the screen brightness for better readability.

We get a single bottom-firing loudspeaker and a 3.5mm audio jack right next to the USB Type-C port and microphone vent. We found the bass on the speakers to be a bit soft,  but it is supposed to be the loudest in it’s price range.

Camera

One of the best features of this phone is its 4 AI quad camera feature. In a mid-range price point, you will be able to get 13MP wide-angle camera, 8MP ultra wide-angle camera 118° FOV, 5MP micro camera, 2MP depth sensor for the rear camera; while 8MP tear drop for selfie camera.

Rear camera - Redmi 9 (Philippines)
Rear camera – Redmi 9 (Philippines)

Just like the Redmi Note 8, low-light and indoor shots have the tendency to become blurry, so you have to take multiple shots for safety while staying really still. We took several photos in varying light conditions to demonstrate how the cameras perform. Photos taken with the main sensor generally come out looking crisp with a wide dynamic range of colors.

The most impressive shots that we got were the selfies and video calls using the 8MP front-facing camera. The images are crisp and clear and not overly-processed. Even photos captured in portrait mode look good, giving the pictures a realistic, “editorial” look.

Battery life

The Redmi 9 comes with a 5020 mAh battery with fast 18W wired-fast charging. In the two weeks that we’ve been using the phone for daily tasks, the phone always lasted at least a day and a half with moderate use.

This is the highest battery life so far compared other smartphones in the same price bracket.

Verdict, price

Redmi 9 is one of the most promising and competitive devices from Xiaomi so far. This phone has sought-after features for millennials and young adults. It carries over the strengths of its predecessor while offering improvements in design, display, camera and gaming.

Unboxed flatlay - Redmi 9 (Philippines)
Unboxed flatlay – Redmi 9 (Philippines)

Coming in at only P6,990 (3GB + 32GB) and  P7,490 (4GB +64GB), Redmi 9 reinvents the entry-level smartphone experience with its expanded set of features, so no complaints over here.

With the Redmi 9, Xiaomi is giving consumers something to look forward this 2020.

SIM and microSD tray - Redmi 9 (Philippines)
SIM and microSD tray – Redmi 9 (Philippines)

Redmi 9 specs (Philippines)

  • Display: 6.53″ FHD+ “Dot Drop” display; 400 nits; 163.32 x 77.01 x 9.1 mm; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • OS: Android 10 (Q), MIUI 11
  • SIM: Dual SIM (dedicated)
  • CPU Speed: 2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55
  • Chipset + GPU: MediaTek Helio G80; 12nm process technology; octa-core Cortex-A75 & Cortex-A55, up to 2.0 Ghz
  • Memory (RAM): 3GB, 4GB
  • Storage (ROM): 32GB, 64GB
  • Expansion: microSD, up to 512GB (dedicated)
  • Rear camera (main): 13MP (wide), 8MP (ultra wide 118°), 5MP (macro), 2MP (depth sensor)
  • Front camera (selfie): 8MP
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
  • I/O: USB Type-C 1.0; 3.5mm audio jack
  • Battery: 5020mAh battery; 18W wired fast charging;
  • Colors: Carbon Grey, Ocean Green, Sunset Purple
  • Price (Philippines):  P6,990 (3GB + 32GB), P7,490 (4GB +64GB)

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