Starting at less than $130, the Xiaomi Redmi 9 is one of the most affordable models available. For such a low price point, you should expect more than a few flaws.
The plastic case of the Redmi 9 is actually quite fantastic with textured back that ensures better grip. The back cover also adds a cool factor to the device, while keeping things light at under 200 grams, which is a bit intriguing for such a big device. The traditional fingerprint scanner is reliable and works smoothly. However, because it’s located just under the camera, you may occassionally confuse the camera for the scanner. If that happens, you will smudge the camera.
For an entry-level device, the 6.53-inch LCD display is definitely adequate and it even has FullHD+ resolution. Unfortunately, the contrast is disappointing, brightness is low and colours are bleak. Because it isn’t bright enough, it will be harder to read anything under sunlight.
The MediaTek Helio G8 SoC is an efficient platform, but it lacks adequate processing power when playing demanding 3D games. Choppy interface, inconsistent animation and random stutters prove that you will push it too hard. It has 4GB of RAM, which is okay for running a few apps in the background. It comes with 64GB of internal storage and that’s enough for casual smartphone users, unless you love to record videos. There are also microSD card slot, IR blaster and 3.5mm headphone jack.
If there’s any reason why you should purchase Redmi, it could be the 5,020mAh battery. It guarantees extended use of the phone and it should last you longer. For average uses, the phone should be usable for two days. However, its 10W charger doesn’t feature fast charging and it will take nearly 3 hours to top up the battery.
Redmi 9 uses Android 10 and the MIUI 11 on top is rich as ever. Newcomers should be able to quickly use the interface and Xiaomi is working on the MIUI 12. The facial recognition feature works smoothly, although its reliability is somewhat questionable.
There are four cameras on the back of the device, 13MP primary, 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera, 2MP depth sensor and 5MP macro camera. There’s no optical zoom, so there’s only digital zoom that will degrade picture quality. Up front, there’s an 8Mp camera for selfie and it could record Full HD videos at 30fps. You shouldn’t expect impressive photo quality, but you should get decent results with ideal natural light. However, you may notice oversharpening, somewhat subpar dynamic range and bleak colours. Selfies should be usable for most social media uses. In low light situations, you may notice smudgy details, inadequate dynamic range and lots of noise.
The Xiaomi Redmi 9 may have subpar camera, weak performance, mediocre display and slow charging rate, however, it should appeal users who are looking for phones with ultra-affordable pricing. The battery life is impressive for an entry-level device and it has an overall decent design.