India is home to several options when it comes to value-for-money budget smartphones. Talk about budget smartphones and you will find Xiaomi figuring in the top of the list. Redmi 9 Prime is another latest addition.
Xiaomi has managed to create a reputation of offering budget smartphones with the best-possible specifications in its category while keeping the price under a check. Redmi 9 Prime is Xiaomi’s yet-another budget smartphone offering for the Indian market.
Priced under Rs 10,000, Redmi 9 Prime finds itself getting in the shoes of a Redmi Note smartphone. Blame the GST hike or the dollar-rupee gap or the increasing cost of components due to the pandemic, Xiaomi had to increase the price of most of its recent smartphones across segments.
Do you, the consumer, still get a Rs 10,000 smartphone with value-for-money specifications? The short answer to that question is yes. While there are a few options available, we feel that the Redmi 9 Prime one-ups most of them and are definitely a prime contender for the title of best smartphone under Rs 10,000. Here’s why:
Before we begin our Redmi 9 Prime review, let’s take a look at the specifications
|Display||6.53-inch Full HD+|
|Processor||MediaTek Helio G80|
|RAM/ Storage||4GB + 64GB / 4GB + 128GB|
|Rear camera ||13MP + 8MP + 5MP + 2MP|
|Operating System||Android 10-based MIUI 11|
Now that the specifications are out of the way, here is our full review of Redmi 9 Prime.
Redmi 9 Prime Review
Design and Display
Let’s begin directly with one of the features that are now rare in the price range — a Full HD+ Display. While most smartphones under Rs 10,000 offer an HD+ display, the Redmi 9 Prime has an edge with its 6.53-inch 1080p Full HD+ screen. A higher resolution display tends to give you better details. The display is bright-enough at 400 nits and, for the price, is passable even in direct sunlight. Colours are natural, and the display offers decent viewing angles as well.
A Full HD+ resolution display with narrow bezels does aid in offering an immersive viewing experience. You will see a reasonably thick chin bezel and a tiny water-drop notch, which is typical for most smartphones in the price range.
Our Redmi 9 Prime review unit has a Mint Green colour polycarbonate shell on the back. Xiaomi is sticking to its tried and trusted Aura 360 design for the Redmi 9 Prime. Props to Xiaomi for paying attention to minor details like a textured back that help in better grip. The polycarbonate back has a matte finish, which also keeps fingerprint smudges at bay. We would pick this over any other similar smartphone that offers a glossy back that gets dirty very easily.
The smartphone is heavy at 198 grams and is 9.1mm thick but thanks to the curved, textured back and decent weight distribution, you are likely not to find the Redmi 9 Prime too heavy. The power and volume buttons on the right edge are easily reachable. Even if the phone falls off your hands, chances are the display won’t crack, courtesy of the Gorilla Glass 3 protection. However, we would not recommend you trying a drop test. At the bottom, you get a USB Type-C port sandwiched between the mic and the fairly-loud single speaker grille.
You also get a quad-camera setup on the back, which we will get to in the camera section of our Redmi 9 Prime review. The camera module does resemble a lot to the Poco X2 (review). The fingerprint scanner is etched below the depth sensor and is quick in detecting and unlocking the device.
Performance and software
Redmi 9 Prime gets a 2.0GHz MediaTek Helio G80 octa-core processor with Mali G52 GPU. MediaTek’s G-series processors are typically targeted towards gamers who want max performance from their smartphones. Redmi 9 Prime does deliver smooth performance while playing graphics-intensive games in most cases. PUBG Mobile loads in HD graphics and supports High frame rate. We did notice some lag here and there, but that’s very minimal especially considering the price you pay. The device does get warm, but it’s nothing alarming.
Battery life is quite remarkable on the Redmi 9 Prime. The 5,020 mAh will easily last for almost a couple of days depending upon your use case. Our use case mostly included playing Domination and Vikendi Classic matches in PUBG, scrolling through social media feeds, texts and calling, averaging about 1.5 days of battery life. To keep the cost down, the company ships a 10W charger in the box. It took nearly 2 hours and 45 minutes to charge the phone from zero to 100 percent. Redmi 9 Prime does support 18W fast charging, and we recommend purchasing one from the Xiaomi Mi Store and using any compatible brick.
The 4GB RAM offers enough buffer memory to ensure seamless multitasking. Apps should open from where you leave. In a couple of instances, some apps did close when we opened the stock camera app and PUBG Mobile. To avoid such a situation, you can simply lock an app in the multitasking window.
Contrary to MIUI’s reputation of spamming irrelevant ads, we did not see much during our review period. We had disabled personalised ads while setting up the device itself. However, apps like Zilli constantly throw notifications — some of which may not seem appropriate. You can always choose to delete some of these third-party apps one-by-one.
We liked how Xiaomi has introduced Google Discover that can replace the App vault as a ‘-1’ screen.
On the back, Redmi 9 Prime has four camera sensors — a 13MP primary, an 8MP ultra-wide, a 5MP macro and a 2MP depth sensor. The primary camera clicks decent images with decent images when there is enough light. Colours are not oversaturated and very close to real. The dynamic range for both wide and ultrawide is not that great. The 5MP macro camera does a reasonably good job provided you get the focusing right in good light. Considering the price, Redmi 9 Prime’s camera performs quite well.
However, the camera system misses out on a dedicated night mode. It does get other imaging modes like Pro, Portrait, Short video, video mode, etc.
The 8MP front camera clicks sharp and detailed selfies. Turn off the beauty-mode filter, and you will get close to real skin tones. However, the software does tend to overdo the skin’s smoothness at times.
There is one underrated feature called AI Skyscaping that Xiaomi introduced with the Redmi K20 Pro (Review)
. There are multiple options like Sunny, Cloudy, Rainbow, Glow, Sunset, etc. The software not only changes the sky but also the overall colours that make it look beautiful and real.
At the beginning of our Redmi 9 Prime review, we stated that the smartphone is a prime contender for the best smartphone under Rs 10,000 currently in India. Redmi 9 Prime is a budget all-rounder that ticks most boxes right with its value-for-money performance package.
The camera unit may not be the best but it gets the job done. The lack of night mode is a bummer though. You can pick Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note 9 (review) that gets points for its big battery, decent display and an above-average performance unit.
Another pick is the Realme Narzo 10 (Review)
. At the time of writing this, Narzo 10 starts at Rs 11,999 and also offers a faster processor and 18W fast charger in the box. You also get an optional night mode in the camera app. However, the smartphone features an HD+ display.