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Realme 9i 5G Review: Should You Buy This Mid-Range Smartphone?
Realme is the second largest smartphone brand in terms of sales in India. Following this announcement, the company launched a new 5G smartphone -- the Realme 9i 5G. This is the 5G variant of the Realme 9i launched earlier this year. The USP of this smartphone is its new 'Vintage CD design' inspired by MET Gala 2022.
- Long-lasting battery life
- Good design
- Acceptable camera performance
- Lacks improved fast charging support
- Macro lens doesn’t make a huge difference
The Realme 9i 5G was launched in two variants - the base variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage priced at Rs. 14,999 and the high-end variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage priced at Rs. 16,999. The device is up for sale via Flipkart and the official Realme website. Let's take a detailed look at the Realme 9i 5G to know if it is a good buy.
Realme 9i 5G Comes With Cosmetic Changes
The Realme 9i 5G is definitely a cosmetic upgrade as compared to smartphones in its price category. It features a Vintage CD design characterized by a reflective rear panel that exhibits colors similar to a CD depending on the angle at which light falls on it. The colors aren't as dynamic as those reflected by a CD but it gives an overall appealing look to the smartphone. The Metallic Gold variant of the smartphone has become my personal favorite as well. Another noticeable aspect is the lack of a camera module. The three lenses at the rear are just placed on top of the chassis.
While I appreciate this design choice, the downside is that the rear panel is a fingerprint magnet and it attracts smudges that demand intense cleaning from time to time. Another design aspect that deserves a mention is the minimal branding on the Realme 9i 5G.
The Realme 9i 5G is pretty light at 187 grams and measures 8.1 mm in thickness. There are flat edges and curved corners that make it comfortable to hold when used in one hand. It does not have the curves we saw on the Realme 9i 4G variant. The power button on the right fascia doubles as a fingerprint sensor that acts swiftly and the left edge houses the volume rocker and SIM tray with a dedicated microSD card slot. At the bottom, it has the usual arrangement of a 3.5mm headphone jack, speaker grilles, and a microphone.
Realme 9i 5G Display Sticks To 90Hz
The front of the Realme 9i 5G is dominated by the 6.6-inch IPS LCD display with an FHD+ resolution and a refresh rate of 90Hz. Given that the Realme 8i came with a 120Hz panel, the company could have improved the refresh rate with this offering. Besides, the brightness levels are not too high and it is difficult to view the screen under bright sunlight. Otherwise, the screen quality is acceptable and is on par with the screens we have seen on other affordable smartphones out there.
While there are reasonably thin bezels at three sides, the chin is noticeably thick. Apart from this, the screen comes with Panda Glass protection. While it offers decent performance, it would have been better with a higher refresh rate. While there is nothing exceptional about the performance of the screen, there are no complaints as well.
Realme 9i 5G Doesn’t Disappoint In Performance
Detailing on performance, the Realme 9i 5G draws power from the 5G-ready MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC, which we saw on the Redmi Note 11T 5G among others. The SoC is based on the 6nm process and is clocked at 2.4GHz. With an inbuilt 5G modem, the Realme smartphone supports as many as nine 5G bands. This mid-range chipset delivers a decent and snappy performance when it comes to multitasking and running power-intense apps.
I used the Realme 9i 5G to play graphic-intense games, including Asphalt 9 and witnessed a decent performance though not exceptional. There were lags and gameplay wasn't smooth on the Realme smartphone. This is acceptable as it is not a gaming smartphone and it did handle light games with ease. What's more, there is up to 1TB of additional storage space and up to 5GB of virtual RAM support.
In the Geekbench 5 test, the Realme 9i 5G managed to score 601 points in the single-core test and 1784 points in the multi-core test. Likewise, in the AnTuTu test, it scored 400198 points. Considering these numbers, the smartphone does not deliver a sluggish performance in any way.
Realme 9i Cameras: Acceptable Performance
The Realme 9i 5G bestows triple rear cameras and the unit comprises a 50MP primary lens with an f/1.8 aperture, a 2MP secondary depth sensor, and a 2MP tertiary macro sensor. The primary sensor did a great job and delivers vivid and punchy colors. The HDR mode compliments the same without making the images too sharp.
However, the depth sensor and macro sensor fail to deliver a great performance. Besides, I felt the depth sensor delivers accurate edge detection to some extent but not in one shot and the macro lens is not of much use. The low-light shots miss out on details. There is an 8MP selfie camera sensor on the Realme 9i 5G that delivers an acceptable performance. It captures skin tones accurately to some extent and the portrait selfie mode does an average task.
The side-mounted fingerprint sensor on the Realme 9i 5G works pretty well and unlocks the device in a jiffy. The mono speaker at the bottom is loud but its performance is not the best. The smartphone boots on Android 12-based Realme UI 3.0, which is mostly clean with some bloatware. The interface is quite user-friendly and comes with some customizations.
Realme 9i 5G: Long-Lasting Battery Life
The Realme 9i 5G uses a 5000 mAh battery, which comes along with 18W fast charging support. I used the device for almost a day without having to plug it into the charger. The one downside is it took over two hours to charge the device up to 100%. Given that the 4G variant came with 33W fast charging support, it would have been great if the company used the same with the 5G model as well.
Realme 9i 5G Verdict
The Realme 9i 5G looks stylish and offers acceptable performance, a reasonable camera, and long-lasting battery life. However, it is not the best smartphone in its segment. While it gets some cosmetic upgrades as compared to the 5G variant, it does miss out on some aspects such as fast charging support.
You can opt for the Realm 9i 5G if you have budget constraints and want a 5G smartphone at a time when the country is entering the 5G era. For an asking price of Rs. 14,999, the smartphone delivers an eye-catchy design, decent performance, and enough power to handle light gaming and social media use.