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Realme 9i Review: Is It Worth Buying This Mid-Range Smartphone?
Affordable smartphones are nothing new in India. Adding to the already existing stiff competition, Realme 9i, the first smartphone from the brand just entered the market in 2022. It is yet another affordable 4G smartphone that has been launched in the already crowded market and Realme also has some models in this segment. Check out the Realme 9i review from here to know more.
- Expandable RAM support
- Solid battery life
- Slim and lightweight build
- Camera quality could have been better
- Lacks 120Hz refresh rate
Recently, the Realme 9i was launched in India with the Snapdragon 680 processor. The smartphone comes fitted with a triple-camera setup, a solid battery capacity and an IPS LCD display. Also, it comes with expandable RAM support and a dedicated microSD card slot for additional storage requirements of users.
All these aspects mentioned above will be available at a price point under Rs. 15,000, which is impressive. I have been using the Realme 9i for a couple of days now and experiencing the pros and cons. Here is a detailed review of the new Realme offering to help you decide whether to buy this smartphone or not.
Realme 9i Design: Lightweight Build
Realme 9i features a familiar design that we have been seeing on smartphones of late. The bezels are noticeably thick with a relatively thicker chin. There is a punch-hole cutout at the top left corner to provide room for the selfie camera, which we will see in the camera section. The right spine of the smartphone houses the power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor as well. At the left spine, the Realme 9i comes with volume rockers and a card slot that supports dedicated dual SIM cards and a dedicated microSD card.
At the rear, the Realme 9i featuring a plastic body includes a triple-camera setup at the top left corner. The rectangular camera module features two large sensors and a small third sensor. Also, it houses a LED flash unit for low-light photos and videos. At the bottom left, the Realme logo is seen clearly in a silver finish. Moving on to the bottom, there is a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and speaker grilles.
The Realme 9i has been launched in a new Stereo Prism design and comes in two colors - Prism Blue and Prism Black. I used the Blue variant and I like the hidden pattern at the rear that is visible when light falls on it at the right angle. Also, the device is quite slim measuring 8.4mm thick and weighs 190 grams, which is reasonable for its pricing. However, the notable downside is that the phone is too slippery to use without the back case.
Realme 9i Display Lacks 120Hz Refresh Rate
The front of the Realme 9i is dominated by the 6.6-inch IPS LCD display with a FHD+ resolution and a refresh rate of 90Hz, which is acceptable. It offers dynamic refresh rate with five different levels such as 30Hz, 48Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz and 90Hz. However, 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 too thick, which gives it an off look. Given that the Realme 8i, its predecessor features a higher 120Hz refresh rate, the company could have given the same with the Realme 9i display as well. Apart from this, the screen comes with Dragontrail Pro glass, which is quite protective. While the display offers decent performance, it would have been better with the higher refresh rate.
Realme 9i Cameras: Acceptable Performance
During my review, the Realme 9i failed to impress me in terms of camera performance. The smartphone bestows three camera sensors - a 50MP Samsung JN1 primary camera sensor with an aperture of f/1.8, a 2MP 4cm macro camera lens, and a 2MP B&W portrait camera lens with an aperture of f/2.4. The camera supports up to 1080p 30 fps video recording support.
Talking about the performance, the megapixel of the primary camera sounds good but it fails to translate to good picture quality. The camera delivers overexposed daylight shots and the details around the edges are intact. In some cases, the HDR performs well even against bright backgrounds. On the other hand, the low-light photos are not too impressive and the details are compromised. However, the color reproduction is pretty acceptable.
In terms of comparison, the 16MP selfie camera does a better job and captures ample details. The selfies look better even without the various filters.
Realme 9i Performance And Benchmark
The Realme 9i is the first smartphone to make use of an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chipset. This processor is the successor to the Snapdragon 662. Notably, the Snapdragon 680 SoC is based on the 6nm architecture. The other hardware aspects include up to 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB storage space. Also, there is Dynamic RAM Expansion (DRE) technology for users to add more RAM.
In the Geekbench 5 test, the Realme 9i managed to score 378 points in the single-core and 1511 points in the multi-core test. Considering these numbers, the smartphone does not deliver a sluggish performance in any way.
The 90Hz refresh rate screen gives it a snappier feel despite its budget price point. Also, I was able to play a few games on the smartphone without any issue. However, it cannot be compared to the gaming smartphones in terms of performance and cannot handle graphics-intense games such as BGMI except when played on the Balanced level.
In terms of OS, the Realme smartphone runs Android 11 topped with Realme v2.0. Given the update roadmap of Realme, we can expect the company to rollout timely updates to the future iterations of the OS to this device. Also, we can find that there are some pre-installed apps that may not be useful for all. So, if you want to uninstall any of these apps, then you can go ahead and do it and keep the device free from bloatware as well.
Realme 9i Solid Battery Life
The battery life is an important aspect of the Realme 9i and it delivers a solid performance in this front. The device gets the power from a 5000mAh battery, which comes along with 33W Dart Charge support. I used the device for almost two days and the phone easily lasted for over a day on a single charge. Given that there is 33W fast charging, it can be powered up to 100% in just a little over an hour.
Realme 9i Verdict: Should You Buy?
The Realme 9i priced starting from Rs. 13,999 is definitely an affordable offering with decent looks and battery life. With the Snapdragon 680 processor, it does deliver acceptable performance though not on par with some rivals out there. However, it could have been launched with improved camera and display to make it a better offering. If you were looking out for more powerful performance, then you can keep your options open.