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Redmi Note 9 Pro Review: Most Balanced Mid-Range Smartphone
Redmi Note line of smartphones is known for offering stable performance at affordable pricing. I have personally used the Redmi Note 3, Redmi Note 5, Redmi Note 5 Pro, and now after a few years of break, I got a chance to check out the latest Redmi Note 9 Pro.
- Two-Day Battery Life
- Good Gaming Performance
- Premium Looking Design
- Ads In UI
- IPS LCD Screen
The Redmi Note 9 Pro is available in two variants. The base model offers 4GB RAM and 64GB storage and the high-end model offers 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. I have been testing the high-end variant of the Redmi Note 9 Pro from the last few weeks and here is the full review of the latest Note in the market.
Redmi Note 9 Pro Design: A Step In The Right Direction
Smartphones at this price usually look dull and boring, probably with a semi-metal unibody design or a polycarbonate finish. With the Redmi Note 7, the company introduced the aura design and the Redmi Note 9 Pro does feature a triple Corning Gorilla Glass 5, where the display, back panel, and the camera layout is protected by the same. The frame of the smartphone is still made using plastic, which is a bit susceptible to scratches.
As for the ports, the Redmi Note 9 Pro has a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, main microphone, and a speaker at the bottom portion of the smartphone. The phone also has an IR blaster, which can be used to control various electronics appliances.
The back panel on the Redmi Note 9 Pro comes in various colors and the model that I am using is the Aurora Blue color variant, which reflects the light to form different patterns.
Except for the huge camera bump at the back, the phone looks clean and it is definitely one of the best-looking smartphones under Rs. 15,000.
The volume and power button are on the right side of the smartphone, which is similar to the previous generation Redmi Note series smartphones. The SIM card tray is on the left side, which can accept two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card.
Another important design aspect of the Redmi Note 9 Pro is the right side-mounted fingerprint sensor. It is not only a fast and accurate biometric scanner, but it is very practical to use as well. I have registered my right index finger and my left thumb, which makes it easy for me to log into the device while holding the phone in either hand.
If you are looking for a smartphone with a big screen that looks neat and clean, the Redmi Note 9 Pro is the device that you should consider. For the asking price, the Redmi Note 9 Pro surpasses the expectation, when it comes to design and build quality.
Redmi Note 9 Pro Display: Biggest Display On A Redmi Note
The Redmi Note 9 Pro has a massive 6.67-inch IPS LCD screen, making it one of the biggest Redmi Note smartphones ever. The display offers a native resolution of 2400 x 1080p (FHD+) with rounded-off corners on all four sides and a punch-hole cutout at the top center portion of the screen, which the company calls it as a Dot Display.
The screen on the Redmi Note 9 Pro offers a peak brightness of 450nits and supports HDR streaming on YouTube, but not on Netflix. Similarly, the display offers a 1500:1 contrast ratio with 84 percent NTSC color gamut coverage.
Under the settings menu, one can tweak the color scheme of the display. There is an auto mode, standard mode, and a saturated model, which further enhances the colors on the display. I ended up using the saturated mode, which shows vibrant colors, which is useful especially while consuming multi-media.
The display uses a taller 20:9 aspect ratio, which makes it easy to hold the device even though it has a 6.67-inch screen. And the 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 5 finish also elevates the overall fit and finish of the product.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro comes with Widevine L1 certification out-of-the-box and supports HD streaming on Netflix and Prime Video. If you want a smartphone to binge on movies on tv shows, then the Redmi Note 9 Pro has everything that will let you enjoy your multi-media content.
Redmi Note 9 Pro: Primary Camera Performance
The Redmi Note 9 Pro has a quad-camera setup at the back with a 48MP primary sensor, which might seem like a downgrade considering the Redmi Note 8 Pro comes with a 64MP primary sensor. If you want a 64MP camera, then consider the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max.
The 48MP primary sensor on the Redmi Note 9 Pro is from Samsung (ISOCELL GM2 sensor) with an f/1.9 aperture. The phone also has a dedicated 8MP ultra-wide angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture, 5MP macro lens with 2cm focus distance and a 2MP depth camera, which helps to generate depth-of-field.
The primary camera on the Redmi Note 9 Pro uses pixel-binning technology to take native 12MP images. However, one can native 48MP full-resolution as well, which are usually big in size. In day-light and well-lit conditions, the Redmi Note 9 Pro takes good photos with a lot of detailing and the photos look vibrant (slightly saturated).
Redmi Note 9 Pro: Ultra-Wide Angle Camera Performance
The phone has an 8MP ultra-wide angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture and 112 field-of-view, which lets the phone capture larger scenes. However, the color-science of the ultra-wide angle camera is a bit different from the primary camera. This sensor works well in day-light scenes. In low-light and dark environments, the photos taken on the ultra-wide angle lens look noisy and grainy.
Redmi Note 9 Pro: Macro Lens Performance
The Redmi Note 9 Pro has one of the best macro lenses on a mid-tier smartphone. The 5MP sensor with support for auto-focus and 2cm focus distance can take some great photos with a lot of detail. If you like to take macro shots, then the Redmi Note 9 Pro will leave you impressed.
Redmi Note 9 Pro: Selfie Camera Performance
The Redmi Note 9 Pro has a single 16MP selfie camera, which offers various software tweaks that helps you get a perfect selfie. By default, the beauty mode for the selfie camera is turner on, so make sure to disable the same for more natural-looking selfies.
The Selfie camera on the Redmi Note 9 Pro can also record 1080p videos at 30fps and slow-motion videos at 120fps. There is also a video beauty mode, which will be useful for vloggers.
Redmi Note 9 Pro Hardware Performance: CPU And GPU Benchmark
The Redmi Note 9 Pro is based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 720G SoC with support for NaViC, India's own real-time navigation system developed by ISRO. The Redmi Note 9 Pro is one of the first smartphones to support the system. According to ISRO, compared to GPS or any other navigation tech, NaViC will be able to offer more accurate geo-positioning.
Coming back to the processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G is an upper mid-range processor based on 8nm fabrication, making it an efficient chipset. It comes with an eight-core CPU with a peak clock speed of 2.3GHz and Adreno 618 GPU.
On Geekbench 5, the Redmi Note 9 Pro posts a single-core performance of 569 and a multi-core performance of 1755 points. In a real-life scenario, the smartphone does handle normal day-to-day tasks with ease. The Redmi Note 9 Pro surpasses devices like the Poco X2, Redmi Note 8 Pro, and the Realme X2 in both single-core and multi-core CPU performance.
On 3D Mark, which is a GPU centric benchmark, the Redmi Note 9 Pro scores 2536 on OpenGL ES 3.1 and 2356 on Vulkan, again surpassing the performance of devices like the Redmi Note 8 Pro, Poco X2, and the Realme X2.
The smartphone does get a bit warm while running these benchmarks but I did not notice any sort of heating with regular usage. Overall, the Redmi Note 9 Pro continues to be an efficient smartphone while being a constant performer.
Redmi Note 9 Pro Gaming Performance: Made For PUBG
Thanks to Adreno 618 GPU and 6GB RAM, the Redmi Note 9 Pro offers stellar gaming performance, especially on titles like PUBG even with high graphics settings. With maxed-out graphics, I was able to notice a stable PUBG performance (around 60fps) with minimal frame drops.
The smartphone also offers good gaming performance on titles like Asphalt 9, CoD: Mobile, and Modern Combat 5 as well. If you are looking for a smartphone that can also play battle royal games with consistent gaming performance, you might like the Redmi Note 9 Pro.
Redmi Note 9 Pro Software Experience: Filled With Bloatware
The Redmi Note 9 Pro comes with Android 10 OS out-of-the-box with MIUI 11 skin on top. It offers various features like system-wide dark mode, battery saver mode, custom theme support, and more. However, the UI is filled with bloatware and there are multiple apps to do the same tasks.
It comes with three web browsers, a bunch of bloatware like ShareMe, GetApps, Security, Cleaner, and Mi Mover, which can either be uninstalled or disabled. Though there is an option to disable ads (recommendations), it is a tedious process, especially for an entry-level smartphone user.
If you are okay with seeing ads and recommendations, then MIUI 11 sure offers good user-experience with an iOS-like layout. The Redmi Note 9 Pro is likely to receive at least two-more major MIUI updates in the future.
Redmi Note 9 Pro Audio
The Redmi Note 9 Pro has a single bottom-firing speaker and the device does include a 3.5mm headphone jack. The speaker outputs clear sound and I did not notice any sort of distortion even at higher volume levels. However, the speaker on the Redmi Note 9 Pro isn't that loud and there is no stereo effect as well.
The headphone jack, on the other hand, offers a good sound output and I was even able to use a USB-Type C headphone on the Redmi Note 9 Pro. The phone also offers multiple sound profiles, which will be useful especially if you use Xiaomi branded earphones/headphones.
Redmi Note 9 Pro Battery Performance: Two-Day Battery Life
The Redmi Note 9 Pro comes equipped with a 5,020 mAh battery, which can easily last for two days on a single charge and this is the biggest capacity battery that is ever incorporated on a Redmi Note smartphone. Even with heavy usage, I got an overall screen-on time of 8 hours and the phone also supports 18W fast charging (charger included in the bundle).
As the Redmi Note 9 Pro has a bigger battery, it also weighs a bit heavy at 209g, which makes it a bit heavier than other smartphones at this price. At first, I was able to notice that weight difference and it did grow on me in the next few days.
While charging, the phone does not a bit hot and it takes around 90 to 100 minutes to charge till 90 percent and then, it takes another 30 minutes to fully charge. The Redmi Note 9 Pro is one of those smartphones, which offers good performance and stellar battery life at the same time. This is definitely one of the best-in-class smartphones when it comes to battery life.
Redmi Note 9 Pro Connectivity
The Redmi Note 9 Pro supports 4G LTE and VoLTE on both slots along with dual-band WiFi (2.4GHz and 5.0GHz). I used the Redmi Note 9 Pro with two Jio SIM cards and I did not face any issue concerning networking or connectivity.
Even while on voice calls, the other party was able to hear to clearly even when the network was bad. I also got an excellent Wi-Fi coverage, as the phone uses 2 x2 WiFi MIMO antenna. Plus, the phone does support VoWiFi (WiFi calling) on select networks with Bluetooth 5.0 support.
I used a couple of wireless headphones with the smartphone and there was no problem with the connection and I was able to easily pair Bluetooth speakers and headphones. Overall, the Redmi Note 9 Pro offers good connectivity with respect to cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
Redmi Note 9 Pro: Verdict
A lot of mid-range smartphones try to achieve the impossible. Some of these phones will either have one or two unique features and the rest of it would be easily forgettable. The Redmi Note 9 Pro defies this law by balancing out the features.
It does not have a fancy higher refresh rate panel or a crazy fast charging technology. Instead, it has a bit of everything. A processor that can handle gaming and normal tasks, a battery that lasts for two-days, a camera setup that can good great pictures in day-light, a good-looking design, and a price tag to match all of these.
At Rs. 12,999, the Redmi Note 9 Pro is the most powerful smartphone you can buy in India. Similarly, the high-end model with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage also a good option under Rs. 15,000. If you want a phone with consistent performance, then pick the Redmi Note 9 Pro blindly.