Redmi Note 9 Review: A Good Choice

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Introduction

Redmi Note 9 is one of Xiaomi’s latest entries in the lower mid-range segment. As per the usual, the aim is to offer a device that brings together capable hardware combined with a slew of premium features for a price tag that won’t hurt the wallet.

Redmi Note 9 Unit (81)

As the mid-range segment is saturated with tons of devices, it’s a challenge for any brand to deliver something that’s got even a bit of edge over the others. Can this device hold its own? let’s find out.

Specifications
Display6.53″ FHD+, Gorilla Glass 5
ProcessorHelio G85
RAM3GB/4GB
Storage64GB/128GB
Rear Cameras48MP Main
8MP Ultra-Wide
2MP Macro
2MP Depth
Front Camera13MP
OSAndroid 10 + MIUI 11.0.5
Battery5,020mAh, 18W fast-charging
ColorsForest Green
Midnight Grey
Polar White
SRPPhP7,990 (3GB + 64GB)
PhP9,990 (4GB + 128GB)

Design and Build Quality

Redmi Note 9 Unit (104)Despite having a wider form factor, I was still able to use the Redmi Note 9 with one hand. I had to do some maneuvers, but it’s fine. Those with smaller hands may have to use both though. The back panel can be a bit slippery as well. Thankfully, the included case adds a lot of grip.

Redmi Note 9 Unit (92)

The trade-off for that is, of course, you get more real estate for content. To be exact, that’s 6.53-inches of screen with FHD+ resolution. There’s no high refresh rate here, which could be a deal-breaker to some, but you do get punchy colors, sharp text, and a properly bright display.

Redmi Note 9 Unit (101)Redmi Note 9’s back panel boasts a metallic finish. While a smudge magnet, it does give the phone a beautiful and premium vibe. The camera module also protrudes, but at least,  it doesn’t take up half of the back panel.

Redmi Note 9 Unit (105)The bottom part houses the USB-C port, a speaker grille, and thankfully, a headphone jack.

Performance

Redmi Note 9 Unit (36)Redmi Note 9 runs on a Helio G85 SoC, backed by 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This processing package should be more than enough for the usual day-to-day tasks, even a bit of light to moderate multi-tasking. Those who use a ton of apps at the same time may opt to look for another device with more RAM.

Redmi Note 9 UnitThe phone can run Mobile Legends at its highest settings with HFR Enabled and Asphalt 9 on its default setting with no issues. CoD Mobile will run at Medium + High FPS, but I do suggest dialing the settings down a bit for a better experience.

Camera

Redmi Note 9 Camera (30)Redmi Note 9 Camera (28)Redmi Note 9 Camera (1)Redmi Note 9 Camera (63)Redmi Note 9 Camera (55)Redmi Note 9 Camera (50)Redmi Note 9 Camera (10)I’ll keep it short and simple, the cameras on the Redmi Note 9 performed better than what I expected. There’s plenty of detail, decent sharpness, exposure control, and the depth of field effect looks very convincing and accurate with good edge-detection.

Redmi Note 9 Camera (76)Though not as detailed, its wide-angle shots show almost none of that annoying barrel distortion.

Redmi Note 9 Camera (41)Night shots could use some work in controlling background light source, but overall detail and exposure are more than satisfactory, considering the price.

Redmi Note 9 Camera (6)

Portrait Mode

Redmi Note 9 Camera (7)

Normal

The device’s front camera isn’t to be taken lightly either, as it can output well-exposed and detailed shots.

For videos, Redmi Note 9 can only record up to 1080p at 30fps, which is quite odd. Despite having no stabilization, the video output doesn’t look too shaky with decent quality.

Software

Redmi Note 9 Unit (43)Redmi Note 9 runs on MIUI 11 on top of Android 10. Performance-wise, the UI runs smooth and fluid. There’s no lag when navigating through home screens and menus, apps are quick to open, and switching between running apps is a breeze.

Having used a Mi 3 myself, I can tell that Xiaomi’s take on Android has taken a huge leap in terms of toning down on unnecessary features and improving on optimization.

As for features I like, well, there’s the famous dark mode, which sort of gives you a breath of fresh air in aesthetics, I also like the look of the multi-tasking window having options to launch split-screen and more.

Redmi Note 9 Unit 51Then there’s Game Turbo, which offers a ton of settings to improve your gaming experience such as being able to adjust and optimize touch response.

The phone does come with a lot of pre-loaded apps. While most can be uninstalled, I think it would’ve been better if they weren’t there in the first place. Just give that option to the user.

You also get the full suite of authentication methods, the more traditional ones, Fingerprint, and Face Unlock, both of which work well and fast.

Battery

Redmi Note 9 Unit 39Redmi Note 9’s 5,020mAh battery managed to churn out past 13 hours on PCMark’s Work 2.0 benchmark, which simulates tasks such as data manipulation and basic video editing. Your mileage may vary depending on how much you use the phone, and what apps you have on your phone.

Thanks to 18W fast-charging, I was able to recharge the battery from empty to full in just 2 hours. Not bad for a device at this price point.

Verdict

Redmi Note 9 Unit (57)At PhP9,990 the Redmi Note 9 is a great all-around device. It’s got the looks, the build, and the performance that’s pretty much what you’d expect at its price point.

It’s also equipped with a versatile and well-performing camera system that can output good quality photos even in low-light. Add a feature-packed and well-optimized take on Android, as well as great battery life, and you have a good deal.

On the flip side, you can only shoot up to 1080p 30fps videos, you only get 4GB of RAM at most, it only has a 60Hz display, the amount of bloatware it comes with is annoying, and its sheer size can be troublesome to those with smaller hands.

If you can live with its shortcomings, the Redmi Note 9 is pretty good choice for what it offers.

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

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