realme 9 Pro 5G Unboxing and First Impressions

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Following its global launch last month, the realme 9 Pro series is set to officially debut in the Philippines on March 15. To give you a heads up of what to expect, the brand was generous enough to send us review units to try. You may check out our first impressions of the realme 9 Pro+ here.

The realme 9 Pro and Pro+ could just be the first wave of devices to launch, as rumors are circulating that the brand is also set to announce the vanilla realme 9 5G and a realme 9 SE in India soon.

Specifications

Display6.6″ FHD+ IPS LCD, 120Hz Refresh Rate, 240Hz Touch Sampling Rate
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G
RAM8GB
Storage128GB UFS 2.2
Rear Camera64MP Main
8MP Ultra-Wide
2MP Macro
Front Camera16MP
OSAndroid 12 + realme UI 3.0
Battery5,000mAh + 33W Dart Charge
ColorsSunrise Blue
Aurora Green

What’s in the box?

While the contents of the realme 9 Pro’s box is pretty standard, what is noticeable is the change in the overall look of the box. The device name which is usually in the center is now on the upper left, the name on the side looks more emphasized, and has also moved from the center to the bottom. Lastly, the back of the box is now in black, with yellow text.

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Design

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The variant that we have emulates a beautiful aurora in the night sky for its back panel, complimented with a glossy finish that reacts beautifully and differently depending on the direction of the light. Of course, the trade off is that it can easily catch a lot of smudges. If you get the Sunrise Blue color, you’ll be able to enjoy its light shift design that allows the back of the device to change its color from Blue to Red when exposed to sunlight in specific ways.

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The camera module protrudes, so the device rocks a lot when placed on a flat surface. This can be annoying for those who use their phones this way. It uses a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which also functions as the power button.

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A lot of phone makers have gotten rid of the headphone jack, but it’s still kept for the realme 9 Pro 5G, which means that you don’t have to carry a separate dongle to use your wired headphones.

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Display

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There is a 6.6-inch IPS LCD with FHD+ resolution, 240Hz touch sampling rate, and adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. This means it can automatically increase or decrease the refresh rate to save battery (Up to 24Hz). Colors do not have the same punchiness when compared to an AMOLED display, but you can achieve something close by adjusting the color temperature or setting the color mode to vivid.

Thanks to the high refresh rate, even simple tasks like swiping through the homepages and menus appear smoother and more fluid. The display also shows good visibility when used under direct sunlight.

Processing Package

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realme 9 Pro 5G is powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 695, a 6nm mid-range SoC that supports both mmWave and Sub-6 bands for 5G connectivity, and is paired with an Adreno 619 GPU that Qualcomm claims performs up to 30% faster. It’s got 8GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.2 storage. Pretty standard for a 2021-2022 mid-range.

Camera

At the back of the realme 9 Pro 5G is a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide unit, and a 2MP Macro Lens. I’m not sure why the depth sensor was dropped, but personally, it would’ve been more useful than the macro lens.

As far as quality is concerned, the first batch of sample shots shows plenty of detail and accurate edge detection. As for the AI Scene Optimization feature, it seems like what it does it add more saturation to the scene to make it look more.. colorful. This can be ideal for certain scenarios, but not if you want a more accurate photo.

There’s a mode called Street, which basically gives you granular control over focus and zoom, along with a number of fancy filters that add “a new dimension” to your photos.

For how good it is in stills, the device can only record videos of up to 1080p resolution at 30 fps while 60 fps is only available at 720p. It does at least have the Ultra Steady feature, which we’ll test in the full review.

Software

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At the time of writing, realme 9 Pro 5G runs Android 12 with realme UI 3.0 on top. We’ll save the deep dive for later, but I can tell that not much has changed in overall appearance, but most of the goodies are probably on things that can’t be physically seen.

These include optimizations for improving overall responsiveness and fluidity, along with refinements to existing features like Floating Window (Now Floating Window 2.0). Unfortunately, it still throws those annoying and unneeded notifications, and it still comes with a lot of pre-loaded apps that I wish were optional.

Initial Verdict

So far, I’m liking a number of things on the realme 9 Pro – The design looks great, especially that aurora theme at the back. It also seems very capable in terms of overall performance. As for its cameras, I really would’ve liked a depth sensor there, but well, it does take some good looking photos so.. fair enough. Oh, and yes, still have to do a battery drain and charging test.

realme is set to reveal more details including pricing during the launch the realme 9 Pro series in the Philippines on March 15, 6PM via the brand’s official Facebook page.

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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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