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Redmi 9 Prime review: Xiaomi's budget smartphone justifies prime moniker

The Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime looks like a go-to smartphone in the budget segment. How does it fare as a complete product? Let's find out

Topics
Xiaomi India | Chinese smartphones | Xiaomi

Khalid Anzar  |  New Delhi 

Redmi 9 Prime
The Redmi 9 Prime has a 6.53-inch IPS LCD screen of a fullHD+ resolution and 19.5:9 aspect ratio

The Redmi 9 Prime is the top model in Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s Redmi 9 series. Priced Rs 9,999 onwards, the smartphone boast a screen of the fullHD resolution, has a quad-camera set-up on the back, a big-capacity battery with fast charging support, and P2i dust- and water-resistance coating. These are some features that are hard to find in a smartphone priced under Rs 10,000. So, the Redmi 9 Prime looks like a go-to smartphone in the budget segment. But how does it fare as a complete product? Let’s find out:

Design

For a budget smartphone, the Redmi 9 Prime has a good build and inspiring design. Made of plastic, the smartphone has a textured back cover that provides good in-hand grip. It feels comfortable to hold and operate, despite a form factor that is wide and tall.

The phone’s rear camera module does not protrude much from the frame. Therefore, it does not wobble on flat surfaces, unless you do a pressure touch on the top side of the screen. As for the screen, it is covered under Gorilla Glass 3 for protection against scratches and smudges. It is not the best iteration of Gorilla Glass you get on a budget smartphone, but this is better than not having any protection at all. The phone also has a P2i coating for protection against minor water spillage and dust.

Redmi 9 Prime

Display

The Redmi 9 Prime has a 6.53-inch IPS LCD screen of a fullHD+ resolution and 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The display has bezels, and the bottom one is fairly thick – something common in most budget The screen is vivid and responsive but the brightness is slightly muted. So, the screen has poor sunlight legibility. It, however, works fine in indoor settings. Being a fullHD unit, the screen does not look pixelated and works fine for a wider genres of content — web, multimedia and text. The phone has a Widevine L1 security certification from Google’s digital rights management (DRM) platform which is required for streaming movies or TV shows from over-the-top platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix at resolutions higher than 480p.

Redmi 9 Prime

Camera

The Redmi 9 Prime has a quad-camera set-up at the back, featuring a 13-megapixel primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, a 5MP macro sensor, and a 2MP depth sensor. On the front, the phone has an 8MP sensor for selfies and face unlock.

Redmi 9 Prime

The phone’s primary camera is good, but not class-leading. It works fine in daylight conditions and captures good amount of detail with minimal noise and neutral colours. In low light, however, the camera picks up noise and misses out shadow and highlight details.

camera sample camera sample camera sample camera sample

The ultrawide camera is decent for landscape shots in day light.

It works fine in lowlight but, like the primary camera, misses capturing detail, shadows and highlights. The captured images show the barrel effect with distorted frame corners and softer details on the edges.

Xiaomi’s budget use one of the best iterations of macro camera and the one on the Redmi 9 Prime is no different. It is good for close-up shots and captures a good amount of detail with a decent exposure value. Like with the primary and ultra-wide sensors, lowlight photography is a no-go for the macro sensor as well.

The depth sensor aids the phone’s portrait mode and some other imaging-related value-added features. It seems to work fine in segmenting object and background detail, and portraits come out well, with a creamy bokeh effect in the background.

camera sample camera sample camera sample camera sample

Performance

The Redmi 9 Prime features the MediaTek Helio G80 system-on-chip, paired with 4GB RAM and up to 128 GB of internal storage. The phone boots Android 10 operating system-based MIUI 11 user interface, which is a custom skin layered on top of the operating system. The phone is powered by a 5,020 mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging. However, the phone comes with 10W standard charger in the box.

Details aside, the Redmi 9 Prime is a no-frills smartphone that handles everything just fine. It delivers consistent performance without any major issues. It works fine with processor-centric jobs like multitasking, switching between apps, internet browsing, UI scrolling, etc, and shows no weakness. It is not impossible to do graphic-intensive tasks like gaming, multimedia editing, etc, on this mobile. However, like other budget smartphones, it is not best suited for such operations.

screenshot

UIWhile its performance is better than what you get in most budget smartphones, the phone’s custom UI does not seem optimised for a good user experience. The phone comes with pre-installed bloatware and the UI has ads that show up in the notification area and some apps. Unfortunately, the ads’ appearance is prominent, and that tempers user experience. You can disable ads, but the process is lengthy and cumbersome.

As for the on-battery time, a fully charged battery gets you around two days of back-up on regular usage, and a day’s back-up on intensive usage. Charging the phone using the supplied 10W charger is painful — the battery takes around three hours to get a full charge. The charging time, however, drops to almost half with Xiaomi’s 18W charger.

Redmi 9 Prime review: Verdict

The Redmi 9 Prime is the best sub-Rs 10,000 smartphone in the market at present. It has an inspiring design, vivid fullHD resolution screen, capable cameras, a swift performance, and good on-battery time. All these seem to justify the phone’s prime moniker and make it a go-to smartphone in the segment. However, do take note of advertisements in user interface before considering this one.

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First Published: Fri, September 11 2020. 10:26 IST
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