Realme 9i Review: An affordable smartphone for everyday needs

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Realme 9i Review Summary

Editor’ Rating- 4/5

Design

Display

Battery

Camera

Performance

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Satisfactory Performance
  • Stereo speakers
  • Decent Primary Camera

Cons

  • the back panel gets smudges
  • Not so impressive secondary Cameras
  • No 5G connectivity

Realme has launched the next smartphone in its numbered series in India, Realme 9i. Realme 9i comes with dual Sim card slots, a 50MP main camera shooter, and a 5000mAh battery. It comes at a price of Rs. 15,999 in India in 2 colors-blue and black. Is Realme 9i worth buying? Read on to decide. [हिंदी में पढ़ें]


Unboxing | Specs | Price & Availability | Design | Display | Battery | Performance | Camera | Verdict


Realme 9i Unboxing

Realme 9i came in a yellow-colored cardboard box that looked basic in appearance. My device had a sticker with Demo Phone written on it, stuck at the top of the box. The box felt heavy to hold because of the charger inside the box. Inside the box is a yellow soft cardboard box with a SIM ejector tool, and a Protective Case for the device. It has ‘Dare to Leap’ written on it. In totality, the Realme 9i box contains-

  • Realme 9i device
  • Charger
  • USB data cable
  • Protective Case
  • SIM Ejector Tool
  • Safety Guide
  • Quick Guide

Realme 9i Specs

  • Display- 6.6-inch LCD, 90Hz
  • Processor- Qualcomm Snapdragon 680
  • GPU- Adreno 610
  • Battery- 5000mAh
  • Fast Charging- 33W
  • OS- Android 11 with Realme UI 2.0 on top
  • Rear Camera- 50MP+2MP+2MP
  • Front Camera- 16MP
  • Size- 164.4×75.7×8.4mm
  • Weight-190 grams

Realme 9i Price & Availability

Realme 9i will be available in 2 colors- Prism Blue and Prism Black in India. It will become in 2 storage variants-

  • 4GB RAM+64GB storage- Rs. 13,999
  • 6GB RAM+128GB storage- Rs. 15,999

The sale starts on 25th January at midnight at realme.com and Flipkart. The early sale will take place on 22nd Jan, 12 noon at realme website and Flipkart.

ALSO READ: Realme TechLife Handheld Cordless Vacuum Cleaner Review: One-stop solution for all cleaning needs?

Realme 9i Review: Design

The Realme 9i comes with a new Stereo Prism Design at the back which is in-line flashy design language it has established for the affordable line-up. Although the device comes in 2 color variants- Prism Blue and Prism Black, the variant I received was Prism Blue. Its rear panel when tilted to certain angles delivers a 3D effect making light reflect like a mirror. Although the company claims it is a smudge-proof design, I found it otherwise. Whenever I held it, I found smudges of my fingers were visible on the back of the phone. Otherwise, I am quite content with the looks of the Realme 9i.

The facia of the smartphone has slight bezels around a 6.6-inch display that gives good-sized visuals. There is a small punch hole on the top left corner of the screen featuring a selfie camera.

On the flip side, the smartphone has a triple camera setup visible on the rear with LED flash. The power button and a volume rocker & SIM card tray find real estate on the left and right edges respectively. The bottom of Realme 9i has a USB Type C port for charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It has 6GB RAM and 128GB inbuilt storage.

The phone has a well-distributed weight despite being 190 grams and it didn’t feel heavy and fits in the palm of my hand easily, as it is sleek (thickness being 8.4mm). As far as build quality goes, I didn’t find any reason to complain. The Realme 9i feels like a solid phone thanks to its plastic build.

Realme 9i Review: Display

The Realme 9i has a 6.6-inch bezel-less FHD+ LCD display with 2412×1080 pixel resolution. It has a touch sampling rate of 180Hz and a screen PPI of 401. Although it has a 90Hz refresh rate, the good part is that it is an adaptive refresh rate. There are 5 different levels of refresh rate for different activities being done on the smartphone. For example, during movie streaming, it was 48Hz whereas during gaming it increased to 60/90Hz.

This allowed the smartphone to save battery. The visuals on the LCD screen were crisp and vibrant in colors. I watched movies, saw music videos, and played some light games too, and the visuals in them were pleasing to the eyes. It comes with WideVine L1 certification which is essential for HD streaming on OTT platforms like Netflix and Prime Videos.

I found the screen brightness satisfactory with peak brightness being 480 nits. The phone has an adaptive brightness feature which helped as I have a habit of reading books on the kindle app for hours at night. My eyes did not strain as the brightness got adjusted itself. Adjustable brightness also meant that the other person in the room also won’t be disturbed by the phone’s reflection during the dark.

ALSO READ: Vivo V23 Pro Review: Is it better than OnePlus 9R 5G?

Realme 9i review: Battery

The Realme 9i has a 5000mAh battery which is an upgrade over Realme 8i. When I used Realme 9i, I realized that the battery hardly drained when I was not using my phone. Listening to music, playing games, and reading books for 1-2 hours at a stretch also did not drain the battery much. Once fully charged, Realme 9i lasted for almost 35 hours without needing a refill. This is good as I did not have to worry about frequently charging my phone.

Talking of charging, the Realme 9i comes with 33W Dart Fast charging which completes 0 to 100 in about 75 minutes. There are some other features too which help in increasing the battery life of the phone. This includes freezing idle apps, decreasing brightness when not needed, and clearing background apps. When I used either of these features, the battery life increased by about 40 minutes. Overall the battery in Realme 9i is powerful and the charging capability is adequate.

Realme 9i Review: Performance & Software

The Realme 9i comes with a 6nm-based Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chipset that claims to give better gaming performance and faster functioning of the device. It is an octa-core processor with Adreno 610 GPU. To put things in perspective, it’s a successor to Snapdragon 662 chipset and claims to deliver 25 percent better CPU and 10 percent better GPU performance.

During my use, I experienced that the apps launched very quickly and gaming too was better. During gaming periods, the phone never got heated or started acting up even at moderate frame rates. The processor is fast and thus drains less battery life.

The smartphone comes with a host of pre-loaded apps like Share Chat, Josh, Snapchat, Taka Tak, Phone Pe, and others. There are no pre-loaded games which is a relief. These preloaded apps can be uninstalled if you don’t need them. Otherwise, there’s sufficient inbuilt storage for downloading all the apps and games you need.

The variant I got had 6GB RAM and 128GB storage but there’s a provision for converting up to 5GB ROM to virtual RAM, thus allowing the phone to have 11GB RAM. It is worth pointing that this virtual RAM is not in the same league as physical RAM.

If you are into benchmarks here are the results of some of the benchmark tests I ran on the phone

Realme 9i BenchmarksScores
Antutu V9.22,75,134
Geekbench Single Core383
Geekbench Multi-Core 1592
3D Mark Wildlife 2.0452
GFX Sling Shot2121

As my daily driver, the Realme 9i performance was on my expected line. I managed to do most of my basic stuff such as surfing the web or checking out social media feeds easily. I was able to switch between apps swiftly.

On the gaming front, the experience was not that great. I tried several games popular titles such as BGMI and Call of Duty. It only managed to run these heavy games with Smooth graphics and high frame rates. During gameplay, I only noticed frame drops two or 3 times to date.

Realme 9i review: Cameras

The Realme 9i comes with a triple camera setup on the rear with the main camera lens being a 50MP Ultra HD shooter. This 50MP sensor from Samsung clicked average images in daylight. The details are okay but the richness in the colors is far-away objects. As is the case with most budget range smartphones, the better the natural light, the better clicks you get.

The smartphone has a 2MP Macro lens which gives decent close-up shots in daylight. The low light picture quality is not up to the mark. The shot of the money plant is taken during daylight, while the other one is taken in artificial light in front of a mirror.

The third lens is a 2MP portrait lens is nothing worth bragging about. The main purpose of this lens is to create bokeh which is a bit of hit and miss.  

The selfie camera on Realme 9i gives good quality photographs during daylight. The subjects get highlighted with a good amount of detail. The better natural light is, the better your photographs get. I took these selfies in daylight but not much of sunshine and they were decent.

There are other features too like Night Mode, Video Mode, Panoramic View, Timelapse, HDR, Ultra macro, AI Beauty, Slow Motion, etc.

ALSO READ: Dizo Watch R Review

Review Verdict: Should you buy the Realme 9i?

Realme 9i is a decent smartphone at an affordable price. It has a capable processor, long-lasting battery life, and a decent quality display with a high refresh rate. The design is basic but its flashy color and glossy finish likely to appeal to most basic users.

If you want a budget 4G smartphone that offers a good processor, adequate storage, decent primary camera, the Realme 9i can be your choice. If you don’t have a demand for the best gaming performance and premium-looking design, Realme 9i is a smart buy for you.

Reasons to buy

  • Good battery life
  • Satisfactory Performance
  • Stereo speakers
  • Decent Primary Camera

Reasons to not buy

  • the back panel gets smudges
  • Not so impressive secondary Cameras
  • No 5G connectivity
Shivangi AgarwalShivangi Agarwal
Shivangi is an honours graduate in English from Delhi University with a passion for reading and writing. Always keen to know more about the latest gadgets, when she is not reading about tech, she loves listening to Hindi music and grooving to the latest Hindi beats.

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