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realme 9i Full Review


In a special livestream event held earlier today, realme Philippines officially launched its latest addition to its popular Number Series line-up - the realme 9i. The realme 9i is designed to deliver leap-forward battery life and power efficiency in a smartphone.

realme 9i Full Review

Since we are already finished with the unboxing and first impression of the realme 9i, this review will further explore the capabilities offered by this smartphone to help you in deciding whether this is the one you are looking for.

Design and Walk Around

Pushing the boundaries when it comes to product design, the realme 9i comes in a plastic frame and plastic back with a Stereo Prism Design. The design is inspired by the light and its refractions that generate light prisms, the back of the phone creates different patterns depending on the angle of light reflecting on it presenting a dynamic effect of three-dimensional light and shadow transformation.

realme 9i - Stereo Prism Design

However, the phone’s glossy back is very prone to fingerprint smudges, so it’s best to use the free protective silicone case right away. In addition to its design, the realme 9i weighs 190g and has a thickness of 8.4mm.

The realme 9i comes in two color options: Prism Blue and Prism Black. My unit comes in Prism Black color.

On the front, the realme 9i is equipped with a 6.6-inch FHD+ (1080x2412) IPS display with Dragontrail Pro Glass and comes with a pre-installed screen protector. There’s also a punch-hole camera located at the upper left and the earpiece which doubles as a speaker is quite thin and discretely etched within the screen enclosure. Like most smartphones in this segment, the side bezels are relatively slim but with a pretty thick chin.

realme 9i - Front

At the back is a rectangular-shaped camera module that houses the triple-camera set-up along with the single LED flash. The three cameras are the 50MP main, the 2MP macro, and the 2MP depth.

realme 9i - Camera Module

Found on the left are your standard volume rocker button and a 3-card slot for two nano-SIM cards and a dedicated slot for a microSD card capable of up to 1TB of expandable storage, handy for users who want to further improve storage capacity.

realme 9i - Left Side

On the right side, the realme 9i features a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that is embedded in the power button.

realme 9i - Right Side

The top is clean with only the secondary noise-canceling microphone present.

realme 9i - Top

At the bottom, you can find the USB Type-C charging port, downward-firing speaker, primary microphone, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

realme 9i - Bottom

Display and Multimedia

In terms of display, the realme 9i uses a 6.6-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2412) IPS LCD screen and what makes this device stand out is the 90Hz refresh rate that supports 5 levels of refresh rate (30Hz, 48Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz, 90Hz) that adjust depending on the current activity to extend the battery life of the device.

realme 9i Display

The IPS display panel produces great colors; viewing angles are good and the screen can get bright at 480 nits; still, a bit more boost could be used so you can use it outdoors comfortably.

realme 9i Under Direct Sunlight

The audio quality of the realme 9i stereo speakers is average. It can get loud; however, the sound at max volume maybe distorted. I recommend using headphones or an external speaker via Bluetooth and the 3.5 mm jack for better audio quality.

realme 9i - Multimedia

Camera

Rear Cameras

As for the camera, the realme 9i boasts a triple-camera set-up—consisting of the 50MP F1.8 primary camera with PDAF and uses a Samsung ISOCELL S5KJN1 sensor with a Tetracell filter and 0.64┬Ám pixels. There's also a 2MP F2.4 black & white depth lens and a 2MP F2.4 macro lens with a 4cm shooting distance.

realme 9i Camera UI

The realme 9i’s camera interface also comes with trendy photography functions such as Portrait Mode, Night Mode, a dedicated 50MP Mode, an Extra HD Mode, and a new Nightscape filter called Cosmopolitan.

Quality from the rear cameras under bright lighting conditions is pretty decent with good colors and details, though dynamic range can be better. While the 2MP macro camera, as expected produces low-quality images.

For low light, photos can be muddy in certain situations even with the Night Mode feature turned on, but is good enough and usable for casual social media postings.

Front Selfie Camera

realme 9i uses a 16MP in-display front camera with an F2.1 aperture. The camera also supports different features such as AI Beauty, Portrait Mode, and Night Mode.

The realme 9i’s front camera produces good photos, especially in bright conditions. Background blurring for portrait selfies isn’t that perfect but good enough.

Video

For video, the realme 9i captures videos up to 1080p/720p@30fps with its main and front-facing camera. The recorded video from the main camera is shaky since there is no image stabilization.


realme UI, Apps, and Security

realme 9i runs on realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11. realme UI 2.0 brings more customization options, and an improved and smooth user interface. Pre-installed are the standard realme and Google suite of apps, as well as some bloatware apps.

realme 9i - realme UI 2.0

In terms of security, the realme 9i is equipped with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that is embedded in the power button. It is also equipped with facial recognition for unlocking the device.

realme 9i side-mounted fingerprint sensor

Both work well---the side-mounted fingerprint sensor is pretty fast and with high accuracy. However, the face recognition feature can slow down in situations where there isn’t much light.

Hardware and Performance

The realme 9i comes with a power-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor. This processor is made using a 6nm process and is equipped with four Cortex-A73 cores at up to 2.4GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores at up to 2.4GHz, along with Adreno 610 GPU GPU.

The performance of the realme 9i is buttery smooth in casual and light tasks; the gaming experience in graphics-intensive games is okay and tolerable with slight stutters and lags, so you’ll most likely use the medium to lowest settings to improve your gameplay.

realme 9i - Gaming Experience

The realme 9i also supports Dynamic RAM Expansion technology, Dynamic RAM Expansion lets you expand your phone's RAM virtually by using the phone's internal storage. realme 9i can make use of up to 5GB of its internal storage, giving it up to 11GB of total RAM.

The realme 9i is available in the Philippines in one variant only - 6GB RAM plus 128GB storage, with 110.6GB of available storage (17.4GB used out of the box). If you need additional storage, you can further expand the storage up to 1TB via its dedicated microSD card slot.

Below are the benchmark scores from this device:

  • AnTuTu v9.3.8 – 258,777
  • AnTuTu Storage Test v9.3.8 – 37,936 (1,008.8 MB/s Seq. Read, 704.9 MB/s Seq. Write)
  • Geekbench 5.4.4 – 384 (Single-core), 1,570 (Multi-core)
  • PCMark – 8,726 (Work 3.0)
  • 3DMark – 1,343 (SSE – OpenGL ES 3.1), 1,289 (SSE – Vulkan)

Battery Life, Charging, and Connectivity

The 5,000mAh battery of the realme 9i can easily last you up to 116.38 hours of audio playback, 48.4 hours of calls, 8.3 hours of gaming, and 20.7 hours for messaging. It can also last up to 41 days on standby. In the PCMark Work 3.0 Battery Life Test, the unit yielded a score of around 21 hours and 58 minutes.

With realme 9i’s 33W Dart Charge, the 5,000mAh battery can be charged from 0% to 100% in only 1 hour and 10 minutes.

realme 9i Battery

To extend the battery life further, the realme 9i also features five software optimizations: Super Power Saving Mode, App Quick Freeze, Screen Battery Optimization, and Power Saving Mode that help regulate its power consumption for longer usage.

Aside from the battery and charger, the realme 9i has your usual connectivity features, including dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by), 4G LTE, dual-band WiFi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, a 3.5mm audio jack, and USB Type-C.

realme 9i Specifications

6.6-inch FHD+ (1080x2412) IPS display, 400ppi
90Hz Refresh Rate / 480 nits (typ)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor
Adreno 610 GPU
6GB RAM
128GB of Internal Storage
microSD card slot (dedicated)
Triple-rear cameras (50MP F1.8 main + 2MP F2.4 macro + 2MP F2.4 depth)
16MP F2.1 front camera
Dual-SIM (nano) / 4G LTE
WiFi 802.11ac / Bluetooth 5.0
GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, GALILEO
3.5mm audio jack / USB Type-C
Dual stereo speakers
realme UI 2.0 (Android 11)
5,000mAh battery w/ 33W fast charging
164.4 x 75.7 x 8.4mm (dimension)
190g (weight)
Colors: Prism Blue and Prism Black

What’s inside the box

If you haven't seen the unboxing of the realme 9i yet, the signature yellow-colored box contains the realme 9i, USB Type-C Cable, 33W Dart Charger, SIM card ejector tool, protective silicone case, and the documentation.

Price and Availability

The realme 9i will be available in a 6GB+128GB variant for only Php11,990 SRP starting May 5, 2022.

As an early bird offer exclusively on Shopee, the realme 9i will be available for Php1,200 OFF (Php10,790) from May 5 to 7. The realme 9i will also be available at all realme official stores and partner dealers nationwide starting May 5.

Verdict

Is this the smartphone you are looking for? I recommend that you shortlist the realme 9i.

Even it is a bit pricey at Php11,990 and lacks some key features compared to its competition, the realme 9i is a very solid mid-range smartphone that managed to offer excellent battery life and power efficiency, decent cameras, IPS display with 90Hz refresh rate, stereo speakers, and 33W fast charging — All these features contained in a stylish design package.

realme 9i Verdict

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