Redmi Note 9 is world’s first smartphone which comes with Helio G85 processor. But is it worth it’s price or not? Lets find out in this Redmi Note 9 Review.
industry is heavily reliant on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. When Xiaomi unveiled the Redmi Note 8 Pro, which offered the MediaTek Helio G90T processor, MediaTek chips were considered somewhat inferior to the snapdragon counterparts.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro changed everyone’s perception. Today I am going to review another Redmi product which hopes to follow into its predecessor’s footsteps. This is the Redmi Note 9 which is India’s first smartphone with the Helio G85 processor.
Before reading this Redmi Note 9 review, take a look at the specifications of Redmi Note 9.
|Specifications||Redmi Note 9|
|Display||6.53 inches, 60Hz|
|Display type||FHD+, IPS LCD|
|Software||Android 10, MIUI 11|
|CPU||MediaTek Helio G85|
|RAM/ROM||4GB + 64GB, 4GB + 128GB|
|Front camera||13 MP, f/2.3|
|Rear camer||48 MP, f/1.8 (wide)|
8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚ (ultrawide)
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
|Battery||Li-Po 5020 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||18W Fast Charging|
9W Reverse charging
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 box contents:
- Redmi Note 9 handset
- USB Type-C Cable
- 18W charger
- SIM Ejector tool
- Protective case
- User manual and warranty information
Redmi Note 9 Review: Design and Build
The Redmi Note 9’s design is heavily inspired by the Pro models of the same series. As you can see the back of the smartphone of the Redmi Note 9 resembles the back of the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max quite a bit.
However the materials used for construction here are not as premium and with the phone you’ll get a polycarbonate back which obviously takes away from the handset’s overall feel.
Thankfully, the phone’s arctic white color ensures that it doesn’t look bad and from a distance you might actually like the looks of this phone more than the pro models.
i’d also like to add that, the finish used here isn’t glossy, so the back of the device is not going to get smudgy either. One good thing about the Note 9’s design is that it’s actually a very comfortable phone to hold and use with just one hand.
The back of the phone is not slippery and you get a very grippy finish here. The back of Redmi Note 9 is also very curvy. So the phone will fit comfortably in your palms.
Even though it weighs around 200 grams, it doesn’t feel as heavy and the weight distribution is top notch, so you won’t ever feel like the phone is too heavy. You’re not going to need the bundle TPU case with the phone.
Overview and Fingerprint sensor
As for the ports and buttons, you’ll find a very clicky and tactile volume rocker and power button on the phone’s right hand side.
Unlike the Pro models, you won’t find a fingerprint sensor on the side or front, that’s positioned to the back of the phone and it’s excellent. The sensor is very quick to register a fingerprint and unlock the phone quickly, so no complaints here.
You also get facial recognition with the Redmi Note 9 which only struggled to recognize face in darkness.
Moving on towards the left, you’ll get a dual sim + micro-SD card tray. So you won’t have to compromise between expanding storage or connectivity and up top there is a trusty IR blaster which will come in clutch if your TV’s remotes battery dies.
At the bottom you’ll get a type-C port for charging which is planned on either side by speaker grills and a headphone jacm. The Redmi Note 9 comes with all the necessary sensors too. The company hasn’t skipped anything here.
Honestly, there are just two things that I dislike about the Redmi Note 9’s design.
Firstly the camera bump which although doesn’t stick as far out as compared to the Pro models, it’s still quite significant.
Secondly the haptic feedback on the phone is really loose and flabby. You’ll not enjoy typing on the phone at all.
Redmi Note 9 Review: Display
Display wise the Redmi Note 9 comes with a FHD+ LCD display which measures in at 6.53 inches. You also get a small punch hole cutout, position towards the left hand side of the display and it’s actually pretty tiny. So you won’t ever feel like it’s eating up too much space into the content that you’re viewing on the screen.
As for the quality of the panel itself, it’s certainly not the best LCD screen, and there’s noticeable backlight bleed around the selfie camera as well as a slight color shift when you look at the display at an angle.
However for the price, I’m not complaining and you do get widevine L1 certification with the phone and it supports Netflix and Amazon Prime both at 1080p. The viewing angles are also on par with the competition, as it has the peak display brightness of 450 nits.
The display does offer a touch sample rate of about 180 samples per second, making it plenty responsible for playing fast action shooters like call of duty. The Redmi Note 9 comes with gorilla glass 5 covering the camera module and the display which should prevent them from scratches.
Performance of Redmi Note 9
Let’s take a look at the performance of Redmi Note 9, it is the first phone in india to come with the Helio G85 processor.
If you talk about synthetic benchmarks, then here the G85 definitely outputs good scores. However, what’s really interesting to me is that you can get the exact same scores on the Realme Narzo 10 which comes with the Helio G80 processor.
The antutu and geekbench scores is on your screen and as you can see they are more or less identical for both the phones. What’s even more interesting is that both the CPU’s run popular games at the exact same settings. SAo PUBG runs on HD and high or smooth and ultra on both the phones.
You might be wondering, why is that isn’t G85 supposed to be an improvement over the Helio G80 which comes with the Narzo 10?
If you go over to the Helio G80 and G85 respective product pages, then you will see that barring the slight bump in GPU clock speed the G85 is exactly the same as the G80. Therefore, for all intents and purposes the helio G80 towing Narzo 10 will perform exactly the same as the G85 equipped Redmi Note 9.
This does not mean that the Redmi Note note 9 is a bad performer. The smartphone didn’t get too warm while playing PUBG at at HD and high settings.
Redmi Note 9 Review: Software
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 boots Android 10 with MIUI 11 on top, if you’re coming from a xiaomi phone, you’re going to feel right at home. The skin in itself offers features like a dark mode, built-in app lock and navigational gesture.
So you get all the stable android features here, but unfortunately you also get a ton of bloatware with the device which eats your phone storage. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll get when you boot into the phone for the first time.
You get apps like Helo which have been banned by the government and also a bunch of game, which i didn’t find any use. I tweaked a couple of settings to get the best possible experience out of the Redmi Note 9 so for.
I noticed that the Mi browser app was the one to push a lot of random news articles to the notification tray. So you should disable it. That your my default browser but you can chose chrome instead.
The phone is running June security patch and it offers a built-in call recorder, as well as a feature-rich screen recorder too.
The software experience on the Redmi Note 9 felt a lot better and if you’re going to pick up the phone then, I highly recommend you to disable unnecessary apps and notifications.
Redmi Note 9 Review: Cameras
With a quad camera setup at the back comprising a 48MP main sensor, this is the samsung GM one unit and not a sony sensor. The phone gets an 8 MP ultra-wide angle lens, a 2 MP macro lens and a 2 MP depth sensor. For selfies, the device gets a 13 MP selfie camera up front.
Coming to the daylight samples, the Redmi Note 9 undoubtedly sways in the favor of a dramatic shot and all the photos i’ll present to you will have slightly over saturated colors.
I like how the smartphone has outputted a sharp photo with adequate details, zooming into the center or the edges you’ll see that for the price, the Redmi Note 9’s image is actually very good and it retains a ton of information.
However the colors look doctored especially the greens and the reds and you might want to bring down the saturation in post for a more authentic look and feel.
If you look at the fur of one of dogs, which looks too brown, this is something that Redmi Note 9 does quite a bit. It darkens the shadows or the dark parts of an image to make it appear more tasteful.
Same goes for the close-ups too, which looks sharp and have a nice natural bouquet. If you look at the photo of the red flower, then you’ll be able to differentiate between the different petals easily and the macro shots look good too.
However don’t offer a ton of details and are very tricky to execute properly since the slightest movement of your wrist will result in a blurred photo
As for the ultra-wide angle lens, it does give you a wider frame and the image output is decent. There’s noticeable graininess in the photo at a closer crop and the details are no way to be seen.
There’s a huge color disparity between the standard lens and the wide angle lids which i did not fancy selfies however look fantastic through
The Redmi Note 9’s 13 MP front camera with all the beautification features turned off, the skin tone appears quite natural. There is no sharpening at a closer crop and the images have a ton of details.
Same goes for the portrait selfies too which offered a crisp cutout around the face. The blur effect was consistent across the crumply edges of my shirt too. The low light photos from both the front as well as the back camera were a little disappointing.
With the night mode enabled, there’s no difference in the quality of the photo from the rear camera and you’ll find that at a closer crop, both the images have a lot of noise in them.
The low light selfies aren’t any better and with the screen flash turned on, the selfies exhibited a pale white skin tone which wasn’t what I was going for.
As for videos, the Redmi Note 9, lets you shoot clips at 1080p 30fps but sadly there is no support for 60fps or 4k recording. I really like the stability and the audio quality from this device.
I wasn’t sold on the video quality, there was noticeable focus jumping and the smartphone didn’t resolve the highlights in a satisfactory manner either.
If you were thinking about installing a Gcam to improve the imaging process of the Redmi Note 9, then I have some good news and some bad news for you.
While the phone does support camera 2 api, it doesn’t come with level 3 support and therefore you will miss out on some Gcam features.
If you’re wondering about the call quality, then you should know that you’ll not face any issues in this department and the earpiece on the Redmi Note 9 actually relate calls really clearly. So no complaints there.
As for internet connectivity, you’ll get really good download speeds with the Redmi Note 9 but for some reason I really get good upload speeds with any Redmi phone and that was the case for the Redmi Note 9 too.
As for audio, the phone comes with both a headphone jack as well as a mono speaker towards the bottom. The sound output from the jack was to my liking and I didn’t hear any interference or static when connecting a pair of 3.5 mm earphones to the phone
The mono speaker gets plenty loud too and it’s honestly one of the better speakers i’ve heard in this segment.
Battery and Charging
The smartphone ships with a 5020 mAh battery which can easily lasts you a full day on heavy usage, involving an hour of gaming, using social media apps like twitter and instagram and watching videos on YouTube.
This phone comes with a 22.5W charger which is obviously quicker than what you get with the Redmi Note 9 Pro, which only comes with an 18W brick. But there is a caveat and that is that this phone currently only charges at 18W.
Now you might be wondering why? According to Xiaomi, this is because of a software limitation which results in software bottleneck. They are working to fix it and you should receive an update which should unlock the full charging capabilities of the Redmi Note 9 soon.
But I must say this is kind of disappointing because why even bundle a 22.5W charger in the box in the first place if the phone is not ready to charge at 22.5W. Xiaomi, you need to do better next time.
Redmi Note 9 Price in India
The Redmi Note 9 starts at ₹ 11,999 for the 4GB+64GB variant and if you want to buy the 4GB+128GB variant, then you’ll have to pay ₹13,499. The top model of Redmi Note 9 which comes with 6GB of ram and 128GB of storage, will cost you ₹14,999.
Redmi Note 9 Review: Conclusion
1. Sturdy design.
2. Monster Battery life
3. Good Night mode and the macro camera has Auto Focus
4. 3.5mm audio jack, dedicated sim slot and IR blaster
1. The screen is a little dim
2. Falls behind the competition in terms of performance
3. The camera performance could be better
4. The UI doesn’t feel fast and smooth
The base variant of the smartphone is actually a very good buy because it offers a very well-rounded package and it makes it an instantly better option as compared to similarly priced devices like the Realme Narzo 10.
Coming to the mid and the top tier models of the Redmi Note 9, i don’t really think you should be investing your money in them at all. Take for instance the 4GB 128GB variant of the Redmi Note 9 which costs ₹13,499.
For just ₹500 more, you can get your hands on either the Redmi Note 9 Pro, or even the Poco M2 Pro and both of these phones offer a much nicer looking design. They come with a side mounted fingerprint sensor which is just more convenient to use. They come with a nicer LCD panel, better cameras better performance and faster UFS 2.1 storage.
Same goes for the 6GB+128GB variant of the Redmi Note 9, it has a lot of storage which is great but at the same time there’s no shortage of good compelling options at ₹15,000 which will offer you a slightly better user experience as compared to the Redmi Note 9.
That wraps up my Redmi Note 9 review. Do let me know in the comments below if you have any questions related to this review.