Realme 9i review — Great performance, battery life and display

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Realme 9i review — Great performance, battery life and display
Realme 9i is the company's budget smartphone.Marcia Sekhose
  • The Realme 9i is the company’s latest budget offering in India.
  • It comes with a 90Hz display, 50MP camera, and 33W fast charging support.
  • Here’s our detailed review of the Realme 9i.
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Realme 9i is the company’s first smartphone launch of 2022 in India. It’s a budget smartphone that comes with a 90Hz display, 33W fast charging support, a 50-megapixel primary camera, and a stylish design.

This is also the first smartphone to launch in Realme’s number series this year. The company had announced it touched 40 million shipments of its number series which includes smartphones from the Realme 1 till the Realme 8. It also added two new phones in the series which includes the Realme 9 Pro+ 5G and Realme 9 Pro 5G. These two phones cater to the mid-range segment.

As for the Realme 9i, we take a look at how the new budget smartphone contender performs in our detailed review.

Price, availability

The Realme 9i has a starting price of ₹13,999 for the base model with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. It also comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage that is priced at ₹15,999. The smartphone can be purchased from Realme’s official website and Flipkart.

The Realme 9i sits in a competitive category and price segment and it has good competition from rivals including the recently launched Redmi Note 11.
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Design, form factor

The Realme 9i has a stylish design and it’s quite a good looking phone. It comes in two colour options of Prism Blue and Prism Black. The smartphone has a flashy back with a “prism” effect. Those who want a design that stands out can go for the Prism Blue variant while others can opt for the Prism Black variant which offers a more subtle look.
Realme 9i review — Great performance, battery life and display
Realme 9i features a side-mounted fingerprint sensor.Marcia Sekhose

You also get a tall and slim form factor with the Realme 9i. It’s very light and comfortable to hold but it’s not very one-handed friendly. The volume buttons are thin and located on the left side and the power button on the right side. The power button also doubles as the fingerprint sensor. At the bottom, the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port and speaker grille are located.

Display

The Realme 9i has a big display which is a 6.6-inch FHD+ screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 180Hz touch sampling rate. The display is great with adequate brightness and rich colours and you can switch between vivid and gentle mode. Even in bright sunlight outdoors, you can comfortably see what’s on the screen with brightness set to the highest. It supports up to 90Hz refresh rate which gives you a smooth scrolling experience.
Realme 9i review — Great performance, battery life and display
Realme 9i features a 6.6-inch FHD+ display.Marcia Sekhose

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Cameras

The smartphone has a triple camera setup featuring a 50-megapixel primary sensor, a 2-megapixel macro sensor and a 2-megapixel B&W lens for portrait shots. With the Realme 9i, you can get good daylight shots and portrait shots. You get very good detail in photos with the 50-megapixel camera which you have to turn on in the camera app. Otherwise, the phone captures 12.5-megapixel photos.
Realme 9i review — Great performance, battery life and display
Realme 9i has a triple rear camera setup with a 50-megapixel primary sensor.Marcia Sekhose

When it comes to low-light photography, the Realme 9i doesn’t quite deliver. The images come out blurry even with night mode turned on. Macro shots also turned out decent with this phone. There’s no ultra wide-angle lens though so that’s one thing you would miss out on. The Realme 9i supports up to 30fps video recording which is good enough to get stationary videos and without much movement otherwise, the videos turn out quite shaky.
Realme 9i review — Great performance, battery life and display
Realme 9i low-light camera sample.Marcia Sekhose

For selfies, you get a 16-megapixel front camera on the Realme 9i. You can get good selfies with this phone but there’s this lightning effect that is visible even with no artificial effects turned on. You can clearly see that the selfies don’t have that natural look but those who prefer some “natural” beautification won’t mind this.

Performance, battery life

The Realme 9i is a good performer when it comes to regular usage, gaming and entertainment. Our experience using the phone was very smooth with no lags or hiccups. We tried out Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) and Asphalt 9 on the smartphone. BGMI was smooth with graphics set at ‘Smooth High’ and there were no issues while playing the game. Asphalt 9 was also smooth but the phone doesn’t support high-quality graphics which can affect the overall experience.

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Watching videos and streaming shows, movies on this phone is great. It has a tall display so the phone makes a great choice for entertainment. You also get dual stereo speakers so the audio can get pretty loud. Even after hours of streaming and a little bit of gaming, the phone has enough juice to last an entire day and more. The Realme 9i also supports 33W fast charging which can get you from 0 per cent to 100 per cent in an hour and 10 minutes.
Realme 9i review — Great performance, battery life and display
The smartphone runs on realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11.Marcia Sekhose

The phone ships with realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11. The UI is familiar with the off-white background, app drawer and a whole bunch of Google apps. It also comes with pre-installed third-party apps such as Spotify, Snapchat, Prime Video, PhonePe and Moj. We personally don’t find the UI very cluttered like One UI as there isn’t much unnecessary poking while setting up the phone and using it.

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor was quite a nuisance though. It’s probably the technology in general but the experience of the phone gets unlocked almost every time you press the fingerprint sensor was quite annoying. You can opt for a firm or light touch but neither one offers a convenient experience. There are other options though such as face unlock and PIN or pattern for unlocking the phone.

Verdict

The Realme 9i is a value for money smartphone as it ticks all the right boxes and delivers an almost-perfect performance for the price. You get a really good display, good cameras, fast performance, and strong battery life with the Realme 9i compared to the competitors in the segment. Even in comparison with its rivals like the Redmi Note 11, there’s very little that the phone lacks. So if you’re looking for a good value for money smartphone on a budget the Realme 9i is highly recommended.

SEE ALSO:
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Realme 9 Pro+ 5G review — Decent all-round performance
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