realme 9i Smartphone Review
The realme 9i smartphone offers a 90Hz display, 50MP triple camera setup, 5000mAh battery, and 33W fast charging for ₱11,990 SRP.
It’s a few steps above the usual budget smartphones but doesn’t quite compare with mid-range ones. I’ve been using the device for several weeks and this is my full review.
Design and Build Quality
The realme 9i uses an “8-layer optical coating” technology for its back panel. There are vertical lines that produce interesting light refractions but it’s made from plastic and feels that way.
It’s a slim smartphone at 8.4mm with slightly curved edges both on the front and at the back. It also feels light despite the large 5000mAh battery capacity.
The power button which also serves as a fingerprint scanner is found on the right side of the device. Its volume buttons and SIM card tray are on the left while a USB type-C port and 3.5mm audio jack are at the bottom.
The realme 9i has a 6.6-inch FHD+ display that looks sharp with decent color vibrancy and sufficient brightness for indoor use. However, it looks slightly washed out under the bright noontime sun.
It has a 90Hz screen refresh rate which makes animations and transitions feel smoother compared to regular 60Hz screens. It’s not as smooth as 120Hz but isn’t as power-hungry too.
There are narrow bezels all around the display and a 2.5D curve on the edges for more comfortable swipes from the sides. There’s also a punch-hole for the selfie camera on the top left corner of the display.
The realme 9i runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chipset with 6GB of RAM. This is enough for apps to open quickly and scrolling to be smooth across different social media feeds.
However, there are minimal lags and occasional stutters. This usually happens when a receiving a lot of notifications or switching from one resource-intensive app to another.
It has decent gaming performance at Medium to High graphics quality. Using GameBench Pro, I measured its average frame rate while playing Mobile Legends at 59 FPS. Call of Duty Mobile is also playable but Genshin Impact is out of its league.
User Interface and Apps
The realme 9i runs on Android 11 OS with realme UI 2.0 software. The user interface looks neat and doesn’t deviate too much from stock Android.
It comes with several pre-installed including Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, and Booking.com. These are not very popular with Filipino users and can be easily uninstalled.
There are some useful features too such as the Smart Sidebar for customizable quick shortcuts, Game sidebar, and Sleep Capsule.
The realme 9i is equipped with three rear cameras – a 50 Megapixel main camera, 2 Megapixel macro camera, and 2 Megapixel depth camera.
It captures decent-looking pictures during daytime and slightly grainy ones at night although it tends to blow out highlights. There are several enhancements on the camera app including auto HDR, AI Scene detection, and a dedicated Night mode.
When shooting videos, the maximum resolution is 1080p. It looks slightly over-sharpened with no stabilization.
The realme 9i also has a single 16 Megapixel front camera on a punch-hole.
Just like the rear camera, it can produce good-looking selfies during the day but struggles in low-light situations. It uses the screen as fill light but the resulting selfie loses details.
Thankfully, it can also record videos at 1080p resolution even if the default is 720p only. While the quality isn’t top notch, a higher resolution captures more details for your TikTok clips.
realme 9i sample video (front camera)
Connectivity and Audio Quality
The realme 9i is a dual-SIM smartphone with 4G LTE connectivity. Mobile data speeds are good and there’s support for 5GHz Wi-Fi networks.
Voice calls sound clear on the phone’s earpiece while the loudspeaker sounds alright despite the usual lack of bass. It works together with the earpiece that acts as its stereo pair.
The bottom-firing loudspeaker is noticeably louder but the overall effect is an enhancement of the liveliness of the audio. It’s a useful feature for gaming and video streaming.
Battery Life and Charging Time
The realme 9i is powered by a large 5000mAh Lithium-Polymer battery. It has more than enough capacity to last one and a half days on a single charge with casual use.
It scored 17 hours and 20 minutes on the PCMark battery life test. This is a very high result among the smartphones I’ve reviewed which score 13 hours on average.
Re-charging the device from 0% to 100% battery capacity takes around an hour and 10 minutes. This is quick thanks to the 33W Dart Charge fast charging included in the box.
realme 9i Review CONCLUSION
The realme 9i is a well-balanced package of what a sub-12k smartphone should be. It can run ML or COD smoothly at medium to high graphics, has a long-lasting battery with fast charging, and is equipped with decent cameras.
It doesn’t have an ultra-smooth 120Hz display or ultra-fast 5G connectivity but those are features that also drain the battery quickly.
Hence, the realme 9i smartphone gets a thumbs up from me.
realme 9i Review Summary
The realme 9i is a well-balanced package of what a sub-12k smartphone should be.
- 6.6-inch FHD+ IPS LCD Display (1080 x 2408 Pixels), 401 ppi
- Android 11 Operating System
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 Chipset
- 6GB of RAM
- 50 Megapixel Rear Camera with LED Flash
- 16 Megapixel Front Camera
- Dual SIM
- 128GB Internal Storage
- Expandable Up to 1000 via microSD
- 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE & GPRS Networks
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (dual band)
- Bluetooth 5.0
- USB Type-C
- 3.5mm Audio Jack
- Fingerprint Sensor
- 5000mAh Battery
- 33W Fast Charging (Dart Charge, 100% in 70 minutes)
- ₱11,990.00 Official Price in the Philippines