Each year when Xiaomi announces its Redmi Note series, there is a typical frenzy surrounding the device. After all, these are the company’s bestsellers. Last year, Xiaomi beefed up the specifications for these devices, adding features like a 48MP to the Redmi Note 7S, the Redmi Note 8 and Redmi Note 7 Pro, followed by a 64MP camera on the Redmi Note 8 Pro. And of course, each year has seen the use of powerful processors and an improved premium design.
But this year, there’s something different. This time there are two Redmi Note 9 Pro variants and one is called the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max. This leaves me with one question: where is the Redmi Note 9?
Xiaomi is yet to officially confirm that a regular Redmi Note 9 will also be joining the lineup, but don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance soon. Still, the focus on the Pro variants over the regular Note is interesting to see. And I would argue that the more vanilla Note version is still very important in the Xiaomi portfolio, despite the success of the Redmi Note Pro phones.
First, the Redmi Note 9, if it launches is expected to start at Rs 9,999, though the hike in GST to 18 per cent on mobiles could end up playing spoilsport. Still, the Redmi Note 8, Redmi Note 7, and most other previous generations have come with this starting price. For those customers who want a Redmi Note, but can’t afford that extra Rs 3,000 or Rs 4,000 for the Pro variant, the Redmi Note at Rs 9,999 is a reliable and safe option.
After all, not every customer who wants to buy a phone at Rs 10,000 can afford to stretch their budget, even by Rs 1,000, which might not seem like such a big difference to many of us. That Rs 9,999 is a crucial price point, one which can draw in many potential consumers, especially those who are looking for their first good smartphone.
The focus on Pro
But there is a good reason why Xiaomi is choosing to focus on the Pro series. Last year’s Redmi Note 7 Pro remained the bestseller throughout the year, despite the presence of the Redmi Note 7, which was priced lower. Clearly, Xiaomi’s audience loved the Pro series, and the company hopes to capitalise on the same behaviour with the Redmi Note 9 Pro.
At first glance, the pricing of the two Redmi Note 9 Pros might appear confusing. But for Xiaomi it ensures that all price points are covered from Rs 12,999 (Redmi Note 9 Pro) right up till Rs 18,999 (Pro Max’s 8GB RAM+128GB version). Technically, there is a Redmi Note 9 Pro at Rs 14,999 (Pro Max for 4GB RAM+64GB storage), Rs 15,999 (Redmi Note 9 Pro for 6GB RAM+128GB version), and one at Rs 16,999 (Pro Max for 6GB RAM+128GB storage).
The good part though is that Xiaomi has kept the processor and battery size same for both phones: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor and a 5020 mAh. So technically one is not expected to compromise on performance, even if they were to pick the cheapest variant. The major differentiating factors are the camera: 48MP on the regular Pro and 64MP on the Pro Max, and the 33W fast charging on the latter.
Given that there’s more competition from Realme this time, which has a similarly priced Realme 6 and Realme 6 Pro series, it does make sense for Xiaomi to go all out on the Pro phones. There’s no doubt both are compelling products. But I’m still waiting to see what the Redmi Note 9, if it does exist, will end up offering.
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