Redmi 9 Prime marks the return of the Prime suffix for Xiaomi. The company reasons it has made a phone that offers a lot more in terms of specs for the sub-Rs 10,000 price tag, and this justifies the Prime branding. But even as it loaded the phone with high spec components, did Xiaomi have to cut corners?
Here is our review.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime Price: Rs 9,999 (4GB RAM/64GB storage) | Rs 11,999 (4GB RAM/128GB storage)
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime Specifications: 6.53-inch full HD+ display | MediaTek Helio G80 processor | 4GB RAM | 64GB/128GB internal storage | 13MP + 8MP ultra wide angle lens + 5MP macro lens + 2MP depth sensor quad-camera setup on the back | 8MP front camera | 5,020mAh battery | MIUI 11 based on Android 10 |
The Redmi 9 Prime features a plastic build, which is what you get in this price bracket. And for some, it is a very good choice of material considering that the device can take a beating without you worrying it about having a cracked back glass. A textured finish has been added to the back to make it feel a bit premium in hand.
The camera module looks unique, with a triple camera array and a capacitive fingerprint sensor inside of one module and a separate module for the fourth camera sensor and the LED flash. All of these sensors are located inside of a circular ring, similar to the Poco X2. Apart from the textured back and the camera module, the phone feels pretty minimalist from the back.
Coming to the front, the phone does feature a dated notch, but the bezels are one of the smallest I have seen in this price bracket. The top edge features an IR blaster, which helps you control home appliances like the TV and the AC. The feature is not given much weight, but it comes in handy a lot more than you think. Two more design features I like are located on the bottom edge, the first one being a Type-C port and the other being the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Lastly, the phone is offered in Matte Black, Mint Green, Space Blue and Sunrise Flare colour options. I had the Sunrise Flare variant for review, but I would have preferred any of the Matte Black, Mint Green or the Space Blue variants, instead.
The display is another key factor that would push people towards the Redmi 9 Prime, as it is among the handful of devices in this price range to feature a full HD+ display. And as an add-on, the device features Gorilla Glass 3 protection on top.
The 6.53-inch display is large enough to watch any sort of content and is bright enough for most scenarios. However, sometimes under direct sunlight, the display backlight does not seem that bright, making you cover it with your hand to read. The touch response rate is quite fast allowing you to navigate the UI smoothly.
The device features a capacitive fingerprint sensor on the back, which is ample fast and accurate. I never during my time with the phone faced any issues with the fingerprint sensor.
Face Unlock is also very fast and does not open up when your eyes are closed. However, the device uses 2D data to enable the feature. This means the device captures your photo during registration and compares it with your current face. This is a bit insecure compared to the other unlock options.
Redmi 9 Prime is a good phone if you are looking to perform light multi-tasking and performing daily tasks like calling, browsing the web, checking your social media handles, casual gaming and more.
During our multi-tasking test, the device performed quite well showing no stutters while having 14 apps open at one time and having 27 tabs open inside of Chrome. Shifting between apps and the tabs at frequent intervals did not make the phone stutter much and most of the apps and tabs kept open during the test. Only a handful of apps and tabs were required to reload as the system had killed them.
MediaTek Helio G80 is a gaming-focused processor, a feature that the Redmi 9 Prime does deliver on. Gaming on the device was very good considering the price. I did not see any lags while playing either PUBG Mobile or Call of Duty: Mobile in high graphic settings. Both of these are processor-intensive games, handling which a lot of phones in this price bracket do stutter or lag.
At Rs 9,999, the base variant of the device goes up against devices like the Realme C3, for which the camera hardware is apt. However, the higher variant goes up against devices like the Realme Narzo 10, which has a 48MP quad camera setup. Thus making the Redmi 9 Prime fall a bit short on the spec sheet.
In good lighting conditions, the Redmi 9 Prime took decent shots with good detail and the right amount of exposure. However, the AI processing did boost the colours up a bit making the images pop out. This is a good thing for people who want to post these images on social media platforms like Instagram. However, if you are looking to get shots with natural colours, this might not be the right choice.
The wide-angle camera does take good shots, but lacks a bit of the detail. The macro camera manages to take good photos, which look sharp. However, if you have shaky hands the output might come out a bit on the blurry side.
Redmi 9 Prime with its 5,020mAh battery was able to easily last for more than a day on heavy use. My usage involved playing a few light and heavy games throughout the day, browsing the internet, checking up on social media, keeping track with the news and making a few calls.
Having a big battery is a good thing while using the device. But, while charging it with the bundled 10W charger is another thing. The device took around three hours to fully charge. Waiting for so long is not something many would like. However, this problem is solvable as you can get an 18W fast charger to help speed up the process.
First and foremost, the device feels a bit thick and heavy, due to the 5,020mAh battery. This is not one of the factors that one might be looking for in a smartphone. The performance of the device is quite impressive, however, keep in mind that after a few game rounds, the device does start getting warm. And after around an hour of intensive gaming, it does get a bit uncomfortable to hold.
MIUI 11 is not my piece of cake considering that it feels a bit too cluttered, due to it having no app drawer. It also is too animated for my taste. However, most of my UI design problems have been fixed with MIUI 12, which this phone will be getting in a future update. The UI also features a lot of bloatware like GetApps, Zili, Rummy King, ShareMe and more.
Just like any other budget smartphone, the image output in low light conditions is not that great. The device does manage to take the shots with some detail in them (much more with the Night Mode turned on). However, some grain does manage to creep in and the photos when zoomed in a bit, do tend to pixelate a bit.
If you have a budget of Rs 9,999 and are looking for a good phone that will last you, this is one of the obvious choices. However, at Rs 11,999, the competition stiffens and the device becomes a contender and does not stay the go-to. So if you are looking to buy a phone under Rs 10,000, then this is a very good option for you to consider. However, at Rs 11,999, I feel you should first take a look at devices like the Redmi Note 9 and the Realme Narzo 10, before making your decision.