In 2019, the Redmi Note 7 Pro was introduced in India as one of the first phones under Rs 15,000 to offer a 48MP camera. What was even more interesting was that this was one of the most affordable phones to use the premium Sony IMX586 sensor, till then limited to expensive smartphones. The Note 7 Pro triggered a flood of devices offering the 48MP camera experience at various price points.
The success of the Redmi Note 7 Pro was quickly followed by the Redmi Note 8 Pro, which bumped up the camera to 64MP. But with this year’s Redmi Note 9 Pro series, Xiaomi is taking a slightly different approach. For one there are two Pro variants: the regular Redmi Note 9 Pro with a 48MP camera, and the Pro Max, which has 33W fast charging and a 64MP camera. Further, this is the first time that the Redmi Note Pro series will run a Qualcomm Snapdragon 700 series processor, instead of the 600 series. This is also one of the first phones in India to support the country’s own navigation satellite system, NaVIC.
But does the new Note Pro series come with a drastic performance upgrade? We have for review the Redmi Note 9 Pro, which comes with the 48MP rear camera. Here’s what we thought of the device.
Redmi Note 9 Pro series price in India: Starts at Rs 12,999 for 4GB + 64GB and Rs 15,999 for 6GB +128GB.
Redmi Note 9 Pro review specifications: 6.67 screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on front and back, Snapdragon 720G processor, up to 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage, 48MP quad rear camera setup, 16MP selfie camera, MIUI 11 based on Android 10, 5020 mAh battery, 18W fast charging support in the box.
Redmi Note 9 Pro: Display, Design
The Redmi Note 9 Pro series now has a bigger screen, at 6.67-inches and this is a full HD+ resolution with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top. This is bigger than the 6.3-inch display of the Redmi Note 8, and while the bigger screen means more real-estate when watching videos, it does make it harder to use when you are just lying on the bed, trying to watch YouTube.
The display quality is impressive, be it for just consuming videos or playing games. In bright sunlight, I found that even increasing the brightness to full did not always help, but I could read the text without too much hassle. The screen is on the more reflective side.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro gets the punch-hole display, where the camera is in middle of the top part of the screen. I didn’t find this too distracting when using apps such as WhatsApp or even during gaming sessions.
With the Redmi Note 9 Pro, there are noticeable design changes. The fingerprint sensor is now placed on the side, as part of the power button, instead of being at the back of the phone. This does work better since you are not required to lift the phone every time you wish to unlock it. It is quick as well, and worked accurately each time I used it.
The Aura design of the Note Pro series has a slightly different look this time. The Aurora Blue colour we have for review is a mix of dark green and blue and depending on the light, the colour perception will be different. It is quite different from the ‘Jade Green’ of the Redmi Note 8 Pro.
This is also quite a heavy phone at 209 grams, which was expected given this one has a 5020 mAh battery now. It is also chunkier, when you hold it. Xiaomi has retained the splash-proof P2i coating as well to make this more durable against the occasional spills and splashes.
At the back, the camera module is now a rectangular bump, instead of the vertical arrangement from the previous generation. It is placed in the centre of the back of the device and all four cameras are neatly arranged. But the camera module juts out prominently and it certainly does not look very appealing.
Redmi Note 9 Pro: Performance, Battery
Performance on the Redmi Note series has never really been a problem and with this year’s improved processor, I did not expect any issues as such. Our review unit has 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, the Snapdragon 720G ensures that you get a smooth performance on a daily basis. There was no lag or frame drop when I ran games like Asphalt 9, 8 at high settings. Even other games like Badland, Alto’s Odyssey ran without any problems on the Redmi Note 9 Pro.
For regular usage such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and other daily apps, the phone handles it all very well. I should point out that I was unable to run Antutu Benchmark tests because every time I searched for it on this phone via the Google Play Store, the app did not appear. This could be limited to my unit per se.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro also supports NaVIC, which is India’s own navigation satellite system. One can download the GPSTest app from Google Play Store and see which satellites the phone is accessing for location data. The NaVIC ones from India will show up at the bottom of the list.
The phone runs MIUI 11 based on Android 10. As always I would suggest you turn off notifications and alerts from Xiaomi’s pre-installed apps such as the Mi Browser, Mi Video, etc because the content push is constant, and this can be really annoying. These clutter the notification tray very quickly, and you might end up missing something that is actually important.
Both the Redmi Note 9 Pro and Redmi Note 9 Pro Max have a 5020 mAh battery. This can easily last two days with moderate to regular usage, and if you really push the boundaries with a lot of gaming, browsing, etc, it should get you through the day. Battery continues to be a strong point of the Redmi Note phones. The Redmi Note 9 Pro comes with 18W fast charging support.
This time around, Xiaomi has also gone for a dedicated microSD slot (up to 512GB support) and two separate nano-SIM slots. The phone also comes with support for Voice over WIFI calling as well.
Redmi Note 9 Pro: The camera
The Redmi Note 9 Pro includes a 48MP rear camera with a combination of an 8MP ultra-wide camera, 5MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. The front camera is 16MP. The camera performance is pleasing for most parts, especially if you are shooting during the day or when there is ample light. The colour reproduction is accurate though with the macro camera, some shots did appear a bit washed out.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro’s camera performs well, and there were no issues with focus or shutter lag as such when using the regular mode. But with the macro mode and when switching to Night Mode, the focus would not latch on so easily at times.
This was especially noticeable in the Night Mode, where I had trouble getting the focus to stay when using inside a room. The ultra-wide 8MP camera is still not the best and while you can get a wider perspective, the drop in quality is noticeable.
My other problem with the macro mode would be the drop in colour quality, which I had also noted in the first impressions. The selfie camera is not bad, and if you turn off the beauty mode, you can get some more natural results, but for many users this will boil down to personal preference. Overall I feel the camera still needs a few software tweaks for improvement given some of the focus and colour issues.
Redmi Note 9 Pro: Verdict
The Redmi Note 9 Pro at Rs 12,999 is definitely an impressive option considering the performance and the battery life. For those still on a Redmi 7, Redmi 8 or even the older Redmi Note 6 Pro or 5 Pro, this is a good upgrade, given the specifications and features. But for those with a more flexible budget, I’d say the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max with the better camera and faster charging would be a more ideal pick.
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