With the Mi 10 and the Redmi K series, Xiaomi is trying its luck (yet again) in the premium segment though the budget category is where the brand has already made its mark in the country. And this is where it is promised of constant growth.
Year after year, the Redmi Note series has been one of the best selling affordable smartphone series in India and Xiaomi hopes the same for the Redmi Note 9 series as well.
This year Xiaomi has changed its strategy for the Redmi Note series. Instead of bringing the Redmi Note 9 and Redmi Note 9 Pro the company unveiled the Pro and the Note 9 Pro Max earlier this year. Four months since then, the company has finally launched the Redmi Note 9. In addition to the change in product lineup, Xiaomi has also changed the pricing strategy for the Note this year because of the increase in GST.
For the very first time, we have a Redmi Note phone priced more than Rs 9,999. The Redmi Note 9 in India starts at a price of Rs 11,999 for the base 4GB RAM + 64GB storage model going up to Rs 14,999 for top-end 6GB RAM + 128GB storage model.
Is the Redmi Note 9 worth the increased price and should Redmi Note 8 users upgrade to this one? Let’s find out in this full review.
Redmi Note 9 price in India: Rs 14,999 (I have the top-end model for review)
Redmi Note 9 specifications: 48MP quad rear cameras | 13MP AI selfie camera | MediaTek Helio G85 SoC | MIUI 11 + Android 10 | 16.58cm (6.53) FHD+ Dot display | 5020mAh | 22.5W fast charger in the box
Redmi Note 9: What’s good and not so good
The Redmi Note 9 looks just like the more expensive Redmi Note 9 Pro and Pro Max with a square quad-camera module at the back. But this one doesn’t feel as premium as the other two thanks to the plastic back. The camera module includes the fingerprint sensor that’s pretty quick to unlock the screen of the phone but the sensor positioning could have been slightly lower for the fingers to reach them properly.
The plastic back is a sort of downgrade because Xiaomi was the brand that introduced glass back to the price segment with the Redmi Note 7 two years back. Now, when even the most affordable of phones come with a glass panel at the back, Redmi Note 9 is opting for plastic. The frames are also made of plastic. On the front though there’s Corning Gorilla Glass 5 support.
One good thing about the Redmi Note 9 is its lightweight despite packing a massive battery inside. Even though the Redmi Note 9 feels less premium than its predecessor, the phone is extremely compact and is easy to use in one hand.
The battery has always been one of the best aspects of a Redmi Note phone and the new Note 9 is no exception. The Note 9 packs a big 5020mAh battery inside which is one of the biggest for a Redmi Note phone. For me the phone lasted easily for more than a day despite running games, browsing social media, watching videos and taking phone calls. The phone includes a 22.5W fast charger in the box that changes the device fully in slightly more than an hour.
While the phone can handle gaming sessions for long hours, the performance is where it slightly lags. In my usage, the Redmi Note 9 could handle low GPU games fairly well but struggled with mobile games like Asphalt 9. The Redmi Note 9 isn’t one of the best phones for multi-taking. I used the Note 9 for all my basic day to day usage, it slowed down with too many apps running in the background.
If performance is not important to you, the Redmi Note 9 looks like a good option at the price point. The screen turns out to be pretty bright in both indoors (with 30 per cent brightness) and outdoors (with 100 per cent brightness level). It is of course not as good as the expensive Redmi phones but for the price, it looks good to me.
The Redmi Note 9 is also capable of clicking good daylight pictures and selfies but struggles in low light. The details on photos look fairly good if not zoomed in too much. The colours also appear to be near accurate.
Portrait pictures are extremely good with background properly blurred out and edges distinctive. The camera faced issues with autofocus. The Note 9 also clicks detailed selfies.
There are some beautify options available in the camera app so you don’t require another photo editing app on your phone. Low-light photos clicked with the Redmi Note 9 miss out on details and look grainy even in Night mode.
Who should buy the Redmi Note 9
Redmi Note 8 users can wait for the next Note. As I said, the Redmi Note 9 is a decent upgrade to its predecessor with some missing points. Consumers looking to buy a new phone under Rs 12,000 can surely opt for Redmi Note 9.
Overall, the Redmi Note 9 looks good but feels slightly cheap due to the plastic back, clicks decent pictures in the daylight scenario, offers a good battery backup but the performance could have been better.
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