By marketing its Redmi Note 9 Pro below 300 dollars( 279 dollars ), the Chinese brand has shown that it is still capable of producing excellent phones for small budgets. Classic version of this model ovationed in our lines, the Redmi Note 9 presents a more limited but promising technical sheet. Is it enough to meet our expectations?
We tested the 3 + 64 GB version. Xiaomi also offers a 4 + 128 GB version at 229.90 dollars.
DESIGN: SOBER BUT EFFICIENT
Xiaomi continues to import high-end visual codes into its accessible series. Although the Redmi Note 9 has a plastic back and edges, its front exposes a punched screen like the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro . Its frame nevertheless remains marked by not very discreet borders and a relatively imposing chin . Note that this part is covered with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
On the back, there is a quadruple photo module housed in a square block. Slightly protruding, its position at the top and in the center of the surface does not pose any problem of stability when the smartphone is lying on its back.
While the fingerprint reader of the Redmi Note 9 Pro takes place on its right edge, that of the Note 9 appears under its photo block. It also offers facial recognition (2D). In both cases, unlocking is immediate.
The volume keys and the power button are juxtaposed on the right side of the device. A slot that can house two SIM cards and a microSD card faces them. The lower edge accommodates a USB-C port, a speaker and a 3.5 mm mini-jack port.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 is just as massive as its big brother with its dimensions of 162.3 x 77.2 x 8.9 mm and its weight of 199 g . Fortunately, its curved back guarantees a good grip.
Despites some concessions that we can not blame it given its price, the Redmi Note 9 displays high level finishes and presents a well thought out form factor.
SCREEN: IT’S NOT A LIGHT
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 sports a 6.53-inch IPS LCD screen that will allow you to enjoy your content in Full HD + (1080 x 2340 pixels).
The calibration of the slab lacks accuracy. By default, in “Auto” mode, therefore, the whites are slightly bluish. The “Saturated” mode logically increases the saturation for a slightly brighter rendering but with an even cooler color temperature. We advise you to opt for the “Standard” mode in order to warm the atmosphere. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground, so the colors will be too warm.
For LCD, the contrast level is quite correct. On the other hand, the screen of the Redmi Note 9 lacks brightness and the reflections in direct sunlight do not help.
AUDIO: MINIMUM SERVICE
Like many entry-level smartphones, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 neglects its audio part. Here, you have to be content with a single speaker positioned on the lower edge of the device. This does not work miracles and delivers a rather average mono sound with a very limited spatialization.
The 3.5mm mini-jack port still hasn’t disappeared from Xiaomi’s iconic series and MIUI 11 gives us a full equalizer. If the provision of this connection is rather correct , it does not really raise the level but at least allows us to use a headset or wired headphones. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 also supports Bluetooth 5.0 .
PERFORMANCE: LOOKING BACK
To animate its smartphone at less than 300 dollars, Xiaomi has decided to call on the founder MediaTek rather than Qualcomm, which nevertheless equips its Redmi Note 9 Pro. We therefore find under the chassis of the Redmi Note 9 an MTK Helio G85 SoC supported by 3 or 4 GB of RAM . On the storage side, the Chinese manufacturer’s terminal is quite generous since it leaves us the choice between 64 and 128 GB . As an added benefit, the internal memory can be expanded using a microSD card.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 is clearly not a thunderbolt . On AnTuTu and on Geekbench, it displays scores equivalent to those obtained by the Redmi Note 8T which, we remind you, has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665.
In practice, Xiaomi’s smartphone will put your patience to the test. From the start, it shows its limits and multitasking is just as sluggish. Navigation becomes difficult when you launch more than two applications simultaneously.
For gaming, the Redmi Note 9 is based on a Mali-G52 MC2 GPU . By default, you have to be content with a low or medium graphics quality on AAA games from the Play Store.
SOFTWARE: MIUI MINON
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 arrived on the market with Android 10 and MIUI 11. We therefore benefit from the same overlay as on the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro. Xiaomi continues to clarify its interface and provides us with several customization options such as dark mode or navigation by gestures. On the other hand, it still offers its automatic antivirus scan with advertisements by default and skips the application drawer . The latter option is available under MIUI 12 and the Redmi Note 9 is among the eligible smartphones. A bit of patience.
PHOTO: WE TAKE THE SAME ONES AND START OVER
The Redmi Note 9 relies on a well-supplied photo part with on the back:
- A 48 megapixel sensor with a wide-angle lens opening at f / 1.79
- An 8-megapixel sensor with an ultra-wide-angle lens (118 °) opening at f / 2.2
- A 2 megapixel sensor with a macro lens opening at f / 2.4
- A 2-megapixel depth sensor with a lens opening at f / 2.4
In fact, this smartphone recycles all of the Note 8T’s equipment . The 48-megapixel sensor uses pixel binning to merge four pixels into one in order to provide a brighter 12-megapixel image.
By day, we get very good quality shots, details abound and the processing is not too aggressive.
Even with a keen eye, it is complicated to play the game of 7 differences in front of a scene immortalized in 12 and 48 megapixels.
12 vs 48 Mpx
At night, this module has a much harder time reproducing all the elements of the scene. The result is less detailed renderings, victims of omnipresent digital noise . Night mode allows you to lighten some shadow areas.
No telephoto lens on the Redmi Note 9 which offers us a digital zoom up to 10x. The loss of detail is rather well contained in 2x. Beyond that, you won’t be able to get anything out of it.
Very useful for capturing larger scenes, the ultra wide angle of the Redmi Note 9 has its qualities and its faults. Screwed on an 8 megapixel sensor, this module logically offers less precise shots but usable when the light conditions are good. Indoors and at night, we do not recommend using it.
The demonstration of the macro lens is anecdotal because of its low definition and the absence of optical stabilization.
The portrait mode which relies on a depth sensor is doing with honors despite some hiccups in the clipping.
The front camera of the Redmi Note 9 has 13 megapixels (f / 2.3) . Selfie enthusiasts will get their money’s worth since this sensor provides detailed and bright self-portraits .
Without and with portrait mode
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 can shoot up to 1080p at 30fps . Devoid of optical stabilization, it manages to do the job without impressing .
BATTERY: THE LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER
Armed with a large 5020 mAh battery (4000 mAh on the Redmi Note 8T), the Redmi Note 9 is able to accompany its user for two days without any problem. Allow 16 hours of battery life if you alternate between web browsing, social networks, video playback and games. All in all, a very good performance.
The Redmi Note 9 supports a charging power of 18W but it is a 22.5W block that is included in the box. You will have to wait a little over 2 hours to fully charge it. Fortunately, he compensates with his endurance as a marathon runner.
A POINT ON THE COMPETITION
Xiaomi is no longer the only brand to dominate the sector of smartphones under 230 dollars, it’s counterpart offers a realme 6 ( 235.90 dollars) full of arguments: 90 Hz screen, solid technical configuration, quadruple photo sensor with 64 megapixel module and very good battery life.
Just like the Redmi Note 9 Pro, the classic model suffers from the comparison with its predecessors like the Redmi Note 8 Pro, more interesting than the Note 8T and now sold at the same price as the Redmi Note 9.
For less than 200 dollars, Xiaomi allows us to access once again a neat technical sheet in several areas (design, photo and autonomy). The Redmi Note 9, however, lacks audacity and in places overlaps the Redmi Note 8T (photo part), or even does less well than it (performance). This will not prevent it again this year from becoming a recommendable classic in this price bracket, but the Chinese manufacturer should seriously be wary of the competition which is starting to dare.