Realme 9i Review: Price and Availability, Specifications
Realme 9i Review, Let's take a look at the Realme 9i specifications, features, and other information that is currently available.
REASONS TO BUY
+ Available at an affordable price
+ Large capacity, long-lasting 5,000mAh battery
REASONS TO AVOID
- Rear camera struggles in low light
- Performance isn't the best
With the Realme 9i, we have another contender for one of the best cheap phones on the market right now, and everything else must be weighed against the very low price that you can get this for - performance, battery life, camera, and so on.
In this Realme 9i review, we'll go over everything you need to know about the phone, from the software that runs on it to the hardware components that are (or aren't) included. You'll know if it's the phone upgrade for you once you've finished reading.
Having so many phones available in various price ranges is great for consumer choice, but it can make selecting the right one for you a little difficult. You should also read our guides to the best Android phones and the best small phones.
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REALME 9I REVIEW: PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Realme 9i is now available in the UK, though it may be difficult to find it at more than a few retailers - you can get it from Amazon and Realme. If you want to get the phone for the best price, use the widgets embedded on this page, but at the time of writing, it's available for £199 online.
REALME 9I REVIEW: DESIGN AND DISPLAY
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The Realme 9i features a 6.6-inch IPS LCD display with a 1080 x 2412 pixel resolution and a refresh rate of 90Hz. With 480 nits of typical brightness, the screen is adequate for watching movies and browsing through photos, but it lacks the vibrant, high contrast OLED panels found on the best phones on the market today.
Otherwise, it's a fairly standard-looking smartphone, with thin bezels around the screen and a punch-hole camera in the top corner being the only visual interruption.
We're not crazy about the gradient backing. Although it captures light well, it looks a little cheap, and the rear camera module isn't particularly well integrated with the rest of the back of the phone. The Realme 9i is available in only two colors: black and blue, with our review unit being the latter.
The phone's dimensions are 164.4 x 75.7 x 8.4mm (that's 6.47 x 2.98 x 0.33in) and it weighs 190g (0.42lbs). As a result, it's pocketable and lightweight, and it's certainly comfortable to hold. As you look at the phone, the volume controls are on the left and the power button is on the right. The power button has a fingerprint sensor embedded in it to make it easier to log into your phone, and it works well.
The Realme 9i lacks waterproofing and dustproofing, which is to be expected at this price point, but it does include an adequate stereo speaker system and a 3.5mm headphone jack for connecting wired headphones. A USB-C port at the bottom of the handset provides data and power. Overall, there's nothing particularly noteworthy about the aesthetics of this smartphone: it's well-made for the price, but that's about it.
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REALME 9I REVIEW: PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY
With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage, the Realme 9i will never break any benchmarking records - and in our tests, we saw Geekbench scores of 383 (single-core), 1544 (multi-core), and 443 (OpenCL), emphasizing that this is very much at the low end of the performance spectrum when it comes to smartphones in 2022. One omission is 5G connectivity, which is unusual for a 2022 phone but not for one on this price range.
When using the Realme 9i for everyday tasks, you won't notice much slowdown or lag. There are minor pauses when menus or apps load, but nothing too significant - and the phone can handle demanding games from the Google Play Store, albeit at lower frame rates and with occasional blips. You won't have any problems as long as you don't try to do too much on the device too quickly.
Realme phones have Realme UI running on top, and in this case, it's on top of Android 11. There's thankfully little bloatware on the device, though there are a few pre-installed apps - including LinkedIn and a Booking.com app - that you might not want on your phone. When you open the Settings app, you'll notice a few extras that aren't included in the stock Android software that Google installs on its Pixel phones, such as gesture control and screenshots.
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In terms of battery life, in our standard video streaming test - an hour of video with the display set to maximum brightness and the volume set to low - the battery level dropped 10%, so you're looking at around 10 hours of video playback overall (or more, if you dim the brightness). In general, the large capacity 5,000mAh battery holds its charge very well, with plenty of juice left at the end of the day - and sometimes enough to get through a second day, as long as you're not doing anything too strenuous.
REALME 9I REVIEW: CAMERA SYSTEM
The Realme 9i has a triple-lens camera system (50-megapixel main, 2MP macro, and 2MP depth sensor) but no optical zoom or ultrawide mode. The quality of the resulting photos and videos (up to 1080p at 30fps) is about what you'd expect from a phone at this price point: decent enough in daylight when you can take a second over a snap, but nearly useless at night when there's a limited amount of light available.
We tested the Realme 9i camera on a cloudy day in the north of England, and many of the photos, including close-ups and landscapes, came out well. These images would look great on social media, with clear detail and bright colors, even if a closer look reveals some image noise, blurring, and an oversaturation of colors.
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With little light available, the Realme 9i's rear camera struggles to capture a usable image, though images can be acceptable if the subject is close and there is some illumination in the frame. In the darkest of environments, where the best Android phones might be able to pick out something, you may have to give up on the Realme 9i. The camera software includes a dedicated night mode, but we didn't notice it making much of a difference most of the time.
We do like the Pro mode on Realme phones, which gives you more control over white balance, ISO, and other settings - even though most people will just want to point and shoot.
On the front of the phone is a simple 16MP selfie camera.
REALME 9I REVIEW: VERDICT
Apart from its low price, the Realme 9i doesn't have much to recommend it - but if you want a cheap phone, it does pretty much everything that's required to an adequate standard, which will suffice for many people. You can run as many apps as you want, take good-looking photos with the rear camera (as long as your scenes are well lit), and the battery life can easily last a full day.
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It's worth remembering everything you'll miss out on if you buy the Realme 9i, not least the 5G connectivity that will become increasingly important in the coming years (and is found in other Realme 9 models). There is no waterproofing on this phone, nor are there optical zoom or ultrawide modes on the rear cameras.
Unless you're particularly fond of the Realme brand or the 9i's style, you can spend a little more money and get a smartphone with a more vibrant and appealing screen, better specs, better camera quality, and better value for money. However, it's reassuring that even the cheapest smartphones on the market are now perfectly capable of doing everything they need to, which may make you wonder why you'd want to spend any more money.