realme 9 Review: A Reliable All-Day Phone

There is a high demand for mid-range smartphones nowadays where almost all brands promise a competitive product suitable for everyone. The new realme 9 was launched last June, and we think it’s a top-notch and affordable phone. Let’s find out if the realme 9 will be your next smartphone.

realme 9

realme 9 Specifications

OS:Android 12 with realme UI 3.0
Processor:Qualcomm SM6225 Snapdragon 680 4G Octa-Core Processor | Adreno 610
Display: 6.4" Super AMOLED Display 1080 x 2400 FHD+ with 90Hz refresh rate and Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Wireless Connections:5G, Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, NFC, A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO
Memory:UFS 2.2 128GB Internal Storage; 6GB RAM
UFS 2.2 128GB Internal Storage; 8GB RAM
Connectors:Type-C USB 2.0, OTG Support
3.5mm audio jack
Cameras:Rear
108 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.67", 0.64µm, Dual Pixel PDAF
8 MP, f/2.2, 120˚ (ultrawide), 1/4", 1.12µm
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)

Selfie
16 MP, f/2.5, 26mm (wide), 1/3.09", 1.0µm
Security:on-display fingerprint sensor;
Face unlock
SIM Card Slots:2x Nano SIM Cards
Battery:5,000 mAh with 33W fast-charging
SRP:128GB | 6 GB - P14,999
128GB | 8 GB

The Design

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The realme 9 is perfect for people who like a clean and minimalist look compared to the previous generation which has the hideous “DARE TO LEAP” slogan. It is fun to see the phone changes colors depending on the light reflection. We have here the Stargaze White which has a simple but stunning exterior. There are other colors to choose from: Meteor Black and Sunburst Gold.

It has an 8mm profile making it quite easy to hold. However, when you put this onto a flat surface it wobbles due to its protruding camera.

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The realme 9 adapted the side button placements normally see on an Apple iPhone. You’ll now find the volume rocker and SIM card tray which can accommodate two nano SIM cards and a microSD card, while located on the other side is the power button. At the bottom of the phone are the 3.5mm audio port, USB Type-C port, microphone, and speaker grilles.

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The Sound and Display

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The realme 9 screen size is similar to its previous generation’s realme 8 with a massive chin display. It has a Super AMOLED 1080 x 2400 pixels with 20:9 aspect ratio. The good news is, it now comes with a 90Hz screen refresh rate and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 screen protection.

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Having a 90Hz screen refresh rate gives you a smoother scrolling experience and better animation. If you are worried about your phone’s battery life, you can still adjust it to 60Hz to preserve it. Another option is to choose Auto-Select which will automatically select the best refresh rate for the app you are using.

Watching video content on the realme 9 is a great experience thanks to its Super AMOLED screen’s vivid colors and accurate blacks. The phone only has a down-firing speaker, but it is loud and clear on full volume.

The Performance

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The realme 9 is using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor that runs on Android 12 with realme UI 3.0. We have here the 128GB storage with 8GB RAM configuration but what’s out in the retail market is the 128GB storage with 6GB RAM variant. The realme 9 has a unique feature for its memory called the Dynamic RAM Expansion, where you can expand your RAM up to 5GB depending on your available storage space.

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Using the realme 9, interacting with the UI is fast and smooth but we didn’t like how it has tons of bloatware pre-installed. The good thing here is that they are easy to uninstall.

If you plan to use the realme 9 for gaming, please don’t expect to play these latest mobile games with the highest graphics. We recommend playing at least with medium settings but it still depends on the game you play.

Playing Genshin Impact with the realme 9 is playable 30 FPS on low settings, though it dips whenever there is too much action happening in the game. However, if you are planning to play League of Legends Wildrift you will get a constant 60 FPS under high graphics. The same thing can be said for Mobile Legends under ultra graphics. Sadly, we can’t enable the games to have 90 FPS to fully utilize our 90Hz display.

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Here are some benchmark scores of realme 9:

For its biometrics and security, you can easily unlock the device with an under-display fingerprint scanner and face unlock. The odd thing we experienced with the face unlock feature is it occasionally unlocks the phone even if we have our facemasks on.

The Camera

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One of the main selling points of the realme 9 is its cameras. The realme 9 has a triple rear camera configuration composed of a 108 MP Samsung HM6 Sensor, 8 MP ultrawide, and 2 MP macro. For selfies, it has a 16 MP wide front camera.

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Although realme is marketing the phone as a 108-megapixel camera by default, it is set to 12 megapixels. The main shooter we have here is capable of producing stunning color-accurate pictures under decent lighting. Sometimes, it’s a hit-or-miss when taking a picture under low light because sometimes we found the images’ colors quite off. You can digitally zoom up to 10x. If you will be needing more detail in the images you can simply switch to its 108 MP mode in your camera menu.

Using the other two cameras, the ultra-wide camera has no distortions on the images taken but you can see the degradation of its quality. Macro photos seem to be adequate but they are less vibrant compared to its main shooter. For the selfie camera, we like that it takes good portrait photos even if you are in a low-light place due to its screen becoming the flash.

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Ultra Macro Sample Picture

Due to lack of image stabilization, you’ll need steady hands to get decent pictures. Make sure that you will be holding the phone as steady as you can to have decent shots, or simply use a tripod. We do not recommend to take a picture while inside a moving vehicle.

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For the video quality, the rear camera can shoot 1080p @ 30 fps which is a downgrade. Compared to its previous generation which can not only shoot 1080p @ 60 fps, but also 4k @ 30 fps. The selfie camera can only shoot 1080p @ 30 fps.

Here are some photos taken from the realme 9:

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The Battery

Battery capacity is still the same as before at 5,000 mAh. For an average of 12 hours of use, I still got 30% left at the end of the day. With mobile data turned on, we listened to music for 5 hours, took pictures, and browsed our social media apps.

Charging the realme 9 is faster thanks to its 33W fast charger, another upgrade from the previous generation. It can charge from 0% to 100% in less than an hour and 30 minutes.

realme 9 Verdict

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Based on all the things we experienced with the realme 9, we think it is a great choice in the mid-range smartphone market. If you are looking for a phone that will last a day that performs great and at the same time being able to play games on low high graphics, then we recommend this phone to you.

It has an SRP of P14,999 and you can purchase it via the realme Official Store at Shopee. You can also spot it on sale at Lazada for P12,499 – definitely a steal price.

8 Total Score
realme 9 Review

Based on all the things we experienced with the realme 9, we think it is a great choice in the mid-range smartphone market. If you are looking for a phone that will last a day that performs great and at the same time being able to play games on low high graphics, then we recommend this phone to you.

Design
8.5
Display
8
Performance
8
Software
7
Camera
7.5
Battery Life
9
Price
8
PROS
  • Clean and elegant design
  • Decent screen
  • Great battery life
CONS
  • Lacks the capability to play high graphics games smoothly
  • Tons of bloatware
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