No matter how affordable 5G phones get, there is still room in the market for 4G devices, especially for those who are on a tight budget. That’s the reason why we have the Realme 9i.

While it is cheaper than its Pro counterparts, is this device actually the practical option? We find out in our Realme 9i review.

Realme 9i Specs

  • Android 11, Realme UI 2.0
  • Dual SIM, Dual standby
  • 6.6-inch FHD+ IPS display, 2412 x 1080 pixel resolution, 401ppi
  • 30Hz/48Hz/50Hz/60Hz/90Hz refresh rate, 180Hz touch sampling
  • 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 610 GPU
  • 6GB RAM, +5GB via Dynamic RAM Expansion
  • 128GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • 16-megapixel front camera
  • 50-megapixel (f/1.8, PDAF) + 2-megapixel (f/2.4, macro) + 2-megapixel (depth sensor) rear cameras, LED flash
  • Stereo speakers
  • Headphone jack
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
  • HSPA+, 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 164.4 x 75.7 x 8.4mm
  • Weight: 190g
  • Colors: Prism Blue, Prism Black
  • 5,000mAh non-removable battery, 33W Dart fast charging

Design and Build Quality

Right off the bat, we can safely say that the Realme 9i is a well-built and well-designed smartphone. Like its cousins, Realme managed to come up with a refreshing design for this one.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5729

It has subtle vertical lines to make it shine better in light. According to Realme, it has an 8-layer optical coating process for a dazzling effect.

This resulted in a clean but eye-catching design. The back panel is still plastic and prone to fingerprint smudges. Still, it looks really elegant, especially in this Prism Blue color that we’re reviewing. A Prism Black option is also available for a more subtle look.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5732

But like most budget and feature-packed phones, the Realme 9i feels large and bulky in the hands. Due to its big battery, the device is 8.4mm thick and weighs 190g. You can get used to its size, but expect to feel hand strain after minutes of use.

The device is also undeniably tall, mostly due to its enormous 6.6-inch screen. That said, don’t expect you can easily use this device with one hand.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5734

Despite that, we still encourage the use of the clear case that comes free with the box. It adds a bit of bulk to the already large device, but it’s all worth it, considering how it can protect a device that’s prone to hairline scratches.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5733

Taking a tour, we have the aforementioned 6.6-inch FHD+ IPS screen on the front with a punch-hole on the far left for the 16-megapixel selfie camera. Since it is an IPS panel, the bezels are not the thinnest, but they are acceptable and not distracting.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5725

The top only has the secondary microphone for noise isolation during calls, while at the bottom, you can find the USB Type-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, the only main speaker for the stereo setup, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5727

On the left, we have the SIM tray that can house two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card all at the same time.

Below it is the two separate buttons for volume controls, while on the right we only have the flat power button that doubles as the fingerprint scanner.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5726

Since it’s flat, it is not the most comfortable button to press and it’s sometimes hard to tell if you pressed it correctly. Meanwhile, the volume buttons feel tactile enough, but we wish it was slightly larger.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5728

There’s a camera island at the top left on the back. It stands out, resulting in a noticeable yet acceptable camera bump. The two large lenses hold the main and, sadly, only a macro lens. The depth sensor sits behind a smaller glass.

It may not be the sleekest smartphone around, but the Realme 9i sure is a stunner, especially for the price.

Display and Sound Quality

The Realme 9i comes with a large 6.6-inch FHD+ IPS display with a 2412 x 1080 pixel resolution, 401ppi, and of course, 90Hz refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling for improved responsiveness, especially in games.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5723

Display quality is fine. Not stellar, but is more than enough for a budget device. The size and sharpness give you enough room for multitasking and reading small texts. Plus, decent space for on-screen controls when gaming.

Color quality is acceptable for watching movies on Netflix or your favorite videos on YouTube.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5724

For the best possible gaming and viewing experience, Realme was also generous enough to include stereo speakers on this device. The earpiece was beefed-up to output enough volume to match the bottom-firing one.

The sound quality is good, with enough bass, and treble, but the mids could be better. Volume is also loud and the stereo separation is audible thanks to the large display creating enough distance between the two speaker drivers.

Hardware and Performance

The Realme 9i comes with a 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 octa-core processor, which we are starting to see in more midrange phones today. It is paired with an Adreno 610 GPU, 128GB of storage, and 6GB of RAM with an optional 5GB extension via the Dynamic RAM expansion as it borrows space from the internal storage.

Realme 9i benchmark scores

Realme-9i-Benchmarks-NoypiGeeks

It may be modern, but this chip lacks 5G connectivity. A big drawback, but at least it provides decent performance in work-related tasks.

That said, the Realme 9i can do any of your daily tasks: video calls, messaging, taking pictures, browsing through social media feeds, and more.

Realme-9i-Gaming-Test-NoypiGeeks-

Gaming was pretty decent on the Realme 9i. Call of Duty Mobile, under medium settings, was playable with decent frame rates without any noticeable lags for frame drops. Overheating is also not an issue.

The best part is, thanks to the stereo setup, you can really hear where footsteps are coming from even without headphones, giving you a competitive advantage.

Software and User Interface

Unlike its cousins, the Realme 9i still ships with the Android 11-based Realme UI 2.0 instead of the newer Realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12. It may not be the cleanest interface on the market, but it sure has tons of features to complement the hardware, tons of customization settings, and basic features for better usability.

Realme-9i-OS-NoypiGeeks
Realme-9i-Personalization-NoypiGeeks
Realme-9i-Notifications-NoypiGeeks
Realme-9i-Digital-Wellbeing-NoypiGeeks

Related

Cameras

The Realme 9i gets to have a triple camera setup on the back. It starts with the ultra-sharp 50-megapixel sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, joined by a 2-megapixel macro lens and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Sadly, it didn’t get to have an ultra-wide lens.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5722

On the front, we have a 16-megapixel shooter for taking selfies and participating in virtual work meetings or online classes.

In good lighting, the main 50-megapixel camera takes unsurprisingly great images with vibrant but not over-saturated colors. At night, photos may look a little washed out with confusing colors. Still usable though.

The 2-megapixel macro camera, with the right distance, takes good close-up shots of smaller subjects. The 2-megapixel depth sensor also did a great job of analyzing which is the foreground and the background.

Realme-9i-Camera-Samples-NoypiGeeks-5725
Realme-9i-Camera-Samples-NoypiGeeks-5726
Realme-9i-Camera-Samples-NoypiGeeks-5727
Realme-9i-Camera-Samples-NoypiGeeks-5730

Selfies from the 16-megapixel main camera look clean with decent sharpness and acceptable skin tone. It is also more than enough for TikTok videos and video calls.

Realme-9i-Camera-Samples-NoypiGeeks-5722
Realme-9i-Camera-Samples-NoypiGeeks-5724

Overall, the Realme 9i has a decent set of cameras. We just wish Realme ditched the two 2-megapixel sensors lieu of a more usable ultra-wide lens.

Battery

Like a lot of budget phones, the Realme 9i gets to have a 5,000mAh battery. It managed to pull an impressive screen-on time of 20 hours and 46 minutes in PCMark’s battery test. For comparison, most of the phones we tested averaged 13 hours.

Realme-9i-battery-life-NoypiGeeks

What’s interesting is, that it managed to have a 33W fast charger. A full charge will only take around an hour and a half.

Connectivity

One of the big downers of the Realme 9i is the lack of 5G connectivity — a feature that a lot of its competition, even the cheaper ones, already have.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5731

Everything else looks fairly modern, though. It has dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB Type-C for charging and data. The 9i even has NFC for cashless payments and for pairing wireless accessories.

Conclusion

The Realme 9i sure is a great smartphone on its own. It boasts a refreshing design, an enormous and fast display, reliable performance, an ultra-sharp camera, and an impressive battery life with fast charging.

Realme-9i-Review-NoypiGeeks-5736

However, considering how some of its competitors already have 5G, those who want a future-proof phone might be disappointed to know that it lacks 5G connectivity. Also, the lack of an ultra-wide camera and that it runs on the last gen’s Android 11 OS can be a big bummer.

Still, if you can live with its drawbacks, you’re in for a treat with the Realme 9i.

Realme 9i price and availability in the Philippines

The Realme 9i, in its sole 6GB/128GB RAM and storage configuration, has a price of Php11,990 in the Philippines.

Pros

  • Refreshing, sturdy design
  • Large display, stereo speakers
  • Decent performance
  • Sharp camera
  • Long battery life, Fast charging

Cons

  • Still on Android 11
  • No 5G
  • No ultra-wide camera



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.