The Realme 9 5G and Realme 9 5G Speed Editions are new additions to the 9 series. The launch was a bit of a surprise as the company has launched three other smartphones in the same series over the past two months. The Realme 9 series covers a wider price range than the previous generation, with more options to choose from. This is nice but it can also cause a bit of confusion to potential buyers. I will focus primarily on the vanilla, Realme 9 5G in this review to see how it compares to other smartphones in the same price range.
Price of Realme 9 5G in India
Realme 9 5G worth Rs. 14,999 in India for the base variant which has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Another variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage costs Rs. 17,499. This smartphone is available in two colors, Stargaze White and Meteor Black, and I have the first one for this review.
Realme 9 5G design
The Realme 9 5G has a familiar design and it reminds me of other Realme phones I’ve used in the past. The large display has a camera hole in the upper left corner. It has a thin border on the top and sides while the chin is larger. It is unobtrusive and acceptable on a phone at this price. Realme has used plastic for the frame and back which helps maintain a weight of up to 188g.
The power button on the right has an integrated fingerprint scanner while the volume button is on the opposite side. The buttons are all placed towards the center of the frame and are easily accessible even with the use of one hand. The phone looks thin, measuring 8.55mm in thickness.
At the bottom, the Realme 9 5G has a 3.5mm headphone jack, a main microphone, a Type-C USB port and speakers. The top of the phone is completely empty. The back of the Realme 9 5G is flat with curved sides that make it comfortable to hold. It has three cameras housed in a rectangular module that stands out slightly. This causes the phone to wobble on a flat surface, which I don’t like.
The Stargaze White finish has a pattern on the back that changes color when viewed under light. The back panel does pick up dirt but this is not easy to see. The Realme includes a clear holster inside the box.
Realme 9 5G specifications and software
The Realme 9 5G features a 6.5 -inch LCD display with full HD+ resolution and a maximum refresh rate of 90Hz. Realme has chosen the MediaTek Dimensity 810 5G octa-core SoC. The phone has a 5,000mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging. You also get a compatible charger in the box. The tray on the Realme 9 5G has two nano-SIM slots and a microSD card slot for storage expansion. The phone also supports Bluetooth 5.1, dual-band Wi-Fi and six satellite navigation systems.
In terms of software, it runs Realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11. My unit runs the Android Mac 2022 security patch. The UI is simple and easy to use, which is nice especially if you’re a first time Realme user. You can toggle between a traditional three -button layout or swipe gestures for navigation. It also has features like a smart sidebar, which is a floating carousel of shortcuts to your favorite apps and actions.
Realme UI 2.0 offers customization options to change icon styles, color schemes, fonts and icon layouts. Inside the settings app, the Realme Lab section has experimental features for you to try. One such feature is Sleep Capsule, which prevents you from using the app after a certain amount of time to help you sleep without interruption.
I found a large amount of bloat software preinstalled on the device. Some of these apps like FinShell Pay and Theme Store send spam notifications during the review period. Alternatively, third -party apps can be uninstalled to reclaim storage space.
Realme 9 5G performance and battery life
The Realme 9 5G offers good performance and I have never seen any dampness with regular use. The display switches between 60Hz and 90Hz depending on what you are doing. You can also lock it at 90Hz which makes scrolling very smooth. You can choose between Vivid and Gentle color modes, depending on your preferences.
Watching videos is fun but a single speaker doesn’t produce a very interesting sound. The Redmi Note 11 is a direct competitor at this price, and offers an AMOLED display as well as dual speakers, so not having it on the Realme 9 5G is a bit disappointing. The side -mounted fingerprint scanner on the Realme 9 5G quickly reads fingerprints and doesn’t require much effort to unlock the phone. Face recognition is also fast.
My review unit has 6GB of RAM and allows me to reset up to 5GB of storage as RAM. Multitasking is easy and I can jump between different apps without the app in the background having to reload. App loading time is also good.
The phone was successful in the synthetic benchmark, scoring 372,099 points in AnTuTu. In Geekbench 5’s single -core and multi -core tests, it scored 609 and 1,830 points, respectively. In the 3DMark Sling Shot test, the phone scored 3,475 points.
Casual play goes smoothly without any problems. Even Call Of Duty: Mobile runs at ‘Medium’ graphics settings and ‘Medium’ frame rates by default, and can be played without any stuttering. I played the game for 15 minutes which resulted in the battery level dropping by four percent, and the phone was barely hot to the touch after that.
The Realme 9 5G offers excellent battery life and you can easily use it for one and a half days on a full charge. In our HD video loop test, the phone managed to run for 16 hours and 38 minutes which is an excellent time. The supplied 18W charger is capable of charging it to about 27 percent in 30 minutes and about 52 percent in an hour. Fully charging the phone takes about two hours.
Realme 9 5G camera
The Realme 9 5G has a 48 -megapixel main camera with an f/1.8 aperture that filters out pixel barrel photos to 12 megapixels by default. You don’t get an ultra wide angle camera on the Realme 9 5G which I think is a huge loss. The other two are black and white portrait cameras and macro cameras. For selfies, it has a 16 -megapixel camera. The camera app is quite loaded and has a variety of shooting modes. It has a quick toggle for HDR as well as AI scene recognition. There’s a new Street Mode filter that applies a high -contrast, high -saturation look to the photos you take.
Daytime camera performance is good. The phone can measure light correctly and automatically enables HDR in bright scenes. I find AI too aggressive with vegetables, making plants and trees look artificial. The output from the main camera is good when viewed as it is, but the magnification of these shots reveals a bit of missing detail. The ultra wide angle camera will give this phone more versatility.
Close -up photos were nice and the phone managed to capture clear photos as long as I was at the right distance. It also manages background blur well. Portrait shots are sharp and have excellent edge detection, along with ample background blur, which can be adjusted before taking a shot. Macro photos are average and limited to 2 megapixels in resolution.
Low light camera performance is average when shooting in normal ‘Photo’ mode. Photos look soft and objects at a distance have a watercolor -like effect. Night mode makes no significant difference on output. It produces slightly better detail in the dark areas of the scene, but the output has a yellowish tint and looks like a filter has been applied. The phone also doesn’t stabilize the capture, so shaking causes unwanted blur.
Selfies look good during the day as well as dim light. In dim light, the Realme 9 uses a screen flash that helps get better results. Selfie portraits are nice, but the phone uses a beautification filter by default.
Video recording surpasses at 1080p for the main camera as well as the selfie shooter. Realme 9 5G does not stabilize recording by default. It has an ‘Ultra Steady’ mode that trims the frame slightly to try to stabilize the recording, and this helps improve the video. Dim light footage does have little detail.
Overall, the Realme 9 5G’s camera performance is good during the day, while dim light conditions are challenging for it.
Realme has launched so many smartphones priced below Rs. 20,000 lately, its models and series overlap, making it difficult to choose the right one. The Realme 9 5G has a very simple design and the specs, while nice, won’t make buyers queue for it, in my opinion. The Realme 9 5G shares a lot of hardware with the Realme 8S 5G (Review) and it seems that the company has lowered some of the specs of the old model to achieve a lower price.
The 6GB RAM variant for the Realme 9 5G costs Rs. 17,499, while the same variant of the specs for the Realme 8s 5G is priced at just Rs. 500 more. The latter will offer better value as it has a higher resolution 64 megapixel camera and 33W fast charging.
The base variant of Realme 9 5G is priced at Rs. 14,999 and better value for money than I tested. If you’re a regular user, you might consider this, but I would recommend you look at the Redmi Note 11 instead as it has an AMOLED display, stereo speakers and 33W charging. It doesn’t have 5G, but no network provider in India offers it right now, so it’s probably not a big loss.