Gone are the days where we can get a 48MP quad-camera phone or a Full HD+ display smartphone under Rs 10,000. Smartphone prices in India are moving in the upward direction even since the Coronavirus pandemic began. Due to increased GST, depreciating rupee and tough times faced by smartphone brands, they are left with no other option, but to increase the prices of both existing and new devices. These factors have hit almost every brand in the country, including India's largest brand right now Xiaomi. Due to this, we have seen the Redmi Note 9 launching at a starting price of Rs 11,999. It is the first Redmi Note phone to breach the Rs 10,000 price mark in India. To fill the gap between the standard Redmi number series and Redmi Note series, Xiaomi has brought a new device called 'Redmi 9 Prime.'
The Redmi 9 Prime is probably the best smartphone under Rs 10,000 on-paper. It has a Full HD+ display, quad-camera setup, massive battery with fast charging support and comes in unique colour options. There lies a massive responsibility on the shoulders of Redmi 9 Prime because it is carrying the legacy of Redmi Note series. Here's what I think about the Redmi 9 Prime after using it for a period of three days.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime Hands-on: Design and Display
The Redmi 9 Prime comes with a plastic body in the back, but that doesn’t make the device look bad in any way. It looks very elegant and simple from the back. An interesting thing in the design that I noticed was the split cameras. There is a quad-camera at the back, but it is split into two parts.
On the front you will see a 6.53-inch big screen. One thing that was clearly visible on the screen was the thick bezels which is not something you would expect from smartphones today. There is a waterdrop notch above the screen which houses the front camera and also the speakerphone.
The left side of the smartphone is where you will find the SIM card tray. But you can also insert a microSD card since it is a three-slot tray. The volume rocker and power button is on the right side of the Redmi 9 Prime. The buttons are very clicky, and it feels nice on pressing them again and again. At the bottom of the smartphone, you will find a USB-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, loudspeaker, and the main microphone. There is also an IR blaster up top.
So overall, the Redmi 9 Prime has a very simple and sober design. Even though it is not something over the top or very elegant, it is still very functional. The phone comes in unique colour options- Matte Black, Mint Green, Space Blue and Sunrise Flare (which you are seeing in the images).
Let’s talk about the display of the Redmi 9 Prime. It comes with a 6.53-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD panel with a screen resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. This means that there is a pixel density of 395ppi, which is good for a smartphone priced under Rs 10,000. For the protection of the glass from the scratches and other damages, there is Corning Gorilla Glass on top.
One thing to remember is that it is a budget smartphone so we can’t really expect it to be too good on the display front. But it is quite decent from what most of us expected. The smartphone is said to come with a brightness capacity of up to 400 nits, and from my experience, it is true. The colours on the screen are really crisp and accurate to the most part.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime Hands-On: Hardware and Software
Unlike the Redmi Note 9 which has the MediaTek Helio G85 SoC, the Redmi 9 Prime ships with the MediaTek Helio G80 chipset. The phone comes in two variants- 4GB+64GB and 4GB+128GB, and there's a dedicated microSD card slot as well for storage expansion. Day-to-day performance is very decent and the phone runs PUBG Mobile at Smooth+Ultra settings, which again is good for a budget phone. Since it is a new chipset, the performance of the smartphone will have to be evaluated thoroughly.
All of the Xiaomi smartphones runs on MIUI. This one is no different. Out of the box, the Redmi 9 Prime is running on MIUI 11 on top of Android 10. Xiaomi has also announced the MIUI 12 officially, so even it will be making its way to the smartphone sometime soon. The user experience is very similar.
Like almost every Android smartphone, there are multiple home screens where the apps can be accessed. Navigations buttons are on the bottom. The smartphone comes with Facebook, Google Suite, LinkedIn, Netflix, WPS Office, and a few simple games pre-installed.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime Hands-On: Camera
There is a quad-camera setup on the rear side of the smartphone. Unlike what we saw in recent times- there's no 48MP primary camera on the Redmi 9 Prime. The primary camera here is a 13MP sensor paired with an 8MP ultra-wide-angle sensor, a 5MP macro sensor and a 2MP depth sensor. For shooting selfies and video calling, there is an 8MP sensor in the front.
Here are some images clicked on the Redmi 9 Prime.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime Hands-On: Connectivity and Battery Life
The Redmi 9 Prime is not a 5G smartphone. But it comes with Dual-SIM, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, IR Blaster, GPS, FM Radio, and a USB Type-C port. I couldn’t see the NFC support, which means that the smartphone might not be coming with NFC support for our region. There's an IR Blaster as well on top.
As for the battery, there is a 5020mAh unit inside the Redmi 9 Prime. I could use the smartphone for a decent amount of time without charging it again. If charged fully, I believe it can even run up to 2 days if it is not used very heavily. Along with that, there is also 18W fast charging support, so the Redmi 9 even charges very fast. However, do make a note that Xiaomi is bundling just 10W charger inside the retail box of Redmi 9 Prime.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime Hands-On: Conclusion
Xiaomi has cut some corners like not including the fast charger inside the retail box, opting for plastic body and removing 48MP primary sensor on the Redmi 9 Prime to achieve the starting price of Rs 9,999. The Redmi 9 Prime comes in two variants- 4GB+64GB priced at Rs 9,999, while the 4GB+128GB model costs Rs 11,999. For the asking price, it is a really good smartphone, considering there's no smartphone under Rs 10,000 with the Helio G80 SoC, and in fact, a Full HD+ display. Watch out this space for the full review of Redmi 9 Prime.