realme 9i Review

realme recently launched its latest affordable smartphone in India, the realme 9i, which is the successor to the realme 8i, is a mid-range smartphone featuring a 6nm Snapdragon 680 SoC, a 90 Hz display, and 33W fast charging. Let’s see what does the realme 9i brings to the table, here’s our realme 9i review.

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realme 9i Specifications

  • Display: 6.6-inch IPS display, Full HD+ resolution, 90 Hz refresh rate (5 levels – 30/483/50/60/90 Hz), Dragontail Pro Glass
  • Software: Android 11, realme UI 2.0
  • CPU: 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 SoC, up to 2.4 GHz octa-core processor (8x Kryo 265)
  • GPU: Adreno 610
  • Memory: 4 GB or 6 GB LPDDR4x RAM
  • Storage: 64 GB or 128 GB internal storage, expands up to 1 TB via microSD card
  • Main Camera: Triple cameras (50 MP primary + 2 MP macro + 2 MP B&W)
  • Selfie Camera: 16 MP f/2.1
  • Others: Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • Cellular: 4G LTE, dual SIM, dual standby
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh battery
  • Charging: 33W Dart Charge fast charging
  • Price: ₹13,999 (4 GB + 64 GB), ₹15,999 (6 GB + 128 GB)
  • Availability: 22nd January 2022 on realme.com, Flipkart, and other offline retail outlets

Design, Display, & Build

The realme 9i is the latest realme smartphone and it’s an upgrade to the realme 8i which was launched last year in September, the major change we see here is the 6nm Snapdragon 680 and the 33W fast charging, the rest seems similar to its predecessor. What we noticed is its 90 Hz display which appears to be degraded compared to the 120 Hz display on the realme 8i.

The backside has a glossy finish Stereo Prism design that reflects the patterns when light falls on it. You will see a triple camera setup on the top left side and realme branding at the bottom.

On the front side, the realme 9i flaunts a 6.6-inch IPS display with Full HD+ resolution and 90 Hz refresh rate with 5 levels – 30 Hz, 48 Hz, 50 Hz, 60 Hz, 90 Hz protected by Dragontail Pro Glass. The realme 8i offers a 120 Hz display which is higher than the current refresh rate on the successor realme 9i.

The phone offers a 50 MP camera on the backside and an in-display 16 MP selfie camera, stereo speakers for a better multimedia experience, and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner embedded on the power button for locking and unlocking the phone.

The right side has a power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner while the left side has volume keys and a triple-slot SIM tray that supports dual 4G SIM cards and a dedicated microSD card slot. The bottom side has a USB Type-C port and 3.5 mm audio jack as well as dual microphones (one at the top), and stereo speakers (one at the earpiece).

Software & User Interface

The realme 9i also boots with the same realme UI 2.0 as seen on several realme smartphones, it’s based on the Android 11 OS. A newer version of the operating system already exists, a few realme smartphones have already received it, but we aren’t sure about the version 3.0 update for the realme 9i, it’s based on the newer Android 12.

The Android 11 uses a security patch dated 5th December 2021 which seems the latest, the realme UI 2.0 has been seamlessly optimized for Android 11, with over 100+ customizations including theme color, dark modes, icon packs, and more.

Due to its 90 Hz display, the realme UI 2.0 feels smooth and light in weight. You will find bloatware on the phone, but that can be further removed if not required. As for the bloatware on the phone, you get a handful of third-party apps like Facebook, Josh, Dailyhunt, Booking.com, Moj, Snapchat, and a few more including apps from realme.

Hardware, Performance, & Gaming

realme 9i has used a 6nm Qualcomm chip, i.e. Snapdragon 680 octa-core SoC with Kryo 265 cores clocked up to 2.4 GHz. Compared with the predecessor which uses a MediaTek chip instead, there’s a slight performance decrease on the phone, although it’s a 6nm which acts as a battery-saving trait.

About the CPU, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 is a midrange SoC manufactured in a 6nm process consisting of 4+4 core configurations, four high-performance Kryo 265 Gold cores clocked at 2.4 GHz, and four power-efficient Kryo 265 Silver cores clocked at 1.9 GHz.

Furthermore, the chip integrates an Adreno 610 GPU for gaming, graphics applications, and GPU-intensive tasks. It has RAM expansion technology which extends the RAM up to 5 GB extra i.e. on its top variant 6 GB RAM can be extended till 11 GB (9 GB on 4 GB RAM variant).

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You will find two variants of the phone – 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage as the base variant and 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage as the top variant. The two colors include Prism Blue and Prism Black. The RAM is an LPDDR4X type and the storage is UFS 2.1 which can be expanded via a microSD card slot.

The price for the realme 9i starts at ₹13,999 for 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage variant whereas the price for its 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage variant is ₹15,999. The realme 9i is available from 22nd January 2022 on realme.com, Flipkart, and other offline retail outlets.

Cameras

Moving to the cameras on the realme 9i. you will find a 50 MP main camera on its triple camera setup, the rest two are 2 MP macro camera, and 2 MP B&W camera. No ultra-wide-angle or telephoto camera is found on the phone. The selfie camera on the front side of the smartphone is 16 MP f/2.1.

For its camera features, you can click 2x, 5x digital zoom photos, take macro shots, portraits, as well as Slo-mo, Time-Lapse, Extra HD, Pro, and Panorama. The camera records up to 1080p at 30 fps and no 60 fps as well as 4K video. The camera seems good if you are using it for clicking daylight shots (50 MP), there’s nothing much about the camera features.

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realme 9i Camera Samples

Battery Runtime & Charging

One of the key features of this phone is its fast charging, the realme 9i uses a 33W Dart Charger that charges the phone from 0% to 100% in about 70 minutes for a battery size of 5,000 mAh. The fast charging on the realme 9i is great and competes with many smartphones in this price range.

The smartphone lasts about 2 days on average use, the realme UI 2.0 is light and is optimized for battery performance, in addition, the newer 6nm CPU plays a major role in battery saving, overall the battery life is good, and the fast charging feature gives extra benefits.

Verdict

The Realme 9i is an affordable mid-range smartphone with features like a 90 Hz display, 33W fast charging, and stereo speakers. It equips a 6nm CPU that helps consume less power and offers an optimized performance. Other than that, you can make use of its RAM expansion technology to increase the total RAM. Overall, the realme 9i offers balanced performance, a good multimedia experience, and a fair battery life with support for fast charging, the price starts at ₹13,999 for its base variant. The realme 9i is a 4G smartphone, so if you are looking for a 5G smartphone, look for phones with 5G support.

Strength

  • 90 Hz display
  • 33W Fast Charging Support | 100% in ~70 minutes
  • Good battery life
  • Dual Stereo Speakers
  • Dedicated microSD card slot
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack

Weakness

  • No 5G Support