7.1
Score

Pros

  • Comfortable to hold
  • Robust build
  • Loud speakers
  • realme UI 2.0 is surprisingly good
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Screen isn't bright enough
  • Shoddy camera performance
  • Not powerful enough to run high-end games

realme 9i is a mid-range device that was released recently that comes with a 90Hz display, a triple camera setup and a 5,000mAh battery. Is it a good phone though? Well, we’re to try and provide you with an answer to that question.

realme 9i Review

Design and Build

The realme 9i has a pretty decent look about it with a smooth and reflective plastic back. It also has a textured design underneath the plastic that reminds me of a xylophone. At the top, you’ll find its triple cameras while at the bottom you’ll find the realme logo.

If the realme 9i looks incredibly familiar, well you’re not wrong as the design looks like it took a lot of cues from the OPPO Reno 7 and OPPO A96.

On the front, you’ll find the display as well as the selfie camera nestled at the top corner of the display. You will also find the power button on the right that doubles as a fingerprint sensor while on the left sits the volume rocker. At the bottom of the realme 9i, you’ll see a Type-C port as well as one of the speakers and the glorious headphone jack.

All in all, the realme 9i is a really comfortable phone to hold. It feels solid and sturdy enough that you won’t worry about it blowing up (exaggerating!) if you accidentally drop it. One thing to note is that the realme 9i is a huge fingerprint magnet so you might want to use a phone case or just give the phone a wipe-down often.

Display

The realme 9i comes with a 6.6-inch FHD+ IPS LCD display with a refresh rate of 90Hz. The display produces good colours and contrasts, making it suitable for watching films and movies. It isn’t really bright, so you could have some difficulty with it when using it outside.

Specification and Performance

For a mid-range smartphone, gaming on the realme 9i is adequate. Because the phone has a Snapdragon 680 SoC, I had to adjust the graphics settings on the lower side so that the device could run games properly. I played Genshin Impact, PES 2020, Eternium, and Apex Legends Mobile on the realme 9i.

The speakers on this thing are surprisingly good and are beyond what I expected. The last proper mid-range smartphone that I played around with was the POCO M4 Pro which also came with dual speakers but was nowhere as good as the ones here. The sound was pretty loud and clear so watching Netflix and YouTube videos was a blast on the realme 9i.

Other than that, the realme 9i comes with 4GB RAM that can be expanded virtually and 128GB UFS 2.1 internal storage that’s also expandable via microSD.

The realme 9i runs Android 11 with realme UI 2.0 on top of it and I have to say, I do like the look and feel of the operating system. The UI is pretty neat and tidy and runs quite smoothly. There are a few bloatware apps present on the device but those can be easily uninstalled.

I also love the fact that realme UI 2.0 includes a lot of custom additions here and there that are actually useful and does not at all feel tacked on.

Camera

The camera on the realme 9i is a triple camera setup with a 50MP main lens, a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP B&W lens. Safe to say that the realme9i’s camera is definitely not the device’s strongest feature. Colour reproduction is widely inconsistent and pictures taken oftentimes comes out quite muddy, bland and overexposed.

Photos taken at night are also quite disappointing with details lost in the shadows. In fact, the dedicated Night Mode on this thing produced even worse pictures than the normal camera! Oh and the less we talk about the macro camera, the better.

Here are some of the pictures I took with the realme 9i:

Battery Life

At 5,000mAh, I’m glad to say that the realme 9i’s battery life is one of the device’s main highlights. Even with moderate to heavy use the phone still managed to push through a full day without the need for me to charge until the next day. The 33W Dart Charge also charges the device relatively fast; a full charge (from 15%) took a little over an hour.

Conclusion

The realme 9i is a solid mid-range device that does a lot more good than bad, at least from my experience. The phone is pretty nice to hold, it is a decent entertainment device with good and loud dual speakers as well as touting a friendly UI and great battery life.

I just wish that realme had included a better camera system with the realme 9i. That would definitely take the device up a notch in terms of getting my recommendation.

Retailing at RM799 for the 4GB RAM model and RM869 for the 6GB RAM model on both the official realme stores on either Shopee or Lazada, the realme 9i is alright but it could be a lot better. However, if you have a few bucks to spare then you might as well get the OPPO A96. It’s pretty much the same phone but with better cameras.