Xiaomi has a catalog of mobiles in which it is easy to get lost. Now, in addition to those under its own brand, the Chinese manufacturer offers terminals under two other brands: Pocophone and Redmi. And it is in the latter where the manufacturer's cheapest devices have come to be. Phones like the recent Redmi Note 9, which I have had the opportunity to test for just over two weeks .
The new Redmi Note 9 family consists of three different models: the Redmi Note 9, the Redmi Note 9S and the Redmi Note 9 Pro. As you can imagine, the Redmi Note 9 is the cheapest and simplest model in specifications. Despite this, it has some strengths that we should take into account if we are looking for an economic mobile. Such as its huge battery or its four rear camera system. That is why I am going to tell you what the Redmi Note 9 offers and what I found after trying it for a few days .
|Redmi Note 9|
|screen||6.53 inches, FHD + resolution (2,340 x 1,080 pixels), 19.5: 9 aspect ratio, 450 nits maximum brightness, 1500: 1 contrast, Corning Gorilla Glass 5|
|Main chamber||Four sensors:|
48 MP main sensor, f / 1.79 aperture, 1.6 μm pixels, AF, 4-in-1 Super Pixel technology
8 MP ultra wide angle, f / 2.2, 1.12 μm pixels
2 MP macro, f / 2.4 aperture, 1.75 μm pixels
2 MP depth sensor, f / 2.4, 1.75 μm pixels
Video recording up to 1080p 30fps
|Camera takes selfies||13 MP sensor with f / 2.25 aperture, 1.12 μm pixels, AI portrait mode|
|Internal memory||64GB or 128GB of internal storage|
|Extension||Micro SD up to 512GB|
|Processor and RAM||MTK Helio G85 (eight cores up to 2 GHz), 3 or 4 GB of RAM|
|Battery||5,020 mAh, 18W fast charge, compatible with 9W wired reverse charging|
|Operating system||MIUI 11 on Android 10|
|Connections||4G LTE, dual band 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC|
|SIM||Dual Nano SIM|
|Design||Plastic back, colors: forest green, midnight gray and polar white|
|Dimensions||162.3 x 77.2 x 8.9 mm, 199 grams|
|Featured Features||Fingerprint reader on the back|
|Price||3 GB RAM + 64 GB: 200 euros|
4 GB RAM + 128 GB: 250 euros
Nice design, screen for improvement
To be an economic mobile you have to make some concessions and one of the most common is to use simpler materials. The Redmi Note 9 has a plastic back , although it is no less attractive for that. Do not think of a plastic back like the ones that mobile phones carried several years ago. It is a plastic with a glossy finish and with a strong touch. In sight, no one possibly realizes that it is not glass.
On the other hand, I think Xiaomi has hit the mark with the color palette it has chosen for the Redmi Note 9. The model I have tested is forest green , a very beautiful color. But so are the other two finishes, with a gray with blue touches and a white with pink highlights .
The rear camera module is positioned in the central part and forming a kind of square with rounded edges. Just below this module we have the fingerprint reader . A reader that, without being the fastest on the market, works quite well . I liked the arrangement of the camera module, since at least it is different from what we are seeing in the vast majority of devices this year.
The terminal frames are metallic and offer robustness to the whole. On the right side (looking at the mobile from the front) we have the power button and the volume button. On the opposite side we only find the tray for the cards, while at the bottom we have a USB Type-C connector for charging and a 3.5 mm jack for headphones , something that we increasingly see in fewer phones.
As for the screen, the Redmi Note 9 equips a 6.53-inch panel with a FHD + resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels . It has a 19.5: 9 aspect ratio, as the front camera is placed in a hole in the upper left. A hole that is larger than what we have seen on other devices.
On the other hand, the screen offers a maximum brightness of 450 nits . It is an excessively fair brightness and makes the screen not visible properly in bright sunlight. On the other hand, the screen presents the typical shading of the cheaper panels. This effect is very noticeable, for example around the hole in the screen for the camera.
For the rest, the screen of the Redmi Note 9 reproduces the colors correctly , it is quite sharp with good quality images, the blacks are quite deep and it has good viewing angles.
And if we don't like how it looks by default, we can always change the color temperature and the color scheme from Settings.
Autonomy to power
The technical set of the Redmi Note 9 is simple, I will not deceive you. But among all its features, one stands out: its battery. We have no less than 5,020 mAh , which, together with a not too demanding hardware, as we will now see, offers us a really good autonomy.
Now that most of us leave the house less, the Redmi Note 9's battery has lasted for almost two full days . With a somewhat greater use, including a photo session to test the camera and some games, I have been able to reach a day and a half without problems. Even with very intensive use we will not have problems finishing the day.
On the other hand, and despite its tight price, the Redmi Note 9 has 18W fast charging . It even supports wired reverse charging up to 9W max.
As for the rest of the technical set, under the hood we find a Helio G85 processor from MediaTek . It is a chip with eight cores that operate at a maximum speed of 2 GHz and an ARM G52 MC2 GPU up to 1000 MHz.
Accompanying the processor we have 3 or 4 GB of RAM , depending on the version we choose. The internal storage also varies, which will be 64 or 128 GB respectively . Of course, we can expand it using a Micro SD card of up to 512 GB.
The model that Xiaomi sent me for the test is the most basic, with 3 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. It is a correct technical set for daily use, but one that will suffer when we try to demand it . For example, multitasking with 2-3 undemanding apps works fine. However, when we increase the number of open applications or the applications are heavier, it is easy for us to have a little lag or jerks when opening the applications.
I'd say this is due more to the amount of RAM than the processor itself. MIUI is a demanding customization layer and nowadays 3 GB of RAM can be a bit short. Despite this, I have been able to play games like Call of Duty without too much trouble . You just have to have a little patience in loading the application and know that the game will run with low graphic quality.
On these lines you have the result of the most common performance tests. The result is in line with that of computers with a Helio G80 processor, such as the Realme 6I, and is superior to that of terminals with a Snapdragon 665 chip, such as the Oppo A5.
Four cameras on the rear and a large sensor, does it take good photos?
On paper, the Redmi Note 9 offers us a quite attractive photographic set. On its back we find four lenses, with a 48 MP main sensor with f / 1.79 aperture and 1.6 μm pixels with Super Pixel 4 in 1 technology.
Accompanying the main sensor we have an 8 MP ultra-wide angle with f / 2.2 aperture and that offers us a 118-degree field of view. We also have a 2 MP Macro lens with f / 2.4 aperture and capable of focusing from just 2 cm away.
And to finish off the rear set, we have a depth sensor with 2 MP resolution and f / 2.4 aperture . This has 1.75 μm pixels and will be in charge of helping with Portrait Mode.
On the front of the Redmi Note 9 we find a 13 MP sensor with f / 2.25 aperture . This sensor has 1.12 μm pixels and an angle of 74 degrees.
And now that we know what the Redmi Note 9 offers on a technical level, let's take a look at how the Camera application works.
In the lower part of the screen (holding the mobile vertically) we have the shutter button, the button to change the camera and the direct access to the gallery. Just above we see a complete carousel of modes, with direct access to practically all the modes that the device has . We do not have the usual "More" option to enter the rest of the modes.
At the top of the screen we will have direct access icons to flash, HDR, scene recognition, filters and three vertical stripes that will show us another menu. In it we can enter Settings and we will have the rest of the modes that do not fit in the main carousel, the most notable being the Macro Mode.
Regarding the settings offered by the application, only the options “Correct distortion in ultra-large shots” and “Correct distorted faces in group photos” have caught my attention. We can also change the Image Quality between three options and change the Hz so that flickering does not appear , something that is very well thought out.
Photo with main sensor
As you have been able to read, the photographic set of the Redmi Note 9 does not look bad. How does it behave in reality? We are going to see it with different examples.
The main sensor offers a decent quality when we use it in good light conditions, but that is below what I expected from a Xiaomi terminal . Despite having 48 MP resolution, it is easy to see the lack of detail as soon as we enlarge the photo. On the other hand, the terminal tends to oversaturate in the vast majority of situations, even with the scene recognition system disabled.
Normal Mode vs Night Mode
When the light is scarcer, or it is directly at night, the Redmi Note 9 suffers a lot. We can take photos for basic use, but the camera generates a lot of noise and the definition drops.
Of course, we can greatly improve the quality of night photos by using the Night Mode . This achieves a higher level of detail and better control of the lights.
Photo Portrait Mode
Another of the modes that has become essential in any mobile is the Portrait Mode. The Redmi Note 9 has a depth sensor, precisely intended to help with this mode.
And the truth is that it does, since we have a pretty good cut . It also offers us a very natural blur . So, considering the price of the device, we have a good Portrait Mode.
Ultra wide angle photo
If we go to the ultra wide angle, the usual thing will happen to us in such cheap mobiles. We are going to have a photograph with a different point of view, but we are going to lose a lot of definition . Also, with the wide angle the overexposure is maintained , so it must be some problem with the image processing at the software level.
With an aperture f / 2.2, we can take advantage of the wide angle in good light, but it will lose a lot of quality when the light is poor.
2x zoom photo
It is worth noting that the Redmi Note 9 offers us a 2x zoom option . It is a completely digital zoom , since the device does not have a telephoto lens, but it offers quite acceptable results.
And I just need to tell you how the Macro sensor behaves . This sensor is activated automatically when the mobile detects that we are very close to the object to be photographed. And the truth is, for a 2 MP sensor, it doesn't do a bad job.
The quality is quite acceptable if we have good light and we can take very curious photographs. It is a sensor that is now fashionable among budget and mid-range models, so we have already seen it in several devices.
And to finish with the main camera, I just wanted to comment that it is capable of recording video with 1080p resolution at 30fps . On the other hand, the terminal offers an electronic stabilization system that applies a fairly aggressive cut. If we do not want this crop we can deactivate the stabilization from Camera Settings.
Photo with front camera
On the front of the Redmi Note 9 we have a 13 MP sensor, as I have already mentioned. The truth is that this sensor does not do a great job . The image it offers appears somewhat washed out, even when the light is good. Colors are pale and the resulting image is severely lacking in detail.
It has an HDR option, but we will not notice any difference when activating it. If we have a sky with a lot of light, it will be burned anyway. We also have a Portrait Mode, which makes a good crop and applies a quite acceptable blur .
Front camera photo in Portrait mode
Conclusions and price
Many of the "problems" that I have described in this analysis are present in the vast majority of mobile phones with a low price. But for that we are here, to tell you what you can and cannot expect from each device.
The Redmi Note 9 is a simple mobile , with an acceptable technical set for basic use and with a photographic system that follows the same line. Its strong point is, without a doubt, its autonomy .
Despite all this, it is a mobile that we should not rule out if we are looking for a device for basic use . The Redmi Note 9 can be found with an official price of 200 euros in its version with 3 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. If we want 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage we will have to pay 250 euros.
But perhaps this device has the enemy at home. I say this because the Redmi Note 9S is priced at 230 euros and offers us a Qualcomm processor, a better panel, cameras with a little more resolution and more RAM.