Over the last few weeks, my hands were busy exploring the realme 9i, the latest addition to its 9 series. How much, you ask? The realme 9i is available for P11,990 SRP for the 6GB / 128 GB variant. Eager fans were able to avail of the early bird offer exclusively available on Shopee during its public release on May 5.
The realme 9i comes in two colors: Prism Blue and Prism Black, the unit with me being the latter. They say that black is a boring color for phones but I like it since it is just low key. realme is known for its unique back designs with every new release that matches the youthful and modern vibe of their market, and for the 9i they went with a stylish Stereo Prism Design. When it interacts with light, its refractions generate light prisms creating different patterns depending on the ambient light. It’s a head-turning phone! Although the grip was good, there were a few times that the phone slipped through my hand, so I unfortunately unintentionally dropped it. Also, I found myself having to wipe the back and the screen a few times since it gets smudged with fingerprints quite easily. The phone came with a free clear jelly case so I put it on right away to prevent my clumsy self from dropping it. The phone uses a plastic panel which is expected from a phone at its price point, but this one did not really feel cheap to the touch.
The front maximizes its screen size with a thin bezel on the top and a relatively thicker one on the chin.
On the left side of the phone is the dual SIM and microSD tray and the volume buttons. On the right side is the power button which also serves as its fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner recognized my thumbprint without delays.
The phone has a microphone at the top and bottom. The bottom also has the earphone jack, Dual Stereo speakers, and USB Type-C jack.
The realme 9i features a 6.6 inch LCD Display with a refresh rate of 90Hz. Everything looks sharp, crisp and clear. The front camera is housed on a cutout on the upper left corner of the screen which was not bothersome even when watching shows on Netflix or playing mobile games. The display leaned more on the cooler color temperature which made it comfortable even on extended use. It has a blue light filter which is perfect for use at night to reduce eye strain before sleep. The screen is good for this price range. I used the phone to watch Netflix outdoors at full brightness and the screen was bright enough.
The realme 9i features a high resolution 50MP AI Triple Camera setup which houses three lenses starting with the 50MP main camera, a 2MP black and white portrait lens, and a 2MP macro lens. Check out some raw sample shots below. The phone doesn’t come with an ultra-wide lens, but you can choose to shoot using the Extra HD mode so you can capture sharper images with more detail. And although its nighttime performance is okay using the right settings, I do not intend to use the realme 9i for serious low light photography. For videos, the camera does not come with stabilization so it’s a no for me especially with my shaky hands.
For selfies, the 16MP front camera works best outdoors and its portrait mode is decent enough in creating accurate separation from the background.
Battery and Performance
The realme 9i has a 5000mAH battery, which could last the whole day with normal usage. Definitely no need to bring a powerbank.
It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor. It can make use of up to 5GB of its internal storage to act as a Virtual RAM expansion. When playing Mobile Legends, each game of 20-30 minutes reduces battery by around 2-4% which I found to be good. Even at its highest settings, I experienced smooth gameplay with Mobile Legends, with negligible slowdowns during “clashes” (considering that the unit that I have is the 4GB demo unit, you could expect better performance with the 6GB phones that are being sold to the public). I could binge watch a Netflix series without needing to charge the phone more than once a day.
The phone comes with a USB Type-C charger with 33W Dart Charging. It took me an hour and twenty minutes to fully charge the realme 9i from 10% battery. Minimal downtime in between binge-watching or mobile games!
On its own, the realme 9i is a good mid-range phone. The photos and videos it produces are decent enough for daily social media use with today’s most used platforms – TikTok, Instagram Stories, Facebook and Twitter. The phone is decent enough with a good processor and it could be my main gaming and entertainment phone as the battery lasts the whole day.
For its pricepoint, it faces tough competition, but it has all the features one would be looking for with this budget.