Realme 9i 5G is unlikely to conquer the world. A smartphone with too many compromises

Realme 9i 5G is a smartphone full of paradoxes. It is both better and more flawed than the basic version of this model. If the manufacturer hadn’t made several incomprehensible decisions, we would have had a potential hit on the cheaper smartphone market.

Realme 9i 5G is assumed to be an improved version of Realme 9i, which came to Pakistan a few months ago so ignored the much cheaper Infinix mobile price in Pakistan and went all for it. The most prominent and distinguishing feature of the new model is, of course, the presence of a 5G modem, which gives us access to a new-generation mobile network. What else does Realme 9i 5G differ from its predecessor? I decided to check it out.

Realme 9i 5G – DESIGN AND QUALITY

The new Realme smartphone stands out from the crowd. The housing of the device is made of plastic, which the manufacturer calls a “Vintage CD”. The backs have a specific gloss, reminiscent of the one we know from compact discs.

The second distinguishing feature here is the lack of an island with cameras, which is an integral part of most smartphones on the market, including the Realme 9i model. In the case of 9i 5G, the camera lenses were simply “melted” into the housing.

The frame of the device is also made of plastic and the plastic is always cheaper, quite similar to the Vivo new model 2022 price in Pakistan. The body, however, seems very solid and resistant to damage. The Realme 9i 5G housing is more angular than the rounded design of the basic 9i model. I must admit that this new design appeals to me more. Realme 9 5G is simply a nice smartphone that fits well in the hand.

However, I do not fully understand why the manufacturer placed only one mono speaker on the device housing, while Realme 9i had stereo speakers. This is the first, but unfortunately not the last compromise that the Chinese decided on in the allegedly “improved” model.

Realme 9i 5G – SCREEN

The smartphone has a display with a diagonal of 6.6 inches and a resolution of 1080 x 2412 pixels (400 ppi), which was made of IPS LCD technology. This is a fairly decent display, which also offers a higher refresh rate (90 Hz) than, for example, the basic iPhone 14.

The problem is that its maximum brightness is lower than in … Realme 9i. In the older model, it was 480 nits, in the newer one, it is 80 units lower. 400 nits of brightness for a smartphone for PLN 1,100 is of course not a tragic result. However, I do not understand why the newer version of the same device has a darker screen.

Realme 9i 5G – SPECIFICATIONS AND PERFORMANCE

Realme 9i had a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chip. In the case of the 9i 5G model, the manufacturer had to use a different processor. Snapdragon 680 does not offer a 5G modem. It fell on the MediaTek chip, specifically on the Dimensity 810 model. And it was a good decision because the 810 beats the 680 in most benchmarks – both in CPU and GPU tests.

When it comes to RAM, compared to the 9i model, the manufacturer added 2 GB of memory. In total, we have 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of space for user data. In the cheaper variant, it comes with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory.

In the GeekBench 5 benchmark, Realme 9i 5G scored 604 points in the single-core test and 1805 points in the multi-core test. The fact that the Dimensity 810 is faster than the Snapdragon 680 does not automatically mean that we are dealing with a speed demon here.

Realme 9i offers quite average performance, which in the case of a smartphone for about PLN 1,100 is satisfactory. During everyday use, I did not encounter any major problems here. The phone handles Android 12 quite decently, although it sometimes catches a “lag”.

Realme 9i 5G – CAMERA

Realme 9i 5G is equipped with a main camera with three lenses:

  • main – 50 MP, f/1.8, 26 mm 1/2.76″, 0.64µm, PDAF;
  • telephoto – 2MP, 46mm
  • macro – 2MP

Photos from the main camera lens taken in good lighting conditions look very good, but the same can be written in about 90 percent of other smartphones. In the case of night photos, the situation looks much worse – they are quite noisy and lose their sharpness.

I can only write about the other two lenses that they are. The macro eye still makes sense and sometimes you can capture interesting details with it. The portrait lens is completely incapable of … portraits. The bokeh effect is very artificial here, and the photographed object looks as if someone added it to the photo using Photoshop.

Realme 9i 5G – BATTERY

This is not the end of unpleasant surprises from Realme. The 9i 5G model has a battery with the same capacity as its predecessor (5000 mAh), but it works shorter on one charge. The situation is improved by turning off the 5G network (but why do we need 5G then?). The manufacturer should of course take into account that 5G drains the battery more and equip the new model with a larger battery to overcome the problem of its faster draining.

To make matters worse, the Realme 9i 5G only offers charging up to 18 watts, while in the box with the 9i we could find a 33-watt charger. This is a completely absurd decision on the part of Realme, which cannot be explained in any way. While the older model could charge to 100 percent in about 70-80 minutes, in the case of the 9i 5G it is as much as 160-170 minutes.

Realme 9i 5G – SUMMARY

Realme 9i 5G was supposed to be an upgraded version of the basic Realme 9i and cheaper compared to the Samsung mobile price. The problem is that the tested smartphone in several respects (no stereo speakers, screen, battery, or charging speed) loses to its predecessor. Of course, it also has its advantages, which include the original design, a faster processor, and 6 GB of RAM. However, I must admit that I expected more from it.

In the amount of up to Rs. 60000 (USD. 266), you can find several more interesting proposals on the market today. These include Xiaomi Redmi Note 11, POCO M3 Pro 5G, or OPPO Reno5 Z 5G.

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