Review of Xiaomi Redmi 9 with NFC

A detailed review of Redmi 9: the optimal budget employee with NFC and a battery of 5020 mAh.
Global Version Xiaomi Redmi 9 64GB ROM 4GB RAM (Brand New / Sealed) redmi9, 32, Smartphone, Mobile, Telephone

Smartphones of the Redmi line continue to focus on pragmatic users who are not used to overpaying for unnecessary functions. Redmi 9 is a logical continuation of the series, which can be described as “maximum features at minimum cost.” The smartphone is equipped with a modern 8-core processor, a large Full HD + screen and an impressive 5020 mAh battery. Also, the smartphone has been installed the recently demanded NFC module for contactless payments. It sounds great, but let’s not forget that this is a budget device, so the manufacturer had to save some money. Actually, in the article I will tell you in detail about all the advantages and disadvantages of the new Redmi 9, backing up the review with various tests and personal impressions of the 3-week use of the device.

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Specifications Redmi 9 :

  • Screen : IPS 6.53 “with FullHD + 1080 x 2240 resolution, 400 nits brightness, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Chipset : 8-core Mediatek Helio G80 (2 cores Cortex-A75 @ 2 GHz + 6 cores Cortex-A55 @ 1.8 GHz), 12 nm process technology + graphics accelerator Mali-G52 MC2
  • RAM : 3 GB or 4 GB LPDDR4X
  • Built-in memory : 32 GB or 64 GB eMMC 5.1 + expansion slot with memory cards
  • Quad camera: Main — 13 MP, f / 2.2, 28mm (wide), 1 / 3.1 “, 1.12µm, PDAF, Ultra-wide-angle — 8 MP, f / 2.2, 118˚, 1 / 4.0”, 1.12µm; macro lens — 5 MP, f / 2.4, auxiliary camera for determining the depth — 2 MP, f / 2.4
  • Front camera : 8 MP, f / 2.0
  • Wireless interfaces : WiFi 802.11 b / g / n / ac, dual-band 2.4 GHz / 5GHz, IR transmitter, Bluetooth 5.0, navigation with GPS satellites, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo, A-GPS, FM radio
  • Communication : 2G — 850/900/1800/1900, 3G — HSDPA 850/900/1700 (AWS) / 1900/2100, 4G — B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B7 / B8 / B20 / B28 / B38 / B40 / B41
  • Optional : NFC (region dependent), fingerprint reader, magnetic compass, infrared transmitter for controlling household appliances
  • Battery : 5020 mAh
  • Operating System : MIUI 11 based on Android 10 (MIUI 12 coming soon)
  • Size : 163.3 x 77 x 9.1 mm
  • Weight : 198 g

Regarding prices, in most stores you can find both a version with an NFC module and without it. The second option costs a little cheaper, but the savings are insignificant, so of course it is better to take the version with the NFC module.

Packaging and equipment

Consistently high-quality and durable box with a picture of the model on the front. In the corner, you can see a logo that reminds that the manufacturer of the smartphone is the Xiaomi corporation. With easy acces to the Google apps you use most, you can easily access Google apps and services. Surely many are aware that Honor smartphones (direct competitors of Redmi) have problems from sanctions from the United States, which is why they are supplied without Google services and applications.

There are 2 versions available for sale: the younger with 3GB / 32GB and the older 4GB / 64GB. Available in Carbon Gray, Sunset Purple and Ocean Green.

In the review, the younger version 3GB / 32GB in Sunset Purple colors.

Includes: smartphone, documentation, cable, charger and transparent silicone case. There is also a protective film on the screen.

About charger and charging speed

The smartphone comes with a standard 10W charger, which is primarily due to the economy.

The charging is quite high quality and gives out even a little more than the stated 2A.

Let’s take a look at the charging process. After a slight warm-up with a current of 1A, the adapter goes into maximum mode, giving out 10W. After the main capacity is set, the charge current begins to drop smoothly. The whole process takes 3 hours and 21 minutes .

For those who are used to putting their smartphone on charge at night, this is a normal result, but if you often charge in the middle of the day, then this charging speed may not please you. However, the smartphone itself supports faster 18W charging, which has been verified empirically. I have a good Uslion charger with PD 3.0 support at 18W, which I have been using for half a year, and I re-tested it on it.

The picture looks the same: a slight warm-up at 1A and then turning on full power. The charger switched to 6V mode, the current reached the maximum 3A, that is, the charge was really carried out with a power of 18W. And of course it took less time — 2 hours 36 minutes .

But of course, the main time saving occurs during the first 30 minutes of charging, when maximum power is turned on. If with a standard 10W adapter the smartphone manages to gain only 19% in 30 minutes , then with an 18W charger the battery manages to gain 33% in 30 minutes .

Appearance and ergonomics

The 6.53 “smartphone fits well in the hand, although the dimensions are already on the verge of convenience. Thanks to the aspect ratio of 19.5: 9, the Redmi 9 is not too wide and it is comfortable to hold. The thickness is small — only 9.1 mm, especially considering the 5000 battery mAh Around the display you can see small frames, in the lower part there is a larger protrusion, but in general everything corresponds to modern trends.

A neat drop-shaped notch for the front camera takes up almost no useful area from the screen, the screen-to-body ratio is about 83.2%.

The frame and back of the smartphone are made of plastic, which has a small notch in the form of circles, diverging from the block with cameras. This texture adds tenacity to the body and actually eliminates the problem of the body’s soiling — prints are not visible on it. The body is painted in a pleasant gradient that changes from blue at the top to purple at the bottom.

The block with cameras was placed strictly in the center. The main module contains: an ultra wide-angle lens, a wide-angle lens, an auxiliary lens for determining the depth of the scene, and under them a fingerprint scanner. By the way, the scanner is excellent and there are no questions at all about its work: unlocking is always quick and accurate. And in the additional module there is a macro lens for shooting objects at close range and a LED used as a flash.

The physical volume and lock control buttons can be found in their usual place. The buttons do not dangle and are pressed with a distinct click.

The SIM card tray is located on the opposite side. Here is a full-fledged 2 + 1 tray, that is, you can simultaneously use 2 sim cards and a micro SD memory card. The 256 GB memory card is normally detected by the smartphone and works correctly.

IR transmitter for controlling household appliances in their rightful place. What is common for Xiaomi smartphones is very rare for other smartphones. Previously, IR transmitters were still in inexpensive LeEco smartphones, but the brand has sunk into oblivion … And now, except for Xiaomi, they can be found only in expensive Huawei models.

We turn the smartphone over to the other side and we see a symmetrical type C for charging and connecting to a PC, which is placed in the center. The audio speaker is to the left, there is only one here. The volume is high, albeit with a predominance of high frequencies. It copes with its task completely, watching video or playing with sound through the speaker is quite comfortable, and for music it is better to use headphones. By the way, a 3.5 mm headphone output is also provided here.

In general, we have before us a practical model, with good ergonomics and modern appearance.

Screen

The most important change in comparison with its predecessor is the transition from HD + resolution to Full HD +, which undoubtedly has a positive effect on the quality of the image and its detail. Redmi 9 sets a new standard for budget smartphones and competitors will now have to match. The same Realme C3, which is considered a direct competitor, is equipped only with an HD screen, which noticeably affects the picture quality.

The maximum brightness of 400 nits is sufficient for indoor or outdoor use, although there is no longer any special stock. Whether it’s outdoors or indoors, the brightness is almost always turned to maximum. But I want to praise the minimum level of brightness, in complete darkness it is very comfortable for me to read Internet pages.

  • For opponents of the cutout, it is possible to hide it programmatically.
  • Smartphone control is carried out using on-screen buttons or gestures.
  • There is a manual adjustment of color temperature and contrast.

The color rendition is pleasant, the picture is not distorted at an angle.

Except for black, which is lightened diagonally and the image loses contrast. This behavior is typical for any IPS screens and does not interfere in real use.

The uniformity of filling the white area is good, there are no yellow spots or darker areas. The brightness uniformity of the backlighting is average, in the central part it is increased by 17% in comparison with the areas at the edges, but visually it does not strike the eye.

The uniformity of black, as for IPS, is excellent, there is no flare over the screen area and no backlight leakage around the edges.

There is no screen flickering at any brightness setting, the smartphone is comfortable to use even in the dark. With a ripple rate of up to 15% on Redmi 9, we get the following results:

  • 100% brightness — 1.3% ripple ratio
  • 70% brightness — 1.3% ripple ratio
  • 50% brightness — 1.3% ripple ratio
  • 20% brightness — ripple factor 2%
  • 1% brightness — 14% ripple ratio

Software part

The smartphone runs on MIUI 11, which in turn is based on Android 10. Updates come regularly, in the very near future there will be a major update on MIUI 12.

The system is preinstalled with Google services and applications, a whole folder is actually allocated for them, and there is everything that you may need, from the Google Pay payment system to the Google Drive cloud storage. There is also a folder with Xiaomi applications, among which are: compass, mi remote and FM radio. There are other pre-installed apps like Facebook or Netflix (the smartphone has Widevine L1 DRM support, so Netflix will show in Full HD). Advertising is present in the system, but can be easily disabled. To do this, in the application where you are shown ads, you need to go to the settings, find and disable the “get recommendations” slider.

Contactless payment works great. Please note that you can find Redmi 9 without NFC on sale, it usually costs a little less. Be sure to make sure that you have the NFC version in front of you, and if in doubt, check with the seller, otherwise contactless payment will not work.

Communication, internet, navigation

When choosing a new smartphone, many miss the most important thing — the quality of the connection. In an attempt to save money, people sometimes buy cheaper smartphones from umidigi, homtom and other 3rd tier brands. And most often, disappointment comes very quickly when the user realizes that the earpiece is squeaky, and the proximity sensor is triggered every other time. Redmi does not save on such things, so you can count on a loud high-quality speaker, a sensitive microphone and a noise reduction system that cuts out extraneous sounds during voice transmission. The proximity sensor works correctly, but if you want to stick on the protective glass, pay attention to the small cutout in the protective film, this is where the sensor was placed and you cannot close it, because it may not work correctly from glass or film.

Modems were pleasantly surprised by the speed of the Internet in 4G networks and the sensitivity to the signal of cell towers. Either the operators are upgrading the equipment, or MTK engineers have moved to a new level, starting to produce good hardware … I cannot explain the speed of 54.5 Mbps in the nPerf test otherwise. Most likely, all factors worked at once: low network load during the test, a good modem and a plastic case that passes the signal well. 54 Mbps is actually the speed of WiFi in the 2.4 Ghz range! Measurements were carried out by other tests, for example, Speedtest showed a download speed of about 42 Mbps, Network Cell info — 39 Mbps.

WiFi works in 2 bands. There is support for WiFi 5, where the data transfer rate reaches 218 Mbps. For those who still have an old router — there is a 2.4 GHz range, here the data transfer rate is about 45 Mbps, the emphasis is on more modern standards.

The navigation is very good, the connection to the satellites is almost instantaneous. In good cloudless weather, it took 1 second to connect, more than 3 dozen satellites came into view, 25 of which were in active work. There is a magnetic compass.

I often use navigation, both in the city and for trips out of town. No questions here. During a trip to the sea, the smartphone worked all the way as a navigator, the accuracy is excellent, it warns about all turns in advance, it does not lose connection with satellites. Another positive point for working as a navigator is a slight heating of the device. For example, my Samsung S8 + overheats and turns off the application when the navigator is running for a long time and the power is connected at the same time. Redmi 9 quietly withstood 2 and a half hours in non stop mode.

Performance and synthetic tests

The Redmi 9 is based on the MTK Helio G80 mid-range chipset, which includes an 8 core processor with a maximum clock speed of 2 GHz and a Mali-G52 MC2 GPU clocked at 950 MHz. This solution is sufficient both for working in the system and with applications, and for entertainment, including games. It is really worth making a remark here. If the smartphone will be used mainly for the Internet, instant messengers and simple games, then you can safely take the version with 3 GB of RAM. I did not notice any acute shortage of it during everyday use, except that the tabs in the browser take longer to load if you open more than 10 pieces at the same time. But if demanding games are launched, then it is definitely better to take the version with 4 GB, because when you try to minimize the game and switch to another demanding application,

The bundle is gaining 182,000 points in Antutu, which is very worthy for a state employee, but the older version will generally gain about 200,000, because the Terracota test will also run (available for devices with more than 4 GB of memory).

In the Geekbench 5 processor benchmark, the smartphone scored 360 points in single-core mode and 1211 points in multi-core mode, showing the result on the level of Snapdragon 660.

At the same time, in the graph it is almost twice as powerful — 1123 points for the Helio G80 against 615 for the Snapdragon 660. In the combined Work 2.0 test, the smartphone scored 8713 points.

Tests of the built-in storage showed the following values: sequential read speed 230–260 MB / s, sequential write speed 65–110 MB / s. The speed of copying RAM is over 11,000 MB / s. Very good. In the 4GB / 64GB version, the performance will be even slightly better.

Game possibilities

Smartphones of the Redmi series were never considered gaming, but they were allowed to play. Due to their low price, they are also popular with schoolchildren and students who, due to the large amount of free time, can afford to play popular games with friends over the network. Redmi 9 as a whole has not moved away from the concept of “cheap but cheerful” and allows you to play absolutely any games, but in the most demanding ones, only with low graphics settings. I tested a couple of games using the Gamebench benchmark , which allows you to track fps in any game and provides a report in the form of convenient graphs. In general, the test is designed for manufacturers, but an ordinary user can also try it in action, because there is a “trial version” for 7 days.

The first game I tested was WOT Blitz. The system offered me low graphics settings by default and disabled all effects. Strange, but oh well.

Of course, I got a stable 60 fps, with rare drawdowns up to 55.

Then I changed the graphics settings to medium, turned on vegetation and HD textures. The average fps is 56, in some moments of the battle the counter dropped to 40–45, but in general this did not affect the smoothness of the game. I think you can set high settings, but there will already be drawdowns below 30 fps in difficult moments of the battle, so we will focus on medium graphics settings.

Another popular Call of Duty: mobile game. I immediately chose not the usual skirmishes on small maps that do little to load the processor, but the royal battle with its huge map. The default settings were set to low and I decided not to change them.

95% of the playing time the screen displayed the maximum fps level of 30, only occasionally for a split second it could drop to a certain minimum, which led to the so-called “micro lags” among the people. It is difficult to say what this is connected with, perhaps during the test there were problems on the server, because the processor was loaded by only 25%. And in general, this did not interfere with the game, which made it possible to play 2 rounds in 35 minutes and even take 1st place once.

With low graphics settings, I also played EVE Echoes, getting a stable 30 fps. In general, I can state the fact that the smartphone can handle any games with fps of at least 30 at low and medium graphics settings.

Heat. Stability test and throttling test

The smartphone heats up moderately, after half an hour of playing Call of Duty, the heating was felt in the area of ​​the camera, where the chipset is apparently located. Then the heat begins to spread more evenly over all areas of the back cover. Due to the fact that the case is plastic, it does not seem too hot and even a long game does not cause discomfort.

The Antutu stress test performed well. The productive cores were able to maintain the frequency throughout the test, providing a consistent performance level of 99% — 100%. The battery temperature rose slightly from 32 to 38 degrees, and the charge level dropped by only 3%.

The throttling test showed that with prolonged processor loads, the smartphone works without a drawdown in frequency for about 6 minutes, after which, to avoid overheating, it lowers the frequencies and gives 81% of the maximum performance. This is a good indicator, because you will never be able to load the kernel on a smartphone for such a long time and so hard. Even in games, the processor works at a maximum of 30% — 40%, as can be seen in the Gamebench screenshots, which I posted a little higher.

Sound

Unlike smartphones on the “dragon”, the audio codec is not listed here. In principle, it is understandable, in MTK they have never really emphasized the sound in headphones. In principle, the smartphone sounds relatively good and most of the listeners will be satisfied, but in comparison with the Redmi Note 9S on Snapdragon, the sound is very simplistic. When listening to music, a strange feeling of “synthetic” and artificiality of sound did not leave me, as the mid-high part of the spectrum is emphasized in an unusual way. In the equalizer, you can slightly tweak the frequencies, but for music lovers, a smartphone, alas, will not work. But if you listen to modern pop music or some kind of chanson (God forgive me), then of course you shouldn’t bathe — it plays here too. The maximum volume level is good, the low frequencies are quite noticeable.

Camera

The camera can be described in a few words as follows: it shoots mediocre during the day, bad at night. But this is certainly not my way, because I am used to analyzing more deeply and of course I want to show you examples of pictures.

The main lens of the 13 MP camera takes quite decent pictures in good daylight, so somewhere on vacation a smartphone can help out if there is no camera at hand.

If you are shooting in very sunny weather, be sure to turn on HDR mode, or put it in auto mode. Without it, bright areas of the frame will be overexposed, as in the picture on the left. When HDR is turned on, the dynamic range is leveled and details appear on the monument, there is no more “overexposure”.

Another example. Without HDR, the sky is blown out while the flowers are too dark (left). With HDR, we get the right blue sky and more shadow detail in the flowerbed (right).

In general, if you shoot on the machine with HDR turned on, the pictures are good. There are enough details, sharpness throughout the picture, autofocus works correctly.

Pretty decent footage comes out at sunset.

But in the dark, the camera shoots badly. The smartphone does not have a separate night mode and this affects the quality — a lot of noise, blown out bright objects and few details.

Additional lenses can also be used, they are not here for beauty. Macro comes in handy when shooting very close.

And ultra-wide — in case you need to fit something large-scale into the frame.

The selfie camera is quite decent, there are various built-in face enhancers.

Improving the quality of images using the software method will not work out especially, there are no fully working Google camera mods at the moment. As for the video, it is limited to Full HD quality at 30 frames per second.

Autonomy

By far one of the greatest strengths of a smartphone. The battery is easily enough for 2 days of active use or 3–4 economical, with a total screen time of up to 10 hours.

Well, here’s an example of playing a video on Youtube:

  • at maximum brightness, the smartphone lasted 11 hours 10 minutes,
  • 50% screen brightness — 19 hours

Autonomy testing using Battery Benchmark showed an average battery life of 10 hours of continuous mixed load and 34,000 points, here are the data depending on the type of load:

  • media playback: 13.3 hours
  • web browsing: 10.1 hours
  • 3D: 7.5 hours
  • Correspondence in the messenger: 16.3 hours

In the comparative table for the points scored in the test, the smartphone took 14th place out of 785, surpassing 98% of other models. In terms of operating time, it took 124th place out of 785, surpassing 84% of other models.

In PC Mark, the smartphone worked for 12 hours 46 minutes, which is also a very good result.

Xiaomi Redmi 9 Global Version NFC 6.53 inch Quad Rear Camera 4GB RAM 64GB ROM 5020mAh Helio G80 Octa core 4G Smartphone — Carbon Grey

Outcome

A very strong smartphone and a clear leader in its price category. It has everything that most users need: a large high-quality screen, high autonomy, sufficient performance, a separate tray for SIM cards and memory cards, and even NFC for contactless payment. Objectively, there are no significant flaws in it. Yes, plastic case. Yes, not the best cameras. But this is due to the cost of the device, and other devices of this price segment are doing the same, and often even worse. If your budget is in the region of $ 220, then this is definitely the best choice, because the alternatives will be much easier technically. In my opinion, Xiaomi has again released a bestseller, which will be warmly received by users, because it has everything that users love the series for.

That’s all, happy shopping!

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