Redmi Note 9 review: autonomy at the top but there are some smudges

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Aina Prat Blasi
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I have completed the test of the Redmi Note 9 with mixed feelings. The quality / price ratio of this new Xiaomi smartphone is excellent as per tradition, but there are some too many smudges that the Chinese company had not accustomed us to. The version subject of our test is the 3 Gigabyte RAM version which, together with the MediaTek Helio G85 processor, do not fully convince on the performance side. On the other hand, the photographic sector marks a clear step forward compared to previous generations, all seasoned with an autonomy that really has no equal in this segment.

However, we are facing one of the best smartphones in the range which fluctuates between 200 and 250 euros, with the price that among other things will fall rapidly, making it even more convenient. This year, however, Xiaomi will have to deal with both internal competition (Redmi Note 8 and 8T above all), and with that of other brands, which. now they preside over these segments in a convincing way (think of Motorola, Oppo and Huawei above all). In short, the game is open, the Redmi Note 9 will certainly have its say but it is still too early to decree a winner.

Improved performance, top autonomy

The performance of this Redmi Note 9 left me a little bitter in my mouth. Let's be clear: we must not forget the fact that it is a smartphone from 199 euros, so it is still necessary to level the judgment keeping in mind the price range. Having clarified this, there is no doubt, however, that the previous generations manage to do better in this area. I found some too many uncertainties in the course of daily use, not necessarily with heavy operations, and the presence of the MediaTek compared to the Snapdragon also weighs in the gaming field.

The 3 Gigabytes of RAM does not help in this regard, I would have liked to test the 4 Gigabyte variant of RAM. In addition, I am quite convinced that the Pro version of the Redmi Note 9, based on Snapdragon 720G processor, is able to offer the performances to which Xiaomi has accustomed us. However, it is not excluded that this aspect may improve thanks to subsequent software updates, so much so that the very recent update that brought the new security patches (May 2020) has made a greater idea available to the smartphone. I therefore reserve the right to return to the issue in a few weeks, perhaps by updating the review.

Even the screen did not convince me completely. It is a 6,53-inch IPS LCD panel, with a resolution of 1.080 x 2.340 pixels, protected by a Gorilla Glass 5 glass and with an aspect ratio of 19.5: 9. I noticed a slightly "washed out" color rendering, with dull colors especially at maximum brightness. An aspect that compromises the viewing angles, while the visibility outdoors remains very good. Mind you, it is still an absolutely enjoyable screen, but even from this point of view the previous generations of Redmi Notes manage to do better.

A completely different situation, however, with regard to autonomy. Redmi Note 9 imposes itself, by right, as one of the best smartphones ever in this area, regardless of the price range. The 5.020 mAh of battery inevitably makes the difference, obviously without forgetting the usual excellent energy optimization work done by Xiaomi. All this translates, with my usual use (mixed between LTE and Wi-Fi, 2 push email accounts, hundreds of notifications from social networks and instant messaging apps, over 2 hours of phone calls), in 32 hours away from the electrical outlet. compared to 7 hours of access screen. Exceptional, also because the smartphone also has fast charging at 18W available.

Convincing build quality, qualitative leap in the photographic field

The rear photographic module, square in shape, is certainly the most distinctive element of the Redmi Note 9 design. The protrusion of the sensors it does not create problems in terms of ergonomics, with the smartphone it remains absolutely stable even when it is placed on a surface. The use of polycarbonate for the body is also decidedly intelligent, which, compared to glass, eliminates the soap effect and facilitates grip. The Green coloring object of our review is very beautiful (it is also sold in the White and Black color variants), but the back cover retains a lot of fingerprints.

It still remains a great smartphone, impossible to use with one hand, also because the 199 grams of weight are felt. The feeling in your hands, however, is of absolute solidity, as if it belonged to a higher price range. The choice of eliminating the notch in favor of a hole in the screen in which the front camera has been set is beautiful, as it leaves room almost entirely for the screen on the front, although the frames are not particularly narrow. In general, design and aesthetics that I promote with flying colors.

I was fully convinced by the photographic quality, which marks a clear step forward compared to previous generations. The rear photo module is composed by four sensors: 48 Megapixel (f / 1.8 lens), 8 Megapixel (wide angle f / 2.2 lens), 2 Megapixel (for macro) and 2 MP (for depth of field). A configuration that shows all its versatility in everyday use, returning excellent shots (considering the price range) both during the day and at night. The amount of details captured is very good, as is the quality of the zoom (up to 10X, totally digital), even in low light.

Always fun to have a wide angle sensor available, which comes in handy in many situations. The portrait mode is convincing, both with the main photographic module and with the 13 Megapixel front camera, which performs its duty very well. One flaw is not being able to record videos in 4K (we stop at Full-HD at 30 fps), with the videos that are still in line with the price range, although there is not a little digital noise at night.

The connectivity sector is definitely complete: Wi-Fi ac dual-band, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS A-GLONASS Galileo BDS, supporto Dual-SIM, memory expansion via micro-SD (64 or 128 Gigabyte storage cuts), infrared sensor. Praise to Xiaomi for having implemented the 3.5 mm audio jack, a component that is now becoming increasingly rare in the smartphone field. Unfortunately, the stereo sound is missing, with the only speaker positioned at the bottom that offers a good volume but an overall quality that does not scream a miracle, especially due to the heifer of low tones.

The software part is entrusted to Android 10 customized with MIUI 11, but the highly anticipated MIUI 12 should arrive soon. The fingerprint sensor is definitely well implemented, positioned on the back and easily accessible with the fingers, always fast and immediate in unlocking.

Conclusions: who should buy it?

199,90 euros to take home this Redmi Note 9 in the 3 Gigabyte version of RAM and 64 Gigabytes of internal memory. First, the advice is to invest the extra 30 euros required for the 4 Gigabyte RAM variant and 128 Gigabytes of storage (costs € 229,90). We are certainly facing one of the best proposals in this price range, without a doubt. However, Xiaomi must work to file some burrs, especially in terms of performance.

However, the Redmi series is confirmed as a reference point for the quality / price ratio. The competitors, however, begin to push on the accelerator and, probably, for the next generation, Xiaomi will necessarily have to take a further evolutionary step to this range of smartphones. The Note 9 is still the ideal device for those looking for a lot of autonomy and a good photographic sector, wanting to stay on an expense not exceeding 250 euros.

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