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realme 9 Pro Review

Alongside the realme 9 Pro+ 5G, realme India also launched its sibling realme 9 Pro 5G which is the successor to the realme 8 Pro we saw last year. Some key features of the realme 9 Pro 5G include Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC, 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate display, 64 MP triple camera, and more. Here’s what you need to know in our realme 9 Pro 5G review.

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realme 9 Pro 5G Specifications

  • Display: 6.6-inch IPS LCD display, Full HD+ resolution, 120 Hz refresh rate, 240 Hz touch sampling rate
  • Software: realme UI 3.0, Android 12
  • CPU: 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 octa-core SoC clocked at  GHz
  • GPU: Adreno 619
  • Memory: 6 GB OR 8 GB LPDDR4x RAM (Up to 13 GB Dynamic RAM)
  • Storage: 128 GB OR 256 GB UFS 2.2 internal storage, microSD slot
  • Main Camera: Triple cameras (64 MP + 8 MP ultra-wide + 2 MP macro), single LED flash
  • Selfie Camera: 16 MP wide-angle
  • Others: Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Face Unlock
  • Cellular: 5G network, dual SIM, dual 5G standby support
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh battery
  • Charging: 33W Dart charging
  • Weight: 195 grams
  • Price: ₹17,999 (6 GB + 128 GB), ₹20,999 (8 GB + 128 GB)

Design, Display, & Build

The realme 9 Pro 5G is the tone-down variant of the realme 9 Pro+ 5G and is also the successor to the last year’s realme 8 Pro. On comparing it with the predecessor, we saw some changes like the 33W charging, IPS display, 64 MP camera, that appears to be degraded as opposed to the 50W charging, AMOLED display, 108 MP camera.

Features like the 120 Hz display, 5,000 mAh battery, Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC, support for 5G, and realme UI 3.0 are some upgrades we can see on the smartphone as compared to the realme 8 Pro. Its upper variant, the realme 9 Pro+ has an AMOLED display with the same 120 Hz refresh rate.

Flipping the phone, you can see a stunning Light Shift sparkling design covered in a glossy finished back, when exposed to sunlight it magically changes color. The smartphone beautifully shimmers when the light falls on it and it looks fabulous, we got the Sunrise Blue variant while the two color variants of the smartphone are Midnight Black and Aurora Green.

The front has a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 5 wrapped in an 8.5 mm thin design and weighs around 195 grams. The back isn’t glass and the side frames are made of plastic, anyways, the phone still looks great in the hands. You will find a triple camera setup on the top left side with a 64 MP main camera and a realme logo at the bottom.

The realme 9 Pro flaunts a 6.6-inch IPS LCD display with a Full HD+ resolution, however, a faster 120 Hz refresh rate with a 240 Hz touch sampling rate. The phone has a 6-level adaptive refresh rate – 30 Hz, 48 Hz, 50 Hz, 60 Hz, 90 Hz, and 120 Hz.

Software & User Interface

Just like the realme 9 Pro+ 5G, the realme 9 Pro 5G also boots with the latest Android 12 operating system and realme UI 3.0 out-of-the-box. The realme UI 3.0 was released a few months ago and a number of realme smartphones have received the update, you can see the new realme UI 3.0 on top and loaded with features.

The realme 9 Pro 5G has the latest Android 12 with a security patch dated 2nd January 2022. With the 120 Hz display and the realme UI 3.0 optimized interface, the touch operations on the realme 9 Pro 5G appears to be very smooth. 

The realme UI 3.0 has been seamlessly optimized for Android 12 and it’s improved over its past versions. The realme UI 3.0 brings a new look and new Fluid Space design, UI personalization, smoother animations, custom Always-On Display, new privacy features, and more.

There’s the Sketchpad AOD (Always On Display) for a customized lock screen experience, Smart Theming with Wallpaper Coloring based on the current theme, Floating Window 2.0 which aids in better multitasking, and Privacy & Safety Features to take control over your data and apps conveniently. Take a look at some of the top features of the realme UI 3.0.

You will find bloatware on the phone, but that can be removed as long as you don’t need them. The bloatware on the phone includes a handful of third-party apps like Facebook, Josh, Dailyhunt, Booking.com, Moj, Snapchat, LinkedIn, PhonePe, Amazon, and a few more including apps from realme.

Hardware, Performance, & Gaming

The realme 9 Pro 5G is just below the powerful sibling, realme 9 Pro+ 5G, the latter comprises the 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G SoC while the former equips 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 octa-core SoC. The SoC is paired with Adreno 619 GPU for gaming, graphics applications, and GPU-intensive tasks.

The CPU is slightly faster than the Snapdragon 765G and better than Snapdragon 720G found on its predecessor realme 8 Pro and other midrange phones. You can expect the performance to be suitable for daily use and good for gaming, the Adreno 619 can run many games smoothly on default graphics settings.

About the CPU, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC is a midrange SoC manufactured in a 6nm process consisting of 2+6 core configurations, two high-performance Kryo 660 Gold cores clocked at 2.2 GHz, and six power-efficient Kryo Silver cores clocked at 1.7 GHz.

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Speaking of the RAM and storage options, the realme 9 Pro 5G has an LPDDR4x RAM type and UFS 2.2 storage type. It comes in two variants, the base one with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, and the second one with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. The storage can be expanded via a microSD card slot.

You also get the RAM expansion technology (in realme UI 3.0) that helps you increase the RAM to extra 5 GB (total 13 GB). The price for the realme 9 Pro 5G starts at ₹17,999 for its base variant 6 GB RAM + 128 GB variant and ₹20,999 for 8 GB RAM + 128 GB variant.

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Cameras

The realme 9 Pro 5G has a triple camera setup on the backside, with 64 MP as the primary camera which is quite similar to the realme 8s and appears to be degraded, on paper, compared to the 108 MP camera on the realme 8 Pro. However, that’s not the whole story, the realme 9 Pro camera performs quite well and better.

The backside has two big sensors and one small as you can see, the primary sensor on the realme 9 Pro 5G is 64 MP while the rest two cameras are 8 MP ultra-wide-angle and 2 MP macro. The front side has a 16 MP selfie camera for video calling and selfie needs.

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The camera features Street Photography Mode 2.0 which brings filters like Neon Trail, Light Trail Portrait, Rush Hour, and Light Painting. Other features are the Dual-View Video, Starry Mode, Film, Tilt-Shift, and alongwith regular features. The camera features seem identical to that of the realme 9 Pro+ 5G.

The camera app has 2x zoom, 0.6x (wide-angle), and 6x maximum zoom, you can take macro shots, portraits, as well as Slo-mo videos, Time-Lapse, and Panorama. The camera can’t record 4K videos, you can record up to 1080p at 30 fps, not 60 fps which might not sound cool for users who prefer such features.

The camera performs fairly good, in fact, we got some impressive shots, take a look at some camera samples we have shared below.

realme 9 Pro 5G Camera Samples

Battery Runtime & Charging

The realme 9 Pro 5G packs a 5,000 mAh battery, upgraded from its predecessor (4,500 mAh), but offers a 33W Dart Charger as opposed to the 50W in the realme 8 Pro. If you don’t compare, the 33W charging speed is still good given the price.

The phone itself from 0% to 100% in about ~70 minutes for a battery size of 5,000 mAh versus the 47 minutes (4,500 mAh) on the realme 8 Pro. The charging speed on the realme 9 Pro 5G is slower due to the slower charger if we compare, but the battery size has been grown bigger.

You can expect the smartphone to last about 2 days on average use, the realme UI 3.0 is optimized for battery performance, in addition, the newer 6nm CPU plays a significant role in battery saving.

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Verdict

For features like 120 Hz display, fast Snapdragon 695 CPU, 33W fast charging, dynamic RAM expansion, and the latest Android 12 out-of-the-box, the realme 9 Pro 5G is a good choice for its price. The camera performs well, it supports 5G, offers improved performance over its predecessor, and you can’t get your eyes off its shimmering Light Shift color-changing design. You don’t get stereo speakers on this phone, an AMOLED screen, and 50W fast charging, but despite having a few degrades, is still a good option for users who want a smartphone under the ₹20,000 price range.

Strength

  • Eye-Popping Light Shift Design
  • 120 Hz smooth display
  • Good performance (6nm Snapdragon 695)
  • Impressive Camera Performance
  • Featured-Pack realme UI 3.0
  • 33W Fast Charging Support
  • 5G support
  • Dedicated microSD card slot
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack

Weakness

  • No Stereo Speakers

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