Xiaomi is known for producing smartphones that bypass the offerings of competitors in terms of price and quality. So, its sub-brand Redmi, which updates the line of gadgets twice a year, introduced a new mid-budget phone with a huge display, a powerful processor, an impressive battery and a non-standard location of the fingerprint scanner. The review will focus on the Redmi Note 9S model, its advantages and disadvantages, and is this device worthy of the title “top for its money”?
Specifications and equipment
|CPU||8-core Snapdragon 720G|
|Graphics chip||Adreno 618|
|Screen||6.67 ”, IPS, 2400 x 1080 pixels|
|Built-in memory||64/128 GB|
|Main camera||48 + 8 + 5 + 2 megapixels|
|OS||Android 10 (MIUI 11)|
|Battery||5020mAh (with fast charging support)|
|Dimensions (edit)||165.8 x 76.7 x 8.8 mm|
What’s in the box:
- user documentation;
- paper clip to remove the tray;
- Type-C cord;
- Silicone Case.
A bonus from the manufacturer is a protective film already glued to the screen.
Design and ergonomics
The device looks very bright, despite the fact that it belongs to the mid-budget class. The body of the phone is a 5th generation Gorilla Glass protected tempered glass. The only plastic element is the connecting frame.
Leading brands have recently been using high quality glass cases, which is good news. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S differs from the more expensive flagship-level gadget only in that the frame is made of plastic, not metal.
The phone is available in three colors: blue, white and gray. The back cover of the device is glossy. Looks classy but collects fingerprints. The fingerprint scanner is built into the power button here, which is a good solution.
The hole for the front camera is located exactly in the center of the display. At the back there is a block consisting of 4 cameras, under it is an LED flash. The camera block was treated carefully – it does not stick out, so it is convenient to use the phone if it is lying on the table.
The assembly is of high quality – all the parts of the smartphone are tightly fitted to each other, there is no backlash or creak. The Note 9S has a special water-repellent coating, but it will save only from splashes, and not immersion in water.
If we talk about the convenience of a smartphone, it is large even by today’s standards, so it can be safely called a “shovel”. It is comfortable to use it only with two hands, so those who are looking for a compact device should take a closer look at another model.
The Note 9S has a huge 6.67-inch screen that occupies 91% of the front surface. IPS matrix, with FullHD + resolution, that is, 2400 x 1080 pixels. Despite the display size and high resolution, the pixel density characteristic is 395 ppi. Nevertheless, individual pixels are not striking, the picture is clear, with smooth fonts. The display produces natural colors, without parasitic shades, in addition, there is support for HDR10. The viewing angles are maximum – when the screen is tilted, the colors are not distorted. But the maximum brightness is not enough – 450 cd / m2. On a sunny day, the picture will fade and you will have to cover the screen with your hand.
The MIUI 11 shell provides various settings for the display. For example, you can activate Reading Mode, which sets a warm color tone. There is a dark mode, manual adjustment of the color scheme. In addition, you can programmatically hide the hole from the front camera by masking it with a black stripe.
In general, the minus of the IPS screen is that it is not as contrasting as AMOLED, plus much less flicker, which is important for vision.
The hardware platform of the Redmi Note 9S is the 8-core Snapdragon 720G chipset. According to some experts, this is one of the best budget-class platforms. Responsible for the graphics chip Adreno 618. There are 2 versions of phones: with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory and with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB.
Considering the price of the gadget, the performance is excellent. In synthetic tests, the numbers, although not record-breaking, are quite high – about 255 thousand points (AnTuTu). For everyday tasks, the “hardware” of the smartphone is enough with the head: the interface works smoothly, you can open several applications at once and switch between them without slowdowns. The gadget is also suitable for gamers – the processor “pulls” new demanding games (add a large screen to this). For example, in PUBG and Call of Duty: Mobile, it produces 40-60 fps. Long gaming sessions heat up the phone, but not to critical levels. To launch “heavy” projects, there is a built-in game mode “Game Turbo”, directing all the performance of the smartphone for optimization.
It is worth noting that the processor is made according to a thinner technical process – 8 nm, which means that it more carefully consumes battery power, the capacity of which is already impressive here.
Note 9S is not marketed as a camera phone, but the pictures are excellent. The gadget can easily replace the old digital soap box. The resolution of the main sensor is 48 megapixels, but the camera shoots at 12 megapixels, it just programmatically combines 4 pixels into 1 so that the photo is clearer and more detailed. The camera interface is clear, not cluttered, with different settings: flash, HDR, AI enhancement, timer, and so on. You can switch to PRO mode, where image parameters such as white balance, ISO, shutter speed, exposure and focus are set manually.
During the day, in good lighting, the frames are obtained the first time – with accurate focusing, uniform detail and natural color reproduction. The dynamic range is sufficient without HDR enabled. The main camera has 2x digital zoom.
Ultra-wide is an addition to the rear camera. There is a depth sensor responsible for blurring the background. In general, the phone takes photos at 48 megapixels, but this is only needed to capture as many details as possible. The front camera, of course, is inferior to the main one, but lovers of taking selfies will appreciate the quality.
As for night shooting, things are worse here – detail is lame, glare from bright objects appears. The night mode partially saves the situation. In any case, the Note 9S has no problems with Google-camera with all its “goodies”.
The OS running the gadget is Android 10. On top of it is installed a proprietary shell that is installed on almost all Xiaomi devices – MIUI 11. Beautiful, functional, nimble, with many settings, but with a significant drawback – annoying ads that appear literally everywhere. Apparently, the manufacturer decided that since it is releasing an affordable and productive phone, it will at least work on advertising. Fortunately, it can be turned off – just go to the settings of the standard application and uncheck the “get recommendations” checkbox.
To gain access to some important functions, you will have to create a Mi-account, and then link it to a phone number. But it will be possible to do without it. On the smartphone already “from the factory” there are different applications and games. If desired, they are removed by regular means.
A big smartphone needs a big battery. The battery is really “tenacious”. To discharge it in a day, you will have to keep the phone in hand. An autonomy test was carried out – they launched a FullHD video with 50% screen brightness – the gadget lasted 17.5 hours. With games, things are also going well – Asphalt 9 races “ate” only 12% in an hour. On top of that, there is support for fast charging – in 30 minutes it restores 33% of the battery capacity.
It is noteworthy that the set comes with a 22.5 W charger, and the phone supports Quick Charge 4 charging at 18 W – apparently “for growth.” From 0 to 100%, the Note 9S charges in just under 2 hours.
Additional features and pleasant bonuses
Xiaomi released a “shovel phone”, but provided it with characteristic chips. For example, the presence of a triple slot, which means you can insert 2 SIM cards and one microSD memory card. This is true since 64 GB of internal memory (the 128 GB version is only available in China) is not enough by today’s standards.
Another bonus is the IR transmitter. The phone has an application “Mi Remote”, which allows you to control a digital set-top box or air conditioning directly from the sofa. That is, the smartphone itself replaces the remote control.
Another point that is not obvious for new users, but noticeable for those who already had Redmi devices of the previous generation, is a pleasant vibration response. The manufacturer has improved the vibration motor and this is good, as the comfort of use is increased.
The Redmi Note 9S is a good mid-range phone. It looks nice, the performance is good, the cameras too, add a large and well-tuned display here. But, like other Redmi devices, it doesn’t have NFC.
If you look at the reviews, then the competitors of the device are 2 – Huawei P40 Lite and realme 6 Pro. Huawei, one might say, has problems – their phones do not have Google services. Realme is all right with this: it has NFC, Google, a high-quality display, no ads. The Note 9S wins because it’s slightly cheaper, has a triple tray and a larger display, and overall it’s a great workhorse.
- memorable design;
- large detailed screen;
- a lot of advertising.