Redmi Note 9S Review - A "Big" Budget phone player

Redmi have launched some quite remarkable phones that too in a budget. Slowly, yet steadily Redmi has made prominent progress in the smartphone industry. Redmi Note 9S (9 pro) in India is another milestone in the aspect of budget-phones.

When it comes to pricing, I found that this phone is extremely affordable and provide excellent value for the given in price. In Pakistan, only the 6GB/128GB variant is available, whereas, in India, Philippines and UK other variants are also available.

Pakitan: 38,000 PKR
India: 14,000-17,000 INR
Philippines: 10,500 - 12,000 peso.

 

Redmi has improved considerably in terms of build and design. In Note 9S we have a plastic build sandwiched between corning gorilla glass 5. The body is splash-proof. The colours are sombre with a metallic touch that gives the body a premium finish.
 

On the right side, the phone has a power button coupled with a fingerprint sensor, and above the power button, there is the volume rocker. On the left side, the phone has a standard sim and expandable storage slot. So on the sides, we have the classic configuration, and similarly, on the bottom, there is a type C USB connector and a mono loudspeaker adjacent to it.

Note 9S offers a 6.67-inch large screen with thin bezels and an on-screen selfie camera cut-out for an immersive experience. The LCD screen provides the user with an HDR display. The colours are vivid and punchy probably because of increased saturation. As for FPS, the phone has the standard 60 Hz display, and we have seen for similar price range many other brands provide a 90 HZ display.

 

The brightness around the selfie cut out is a bit low, and that makes the overall brightness uneven. The effect can come considerably under notice when you shift to use the full screen like while watching a movie.
 

To conclude the design of the body is quite decent. However, the structure is massive and not ideal for one-handed operations. When talking about weight, it weighs some 209g. This tips the scale to the heavier side. Other than being large and bulky the build quality and structure is fine.

 

Build Quality and Structure: 
Note 9S back Design
Camera Result:

When talking about the camera, there is a massive difference between the Indian version and the International version. Note 9 Pro houses a 64MP main lens, and the 9S has a 48MP lens.

Whatever the version the results and software enhancement are apt. The colour reproduction is natural and slightly underexposed. In bright sunlight the result is decent and a bit on the colder side the way I like it.

Standard indoor picture with Note 9S
Daylight pic with Note 9S
Pictures courtesy: LAURENTWILLEN.BE

The colours although natural, are not warm and are undersaturated. The detailing is adequate, so overall under normal luminosity the photos are good. Although TechRadar reported noise level in photography, I couldn't notice any similar flaw.

Moving to low light photography, there is pixel binding technology that gives a sharp result. However, in low light, the noise becomes more apparent. The night mode clears up the picture a bit. Using night mode, however, the sharpness is uneven. It tends to get softer on the edges.

The camera combination also encompasses a macro shooter and a depth sensor. The closeup shots and the portrait are focused, detailed and enjoyable.

Note 9S night mode
Pictures courtesy: LAURENTWILLEN.BE

As for zoom, Redmi Note 9S provides an ability to zoom in and as well zoom out a bit. As Note 9S offers digital zoom, the details tend to get softer as we try to zoom in. There is a bit of pixelation on a 2x zoom, but it is not very evident on the first impression.

The colours although natural, are not warm and are undersaturated. The detailing is adequate, so overall under normal luminosity the photos are good. Although TechRadar reported noise level in photography, I couldn't notice any similar flaw.

Note 9S zoomed pic
Pictures courtesy: LAURENTWILLEN.BE
 Software and Processor:

Under the hood, there is Snapdragon 720G. The processor wouldn't disappoint a heavy gamer as the suffix G suggests. The octa-core processor clocks at 2.3GHz and with 8nm structure the processor is very effective and efficient.  

Note 9S provides a lag-less PUBG experience. PUBG can be played at HD graphics setting and with medium framerates. There is no issue of cropped animations as well.

The device is available in two RAM variants 4 and 6 GB. However, for gamers among you, the 4GB is not enough as the OS and the UI gulps up on most of the RAM.

Apart from gaming, daily tasks are fast too. The in-between app transition is smooth, and the app loading speed is fast.

Redmi Note 9S has an IOS resembling UI. There is no app drawer or any widgets,  all apps are grouped and presented on the UI pages. Few preinstalled Redmi apps also show ads. I came across a few bugs in the initial version of the UI.

For example, there was an error related to battery charging percentage. When the phone is charged up to 90%, the software started to display an excess battery percentage than the reality. As a result, while using the phone, the battery level used to fall drastically from 100 to 90. A way around this was to "overcharge" the phone for 15 min. After the said remedy many users reported a linear and steady discharge.

To sum it up the processor is fast and efficient. However, the UI is slightly buggy and needs better customization. We hope the new software updates bring an end to the issues.

Snapdragon Processor
Battery and Sound:



The Redmi Note 9S houses a massive 5020Mah battery. That hands down is the largest we have seen under the umbrella of a budget phone. To an intensive user, the battery would last a day easily with 30% juice left at the end of the day.

For hardcore gamers, 3 hours of PUBG with high settings will dent a full charge by 40 percent. Coupled with an 8nm processor, the battery provides extensive value to a heavy gamer.

Redmi Note 9S supports 18W charging and with such humongous battery that is a setback. Normally you can expect a full charge from the bottom line in an hour and 30 min. There is a UI bug which misguides the user regarding the battery percentage. I have discussed the remedy in the software section.

On the bottom side, there is a mono speaker. The speaker isn't loud enough and also lacks bass reproduction. Tech-radar reported cupping around the speakers for better audio. The audio through handsfree has better amplitude.


In this review, we give the phone a rating of 4/5.

The phone provides a wholesome value to the user. With a classic style approach, this phone encompasses an efficient processor and an enormous battery. The photographic output is decent. The UI is smooth, sometimes with few bugs. However, the sturdy and heavy build with a mediocre display and a below-par speaker are the few drawbacks.

To conclude we can say that Xioami has learned to nail the features that matter the most to a budget phone user. If you are looking for a phone which gives an enormous value to your bucks, the Xiaomi Note 9S is a great buy.

Final Verdict
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