Review of Realme 9 5G: Better connectivity, but at what cost?

Seen in a vacuum, the Realme 9 5G is a respectable budget phone, offering many features for a relatively low price. The hard part, though, is that the 5G version was released along with sampreza 4G model.

More confusingly, Realme took a handful of important traits and just sprayed them between the pair, making both of them better at certain things, while leaving none as the obvious, superior choice overall.

The bottom line is, if you intend to get 5G with your next smartphone, the Realme 9 5G is one of the best in its budget. With that connectivity comes a 120Hz smooth display, decent performance that measures up to the competition and one of the longest lasting batteries we’ve tested so far. It’s just hard not to look over the fence at the 4G model and feel like you’re missing out.

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Realme 9 5G Review: What You Need to Know

The 9 5G is not the cheapest model Realme has released recently, but it is also not the most expensive. It sits somewhere between the ultra-budget C31 and C35 and all the more reward 9 Pro Plus. Think of the 9 5G – and its 4G equivalent – as the middle of the lineup of a brand that floods the market with budget phones.

Running the show is one of Qualcomm’s newest 5G-capable chipsets, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 695, along with an Adreno 619 GPU handling graphics processing. Rounding out the list of specifications is 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and a 5,000mAh battery.

In addition to the 16MP selfie camera, the rear camera set has a 50MP main unit, as well as a dedicated 2MP macro lens and 2MP depth sensor.

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Review of Realme 9 5G: Price and competition

The Realme 9 5G will do cost you £ 249. As mentioned, the 4G version costs the sameand this gets you a superior AMOLED display, a 108MP camera with a secondary ultra-wide drive, dual RAM (8GB) and 33W fast charging.

Elsewhere, there Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G is also £ 249. The similarities are even more obvious, with both offering a 6.6-inch LCD screen, 5G connectivity and a 50MP main camera. However, the screen of the Poco M4 Pro 5G exceeds 90Hz, while the Realme 9 5G performed better in all our benchmark tests.

The recently released OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite uses the same Snapdragon 695 processor as the Realme 9 5G, producing almost identical results in our testing – the difference is that the Nord CE 2 Lite costs a bit more. is £ 279.

If you can afford even more, then the norm OnePlus Nord CE 2 is currently our favorite mid-range phone and costs £ 299. It doesn’t have the 120Hz refresh rate of the Realme 9 5G, but its 90Hz panel is an AMOLED thing and performance is better overall and the battery life is pretty much the same.

Review of Realme 9 5G: Design and main features

The 6.6-inch screen of the Realme 9 5G is bordered by slightly thick bezels, especially on the chin, but they are not so bold as to be unattractive. The selfie camera sits neatly tucked into a perforated notch at the top left. One small point of contention here is that the screen is a raised fraction above the frame, rather than sitting flowing – this doesn’t interfere in most cases, but you may find your thumb catching slightly if you slide straight to the edges.

Otherwise, this is a good looking phone for £ 249, with rounded corners, sleek sides and a discreetly elevated camera module. Like the 4G model, the only thing that hurts the overall aesthetics of the Realme 9 5G is the cheap plastic support. It looks pretty sleek – especially in the corrugated Starlight White model I got for a review – but the hand feel exposes the budget price.

Unlocking face and fingerprint are both present here, with the latter folded into the power button on the right, rather than an optical on-screen sensor found on the 4G. The bottom of the phone is home to a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB-C charging port, while the left side contains the buttons on volume control and dual SIM input tray – only the 4G model benefits from a microSD slot .

Although the 6.6-inch screen and 195 g weight push it to a single use, the Realme 9 5G is still a fairly comfortable usable phone. In addition, despite the cheap feel of the plastic chassis, it has an overall solid construction; it lacks IP rating, so is not essentially resistant to water or dust, but otherwise feels strong enough for everyday use.

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Review of Realme 9 5G: Screen

An obvious point of compromise with the Realme 9 5G is the screen. It’s not that the IPS panel used here is catastrophically bad, it’s just that the 4G version compensates for its limited connectivity with a Super AMOLED panel, casting a shadow that can’t be ignored.

The 6.6-inch screen has an FHD + resolution (2,400 x 1,080) and unlike the 4G model, there is no Gorilla Glass protection here. Overall scrolling is nice and smooth with the 120Hz refresh rate, but the phone defaults to “Auto-select” adaptive mode, which seems to stay with 60Hz more often than not. This can however be locked to 120Hz in the settings.

There are two screen modes to choose from – Natural and Live – and both have their strengths and weaknesses. Vivid does exactly what it says on the plate, speeding up the saturation to give colors more “pop” but this at the expense of color accuracy. Natural is your best bet, even if it is lower in other areas, covering only 82% of the sRGB gamut, with a volume of 82.3%.

I measured an average Delta E (color variance) of 2.85, which is weaker than the Realme 9 4G score. The contrast ratio of 1,115: 1 is also a bit low, but again this falls just within the acceptable limits for this price. Brightness is better, hitting a maximum of 442cd / m2, which is pretty decent for most outdoor use.

“Pretty decent” also accurately summarizes the OS. Running on Android 12 with Realme’s UI 3 plastered on top, the layout isn’t as disgusting as some other custom brands we can think of, and there are plenty of customization options to make it yours.

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Review of Realme 9 5G: Efficiency and battery life

The screen is a bit mixed, so, fortunately, the interior paints a much more positive image. The Snapdragon 695 5G processor consists of two Kryo 660 Gold CPUs running at 2.2GHz and six Kryo 660 Silver CPUs up to 1.8GHz. It is paired here with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Although it is not at the front of the pack, the Realme 9 5G follows the pace with the other models in single and multi-core processing. In fact, if you consider that models like the OnePlus Nord CE 2 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G costs more than the Realme 9 5G, the performance of the latter here is admirable.

The Realme 9 5G also held its own in the GFXBench GPU tests, with only the Nord CE 2 managing slightly higher frame rates. The most dramatic difference is when compared to the Realme 9 4G – if you’re prone to intense attacks from mobile gaming, these figures make it clear that the 5G model is the one you want to choose. In fact, if your budget is tight £ 250, the Realme 9 5G should be your best choice for mobile gaming.

Although not as outstanding as the 4G variant, the battery life of the 9 5G is still extremely impressive – making the top 15 in ours. phone battery life rankings. Lasting a total of 24 hours 31 minutes in our standard loop video test, the Realme 9 5G should effortlessly get you through a full day of intense performance, with the potential for a second as well.

The included 18W fast charger is not as fast as the 33W brick included with the 4G model, however, juice the Realme 9 5G back up to 100% empty in about two hours.

Review of Realme 9 5G: Cameras

The rear camera set of the Realme 9 5G consists of three lenses: the 50MP (f / 1.8) main snapper, accompanied by a 2MP (f / 2.4) macro lens and a 2MP (f / 2.4) depth sensor. At the front, you have a 16MP (f / 2.1) selfie camera.

Plugins like macro lenses and depth sensors tend to feel like padding on budget phones, and I can’t help but think it would be more helpful for the Realme 9 5G to focus on having just one really good camera.

Next to the top lens used for the Realme 9 4G, you can see that the 5G’s camera fails to capture the same level of detail. There is a slight overexposure to the image with a lack of contrast in the shaded areas. However, it is not a bad image, according to budget phones, with enough color in the leaves and the sky to withstand.

Interestingly, 5G is actually better than 4G with a 3x digital zoom. Where the latter loses its vigor and fades away most of the contrast, the zoomed image of the 5G remains largely the same. It’s not perfect yet, but it does offer a level of consistency that its supposedly superior sibling doesn’t quite reach.

Consistent with the idea that additional cameras are added because of this, the macro lens is nothing particularly special. Compared to a similar shot on the 4G model, you can see that colors here are muted, the focus is not very strong and there is enough noise in the artificial blur.

Night mode is also not worth the price of admission. The overall image is effectively brightened, but this comes with the warning of extreme lens flare from multiple light sources. This discovery also washes away a lot of detail, with the masonry on the left especially lacking in definition.

Video is captured up to 1080p at 30fps, which is not surprising but suitable for a phone of this price. As with the 4G model, the footage is not something special, with limited detail and medium stability, but it will be useful in most circumstances.

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Review of Realme 9 5G: Verdict

Realme shot himself in the foot with his publishing strategy, as all the malfunctions of the 9 5G can be directly linked to the 4G model. The latter’s top screen, cameras and fast charging all hang over the Realme 9 5G, calling to ask exactly how much you’re willing to sacrifice for better connectivity.

That said, the Realme 9 5G is still an extremely competent budget phone. Battery life is outstanding, performance manages to compete with more expensive phones and the camera is pretty decent for the price. If you want cheap 5G with capable gaming performance as an added bonus, you could do a lot worse than the Realme 9 5G.

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