- Realme 9i 5G is the upgraded version of the Realme 9i with a Dimensity 810 5G chipset.
- It has a new design that Realme calls the Vintage CD Design.
- At a starting price of Rs 14,999, it faces stiff competition from phones by Motorola, Xiaomi, and Realme itself. Here’s our Realme 9i 5G review.
Realme has already launched quite a few devices within the Realme 9 series, and the Realme 9i 5G is an upgraded version of the Realme 9i that comes with 5G. It is equipped with the powerful Dimensity 810 5G chipset, which should make it a pretty good competitor in the performance department compared to other devices in this price range.
We have been using the Realme 9i 5G for about two weeks now. It is sold on Flipkart at a starting price of INR 14,999 for the base variant. By the end of this article, you will find out whether the Realme 9i 5G is worth it or not. Will the new design and Dimensity 810 5G chipset save the day? Let us find out in our review of the Realme 9i 5G.
Table of Contents
Realme 9i 5G Review: Design and Build
Let us start with the design and build quality of the Realme 9i 5G. It comes with a polycarbonate body accompanied by flat, uniform sides. Although the brand claims it’s 8.1 mm thin, the flat sides make it feel like a thicker device while also making it uncomfortable to hold without a case. Fortunately, it comes with a clear TPU case that offers adequate protection but has already yellowed in certain areas. On the other hand, the phone is easy to hold and weighs about 187g, making it one of the lightest devices in its price range.
The back looks and feels like glass but is also made of polycarbonate. The back is also quite glossy and an absolute magnet for fingerprints. Still, it seems very clean, with only the camera modules and the Realme logo taking up space on the back. Our test device came in the Metallica Gold color, but there are two other colors to choose from, Soulful Blue and Rocking Black.
Personally, we are not a fan of the Metallica Gold color because it looks really shiny and kind of cheap, but on the other hand, it nicely brings out the vintage CD design that Realme is trying to achieve with the Realme 9i 5G. Apart from all these quirks, some people mistook it for an iPhone 12 Pro Max when we used the Realme 9i 5G in public.
The buttons are on both sides of the device, with the power button on the right, which also doubles as the fingerprint scanner, and the volume buttons on the left. The buttons could have been a bit grippier, but the fingerprint sensor works flawlessly and is indeed fast and responsive when unlocking the device.
Realme 9i 5G: Display and Audio
The Realme 9i 5G has a 6.6-inch panel (IPS LCD) on the front that refreshes at 90 Hz, which makes for a smooth experience when scrolling through UI or long documents. The screen itself is quite sharp, vibrant, and color accurate. Display brightness peaks at 400nits, which is adequate for both indoor and outdoor use, but a little more brightness would have helped us see the display better under direct sunlight, especially when trying to take pictures with the cameras.
The Realme 9i 5G is also Widevine L1 certified, so playing FullHD content on streaming platforms will not be a problem. The only thing we did not like about the display was the large chin on the bottom and the severe bulge around that chin. There is also a notch on the top that houses the front camera. The front of the Realme 9i 5G does not look like a 2022 device at all.
For our audio needs, the Realme 9i 5G only has a single speaker on the bottom, which is loud but starts to crackle at the highest volumes. However, there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack in return, which sounded good when tested with the Blon BL-03 headphones.
Realme 9i 5G: Performance
The Realme 9i 5G is equipped with the Dimensity 810 5G chipset with 4GB/6GB RAM and 64GB/128GB of storage. You can also expand the memory up to 1TB with the dedicated microSD card slot.
Our device is the higher 6GB+128GB variant. Daily performance was solid, with little to no lags or jerkiness in the UI. All apps open instantly, and the display’s touch response is also pretty high, as it helps with the device’s overall responsiveness.
Although it has 6GB RAM, you can also use the RAM expansion option to use your memory as additional RAM if needed. However, we would recommend not doing this. Despite all this, the RAM management of the Realme 9i 5G is not very good. It manages to keep apps in memory for a while, but most of the time, the apps have to be restarted when they are opened after a while.
The gaming performance of the Realme 9i 5G is also decent, we tested it by playing COD Mobile, Apex Legends, Rocket League, etc., on it, and it performed well enough to keep gameplay smooth for the most part. It also does not heat up or get warm during long gaming sessions, which is a good thing, in our opinion.
Realme 9i 5G: Battery and Charging
The Realme 9i 5G is equipped with a powerful 5000 mAh battery that lasted about two days with an average screen runtime of 7 hours in our test with medium usage. The battery performance of the Realme 9i 5G is very consistent and quite good. Standby time is very impressive, and it only loses about 1-2% of power overnight.
The disappointing part of the battery performance is the charging speed. While Realme brags about charging speeds of up to 150W on its flagship devices, it only managed to give the Realme 9i 5G a charging power of 18W. In the box is an 18W power brick along with a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable. This charger takes more than 2 hours to charge the Realme 9i 5G from 10% to 100%. This does not meet the 2022 standard, where comparable devices can be fully charged within one hour.
So, yes! Aside from the disappointingly slow charging speeds, once you fully charge the phone, the Realme 9i 5G will last long enough to fulfill all your entertainment needs.
Realme 9i 5G: Software and Connectivity
The Realme 9i 5G comes with RealmeUI 3.0 on Android 12. Our device received its first update a few days ago and is currently on the August 2022 security patch. Realme has promised two Android version updates for the Realme 9i 5G.
RealmeUI is overall a very lightweight and easy-to-use Android interface with a lot of handy features built into the UI. You can customize the home screen and the device’s overall look without much effort.
The only downside we would like to point out is that there is a lot of pre-installed bloatware on the phone, which tarnishes the overall experience. Also, sometimes there are ads on UI. But apart from that, RealmeUI has a very polished experience.
Talking about connectivity, the Realme 9i 5G supports seven bands of 5G, so you should be covered if your area gets 5G. We tested our device mostly over WiFi and 4G, both of which worked well. We even got 4G+ carrier aggregation in most places we visited with the phone.
Call quality is not an issue either, as there were no dropped or disconnected calls. The earpiece is loud enough to take calls without any issues. The Realme 9i 5G supports two nano-Sims, and you can also add a microSD card along with them in the triple-slot sim tray.
The Bluetooth 5.2 support is also pretty strong with the Realme 9i 5G.
Realme 9i 5G Camera Review
Cameras are one of the most important parts of a modern smartphone. The Realme 9i 5G has a 50-MP wide-angle lens, a 2-MP macro lens, and a 2-MP portrait lens on the back. The front camera has an 8 MP shooter.
As you might have guessed, only two of these cameras are actually useful. The 50-MP primary camera takes some nice pictures in high light. However, it quickly falls apart in low-light conditions. Images from the primary lens look vibrant and sharp, but colors are not always very accurate. The dynamic range is also quite decent.
The 2 MP macro camera has a minimum focus distance of 4 cm, but it is very difficult to get very close to the subject with this lens as it tends to lose focus. The 8 MP front camera takes good selfies, but the color tones are not very accurate, especially with Indian skin tones. It tends to soften the faces even though all beauty modes are turned off.
Portrait mode on both the front and rear cameras is decent, edge detection is not on par with higher-end devices, but it serves its purpose.
In the video department, the Realme 9i 5G can only capture video at up to 1080p 30fps from both the front and rear cameras, which is honestly a bit disappointing in 2022.
There’s also a bit of a shutter lag when trying to take a quick photo. I have had it happen several times where I press the shutter button and take the phone out, only to find out later that the picture is blurry.
Overall, the performance of the Realme 9i 5G’s camera is average at best.
Realme 9i 5G Review: Final Verdict
The Realme 9i 5G is by no means a bad device, but it has tough competition from Motorola, Xiaomi, and especially Realme itself.
For the starting price of Rs. 14,999 for the 4GB + 64GB variant and Rs. 16,999 for the 6GB + 128GB variant, Realme has cut some corners to offer a 5G device at this price.
The biggest disappointments of the Realme 9i 5G are the cameras and charging speed. Realme could squeeze in an AMOLED display, perhaps stereo speakers, or faster charging to make the package more compelling, but there’s not much that sets it apart from the other offerings in a similar price range other than 5G.
If you just want a device that offers decent performance and battery life while everything else is just average. Then you can go ahead with the Realme 9i 5G. The Dimensity 810 chipset will not disappoint you in terms of performance.
- Good Design
- Decent performance
- Great battery life
- Good display
- Slow charging
- Average cameras
Build & Design
At a starting price of Rs 14,999, it faces stiff competition from phones by Motorola, Xiaomi, and Realme itself. Here's our Realme 9i 5G review.