Xiaomi’s Redmi series has always been synonymous with amazing value, and the Redmi Note 9S released at the end of March is another highlight of this Chinese company.
This smartphone, which costs less than 200 pounds, is equipped with a large-capacity battery of 5020 mAh and has a battery life of up to two days. In addition, it is also equipped with some good core hardware and middle-priced camera functions.
Following the previously leading Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 8T, the Note 9S is another competitor, and it will soar in our ranking of the best cheap phones-but in 2020, it will face realme 6 and Xiaomi The fierce competition of its own Redmi Note 8T.
Every new Redmi phone has the shadow of Xiaomi digital series phones, but the design is slightly improved. Redmi Note 9S has a larger screen ratio from the previous generation of slotting to the current hole digging. The 6.67-inch screen is large. Despite its size, the phone itself is not bulky.
Note 9S has a screen-to-body ratio of 91% and a screen-to-body ratio of 20: 9, which is impressive. If you want to hold the Note 9S with one hand instead of holding it with two hands, it ’s a little hard to touch on the screen with your thumb.
The weight of 209g is also very heavy, this is due to the large number of batteries inside, but with a reasonable thickness of 8.8 mm and rounded edges, the grip feels good.
A large body with a smooth surface may mean that it is easier to fall from your hands, but using Gorilla Glass 5 still has a certain guarantee in terms of strength. At the same time, Redmi also provides a transparent silicone sleeve, which can further protect the phone from scratches or fingerprints.
Redmi Note 9S Appearance
The screen itself is difficult to be picky, and it is bright enough even in direct sunlight, and Xiaomi claims to have a rating of 450 nits. Realistic colors, good viewing angles, full HD + sharp resolution. But we do prefer the more brilliant colors and high contrast of the AMOLED screen, and this phone uses an LCD IPS panel.
Please note that this is a 60Hz panel, and Realme 6 is currently the cheapest phone, supporting a faster refresh rate of 90Hz. Many flagships have now risen to 120Hz.
The design is satisfactory overall, and we particularly like Aurora Blue. Note 9S is also available in glacier white and interstellar gray.
The slotted SIM card slot in the upper left corner is also worth mentioning. Not only can it accommodate a microSD card (maximum 512GB) and two nano-SIMs, but it does not require you to be between additional storage space and a second phone number Make a choice, and both SIM card slots support 4G.
At this point, Redmi Note 9S does not support 5G networks, and NFC for mobile payment is also seriously missing, but all other connection bases cover dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 2×2 MIMO, GPS, and Bluetooth 5.0. If you want NFC, you might consider Realme 6 or Redmi Note 8T, two very close competitors.
Redmi Note 9S uses side fingerprints. We really like this design. It can be said that it is more popular than off-screen fingerprints, because it is such a natural action to pick up the phone and press the power button to wake up the screen, and you do n’t even realize it. You have opened it
However, although we all like the design of the Redmi Note 9S, there is one element that cannot be ignored, that is, the square four-lens camera module that protrudes at the rear. Maybe if the phone is also black, it does not seem so obtrusive, but in our opinion, it really detracts from the overall design.
When you use the phone on a flat surface like a desk, its center position is conducive to the stability of the phone, but we prefer the appearance of the vertical component on the upper left corner of Realme 6 and Redmi Note 8T.
Hardware & Performance
Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9S may be an economical phone, but its performance is definitely mid-range-faster than phones like Google’s Pixel 3a and Samsung’s Galaxy A70, if it does not reach the level of the Galaxy S10 Lite.
Its performance should be between Realme 6 and Realme 6 Pro, but strangely, in the processing performance test of Geekbench 5, it is better than both, but it is not enough to make you perceive the difference in the real world. However, in the old Geekbench 4 test, it did not perform as well, so it was really unstable, just to show how much you should rely on synthetic benchmarks.
In our own actual tests, the performance is perfect. Although this is a certain gap from high-end mobile phones that cost four to five times the price, ordinary users will not feel that they have sacrificed anything.
When you are navigating on your phone, you may find that Xiaomi has also upgraded the haptic feedback (vibration) engine, which makes it feel more sensitive.
Graphic tests using GFXBench show that the performance of these three phones is basically the same. You can see the complete results in the chart above.
Redmi Note 9S Cameras
The concept of Xiaomi is that users are easily influenced by the number of camera lenses and the number of megapixels provided. This cheap mobile phone has a 16-megapixel selfie camera on the front and becomes a member of a four-shot family through four rear cameras.
There is a 48Mp lens inside, but don’t think these four are so high rated. It also has an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens, a 5-megapixel macro camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. So it is basically the same as the camera on the Redmi Note 8T, but with an upgraded macro lens.
Like many high-pixel mobile phones, Xiaomi uses pixel separation technology to synthesize four pixels of information into a superpixel, so the final shooting result is 12 Megapixels. Unless you plan to post them on a billboard, this is enough. If you really want a lot of photos, there is a 48Mp shooting mode, but the photo quality will be worse.
Photos taken on a clear day look good at first glance. The color is usually more realistic, but only when you zoom in, you will notice that the image is actually quite grainy.
This camera app is very easy to use, you can switch between standard photos, the previously mentioned 48Mp mode, portrait mode, night mode, panorama mode, and professional mode. If you are an avid photographer, you will not like this mobile phone camera, but for most people, it is enough-especially at this price.
The camera can also shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second and supports image stabilization. In addition to the default video mode, there are slow motion and short video shooting modes.
As a user who has been using Xiaomi for a long time, the MIUI interface has become so familiar to me that compared to standard Android, I can hardly find the difference in a blink of an eye. In fact, MIUI is Android, but we prefer its custom interface. Redmi Note 9S runs the latest miui11 operating system and is based on Android 10.
Objectively speaking, these two applications have come closer in recent years, but the first thing you will notice on MIUI is that it does not have an application tray and all shortcut keys are spread on the main screen. The latest version of miui11 is said to include an application drawer option, but not in this review sample, running miui11.0.6.
Most Android custom interface seems to adopt this method, if you have ever used iPhone, you may even prefer it. This setting certainly makes it unlikely that you will forget to bury them somewhere in the application tray after installing hundreds of applications.
There are also some differences in the layout of the settings menu (a search bar makes it easy for you to find what you need), but the real main difference is the pre-installed application and the additional features provided by MIUI.
You will find Xiaomi’s own apps such as themes, security, cleanup, music, Mi video, notes, weather, Mi store, Mi community, etc. This is not bloated software, but you may think they are not for you. It doesn’t matter, just don’t use them. Put them all in a folder so they don’t hinder you. You really do n’t need to worry about the storage space they consume. 64GB is standard and 128GB is an option.
MIUI Global ROM supports full Google services, including Google out of the box, so it is easy to install any application you want to use. We have no problems with compatibility, in fact we find MIUI easier to use for things like managing application permissions. Google found the panel, swiping from the left side of the home screen can also be opened and closed.
If you are worried about the size of the display, you can also use one-handed mode or fastball mode, both of which are long-term components of MIUI. The former reduces the touchable area of the display so that everything can be easily held on the thumb, while the latter allows users to more easily access frequently used functions.
But if you really want to make perfect use of the huge size of this screen. You can also hide the navigation buttons on the screen and use only gestures to find your direction in the operating system.
Redmi Note 9 also benefits from the dark mode of the miui11 system, you can turn on a quick reply. Allowing you to directly respond to the message in the notification drop-down list. However, what is missing from this budget phone is the always-on display feature.
The main selling point of this phone can be said to be its battery. This is a huge 5020mah phone. Considering the mid-range hardware budget of this phone. It can easily support you to use it for two days, depending on your usage.
If you are a person who always picks up your phone, it at least guarantees you a full day’s life. From the moment you wake up to the moment you close your eyes at night, without having to find a power source.
In fact, the battery life of Redmi Note 9S is the longest we have seen in the Geekbench 4 battery test. Which are 15 hours and 31 minutes? This is a comprehensive benchmark test, not a real test, but this score is incredible.
But this is a cheap phone, so it does not have the functions of some high-end models such as wireless. Reverse wireless and ultra-high-speed wired charging. Although Realme 6 can support wired charging up to 30W, the maximum charging power of this Redmi Note 9 is 18W-to be fair, this is still quite fast.
Redmi Note 9S Verdict
Even for those who often check Chinese smartphones. It is difficult to imagine how many phones you can buy with so little money-either literally or symbolically.
A few years ago, buying a cheap cell phone required a compromise on performance or design. Photography, or battery power. Our most severe criticism of Redmi Note 9S is that. It does not have NFC (in fact, if you want to use it for mobile payments, this is quite annoying).
This phone is not perfect, but Xiaomi spent relatively little money to assemble a phone, which has a stylish. High-quality design, enough power to complete daily tasks, a pretty good camera, and a long-lasting battery. Therefore. It is interesting that the Redmi Note 9S is only the second-best cheap mobile phone in the Tech Advisor test center. The first is the Realme. In addition to the battery.
Realme ’s specifications are not weak or even better than Redmi Note 9S, but at the price of the UK, it is £ 30 cheaper than Redmi Note 9S. Although Xiaomi has confirmed that Redmi Note 9 will be available in the UK and Europe. It is currently only available for pre-sale in Europe, and the UK is still waiting for the release date and pricing. Just like in the case of Xiaomi’s mobile phone release, we may have to wait a long time.
In terms of European prices, the 64GB version should be around £ 249. And the 128GB version should be around £ 279. The retail prices of these phones in Europe are 249 euros and 279 euros, respectively.
These are the global versions of Redmi Note 9, pre-installed with full Google services. And an English operating system out of the box. We strongly recommend that you do not buy Chinese ROM versions. Because their prices may be lower.
Redmi Note 9S Smartphone might be grabbed by the equally excellent Realme 6, but it is still one of the best cheap phones we have ever seen. This is a great phone for less than £ 200. A true all-round phone with good performance, a camera, and amazing battery life.
We are not fans of the rear camera module. The lack of NFC is an unfortunate regret. But in addition to these troubles, it meets all our requirements at this price point.
In the next generation of Redmi Note, we hope to see waterproof (Redmi Note 9S is only splash-proof). And wireless charging (or at least faster-wired charging). Which are gradually penetrating into cheaper mobile phones? To really challenge Realme. It also needs a 90Hz display.