Realme 9 looks good and camera, but price doesn’t make sense

Realme continues its foray into the Brazilian market. After bringing the premium model Realme GT2 Pro, the company returns to look at its range of intermediates with the Realme 9. The model is the third of the line to land in the country, keeping company with the “almost top of the line” Realme 9 Pro+ and to the simplest Realme 9i version.

One of the efforts of the Chinese manufacturer was to give the device a more sophisticated look – which often contrasts with its characteristics. The buyer may feel that he has a product in his hands of a higher category than the one he actually belongs to.

That feeling starts right from the box, which manages to be a bolder version of the one seen on Apple cell phones. And it can be seen in other aspects, such as the finish on the rear (a plastic with pearly paint). The cameras have a striking number of megapixels and Samsung sensors, but they don’t necessarily give the set premium quality.

All this “makeup” is easily dismantled in daily use. The absence of support for 5G networks, in the middle of 2022, also weighs against it.

But it is not the case that the carriage turns into a pumpkin. Realme 9 is not bad. It brings interesting functions and accessories and can serve well to those who do not insist on squeezing the device to the last drop of performance.


Strengths

  • design
  • battery life
  • Camera

Negative points

  • Price
  • 5G support is lacking
  • Display refresh rate

Verdict

The Realme 9 is an interesting intermediate, with correct performance, good cameras and excellent visuals. The biggest problem is the price, which makes it more expensive than rivals that offer better performance and functions.

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If you want to be enchanted by the Realme 9, start by looking at the rear. In visual terms, the painting of the plastic cover is the highlight of the device. A pity that, in Brazil, the available colors are only black and white: yellow, a great highlight there, is not offered here.

As expected, the rear also has a ledge that houses the camera niche.

Realme 9: detail of the main cameras - Rodrigo Lara/Tilt - Rodrigo Lara/Tilt
Image: Rodrigo Lara/Tilt

Here, however, the Realme 9 ends up falling victim to one of its most interesting features: the thickness of just 8 mm. So thin, the niche creates a considerable relief. It makes the cell phone look like a seesaw when it is resting on a flat surface and without a protective cover (which comes with the device).

Realme 9: cell phone side detail - Rodrigo Lara/Tilt - Rodrigo Lara/Tilt

Realme 9: cell phone side detail

Image: Rodrigo Lara/Tilt

The screen is of considerable size, with more noticeable edges at the bottom. The selfie camera is in a small hole in the upper left corner, less evident than in competitors that leave it centered.

Realme 9: the front of the cell phone with its box - Rodrigo Lara/Tilt - Rodrigo Lara/Tilt
Image: Rodrigo Lara/Tilt

Sides use as few buttons as possible, with power on the right and volume controls on the left. At the bottom, there’s a USB-C connection and a welcome 3.5mm jack for headphones (although the device doesn’t come with any in the box).

Realme 9: USB-C port - Rodrigo Lara/Tilt - Rodrigo Lara/Tilt

Realme 9: USB-C input

Image: Rodrigo Lara/Tilt

It is light, fits well in the hand and is beautiful to look at. But always keep away from water, as there is no resistance to liquids.

The Realme 9 screen is the first cold shower. There’s nothing wrong with its technology (Super Amoled), size (6.4 inches, or 16.25 cm) and resolution (Full HD+). It is large enough and reproduces images with good color quality.

The problem is with the 90 Hz refresh rate. Okay, it’s bigger than what you see, for example, on the simplest iPhone. But it is shy in the face of competitors in the intermediate segment, which already bring displays with 120 Hz and even 144 Hz. Higher rates help in viewing moving images, such as in videos and games.

The camera is, in fact, one of the big selling points. The capture sensor is a Samsung Isocell HM6 which, according to the brand, increases focus accuracy, light capture and interference control in night shots.

The images produced are really of good quality, especially in the definition of details. Focus is fast and zoom, if used sparingly, doesn’t compromise. The ultra-wide lens provides a 120-degree field of view, useful for framing more elements in the same scene.

The device’s configuration, with wide-angle, ultra-angle and macro lenses, favors medium and short-distance photos. In this scenario, the Realme 9 does well in all modes, whether traditional, urban (a kind of filter that reinforces colors), night (which brightens the environment a little too much) or portrait (which allows for timely control). actual background blur level). The same goes for the available filters, which can be chosen before clicking.

Realme 9: check out photos taken with cell phone cameras

The selfie camera remains at the same level of competence.

The big caveat, in my opinion, is the colors. The photos end up coming out in a very cold tone, which does not correspond to reality. It is possible to make a slight edit to correct the distortion, but the ideal is that the image produced by the ensemble does not immediately require this type of procedure.

The best word to define the Realme 9’s processor, GPU and memory set is “fulfilling”. He does what needs to be done well, but nothing more. The maximum working frequency, 2.4 GHz, puts the Snapdragon 680 in a good position, but doesn’t make it a blast.

I didn’t come across any bottlenecks at any time of use. And that includes running games like Asphalt 9 and Call of Duty Mobile. The performance, of course, isn’t top of the line, but it doesn’t disappoint.

Having expandable storage memory via microSD card is always welcome (although nowadays it’s more common to host photos and other files in the cloud).

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the middle of the room: the lack of support for 5G networks. It is an atrocious lack of vision in the middle of 2022 (in Brazil, the fast data network has already started to work). The device is already out of phase, even with its modern construction (it uses the 6 nanometer method, which allows you to include more components in less space and improves thermal and energy efficiency).

It comes with an excellent battery capacity of 5,000 mAh. In moderate use, it tends to yield more than a day out of the socket. I tested it connected to wi-fi and with conventional use, with videos and social networks, and it took almost two days of autonomy. Using a standard Tilt video for tests of the type, in continuous playback, the phone hung up after 12:50.

For recharging, Realme was generous: it kept the charger included, and it’s a fast-function model, 33 W. But, in the device we tested, it didn’t have pins for the Brazilian socket standard. I imagine this will be fixed in the product for the general public.

The main extra features are the allocation of additional RAM memory (in addition to the 8 GB already available, it is possible to add 5 GB from the device’s storage) and a control center that can be used whenever a game starts. In it, you can check cell phone information and choose its operating mode.

Considering the launch price, R$2,999, the Realme 9 will probably suffer in Brazil. There are rivals in the market that offer more for less, such as the Samsung Galaxy A73 5G.

Even in the brand itself, it is possible to find the Realme 9 Pro+ for the same price, with more attractive performance and connectivity features.

The trend, of course, is that, with some time on the market, the price will fall and it will become more competitive. Until that happens, however, the Realme 9’s value for money isn’t the most attractive.