Xiaomi had been pretty proactive in explaining why the Indian smartphone market has changed so much this year. Its objective was to make people understand that phones are about to get more expensive across the board, and it’s time for them to recalibrate their expectations. While the factors pointed out are legitimate, it understandably left a chunk of budget smartphone buyers disappointed. The Redmi 9 Prime exists to bring some relief to consumers looking for a new phone in the sub Rs 10,000 segment in an altered market.
Phones by Redmi have been instrumental in carving the budget segment of India. Being the poster child of the space, expectations have always been high with what the sub-brand manages to pull off. We saw the Redmi Note 9 series take turns at it earlier this year, but there was still some space left closer to the Rs 10,000 mark. In fact, even the existing offerings moved higher up the price ladder due to various economic sector, leaving the most popular smartphone segment of India rather barren.
With big responsibilities on its shoulders, the Redmi 9 Prime manages to impress with its performance and features which the competition just can not manage. It starts with the MediaTek Helio G80 chipset, which is the most powerful SoC at this price. It also moves a Full HD+ display, which is a rarity at this price point. If that wasn’t enough, there are also four cameras on the back to extend its lead. Add the large battery and fast charging to the mix, and it becomes easy to understand why the Redmi 9 Prime is an easy recommendation.
Of course, it isn’t perfect, but the few missteps and cost-cutting measures aren’t really that major. The build can feel a little underwhelming with the switch to polycarbonate from glass. The secondary cameras could’ve been better too. But that’s about it when it comes to the Redmi 9 Prime’s weaknesses. We are usually the last ones to judge a phone on its specifications, but just a glance at those is enough to explain why the Redmi 9 Prime is unique in many ways.
Moreover, Xiaomi also throws in a free protective case, screen protector and a moderately fast charger in the box, which are important additions here. If MIUI is something you don’t mind, this phone definitely deserves a spot in your consideration.
Redmi 9 Prime price in India
Check out the Redmi 9 Prime on Amazon.in
4GB + 64GB: Rs 9,999
4GB + 128GB: Rs 11,999
In India, the Redmi 9 Prime comes in two configurations. The base variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is priced at Rs 9,999 while the top variant with 128GB of storage capacity is priced at Rs 11,999. Colour options include Space Blue, Mint Green, Matte Black and Sunrise Flare. Amazon is the online sale partner, as well as Xiaomi’s offline retail network.
- Aura 360 design
- Textured polycarbonate back
- Fingerprint scanner on the back
The Redmi 9 Prime looks like a Xiaomi device through and through. We have the familiar ‘Aura 360’ design language at play here, bringing horizontal symmetry and balance. Even the 198 grams of weight is very well distributed to make the phone not seem particularly heavy.
The back is made of polycarbonate (read: plastic) that meets the frame seamlessly. It has tiny etches all across to help with the grip and even fight fingerprints to an extent. The cameras are housed in a vertical housing along the spine, within an iconic round section - similar to what we saw on the Poco X2.
Under the cameras, there is an active fingerprint scanner. It's not particularly big but is fairly easy to locate without seeing. It works adequately well. There's also 2D face unlock.
We reviewed the Space Blue colourway, which was a little too jazzy and saturated for our taste. The other colours are a lot more understated, so you should be able to find your match.
It continues to retain the essentials such as a 3.5mm headphone jack and an infrared blaster, along with the usual loudspeaker and USB port on the bottom. The power button and the volume rocker are on the right side while the SIM tray is on the left. It can accommodate two SIM cards and a micro SD card simultaneously.
There’s nothing particularly wrong or disappointing with the Redmi 9 Prime’s design. We’d have liked a glass sandwich design implementation but that would be a little too wishful at this price. It looks nice, feels comfortable and shouldn’t shatter from drops, which is appreciation-worthy.
- 6.53-inch Full HD+ display
- Gorilla Glass 3
- 400nits brightness
Bigger displays were the normal for budget smartphones in recent years, but the resolution would almost always top off at just 720p. The Redmi 9 Prime proudly takes that up to Full HD, matching the likes of more expensive devices. We get a 6.53-inch LCD panel with a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 (19.5:9 aspect ratio), protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The refresh rate is 60Hz.
These features make it a perfectly acceptable panel with ample sharpness and area for all tasks. Media consumption was great too. Colours are pretty accurate and vivid for LCD standards. Just expect to be blown away by the black levels as they look borderline grey. Off-axis viewing didn’t bring any colour shift either. The phone is also Widevine L1 certified for HD content playback on platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Our only gripe was that the peak brightness levels were inadequate under direct sunlight. That wasn’t such an issue for indoor use. If we were to nitpick, the bezels could also do with some trimming.