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Realme 9 Pro launch live blog: catch up with the arrival of Realme's new cheap phones

But is a non-Pro coming?

Realme 9 Pro launch
(Image: © Realme)

The Realme 9 Pro launch event is over, so if you’re coming here to watch it, you missed out. Well, not entirely - you can still see it via YouTube.

With our live blog below, you can catch up on everything you missed during the launch event, including our hasty comments and opinions on the Realme 9 Pro and Pro Plus. 

Oh, and you can catch our full Realme 9 Pro Plus review here, which we published recently.

During the event Realme confirmed that it'd be attending annual tech event MWC 2022 at the end of February, so we know it's got another launch soon, this time for the Realme GT 2. So you'll have another chance to watch an event very soon.


Welcome to our live blog! The Realme event kicks off a little earlier than others - in the UK, we're used to our early afternoon launches, but this one takes place on the dot at midday.

That means less live blogging and more action!

mwc fIRA

(Image credit: TechRadar)

So what are we expecting to debut at the Realme 9 Pro launch? Well, that phone and the Pro Plus, obviously. But anything else?

We’ve no idea for sure, but our gut instinct is ‘no’. The reason? MWC 2022, an annual smartphone conference, is coming up at the end of February, and Realme has confirmed that it’s attending.

So if Realme had more devices coming up soon, it’d make more sense for the brand to save them for MWC, and just debut the Realme 9 Pro devices now. In fact, we’re surprised the company didn’t save its new phones for MWC anyway.

There’s a lot we’d like the company to debut, if it was going to show off more tech today.

Firstly, we’re big fans of the Realme GT line of powerful mid-rangers, so we’d like to see the GT 2 soon, or the rumored GT Fold.

In 2021, the company unveiled MagDart which is a magnetic charging solution for its phones - think Apple’s MagSafe but with a slightly different name. We haven’t seen a phone released with this tech, and we’d be keen to.

Finally, we saw the company’s first tablet last year in the Realme Pad, but it’s a budget slate - we want to see the company try something more powerful and flashy in the tablet space soon.

So, something quite weird has happened... The Realme 9 Pro has already launched.

Turns out, in India, the phone launch event was a couple of hours ago - a live stream of the launch has already been published. Realme has told us that this was an India-only launch, with the global one happening soon.

Realme has previously had an India-first approach, and the brand is huge in the country, but we imagine the interest in the launch later today will be hugely diminished as a result. People aren't going to tune into a launch if they can get all the details hours before.

Realme 9 Pro

(Image credit: Flipkart)

We'll still be covering the Realme 9 Pro global launch as normal, because hopefully we'll get international pricing and availability.

But if you want everything there is to know about the phones right away, like their specs and cameras, you can check out coverage from TechRadar's Indian Bureau here.

One of the features Realme has already teased for the 9 Pro Plus is its color-changing back, which apparently changes look in sunlight.

Looking out the window right now, we can tell that this feature wasn’t designed with UK buyers in mind, because we haven’t had a single drop of sunshine in about five days.

The other feature Realme had already announced is that the Pro Plus will get a heart rate sensor.

What’s the point in this? Well, we’re not entirely sure, since phone-based sensors won’t exactly be accurate, not compared to proper tech or even just fitness trackers. 

But we have seen phones with this feature before, namely older Samsung flagships, so perhaps there is an audience for them. Or perhaps not - Samsung dropped heart rate monitors a few years back.

Realme 8

The Realme 8 (Image credit: TechRadar)

Since this is the ‘Realme 9 Pro’ launch, does that mean we won’t see a non-Pro version? 

It seems that way, but presumably this doesn’t mean a standard Realme 9 doesn’t exist, because that simply wouldn’t make sense. Surely you can’t have a Pro version if you don’t have a normal version.

Perhaps we’ll see that in the coming weeks - we imagine Realme will drop it under the radar a little bit, maybe with a quick press release, but we’ll still report on it when it appears.

One hour to launch - if you want to slow-cook a snack, now's the time to start.

Less than half an hour left now -  the sun has actually come out in the UK too. We can only assume this is because of our last post.

There's a pre-amble video trailer that plays if you open the live stream (here) that talks about the color-changing rear panel.

Sure, some of this trailer is cringy in its marketing talk ("the light sparks from every young heart, it leads us to capture inspiration in ordinary days". Alright, Stephanie Meyer) but there's some interesting description on how it works.

Realme 9 Pro launch

(Image credit: Realme)

On stage at the moment is Madhav Sheth, the CEO of Realme Europe and India, and someone who's spoken to TechRadar now and then. Sheth is taking us through the history of Realme.

We imagine he's pretty tired, since he gave the Realme 9 Pro India launch a few hours ago. As far as we can tell, this isn't the exactly same speech he gave before though.

Madhav Sheth just mentioned that the Realme 9 Pro will be the first member of the Realme 9 series.

As far as we're aware, this is the first time the company made reference to a non-Pro version of the device.

Wait - we've got to amend something we said earlier.

It now seems that this literally is the same launch video that Realme India hosted several hours ago. You can see that here.

We'll keep reporting on the new event as though it's actually 'new', but this is really silly on Realme's part.

Realme 9 Pro launch

(Image credit: Realme)

We're currently hearing about how low-light photography is the focus for the Realme 9 Pro series.

The Pro Plus model is getting the Sony IMX766 sensor, which is a 50MP sensor we've seen in a few premium smartphones. This is a fairly big sensor, so it should be good for low-light photography.

We haven't really seen any budget mobiles that are good for night pictures, so that'd be a first.

We're hearing about a few photography modes.

There's a new version of Street photography mode, Smart Long Exposure and Film Simulation Filters - whatever any of that means.

What actually is 'Street photography' that Realme keeps talking about? Is it just any picture on a road? Or something more technical and official?

The selfie camera is 16MP with something called Clear Fusion Algorithm Technology - this apparently makes selfies sharper. This works for multiple faces too apparently.

Realme 9 Pro launch

(Image credit: Realme)

They're wrapped up talking about the Realme 9 Pro Plus' cameras, and have moved onto its design.

Something we missed - the extra cameras are an ultra-wide and macro, though they weren't detailed much.

Apparently the colors of the Realme 9 Pro Plus' color-changing effect were inspired by the transition from dusk till dawn. Are they talking about that Robert Rodriguez film?

Realme 9 Pro launch

(Image credit: Realme)

Oh, no, they're talking about the sun. I live in the UK, where it's either 'night' or 'overcast' so we don't see the sun.

At the moment, they're using science words to describe how the color changing works. It's going a bit over my head. They're also showing how glittery the rear is.

The 9 Pro Plus has a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with a 1000nits max brightness, 90Hz refresh rate, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and a built-in heart rate monitor. There's also a USB-C slot and 3.5mm headphone jack. The details are coming thick and fast.

Realme 9 Pro launch

(Image credit: Realme)

Design has wrapped up, and we've moved onto performance.

We're hearing that the Dimensity 920 chipset will be used, and the phone will also have a Vapor Chamber Cooling System. Most phone brands have fancy words for their own built-in cooling systems though, so who knows if this does much.

The battery is 4,500mAh, and the cooling system keeps this lasting longer apparently. It has 60W charging which is nice and quick.

Realme is pledging the 9 Pro Plus to two years of Android updates, and since it comes with Android 12, that means it'll go up to Android 14. That's not exactly a huge pledge given that about a week ago Samsung pledged the S22 mobiles would get up to four years of updates.

Um... instead of finding out about the Realme 9 Pro (we've just been hearing about the Realme 9 Pro Plus), the company is talking about... Paris Fashion Week? Huh?

It seems the company is doing something at the week, but we're not exactly sure what. Or why we should care.

Turns out the Realme 9 Pro is getting the same color-changing rear as the Pro Plus, which is pretty cool.

Plus, it's getting a 120Hz refresh rate, which is actually better than the Pro Plus' which is only 120Hz.

There's a big question mark in the processor - the Realme 9 Pro gets the Snapdragon 695. This is pretty new, so we haven't tested it just yet.

However Snapdragon's 600-series of processors are often a little weak, so this phone might be a little slow.

We're already onto cameras - the main one will be 64MP.

Realme 9 Pro launch

(Image credit: Realme)

That was a whistle-stop tour of the Realme 9 Pro - and that's because it's basically the same phone. 

It's got a higher-res main camera and faster refresh rate, as well as a bigger battery at 5,000mAh. But its charging is slower at 33W, its chipset is worse, and the main camera sensor is smaller.

Oh cool - Realme has just confirmed it's attending annual smartphone conference MWC 2022. It's also confirmed what it's debuting - the Realme GT 2. Nice.

We've got prices too, at least in the UK.

The Realme 9 Pro will cost £299, while the Pro Plus will be £50 more. Expect regional prices when it launches elsewhere.

And that's it, the event is over!


(Image credit: Future)

That MWC news is interesting, as it confirms that Realme is going to be attending the massive mobile meetup.

MWC used to be huge for phone launches, but Covid ruined the last few years events. We're expecting more to happen this year as Huawei and Xiaomi have already confirmed they'll be going, and more could too.

And we've been waiting a while for the Realme GT 2 to launch, after the Pro was shown off several months ago.

Realme 9 Pro Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Our Realme 9 Pro Plus review is now live - click here to read it.

We have it four and a half stars out of five, and awarded it a Recommendation tag, making it one of the best budget phones we've tested.

We loved the look of the phone, as well as it slow-light photography power and its great value-for-money proposition.

We haven't tested out the non-Plus version just yet, but will do when we can.

And with that, we'll be taking a short break for lunch. Once we're fed, we'll bring you some analysis on the launch to contextualize what we saw at the launch and bring you new information.

OK, we're back - lunch included a peanut butter Kit-Kat which was weird.

So that Realme 9 Pro launch, huh? The phones look cool, but we're a little confused as to why the company hosted the launch live stream in India at one time, then streamed the same video a few hours later for everyone else. It's really weird. Does the company know that non-Indian viewers can still view its videos?

Realme 9 Pro Plus

(Image credit: Future)

The Realme 9 Pro's color-changing back isn't the first time we've seen this kind of tech. Earlier this year, Realme's sibling-company Vivo unveiled the Vivo V23 which has something similar, going from gold to blue in sunlight.

We had the exact same experience as both of these phones - we thought their color-changing was limited to reflecting light different when you rotated them, giving them a glistening effect.

In both cases, we were proven wrong when we went for runs using the phones, as the constant exposure to sunlight (by being in our hand, not our pocket, when out) made them glow brightly on the run. 

However, it's hard to use the phones like this in day-to-day use - do many people leave their phone out in direct sunlight much? It's a novelty, but we live in the UK - we get about three sunny days a year.

Maybe if you live in other regions, where you get more days of sun, you'll have great fun with this.

Realme 9 Pro+

(Image credit: Carlos Pedrós)

The color-changing version of the Realme 9 Pro Plus isn't the only one you can buy - there's also a green one (which some of our team tested - you can see it above) and a gray one too.

While color changing is a fun feature, it'll likely get a bit old, so we can see why someone would opt for a different shade.

Realme 9 Pro Plus

(Image credit: Future)

The heart rate sensor is another weird thing about this phone, but we didn't find it very useful.

That's because the function is very hidden in the Settings app, and it takes quite a while to find it and start it working.

Plus - what's the point? It makes sense for something like a fitness tracker, because you're tracking your heart rate over a workout. But that won't work for a phone, because you can't dig through menus to find the feature that easily.

If it hadn't been for review purposes, we probably wouldn't have touched, or even noticed, the heart rate scanner.

Realme 9 Pro Plus camera sample

(Image credit: Future)

Realme spoke lots in the launch about the new phones' low-light photography power, and in our tests, we were actually very surprised by how true this was.

Usually, budget phones aren't great for Night shots, but we took a few good-looking snaps while testing the phone. The one you can see above looks decent, and if it was taken on another phones, the buildings would be messy blurs and the lights would blow out everything else.

We're running out of time in our day, so before we round up this live blog, time for one further thought:

Realme had been teasing the 9 Pro series for quite a while, but one offhand comment near the beginning of the show confirmed what we had hoped, but not necessarily assumed: a Realme 9 (non-Pro) will come along. 

That wasn't something we'd take for granted, even though the suffix Pro does suggest there's a non-Pro version for it to be the Pro variant of.

That's because we've often seen Chinese brands launch Pro versions without a standard edition ever showing up. So it's good that Realme confirmed it.