India

Redmi 9 Power review: Powerbank that doubles up as a phone

Unbeatable battery

Published

on

Reviewing a mobile phone has become relatively straightforward because brands like Xiaomi are releasing a new phone every month. While the successive launch of new phones has slowed down in the last few months, I’m yet to review one of the last phones of 2020 — the Redmi 9 Power.

The Redmi 9 series continues its predecessors’ legacy and aims to provide maximum features at the most affordable price. In fact, Xiaomi’s own portfolio is often confusing for the customer. The Redmi 9 Power is a brand new offering that’s supposed to be pushed to the extreme.

The Redmi 9 Prime is priced slightly lower, so what’s different about the Power? Plenty. Let’s find out!

It has a 6.5-inch LCD with a water-drop notch

The back has a grooved design that’s very grippy

For authentication, it gets a side-mounted fingerprint scanner

So far, all the usual Xiaomi features. So, what’s new?

The phone looks like a very conventional affordable phone consisting of polycarbonate construction. However, it feels very solid in hand. There’s no flimsy plastic or poor build, and I managed to drop it quite a few times, without any visible damage. Keep in mind, the plastic body is helping reduce the phone’s overall weight.

The outside of the phone may not be very amusing, but the internals indeed are. The phone packs a 6000mAh battery that supports 18W charging, so you’re practically never going to run out of juice. The phone easily lasts two days with heavy usage, and I often ended up using it as a power bank for my headphones, smartwatch, and even secondary phone (albeit very slow).

If you travel a lot, this phone can be an ideal secondary phone. It rarely runs out of charge, and you can afford to deplete your battery in low network regions. Another useful application of the phone is for studying online. Students can attend a full day’s lecture with the display switched on without needing a charger.

The Redmi 9 Power takes a little more than two hours to completely charge the battery but provides an insane screen-on-time of more than nine hours. No wonder the phone is called Power.

Designed for entertainment

IU 😍

The phone has a 6.5-inch display that’s bright enough, produces accurate colors, and offers decent viewing angles. At this point, Xiaomi has figured out the affordable display formula, and all their budget phones have consistent results.

Although, when paired with the massive battery, this phone is perfect for non-stop entertainment. Watch as many YouTube videos as you can, or maybe even binge-watch a show on Netflix. There’s a chance the show will end, but the phone still chugs along. The phone is available in 64GB and 128GB internal storage options, which is expandable via a microSD card.

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 662 chipset, which is a slightly boosted sibling of the Snapdragon 660. It incorporates a faster Adreno 610 GPU, but don’t expect a radical change in gaming experience than the Redmi 9 Prime, which an Helio G80 processor powers. The phone comes with 4GB RAM only, so it’s safe to assume that it isn’t designed for hardcore gaming.

MIUI runs smoothly on the phone and enhances the user experience to a great extent. The Android skin is conveniently customizable based on preference, and day-to-day tasks are a breeze. I tried Call of Duty: Mobile, Asphalt 9, and Sniper Fury on the phone, and all of them ran smoothly. The phone rarely heats up unless you’re pushing it to the peak with performance and charging.

A reliable set of lenses

It has a quad-camera setup that consists of a 48-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro sensor, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Together, the cluster gives many options to users, and MIUI’s add-ons further extend this. In a nutshell, the pictures range from good to decent, with nothing exceptionally good or bad.

Daylight pictures are capture a lot of detail but look dull due to inaccurate color saturation. In many pictures, the highlights are blown out, further making the image look unsatisfying. The same highlights issue is also observed in low-light shots.

Indoor pictures are pretty good, but it does feel like the phone needs a lot of manual attention to click an image. Xiaomi has made phones in the past that have sported brilliant cameras for the price. The wide-angle sensor works as you’d expect it but sometimes manages to distort the edges. Thankfully, the macro and depth sensor are uniform across all Xiaomi phones.

Coming to the front, there’s a 13-megapixel shooter located in a water-drop style notch. The selfies are on point and look appealing. You can toggle on/off the beauty mode based on your requirement or even tune it. The AI-based portrait mode is pretty good actually and detects edges accurately.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for a phone that never runs out of juice and keeps you away from the wall as much as possible, this phone is perfect for you. I’ve also suggested the phone to many folks who’re using a flagship phone but would love to have a secondary option at an affordable rate. The Redmi 9 Power can seamlessly complement an iPhone or a Note 10.

With a starting price of INR 11,999 (US$ 165), the phone carves a perfect balance of features that make it a must-have. The display is enjoyable, the performance is above average, an unbeatable battery, and the goodness of MIUI. If you have a slightly flexible budget, the Redmi Note 9 is also a good pick that offers a much-improved design.

India

realme shows off the realme 8’s 108MP camera

It has a lot of “firsts”

Published

on

The race for megapixels is on and realme in no mood of missing out. The phone maker has showed-off its 108-megapixel camera setup, which will be found on the upcoming realme 8 Pro.

The massive sensor not only produces a sharper image, but also brings the world’s first tilt-shift time-lapse video, starry time-lapse video, and new portrait filters. realme is confident the camera will be able to outmatch the competition. Currently, Xiaomi’s Mi 10i and Mi 10T series have a 108-megapixel camera, but the two sensors are different.

realme has opted for Samsung’s HM2 sensor for the primary camera and it features a larger sensor with a size of 1/1.52″. The larger pixel size ensures better image quality and it supports 9-in-1 pixel binning technology. The brand has shown off a few images that were clicked with the sensor.

For zooming, it supports 3x in-sensor zoom, which processes a 12-megapixel image in the end. Essentially, the sensor will compress the image but retain details that are necessary for the picture. In turn, the algorithm improves accuracy, colors, as well as contrast.

A Starry Mode is also showed-off and it can shoot a video timelapse, using a time-lapse video algorithm based on starry photos. The camera clicks 30 pictures in 480 seconds and compiles that into a one-second video.

There’s also a tilt-shift mode that’ll let you adjust the shape, angle, position, and size of the bokeh effect. Along with this, there are three portrait filters — Neon Portrait, Dynamic Bokeh Portrait, and AI Color Portrait.

The company hasn’t announced the launch date of the realme 8 series. But we know it’ll be coming first to India in March 2021. Finally, realme has reiterated that its “realme number series” naming format for smartphones shall continue focusing on camera-centric innovations.

Continue Reading

India

Redmi K40 could make a global debut as the POCO F3

Wasn’t POCO supposed to be an “independent” brand?

Published

on

File Photo: POCO F2 Pro

Xiaomi and realme have often rebranded their phones depending on the market. Now, there’s a high possibility that Xiaomi could launch the Redmi K40, which was recently unveiled in China, as the POCO F3 in India.

As spotted by Stufflistings, the Redmi K40 (model number M2012K11AG) has been certified by the FCC ahead of its global launch as a POCO branded phone. The Redmi K40 series also includes the K40 Pro and K40 Pro+, but their global launch details are yet to be ascertained.

Stufflistings also shared that the same phone has been IMEI validated in India already in a follow-up tweet. Notably, there’s no mention of 5G support here. We shall wait for further details before jumping to conclusions.

The rebranding isn’t surprising because the POCO F2 was actually a rebranded Redmi K30 Pro. And, the POCO X2 was a Redmi K30 in select markets. While POCO and Redmi are now independent brands, it’s clear that they’re fully leveraging Xiaomi’s supply chain.

On the specs side, the phone is expected to have a Snapdragon 870 processor, a 48-megapixel primary camera, and a 4,420mAh battery with 33W fast charging. On the front will be a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.

Early this year, POCO India’s Country Director, Anuj Sharma, confirmed that the brand is considering launching an F-series phone focused on performance and can sport a flagship-grade processor. While the Snapdragon 888 becomes a costly venture for an affordable phone, the Snapdragon 870 provides an ideal middle ground.

Continue Reading

India

Xiaomi Mi 10i Review: Master of the midrange

A near-perfect phone, designed for everyone

Published

on

For years Xiaomi has tried to get a foothold in the premium segment, but it just couldn’t hit the right spot. Despite engineering marvels like the Mi MIX series, it didn’t work. The company has also tried releasing a polished midrange phone under the Redmi branding but couldn’t meet inflated market expectations. Will the Mi 10i solidify its push?

The Chinese smartphone giant got its portfolio sorted at the beginning of 2020 by dividing the three brands — Mi for premium, Redmi for budget, and spun-off POCO into a completely independent brand. Now, Xiaomi has set its priorities straight and aims for the lucrative premium segment, one that’s gobbled by players like Samsung, Apple, Huawei, and to a certain degree, OnePlus, OPPO, and vivo.

The Mi 10i is surely a midrange phone, but it has a lot of expectations to meet. And it’s an important product for Xiaomi since it’s again trying to test the INR 20,000+ range. There’s also tough competition from the OnePlus Nord, Galaxy A51, as well as the realme X3. So, how does Xiaomi’s new offering fare? Let’s see!

How’s the design? Is it comfortable to hold for gaming or streaming?

I’ve got the Pacific Sunrise color option, and it looks phenomenal. The phone has a unique color palette and a premium touch that makes it look much more expensive than it really is. The front and back of the device are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, but it has a very satisfying opaque finish that gives it a very translucent look. It may be glass, but it’ll never attract fingerprints, and that’s one of my favorite things about the phone.

The back has a gradient of cyan or light blue and a mix of orange and pink. While colors or gradients are usually personal preferences and range from person to person, everyone I showed the phone to loved it.

You’ll find the power and volume buttons on the right, the USB-C port at the bottom, and the IR blaster at the top. Like the Mi 10T series, Xiaomi has added a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that’s baked into the power button, and it’s speedy.

The rear has a circular camera module that may remind you of the OnePlus 7T, but the Mi 10i has a slightly different design which actually looks quite good. Due to the bigger 108 megapixel primary sensor, the camera module bulges a lot. But it isn’t annoying because the phone is pretty stable on a flat surface and doesn’t wobble like the Mi 10T series.

Xiaomi has added an IP53 rating for water resistance, so you don’t have to worry about splashes or even light rain. Lastly, the phone retains my beloved 3.5mm headphone jack. I hope Xiaomi continues to add it in future phones.

Lastly, the phone weighs more than 210gms. The weight is easily noticeable, and it does get annoying after extended usage. I prefer a lighter phone because it helps with ergonomics and can withstand falls slightly better.

Is the LCD panel immersive? Does the high refresh rate drain battery?

Looks so good, yeah looks so sweet

The Mi 10i has a 6.7-inch LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate and Full HD+ resolution. There’s not much to say about the screen because it’s like you’d expect it to be. Xiaomi has a lot of experience with these panels now, and the color reproduction is accurate and vibrant, blacks are deep enough, and the viewing angle is top-notch. However, I feel that it could’ve been brighter. Under direct sunlight, it sometimes becomes difficult to view texts and emails on the go.

Yes, an AMOLED display will have deeper blacks, and that’s where the OnePlus Nord gets a lead. But considering the price difference between the two, Xiaomi smartly opted for an LCD panel and added 120Hz support. Day-to-day tasks are smoothly done, and the overall experience of having a smooth user experience pays off in the longer run. Although, you can adjust the refresh rate according to your preference.

The screen doesn’t suck too much power because it has an automatic variable refresh rate that adjusts according to your usage. So, if you’re watching a YouTube video, don’t worry. The panel knows the playback is at a lower refresh rate and makes the appropriate changes. In the end, you’re with a dynamic display that uses resources only when required. And, if you’re desperate to save power, there’s an option to downgrade to 30Hz as well!

How hard can you game on the Mi 10i? Is MIUI optimized?

The Mi 10i is one of the first phones to be powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 750G chipset. It is an octa-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz and built on an 8nm fabrication while the graphics are taken care of by the Adreno 619 GPU. This is also a 5G enabled chipset which comes with Qualcomm’s X52 5G modem for 5G connectivity. My unit has 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

As for the real-life usage and performance, as expected, the device shines at everything you throw at it. Be it a light task or a heavy task; the device is capable of handling it all. Xiaomi has mastered MIUI’s integration with a range of hardware, and the results are visible across all its phones. The Xiaomi Mi 10i runs MIUI 12, which is still Android 10-based (we’d expect Android 11 by now). If you’ve used MIUI before, you know what you’re getting into.

And if you haven’t, don’t worry. The skin is heavily customizable and has a lot of nifty features that are very utilitarian. The RAM management and multitasking was also excellent. Apps stayed longer than I’d expected in the background, and switching between apps did not force reload the content.

All modern games run smoothly on the phone, and there’s barely any lag or stuttering. Though, I did notice some frame drops when playing Call of Duty: Mobile for more than an hour. If you’re expecting any considerable raw performance improvement against the Snapdragon 765G, don’t. The difference is negligible, and you won’t realize it in real-life unless you start mining Bitcoins on your phone.

Most importantly, how’s the 108MP camera? Is it as good as the Mi 10T series?

Just like the Mi 10T Pro series, the Mi 10i gets a 108 megapixel sensor, but it isn’t the same one as the Mi 10T Pro. It comes with a 1/1.52-inch sensor, and Xiaomi claims it’s more compact than the HM1 sensor, which reduces the camera bump. Pictures are usually taken in 12-megapixels via binning technology, retaining details, natural color, and accurate contrast.

One of my favorite things about the sensor is its capability to capture excellent pictures with HDR. The algorithm can cleverly process the image to ensure there’s no excessive noise correction. The sensor can detect colors precisely and adjust exposure even under direct sunlight. The 108-megapixel mode can be accessed in the camera app with more options. The amount of detail captured by the camera in 108MP mode is truly incredible.

Low-light pictures are slightly disappointing because they often over-sharpen details, and the result looks quite artificial. The night mode compensates for this, but it mostly makes the image brighter and doesn’t necessarily optimize it.

Accompanying the primary sensor is an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens that isn’t that wide and struggles to capture detail. The quality degradation is easily visible, and this is definitely a cost-cutting measure for the company. There’s also a 2-megapixel macro and portrait sensor, which are now commonly found on almost all Xiaomi phones. It’s worth noting that the phone doesn’t have optical image stabilization, so if you’re into video, this definitely isn’t for you.

Despite the criticism, I’d say the phone has the best cameras you’d find in this price range. The competition is far away, and the 108 megapixel becomes a deal-breaker for many. Most of the issues I’ve encountered are software-based, and Xiaomi can fix them via OTA updates.

How long can it last? Should I invest in a 5G phone right now?

The Mi 10i 5G has a 4800mAh battery with 33W fast charging, and Xiaomi includes a 33W charging brick in the box. It took me an hour to charge it from 0 to 100, and that’s definitely a good deal. Thanks to Adaptive Sync (variable refresh rate of the screen), the phone can deliver a screen-on-time of more than seven hours in one go. Sometimes, it’ll even go up to eight hours under comfortable situations.

India is yet to roll-out 5G on a commercial scale, and the expected launch timeline from telcos currently stands at 2022. The government is yet to hold a spectrum auction, so there’s a lot of bureaucracy involved before we get to experience it. In my opinion, practical coverage of 5G is still two years away. 5G should be no reason for you to buy this phone.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for a phone that excels at everything, then this phone is for you. The design honestly feels flagship grade and reeks premium, the processor is brand new and packs a punch, the cameras are above average and can go the extra mile if you’re a photography enthusiast, and lastly, the battery backup is optimum.

Gamers won’t be disappointed because the chipset is capable enough, and the phone barely heats up. This phone is made for everyone and does not stick to any particular niche. Considering the starting price of INR 21,999 (US$ 303), the Mi 10i is an easy recommendation. And even though we can’t enjoy 5G this year, it’s great to see the market get flooded with options. After all, the trickle-down effect will soon give us affordable 5G phones.

Continue Reading

Trending