Xiaomi has gradually launched the Redmi 9 series in India, and we see a new phone in the portfolio every month. The Redmi brand has developed a reputation for being reliable, and it has helped the Xiaomi become number one in India. Now, the brand has launched the Redmi 9 Prime, and it costs just INR 9,999 (US$ 137).
It’s an affordable phone that’ll go against the likes of Narzo 10 and Redmi Note 9. Being a developing market, the price plays a very crucial role, and the company has managed to grab the sub-10,000 sweet spot.
But consumers expect more in every department. Can this inexpensive phone be your GadgetMatch? Let’s find out!
A functional design
The phone is built out of plastic and has a unibody design. Unlike the usual norm, there’s no glossy back or reflective surface. We have a Mint Green unit, and Xiaomi has cleverly leveraged its Aura 360 design language. I specifically love the color because it looks unique and fresh.
The design also reminds me of the POCO X2 because it has a circular ring around the horizontal camera array. Outside the ring, the plastic has radial grooves that run all around the back of the phone. To be honest, I prefer the simple plastic design because it feels solid to hold and doesn’t slip easily.
I’m not proud to say this, but I did drop the phone a couple of times onto hardened concrete. Thankfully, it survived all drops and left behind no scars. If you’re prone to dropping your phone, the Redmi 9 Prime won’t give you a mini heart attack every few days. The inherent design also tries to protect the display by creating a new layer of plastic that thoroughly covers the front.
Even though the phone weighs 198 grams, the in-hand feel is exceedingly ergonomic due to proper weight distribution. The matte design will eliminate fingerprint smudges and often entice you to use the phone without a case.
The power button and volume rockers are located on the right while the SIM tray is on the left. The bottom has the usual speaker grille, 3.5mm headphone jack, and USB-C port for charging. Lastly, the top has an IR blaster.
Display with a tiny water-drop notch
It has a 6.5-inch LCD display with Full HD+ resolution and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Usually, phones support HD+ resolution in this price segment, so I’m glad Xiaomi is pushing the glass ceiling and hasn’t become too comfortable with its leading position.
I don’t have any complaints from the display as it’s sufficiently bright and has average viewing angles. The bezels are tiny and you get a punch-hole cut-out for the front camera.
How does it perform?
An octa-core MediaTek Helio G80 processor powers the Redmi 9 Prime with a Mali G52 GPU. MediaTek’s G-series processors are usually made keeping gamers in mind, and this phone successfully follows the legacy. My unit has 4GB of RAM but could load PUBG Mobile on HD graphics. I noticed a few lags and stutters after an hour of constant gameplay, which is excellent for this device.
If you’re looking for a phone that can game on a budget, this should be your first preference. Heating is minimal and bound to happen over extended hours of gaming. However, the phone glides through day-to-day tasks like emails, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Slack. I tried working on the phone with a couple of tabs open and constant app switching. The phone never ran out of steam.
The smartphone industry has reached a bare minimum level, where even an entry-level phone can replace a flagship. Obviously, the minor additions that exponentially improve user experience are missing, but will you even notice them? For an affordable price, the Redmi 9 Prime redefines what we should expect from future phones.
Backing these internals is a 5020mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging. However, the in-box charging brick supports only 10W, and you can buy a fast charging adapter separately. The phone easily lasted me a day with heavy usage and two hours of video streaming. It takes nearly 2 hours and 50 minutes to charge the phone with the in-box 10W adapter.
Just like all Redmi branded phones, this one also ships with MIUI out-of-the-box. There aren’t any significant bugs, and the experience is streamlined across all Redmi phones. There’s a lot of bloatware, but it’s nothing surprising.
Quad rear cameras on a budget
It has a quad rear camera setup that consists of a 13-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 5-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. We’ve seen a similar setup on many Xiaomi phones earlier, and it performs just like you’d expect it to.
The primary camera clicks very good pictures in broad daylight and details are flawless. But the dynamic range on both, the primary as well as wide-angle isn’t sufficient. The depth sensor works in tandem with onboard artificial intelligence to add a bokeh effect. It’s able to detect edges smartly, and a majority of portraits look satisfactory.
Unlike the usual norm, there’s no night mode on this one. It also misses out on various shooting scenarios like Pro, short video, and more. The front camera captures sharp images and can automatically apply beauty mode according to your preference.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
If you’re looking for a balanced phone that’ll get work done, provide entertainment on the go, and click decent pictures, this phone is for you. Gamers will love the phone because it can handle anything you throw at it. The large battery also ensures you’re not glued to the wall indefinitely.
Digital learning and work-from-home have become common concepts due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and this phone is a game-changer that’s bringing a Full HD+ screen at an affordable rate.
If you’re looking for a secondary backup phone, this will be my first choice because it isn’t heavy on the pocket, has a large battery that won’t drain out soon, and can practically run every app a flagship can.
Editor’s Note: This article was earlier titled Redmi Note 9 Prime. It has since been corrected to reflect the correct device name — Redmi 9 Prime.
Samsung Galaxy F22 goes official with 48MP camera, 6000mAh battery
Also gets an AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate
The affordable segment has been a very competitive price segment for the last few years, and its demand is never-ending in the developing markets. Samsung has launched the Galaxy F22 in India, and its unique selling point is a massive battery, quad cameras, and an AMOLED display.
It has a signature Samsung design that we’ve seen on a lot of other F-branded phones. While the looks are conventional, it aims to cover up by offering as many features as possible. Despite intense competition from players like Xiaomi, realme, and vivo, Samsung has managed to hold onto its fort, unbudged.
On the front is a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with HD+ resolution, a 90Hz refresh rate, and a waterdrop notch. The Galaxy F22 is powered by a MediaTek Helio G80 SoC with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. There’s a microSD card slot for storage expansion.
The rear sports a 48-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro sensor, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The front features a 13-megapixel selfie camera.
Backing these internals is a 6000mAh battery with 25W fast charging. Although the charging brick included with the phone is rated for 15W only, so you’ll have to buy a faster charger adapter separately. The fingerprint scanner is located on the side for authentication. It ships with Android 11-based One UI 3.1 out-of-the-box.
The Samsung Galaxy F22 is priced at INR 12,499 (US$ 167) for the 64GB+4GB storage and INR 14,499 (US$ 195) for the 128GB+6GB option. It’ll be available in Denim Blue and Denim Black color options, and sales start from July 13. Online sale partner includes Flipkart and Samsung’s in-house online website.
Mi Watch Revolve Active is a premium fitness tracker with 14 days battery
Has more than 100 workout modes
The Mi Watch Revolve was launched last year, and it sits in a comfortable spot — not too expensive, but loaded. Now, the brand’s expanding its offering and bringing in a much more fitness-oriented product dubbed the Mi Watch Revolve Active.
As the name suggests, the watch is designed to keep you outdoors as much as possible. Or in the new normal, as active and fit as possible. It has a far more sturdy build and continues the premium design language.
It has a 1.4-inch AMOLED display with an always-on display, eliminating the need to touch the screen just to view the time or other essential details. In addition, the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and weighs just 32 grams.
The fitness front comes equipped with LifeQ Health algorithm, which analyzes more than 30 key data points like blood oxygen, stress, heart rate, sleep quality, energy levels, calories burned, and more. All these data points are leveraged to process your lifestyle, fitness regime, and overall performance.
Together, these data points deliver more accurate blood oxygen levels (SpO2), sleep cycles, real-time heart rate, stress levels, body’s oxygen consumption (Vo2 Max), and calories burned. In addition, more than 117 workout modes are supported, including triathlons, swimming, HIIT, Boxing, Water sports, and Yoga.
GPS tracking features an Airoha GPS chip that supports GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BDS navigation systems. Simple operations will be far simpler when you summon Alexa, as the watch supports the voice assistant for reminders, alarms, and other instructions.
The Mi Watch Revolve Active is water-resistant up to 50 meters and comes pre-installed with basic apps like alarm, timer, stopwatch, weather, find my phone, flashlight. It connects to the phone via Xiaomi’s Wear App and has a mini-store for watch faces, which has more than 100 options right now.
Lastly, Xiaomi says the watch can deliver up to 14 days of battery life on a single charge. If you toggle the long battery mode, it can stretch up to 22 days. While these numbers may seem inflated, Xiaomi has an irrefutable history of delivering solid numbers in the real world.
Price and availability:
The Mi Watch Revolve Active is priced at INR 9,999, and sales start from June 25. It’ll be up for purchase via Amazon, Mi.com, and other partner stores. It comes in Beige, Black, and Navy Blue watch case options, with six strap color options, including Black, Blue, Green, White, and Purple.
Mi 11 Lite launches with Snapdragon 732G, triple-rear cameras
The lightest phone to launch in 2021 so far
The second wave of Coronavirus has eased in India, and the country is gradually opening up. A few brands decided to avoid any new launches amid the raging pandemic, creating a vacuum in an otherwise fast-paced industry. Thankfully, Xiaomi has returned with a new offering, and it’s called the Mi 11 Lite.
The Mi 11 series is designed to offer a more premium experience without making a huge dent in your pocket. It follows the same design language as the Mi 11X but is far more thinner and light. At just 6.8mm thickness and 157g weight, it’s touted to be the lightest phone of 2021 so far.
On the front, its got a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD+ resolution, a 90Hz refresh rate, and Gorilla Glass 5 protection. In addition, to make the phone lighter, Xiaomi incorporated a “flat flexible OLED” and a redesigned circuit board that is 35 percent smaller than conventional ones.
Powering the Mi 11 Lite is a Snapdragon 732G processor with up to 8GB RAM and expandable storage. A side-mounted physical fingerprint scanner is included for authentication, and there are dual speakers with Hi-Res Audio support.
The rear sports a triple camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel telephoto sensor. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera that is housed in a punch-hole cut-out. The software supports AI Beautify, Night mode, Time burst, and much more.
Backing these internals is a 4250mAh battery with 33W fast charging. The brand claims the battery has an endurance rating of more than 100 hours, and the compatible fast charger is bundled along. The Mi 11 Lite is IP53-certified for minor dust and water splashes.
The Mi 11 Lite is priced at INR 21,999 (US$ 300) for the 6GB+128GB option and INR 23,999 (US$ 325) for 8GB+256GB. It’s available in three color options — Jazz Blue, Tuscany Coral, and Vinyl Black. Pre-orders start from June 25, and the sale starts from June 28 via Flipkart, Mi.com, and partner physical stores.
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