India

Redmi 9 Prime review: The best for baseline needs

The prime preference!

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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.

India

realme launches narzo 20 Pro with Helio G95, 65W fast charging

Xiaomi should be worried

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realme started the narzo series earlier this year and it’s all set to launch a successor. The narzo 20 series consists of the narzo 20A, narzo 20, and narzo 20 Pro. These phones are made for the affordable segment and will be directly competing against the Redmi Note 9 series and POCO X2.

The phone features a reflective design that creates a multi-layer downward arrow pattern. Continuing realme’s design language, it features a vertical quad-camera setup with the narzo branding in focus. The fingerprint scanner is located on the side.

On the front is a 6.5-inch LCD display with Full HD+ resolution, 90Hz refresh rate, Gorilla Glass protection, and a punch-hole cut-out for the front camera.

Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio G95 processor with Mali-G76 MC4 GPU. Storage is expandable via a dedicated microSD card slot. It has a new carbon fiber cooling system that ensures consistent performance during extended usage.

The rear features a quad-camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. On the front is a 16-megapixel camera for selfies. The software supports night filters, AI enhancement, and improved low-light performance.

Backing these internal is a 4500mAh battery that supports 65W fast charging. realme claims it can fully charge the battery in 38 minutes. Lastly, the phone ships with realme IU out-of-the-box.

The narzo 20 Pro costs INR 14,999 for 6GB+64GB and INR 16,999 for 8GB+128GB. It’ll be available in Black Ninja and White Knight color options and shall go on sale from September 25 via Flipkart, realme.com, and offline stores.

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Apps

Google removes one of India’s top payments app for violating policy

But there’s nothing to worry about

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Google removed one of India’s top payments app Paytm from the Play Store for allegedly violating guidelines. To be more precise, the app violated the app store’s policy by promoting gambling. The app is still available on Apple’s App Store though.

In response, Google said, “The app was blocked for violation of play policies – a clarification of our policy was released earlier today ahead of the IPL tournament.” It further clarified that users aren’t affected and only the app’s availability from the Play Store has changed.

Google strictly prohibits digital casinos or ungoverned gambling apps on its Play Store in India and Paytm’s app was found in violation of this policy. Recently, it launched a fantasy sports service called Paytm First Games and embedded links to this service within the Paytm app.

The standalone Paytm First Games app has also been removed. However, other apps like Paytm Mall, Paytm Money, and Paytm Business are still available and remain untouched. Google said the developer is always notified and the app shall remain unavailable till it complies with the norms.

Paytm has also assured all users that their accounts, wallets, and bank accounts are safe and there’s nothing to worry about. When the news broke, there was some initial panic because the memories of India’s app ban are still fresh and people are worried about their favorite apps going off the shelf instantaneously.

Fantasy sports games and other gambling apps have radically risen in India. The country loves cricket and the Indian Premier League is scheduled to start from tomorrow. Making the coming weeks a very lucrative period for these apps.

All these apps do not depend on Google’s Play Store for distribution and have to be downloaded externally via the developer’s website.

Paytm is hugely credited for encouraging India’s digital economy and has transformed itself into a super app. Besides bill payments and peer-to-peer fund transfer, the app can also be used for tickets, shopping, and entertainment.

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India

Redmi 9i launches with Helio G25, 5000mAh battery

Designed for everyday tasks

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Xiaomi has consistently launched a new phone in the last few weeks. After the Redmi 9 Prime and Redmi 9, the brand has launched a slightly more affordable option — the Redmi 9i.

The body of the phone looks similar to the Redmi 9 Prime but doesn’t have a textured back. On the front is a 6.5-inch LCD display with HD+ resolution and TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light certification.

Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio G25 chipset along with MG PowerVR GE8320 GPU. It doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner and solely relies on face unlock for faster authentication.

On the rear is a single 13-megapixel camera with AI-powered portrait mode, in-built document scanner, and beauty mode. For selfies, a 5-megapixel camera is located on the front in a water-drop notch. The storage is expandable via a microSD card.

Backing these internals is a 5000mAh battery with a 10W charger. Although, this one skips the usual USB-C port in favor of microUSB. It ships with MIUI 12 out-of-the-box.

The Redmi 9i comes in two variants. The 4GB+64GB option costs INR 8,299 while the 4GB+128GB variant is priced at INR 9,299. Sale starts from September 18 via mi.com, Flipkart, Mi Homes, and Mi Studios.

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