Accessories

Redmi 9A review: A match for online learning

Does everything you expect it to

Published

on

We recently reviewed another budget phone and gauged how well it would do as a student’s companion for distance learning. Seeing as the Redmi 9A fits squarely in that peg, we’re going to do the exact same thing.

This might seem like a cop out way to test the device, but given everything that’s happening, it also seems appropriate.

The status of the pending school year in the Philippines seems like it’s up in the air at the moment. Regardless, if you still choose to equip the young student in your family with a smartphone for online learning, can the Redmi 9A play that role?

Baseline specs

Let’s first see how it stacks up specs-wise to the minimum specs requirement laid out by the Education Department of the Philippines.

Distance Learning, Smartphone Minimum Tech Specs Redmi 9A 
Processor Octa-core 2 GHz MediaTek Helio G25

(Octa-core 2 Ghz)

Memory 2GB 2GB
Display 6”, IPS LCD 6.53”
Storage 32GB 32GB
Network GSM / HSPA / LTE

Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth

Dual 4G

Wi-Fi

Bluetooth

Ports Micro USB or Type C, 3.5mm Audio Jack Micro USB port, 3.5mm Audio Jack
OS Android 8.1 Android 10, MIUI 12

 

We asked a teacher some questions about how this smartphone will be used by the student in a distance learning setup. Answers have been edited for brevity.

What will students need to access for distance learning?

It depends on the platform the school will use. These can be Google Classroom, Edmodo, Zoom, etc. But certainly, the most accessed sites will be Google and Wikipedia.

Facebook and Messenger may also be used for communication and publishing of some projects. However, this is also dependent on the teacher handling the class.

What are the must have apps? 

Youtube, Google Apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides) or any office app, Dictionary, A notepad app, Web browser, and Email.

How long will they need to be on the phone?

Our planned schedule will start at around 9AM and will end at around 2PM. That’s five 45-minute classes with 15 minutes of break in between. There’s also a 30-minute lunch break at 11:45AM. It may vary from day-to-day but that’s the general plan.

This also does not yet include consultation time. For us, we’ll do 15 minutes at the start and at the end of the day to help make-up for the interaction that will be lost due to the nature of an online class.

Any final notes? 

It’s certainly possible to have online classes despite the student only having a smartphone. Given of course that the smartphone can access everything mentioned previously.

Usually for lectures, the students will only really have to listen to the lectures on video. The teacher can opt to pre-record the classes and make it available for on-demand viewing so the students can access it even after class hours. The rest of the activities will be handled offline and be disseminated via communication apps.

How does the Redmi 9A handle the activities mentioned?

The Redmi 9A almost looks like it’s the exact phone that the Education Department had in mind when they drafted the minimum requirements specs. It fits every spec to a T. So how does it perform?

Like most Android phones, a lot of the Google apps mentioned by the teacher already come pre-installed. And they’ve been optimized to run smoothly on the device’s configuration.

Curiously, the MediaTek G25 struggled a bit more overall compared to the MediaTek G35 on the previous budget phone I put through this test. Although, this could also be a function of the skin (MIUI 12) making things feel slower than it ought to be.

For the record, MIUI 12 is actually one of my favorite Android skins. It’s little design decisions make a lot of sense to me.

For instance, the animation for recent apps is unlike any other Android skin. Instead of making you go left to right to switch, the apps are arranged vertically and you continue with the up-down motion you started with when decided to jump from one app to another.

But as far as apps go, Google is your best friend if you want to maximize budget phones.

Lite apps should be your go to

Budget phones are light on power so it’s prudent to go for Lite apps to not put too much stress on your phone.

Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, and even Spotify all have lite versions. You still get most of what you need from these apps without hogging too much memory.

Same is true for gaming apps. While looking for more Lite apps to use, I found PUBG Lite. It’s gonna eat over 500mb of storage but if you’re really into first-person shooters, this is probably the app to download.

Battery fared nicely

At 5000mAh this thing has plenty of juice. It also helps that it doesn’t have any exorbitant features to support thereby extending the battery life even further.

I simulated the 9AM to 2PM video on demand class sessions by letting the phone marathon through a bunch of YouTube videos. After 6 hours and 23 minutes, I ended up at 68% from a full charge.

Yes, that’s Heejin. Stan LOONA.

Absolutely no issues here. This phone should be able to keep up with you for a day and then some.

Good build quality

This is again one of the more pleasant surprises here. The last time I used a budget phone extensively was about half a decade ago. It felt nowhere near this good.

The Redmi 9A feels sturdy and not the type that will break after a fall or two. Unlike yours truly. It’s hard to see on the black variant but it also has this tiny concentric circle design thing going on at the back. Much like the one found on the Redmi 9.

Fair post-processing on photos

You’re not gonna blow minds with the 13MP rear and 5MP front-facing cameras on this thing. But it does what it’s supposed to. To make sure you get good photos make sure you have a decent light source.

These were taken in the afternoon near a window.

This one was when it’s about to turn into night time.

Is the Redmi 9A an online learning GadgetMatch?

I was really skeptical about the specs laid out by the Education Department. However, this test with the Redmi 9A proved that as far as the necessities go, this gets the job done.

If you’re able to spend more, that’s great. But for people who absolutely can only spend under PhP 5,000 (US$ 100), this is a good enough choice. The Redmi 9A retails for PhP 4590 (US$ 93) and it’s already capable of a lot without forcing you to spend too much.

Accessories

Samsung announces larger S Pen Pro

And a brand new S Pen

Published

on

Because of the controversial charger decision, the recently launched Galaxy S21 series lost a lot of momentum for its more bombastic features. For example, did you know that Samsung now supports third-party styluses outside of Samsung’s own S Pens? Additionally, Samsung is launching the S Pen Pro.

Before that, however, Samsung has also announced a brand-new S Pen. Compared to the tiny stylus from the Galaxy Note series, the new S Pen is larger, making it more comfortable to hold. However, there is a tradeoff: The new S Pen doesn’t have an internal battery. It won’t have the same Bluetooth functionalities as the ones from the Galaxy Note series. At the very least, infused with Wacom’s technology, the new S Pen still has some functions for Samsung’s smartphones.

Now, onto the S Pen Pro. Compared to the new S Pen, the S Pen Pro is even larger. Since it’s bigger, it can fit an internal battery, which adds Bluetooth functionality including external buttons like a shutter for the camera.

Because both new variants are larger, they can’t fit inside a smartphone slot. They can, however, fit on a smartphone case.

So far, Samsung has not announced any robust specifications yet. We don’t know how big the new S Pens are or how much they will cost. However, the company has promised that both will launch sometime this year. For now, Samsung users, especially for the new Galaxy S21 Ultra, can still use their old S Pens from the Galaxy Note series.

SEE ALSO: Samsung will remove the free charger from more phones

Continue Reading

Accessories

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Review: Better than AirPods Pro?

Finally, real Active Noise Cancellation out of the box

Published

on

Samsung has unveiled the newest Galaxy Buds Pro alongside the announcement of the latest Galaxy S21 series.

Other than the new design, better sound quality, and surround sound setup, there’s now a real and intelligent Active Noise Cancellation.

But do these earbuds live up to its ‘Pro’ branding? Watch our Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review by clicking the video link right here.

Continue Reading

Accessories

Samsung launches Galaxy Buds Pro with intelligent ANC

Also has IPX7 water resistance

Published

on

Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung is going from Live to Pro in the True Wireless (TWS) earbuds department with the all new Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. 

Samsung took their sweet time slapping on the “Pro” tag but it seems it’s well worth the wait. Headline features include intelligent Active Noise Cancellation or ANC and IPX7 water resistance among others.

The Galaxy Buds Pro has intelligent Active Noise Cancellation or ANC. It’s smart enough to adjust the noise cancelling levels depending on your situation and surroundings. If you’re out walking, it’ll adjust the noise levels to make sure you still hear if some vehicle is about to run you over. We don’t want anyone getting run over.

It can do this thanks to multiple audio settings that mimic multi-directional surround sound. It has a 6.5mm tweeter and 11mm woofer for better sound.

Galaxy Buds Pro

The Galaxy Buds Pro can automatically pair with your Galaxy smartphone

Additionally, it has IPX7 water resistance making it an ideal companion for when you’re working out. We all know it’s easier to get pumped up when you have your workout playlist blasting in your ears.

If you like to game, it has a Game Mode that reduces audio latency making sure you’re immersed in your gameplay.

It promises up to five (5) hours of Playback with ANC and up to 18 hours total. You can get up to 30 minutes of playback after 30 minutes of charging.

Pricing and availability

US — Galaxy Buds Pro

The Galaxy Buds Pro comes in three colors — Phantom Violet, Phantom Black, and Phantom Silver. It’ll retail for US$ 199.99 and will be available on January 14 on Samsung.com and January 15 with other retailers.

Philippines – Galaxy Buds Pro

Galaxy Buds Pro come in three colors: Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Violet. It will be exclusively available for pre-order at PhP 9,990 on Samsung.com starting January 18 until January 28.

Those who avail of the pre-order will get a free wireless charger pad worth PhP 1,499. The Galaxy Buds Pro will be available nationwide beginning January 29. 

Continue Reading

Trending