Reviews

Redmi Note 9: Darkhorse budget phone?

Good kind of unexpected

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Xiaomi released the Redmi Note 9 and Note 9 Pro earlier this month and I got the chance to spend a little time taking it for a spin.

Now, before we throw ourselves into the nitty-gritty of this phone, I just want to say: it is been an overwhelming 6 months into this year. I don’t how time just flew by at a horrendous pace while making sure we all suffered every moment of it.

I just want to just get this out there: if you completely shattered your phone and are looking for a good budget phone that won’t rip your moth infested wallets during a global pandemic, you might want to stick around for this review. Looking at you, Chan. You got this, buddy.

No-fuss design

The Redmi Note 9 has a 6.53-in FHD+ DotDisplay protected by a Corning Glass 5. It comes in three different colors: Interstellar Grey, Aurora Blue, and Glacier White. At face value, the Redmi Note 9 doesn’t stray too far from standard smartphone designs, sticking to no-frills and prioritizing functionality.

The Redmi Note 9 has an in-display (not to be confused with under display) front camera and four cameras on the back. Below the quad-cam, set-up is a fingerprint reader making it easy to access when picking the phone up. The Redmi Note 9 keeps things simple with its design while achieving a clean and buttery-smooth display.

Delivers great performance

The phone is powered by a Helio G85 processor with either a 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage or a 4GB RAM with a 128GB internal storage. This is a massive upgrade from its predecessor: the Redmi Note 8.

It delivers surprisingly smooth gameplay and holds up sharp quality while playing over a long period of time. It even delivers arguably smoother and better-quality gameplay than phones with a higher price tag.

A properly good battery life

Let’s talk about battery life. The Redmi Note 9’s battery life far outlives the quick dwindling of any salvageable motivation to commit to my 2020 resolutions. The phone has a 5020mAh battery with 18W fast charging.

I’ve gone through a few days of using this phone without charging. With needing to charge the phone being a sparse experience, it was a glorious one. Trading off battery life for better performance should be less a thing than it usually is because nobody needs to get tied to the nearest charging station so often.

Camera: you win some you lose some

The phone has a 13MP in-display front camera and a 48MP AI quad-camera. This is pretty much a step up from the Note 8. The phone delivers on good quality photos with striking contrast but if there’s a downside, it’s the focus.

The phone struggles to keep the focus on your subjects too often especially under low light. Overcasts and dimmer rooms are this phone’s Kryptonite so, keep that in mind.

Here are sample shots I took while using the Redmi Note 9:

Is the Redmi Note 9 your Gadgetmatch?

The Redmi Note 9 is a really good phone to have. If there’s one good reason to get it, it’s to have it as a gaming phone because it delivers stellar performance while sustaining it with properly great battery life.

The phone’s cameras aren’t too bad either. If you want a phone that lets you play while not falling short on lifestyle shots all while making sure you don’t break the bank, this is definitely the phone for you.

The Redmi Note 9 costs PhP 7,990 (US$ 160) for the 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage variant and PhP 9,990 (US$ 200) for the 4GB RAM with 128GB internal storage.

Reviews

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro Unboxing & Review: About Time!

Killer specs at a reasonable price

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It seems like Google’s Pixel 5 announcement didn’t stop Xiaomi from announcing their newest Mi 10T series.

As confusing as it might be, the new Mi 10T Pro is the successor to Mi 9T Pro, last year’s popular midranger. But the thing is, Xiaomi’s newest phone isn’t a midrange device anymore.

Packed with Snapdragon 865, set of brilliant cameras, and a gaming-centric 144Hz display, the new Mi 10T Pro might just be establishing a new smartphone category with flagship-tier specs at a midranger’s price.

Curious to find out what was added and removed? Watch our review of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro here.

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Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Unboxing and Review: Not What You Think!

Samsung’s answer to their pricey flagship smartphones

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Galaxy S10e, S10 Lite, and the Galaxy S20 FE, three phones meant for the less tech-savvy consumers. Samsung may not be consistent with naming their phones, but they’re still consistent in giving fans the best of specs.

The Galaxy S20 FE is a follow-up to Samsung’s S20 Series — packed with no-compromise specs at a reasonable price. But in order to bring down costs, they have to make adjustments for it to have a retail value just below the US$ 700 mark.

Are these cuts acceptable for it to be called as one of 2020’s “cheapest” flagship smartphones?

You can watch our Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review by clicking this link.

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Reviews

realme 7 Pro review: A real deal

Supercharging their way into the action

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realme has gone aggressive in attracting attention for their smartphones. There’s always something that they bring to the table, either new features or just an incredibly-built smartphone. Now, they have another new smartphone that will surely capture the public at lightning-fast speeds — the realme 7 Pro.

The realme 7 Pro is the company’s latest entry into a more powerful space. It’s power, like most smartphones, would come from the hardware it possesses. However, there’s much more that this phone actually offers apart from power. In essence, it strives to give you the best smartphone possible.

So how does the “best smartphone possible” actually stack up? Here’s what the realme 7 Pro offers:

It has a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display

The rear cameras are powered by the 2nd generation Sony IMX682 sensor

There is an in-screen fingerprint reader at the lower portion of the display

It comes in either Mirror Silver or Mirror Blue

Provides some excellent performance across the board

It was a joy using the realme 7 Pro, and it’s not just for the most part. The phone comes with the Snapdragon 720G octa-core processor inside, which ideally grants it great performance. Whether it was browsing social media, watching videos, or playing games, I genuinely felt how incredibly fast this phone is.

Along with the 8GB of RAM given to the phone, I felt no lags doing my normal phone routine. That Super AMOLED display provided great color accuracy and a bright enough screen to bring outdoors. I was able to watch some YouTube videos and Netflix shows even with the sun shining bright.

I’d also like to give huge props to realme’s UI and how it’s fully optimized for all use cases. The enhancements it brought while I was playing Call of Duty: Mobile gave me a smooth gameplay experience. And this was already on top of the powerful processor and high-enough RAM.

Supercharging is the star of the show

This device comes with a 65W SuperDart Charge brick, which ideally charges the phone up to 42% within a matter of 10 minutes. They’ve even mentioned during a forum that you can charge it to 30% in a matter of 7 minutes. At first, to me it seemed too good to be true — until I tried to replicate these exact figures.

As it turns out, I actually got to about 29% from 0% within 7 minutes — and that’s pretty fast. I stretched it all the way to time a 30-minute charge, and I got close to 78% within that time. In essence, you can use your phone almost instantly the moment you drain it to zero. Based on my experience, it takes a long while to do that.

With a 4,500 mAh battery inside, the realme 7 Pro takes more than a day before you could fully use it up. I played games on it for 6 hours, watched high-resolution (up to 4K for some) videos, browsed social media, and listened to music on the phone. Yet, after doing all of these activities, I still had about 16% left. Basically, this is one long lasting phone that charges incredibly fast!

The camera work is just as great, and deserves some love

Perhaps the second best thing that the realme 7 Pro wants to present are its cameras. In particular, the rear camera comes with a 2nd generation Sony IMX682 sensor at 64MP. Along with a supposedly enhanced Nightscape feature, this phone can also take high quality images in the dark.

For the most part, this was the case when I took photos with it. Image quality is pretty excellent, without rendering anything in a blurred or grainy fashion. I appreciate it even more that sometimes, even when zooming in the objects are pretty clear.

Captured with HDR on

When using Night Mode and the Nightscape AI feature, it showed color-vibrant images while sacrificing some detail.

Captured with Pro Nightscape

 

Captured with Pro Nightscape and adjust brightness

The 32MP selfie camera, I’m happy to report, was also a joy to use. Again, for the most part, image quality is fantastic as it captured even small facial features. However, I don’t recommend taking selfies in relatively total darkness if you use Night Mode.

Captured with Nightscape on

As far as shooting videos, you can shoot up to 4K resolution at 60 FPS with the rear camera. Video quality is great and all due to the active stabilization features the camera offers. However, I honestly feel it’s best to have your own physical stabilizer just to be safe.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 17,990 (US$ 371), the realme 7 Pro ticks all the boxes of a quality smartphone. It provides great performance across the board, takes really great pictures, and lasts for a long time. Even if you run out of juice, the SuperDart Charge brick simply won’t allow that to happen.

I honestly think that it deserves to have its TUV Rheinland Smartphone Reliability verified. For most common use cases, there’s really nothing else you would complain about. If anything, my only minor complaint is that the selfie camera is placed at the top left.

Overall, this smartphone offers, what is essentially, the real deal. It gives you everything you want out of any decent smartphone, but supercharges it for the best experience.

SEE ALSO: realme 7 review | realme Buds Q hands-on


BUY THE REALME 7 PRO HERE

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