Xiaomi‘s Redmi has had a busy year with a total of 9 smartphones launched in its Redmi 9 and Note 9 series. The latest from the brand is the Redmi 9 Power, which sits between Redmi Note 9 and Redmi 9 Prime in the line-up. The loaded budget offering comes with features like an FHD+ display, 48MP quad cameras, and a massive 6,000mAh battery, among others.
Starting at Rs 10,999 for the base variant, the Redmi 9 Power is a budget smartphone that ticks a lot of the right boxes, at least on paper. However, the real-life usage case was slightly marred for me during my week-long sojourn with the handset. Wondering why I say so? Here’s my detailed review of the handset after using it as my primary device for a while.
Design and display
- 162.3 x 77.3 x 9.6 mm, 198g
- 6.53-inch IPS LCD, FHD+, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 400nits, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, Reading mode certified by TÜV Rheinland
The Redmi 9 Power stands out from other Redmi 9-series smartphones thanks to its unique design. The polycarbonate-clad device features a textured back and curved edges for an ergonomic grip. There’s a rather large Redmi branding on the back and a rectangular triple camera module. Thanks to the massive battery, the smartphone weighs almost 200g and is not lightweight but that adds to the hand feel of the device. The phone comes with a splash-resistant nano-coating.
The buttons and port placements are standard with physical volume and power button on the right and an ejectable SIM tray on the left. The SIM tray has dedicated microSD card slot apart from the dual nano-SIM insert. The power button on the right has a fingerprint scanner embedded in it, which is fast and accurate. Xiaomi lets you set the fingerprint recognition method to either press or touch, which are self-explanatory.
At the bottom, you will find a noise-cancelling mic, USB Type-C port, and speaker grille. On the top, there’s the IR sensor, 3.5mm audio jack and another noise-cancelling mic. There are two additional perforations right beside the IR sensor, which appear to be an outlet for the speaker embedded in the earpiece. As s result, the Redmi 9 Power offers stereo sound, which will appeal to gamers and multimedia lovers.
The Redmi 9 Power features a 6.53-inch IPS LCD panel, which features 2,340 x 1,080 pixels resolution. In my stint with the handset, I found the screen to be vivid and sharp. However, the legibility in direct sunlight was a little disappointing, thanks to a super reflective display and rather low brightness. The Redmi 9 Power features Widevine L1 support, which means it can play HD content on Netflix, YouTube and Prime Video.
- Rear: 48-megapixel primary lens, 8-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, 2-megapixel depth sensor
- Front: 8-megapixel main camera
The Redmi 9 Power features a quad-camera setup on the back comprising a 48-megapixel Samsung GM1 sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide lens, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth sensor. On the front, there’s an 8-megapixel snapper for selfies and video calling. In typical MIUI fashion, the camera app only has most users features on the front like Pro mode, video, AI, HDR, and photo. Other features like night mode, 48MP, slow motion, time-lapse, and others are in the ‘More’ section. Strangely, Xioami has hidden the macro mode, movie frame and Pro Colour options in the three-line icon on the top.
The primary 48-megapixel camera captures 12-megapixel binned shots by default. The pictures taken in daylight were vibrant and sharp. The AI mode adds the saturation boost if that’s something you prefer. My only gripe with the camera is that the dynamic range is not quite there as often times the camera would overexpose the sky. As expected the low-light shots in standard mode are nothing to write home about with fuzzy details and lot of grain. However, the dedicated night mode works exceptionally well with balanced exposure, reduced noise and more details in shadows.
Coming to the dedicated lenses, the 8-megapixel wide-angle camera does its job well. However, it does lose out on details and colours look washed out. The 2-megapixel macro lens allows you to get up close with the subject but the slow shutter speed requires you to have extremely steady hands to be able to get crisp images. Lastly, the 2-megapixel depth sensor ensures good portrait shots with clear edge-detection. I did notice the background getting blown up in portrait shots taken during the daytime.
The 8-megapixel selfie camera on the front takes good images in the daylight. I would recommend turning off the beautification mode to get a natural-looking self-portrait. The edge detection in portrait mode was quite decent as well but the night time selfies leave a lot to be desired.
As for video recording, the Redmi 9 Power offers 1080p @30 fps and 720p @30 fps. There’s no video stabilisation as expected to videos shot while on the move will turn out to be shaky.
Performance, software and battery
- Android 10 with MIUI 12
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
- 4GB + 64GB, 4GB + 128GB
- 6,000mAh battery, 22.5W fast charging
The Redmi 9 Power is powered by the 11nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor. The processor is backed by 4GB RAM and up to 128GB storage. In my experience I found the smartphone to be sluggish in day-to-day usage where at one point, the smartphone took almost 5 seconds to switch between apps or load the homescreen and I had to restart the phone. That being said, I haven’t experienced any crashes yet and the phone can handle anything that you throw at it.
I played my usual games – Asphalt 9 and Forza Street on the Redmi 9 Power. Both these games run smoothly on the smartphone without any sort of lag or freezing. More casual games like Subway Surfer or Ludo King are a breeze to play on the Redmi 9 Power. Moreover, the smartphone doesn’t heat up even after long gaming sessions. The stereo speakers and massive battery ensure a wholesome gaming experience.
Speaking of the battery, the Redmi 9 Power is the only Redmi 9-series to offer a massive 6,000mAh cell and hence the name. During my stint with the device — on moderate usage — I was able to get two days out of a full charge easily. On days when I binge-watched YouTube and played a lot of games, the device still managed to last at least a day and a half. Strangely, while the handset only supports 18W fast charging, Xiaomi is offering a 22.5W fast charger in the box. Due to the charging limitation on the hardware level, the 6,000mAh battery takes around 2.5 hours to charge from under 10 percent to full.
Out of the box, the Redmi 9 Power boots MIUI 12 based on Android 10. The new MIUI 12 interface brings a refreshed UI with an app drawer. The software does ask to install a number of apps during the initial setup. I deselected every single one of them and decided to proceed with one and to my surprise, the setup installed several other apps including Osom Rummy, Moj and ShareMe, which was sneaky. I also encountered ads in the Cleaner app, and in-app promotions in the notifications tray from time to time.
At the time of writing this review, I received the MIUI V126.96.36.199.QJQINXM update and that ironed out the sluggish performance by turning off resource-heavy elements including many animations, transitions and transparency effects.
The Redmi 9 Power stands out from the other devices in the series, thanks to its unique design, massive 6,000mAh battery, new processor, stereo speakers and FHD+ Widevine L1 certified display.
That being said, the Redmi 9 Power starts at Rs 10,999 for the base variant and goes up to Rs 11,999 for the 128GB variant. The Realme Narzo 20 (review) comes in same configurations – 4GB + 64GB and 4GB + 128GB for Rs 10,499 and Rs 11,499, respectively. You get a gaming-centric Helio G85 processor, better-performing 48-megapixel triple rear cameras, and a cleaner Realme UI based on Android 10.
If you are looking at the top-end variant of the Redmi 9 Power, I would suggest getting the Redmi Note 9 base variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. You will get similar 48-megapixel quad cameras on the back, smaller 5,020mAh battery but with 22.5W fast charging support, faster Helio G85 SoC, modern punch-hole display with Gorilla Glass 5, and a 13-megapixel selfie camera.
Pricebaba’s rating: 7 / 10
- Long-lasting battery
- Sharp display
- Stereo speakers
- Attractive design
- Sluggish performance
- Sub-par cameras