Redmi smartphones are known for offering excellent value for money, and naturally, the same goes for the Redmi Note 9 Pro. I’ve been using it as my daily driver for a few weeks now, and I’m really quite happy with this mid-range smartphone, especially with its RM999 starting price in mind.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the Redmi Note 9 Pro sets the bar on what to expect from a mid-range smartphone. If you want the most bang for your buck, consider this affordable gem, though do note that it has some shortcomings here and there.
What It Is
|6.67-inch FHD+ IPS (2400 x 1080)
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G 2.3GHz octa-core
8MP f/2.2 (ultra-wide angle)
5MP f/2.4 (macro)
2MP f/2.4 (depth)
|165.75 x 76.68 x 8.8 mm
|MIUI 11 based on Android 10
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz)
|RM999 (64GB), RM1,099 (128GB)
As far as mid-range smartphones go, the Redmi Note 9 Pro is reasonably well-equipped. The Snapdragon 720G is fast enough for most tasks, the quad camera system can capture good-looking shots, and the generous 5,020mAh battery can return incredibly long battery life; more on that in the next section.
The Good Stuff
So exactly how good is the Redmi Note 9 Pro’s battery life? Well, on average, I was getting between eight to nine hours of screen on time; I can even – comfortably, if I might add – get two days of use out of this phone. This is ridiculously good battery life, even compared to other smartphones with a similar battery capacity.
Charging rate of the Redmi Note 9 Pro is pretty darn good as well. Rated at 30W, the phone got up to about 65% from completely empty within 30 minutes of charging. Very respectable charging rate, given that it has a large 5,020mAh battery.
Besides that, the Snapdragon 720G is no slouch either. Sure, it doesn’t provide blazing fast performance, but it does offer good enough processing power regardless of the task at hand. Whether I’m multitasking or gaming, the chipset manages just fine.
Another aspect worth highlighting is the Redmi Note 9 Pro’s build quality. Even though it has a plastic frame, the curved glass back panel improves the perceived build quality of this affordable device. I wouldn’t say it feels like a premium smartphone, but it certainly doesn’t feel cheap.
As for the 6.67-inch 1080p IPS display, it’s decent with good peak brightness and vibrant colours. While it doesn’t look incredibly good – this is an affordable smartphone, after all – I do like the hole-punch cutout at the top of the screen. It gives the phone a symmetrical, modern aesthetic.
Last but certainly not least is the camera performance of the Redmi Note 9 Pro. As expected, the primary 64MP f/1.89 sensor can capture very good-looking shots under ideal lighting. Detail preservation is good, the camera interface feels responsive, and it feels quite effortless to use as well.
However, in more challenging lighting conditions, the camera does show its weaknesses. It feels a lot more sluggish in low light environments with worse detail preservation, but with some effort and patience, I can still get good results. It’s not amazing by any means, but it is more than acceptable for a phone at this price point.
Overall, the Redmi Note 9 Pro has a lot of good qualities. But as I’ve said in the beginning of this review, it does have its fair share of shortcomings, such as…the camera performance.
The Bad Stuff
While the Redmi Note 9 Pro can capture nice shots, that’s mostly applicable to the primary 64MP sensor; the same can’t be said of the 8MP ultra-wide angle shooter. It’s more than serviceable when there’s enough light, but in low light conditions, the results leave much to be desired. Just take a look at the comparison below of the same scene shot with the 64MP main sensor and 8MP ultra-wide angle camera.
A stark difference, isn’t it? Of course, this isn’t exactly an issue that’s exclusive to the Redmi Note 9 Pro. Other smartphones in this price range with multiple camera configurations suffer from this disparity in image quality between different sensors, unfortunately enough.
Besides that, MIUI 11 on the Redmi Note 9 Pro isn’t quite as polished as it should be either, with niggling issues here and there. Notifications (still) cannot be dismissed with a left swipe, and if there are any notifications on the lock screen, they will be gone after I’ve unlocked the phone – even if I didn’t interact with any of them.
But beyond these small issues, there are no major bugs with MIUI 11, though it would’ve been great if it handled notifications better.
Is It Worth It?
If you’re looking for a mid-range smartphone that gives you the best value for your money, the Redmi Note 9 Pro fits the bill. Retailing from only RM999, it offers incredibly long battery life, more than adequate processing power for a comfortable user experience, and its camera performance – even if the ultra-wide angle sensor isn’t quite up to snuff – is more than acceptable at this price point.
That being said, if you don’t mind a less sophisticated camera system, and you’re fine with a slower charging rate, consider the Redmi Note 9S instead. It’s almost identical to the Pro model, with the only difference being two things: the primary camera sensor is a 48MP shooter instead of a 64MP unit, and it has a slower 18W charging rate.
If these two differences don’t sound like too much of a downgrade to you, then the Redmi Note 9S is a good alternative to the Pro model. On top of that, the former starts at only RM799, so you’ll be saving RM200. This may not seem like a big price difference, but in this segment, every penny counts.
Of course, that is not to say the Redmi Note 9 Pro doesn’t offer good value for money, because it certainly does. For RM200 more, you’re getting superior camera performance and a much faster 30W charging rate. To some folks, these two upgrades are worth the extra dough.