Xiaomi and Realme are on a bandwagon of launching a plethora of devices and flooding the market. In between, there is a massive demand for low budget phones (under 8000 rupees) due to everything that happened this year. But sadly, due to the same reason and the recent tax hike, we have only a few options to choose from in this price category. Only two devices stand out from the competition, Redmi 9A and Realme C11. We have been testing the Redmi 9A for the past one week.
Build and Design
Xiaomi has done a pretty good job in terms of design. Redmi 9A has the right weight balance, and it feels well built with excellent fit and finish with no sharp edges at all. The back panel has textured finish offers good grip, and the curves make the device comfortable to hold
The Redmi 9A has a uni-piece of polycarbonate back which serves as frame and back panel with Auro 360 design. The device features a single camera, but the camera module designed to make an impression of having a dual-camera with a small camera bump.
Redmi 9A comes in 3 colours. Midnight Black, Nature Green and Sea Blue. Our unit is the black one. But it is not entirely black, it has a slight gradient finish and can see in dark greyish blue in some angles.
The front panel is entirely flat and with a good oleophobic coating which is better than typically used in other devices in this price range. They have mentioned anything about the glass type used for protection here.
We will give a full mark to Xiaomi for this design and be honest. The device feels more premium when comparing other built quality in the price segment. But I heard Realme’s built quality is very similar to this level.
Redmi 9A is a big phone. It measures at 164.9mm x 77.07mm x 9mm with 196gram weight. But I haven’t felt any discomfort to hold it due to good design or maybe due to I am used to big phones. My daily driver is Oneplus 8 Pro which is nearly similar to this one with slightly less width(2-3 mm) and .5mm thinner.
Buttons and Ports
Both the power button and volume rocker are on the right side of the phone. The 3.5mm headphone jack is present on the top(I prefer it in the bottom) and the micro-USB port, speaker and microphone are present at the bottom side. The dual sim tray with a microSD card slot is present on the left side.
Redmi 9A comes with a large 6.53-inch HD+ TFT-IPS Display with a 20:9 aspect ratio, 1500:1 contrast ratio, and 70% NTSC colour gamut. They are advertising it has 400nit max brightness on their mobile product page (270 nit type on their web product page, why??). The display has 269 pixels per inch.
I have mixed opinions on the Display panel. The display produces good colours and has an adequate maximum brightness level like a good display scene in the budget segment. The display can go pretty low in Brightness which will help you in a complete darkroom. Also, I didn’t notice any colour tint issues or light bleeding on this panel.
But I felt the viewing angles of this panel are not as good as typical IPS panels. It sits between IPS and TFT. Also, I have not been impressed with black levels produced by the display. Both of these issues are quite common in this price category.
When I picked up the device, I thought having a large 6.53-inch display would make this device useful for media conception. But my experience was exactly the opposite. Due to the low PPI(269) count on this large panel, I am noticing way too many pixels on the display when streaming media and sometimes I feel there is oversharpening appearing on display. Maybe I am overseeing it because I am coming from a 2K panel, don’t know, but I thought it is better to mention here.
Redmi 9A comes with a MediaTek Helio G25 Octa-core processor. Its CPU capability is inferior to Helio G35 seen in the Realme C11, which is its direct competitor. But both share the same PowerVR GE8320 GPU. The performance of the Redmi 9A is OK for the price, but I am not happy with it.
I have noticed a lot of lags and frame drops all over the UI in my time with Redmi 9A. The ability of Helio G25 is limited when it comes to handling heavy skin like MIUI. I think the Galaxy M01 with Snapdragon 439 performed slightly better with similar benchmark scores.
When talking about benchmark scores, you can check out our device AnTuTu and Geekbench score, which are slightly lesser compared to advertised or recently tested Galaxy M01’s scores.
Redmi 9 comes with either 2GB or 3GB LPDDR4X RAM and 32GB eMMC 5.1 Storage. If you already read our Specs comparison between Redmi 9A 3GB+32GB vs Realme C11 2GB+32GB, we thought it would be better to go with 3GB Ram Redmi 9A over 2GB Ram realme C11 with 15% more powerful CPU(Helio G35) at the same price due to heavy UI skin. As expected, the RAM management is good on this 3GB model of Redmi 9A. But I am a little confused about my previous opinion right now because I think a more powerful CPU is needed more here than more RAM to handle heavy UI skin. So I have to test Realme C11 to finalise my opinion.
When it comes to gaming, I would say Redmi 9A offered a good gaming experience for this price category. To test it out, I mainly played two titles, Call of Duty(COD) and PES Mobile.
In Call of Duty, it only offers LOW graphics settings. In which the MEDIUM frame rate option has no frame drops, and it is highly playable. In the HIGH frame rate option, I noticed occasional frame drops but still very playable.
In PES 2020, it offers all graphics settings like every other phone. But the game is not playable at HIGH graphics in both frame rate options (30 FPS or 60 FPS), I felt like playing games with 2X speed and with low frame rates. But the game is highly playable in MEDIUM graphics + 60 FPS settings.
Redmi 9A comes with MIUI 12(12.0.3) with android 10 out of the box. When the device boots for the first time the first thing comes into my notice is there are plenty of bloats installed here. But luckily most of them are uninstallable. As many of you know, MIUI comes with plenty of bloats as system apps and has a lot of ads issues. So I first cleared all of them by using our guide.
The software experience on this phone is not pretty good. It is mainly due to its processor capability to run feature-rich heavy UI like this. So I can notice lags and low Frame rates when scrolling throughout the UI. Anyway, MIUI12 offers plenty of features and customization like any other MIUI phones, and in that aspect, it is pretty good.
Battery life and Charging
Redmi 9A comes with a 5020 mAh battery with 10W Charging Speed. The battery life on the Redmi 9A is outstanding. It is a two-day phone for most of the folks.
The 10W charger in the box takes an enormous amount of time to charge the device entirely. In my testing, 10%-98% took around 2 hours 28 minutes, which is familiar to any other budget phone around this price category.
(Sample pictures shown below are compressed images. If you wish to check Higher Resolution, click on the Samples below)
Redmi 9A comes with a 13MP F2.2 sensor on the rear with a single LED flash and a 5MP front Camera. The photos quality from Redmi 9A is mediocre and nothing special like any other phone in this price range.
The photos taken in daylight come with good details and colours (more into a warmer colour tune). On zooming, you can notice some over-sharpening and plenty of noise. But still good for the Price and I think it is slightly better than recently tested Galaxy M01.
When it comes to low light and night time photos, the light sensitivity of this camera is pretty low, like other budget phones. The images come out with mediocre details but with plenty of noise. So it just does the job. It doesn’t feature any night time shooting modes though.
Portrait samples are slightly better to competition even without depth sensor due to good software optimisation from redmi team. But only applicable to human subjects.
The video taking capability is also nothing to talk about, and it just does the purpose and nothing more. The autofocusing in videos is not good.
In short, let’s say it is terrible. The previously tested low budget phone Galaxy M01 has a better selfie camera. Here the details are soft, have a lot of noise, but the colours are acceptable. When it comes to selfie portraits and depth detection, its performance is directly proportional to the amount of light.
The network coverage on the Redmi 9A is pretty good. I haven’t faced any coverage issue on this phone. It only comes with 2.4Ghz WiFi like other budget phones. The Wifi connection speed is pretty good, though. So no complaints about it. It comes with Bluetooth 5.0, and Bluetooth connection remains stable all of the time.
Haptic feedback on Redmi 9A is not great like all other budget phones out there, so no complaints. 😂
The single speaker on the bottom has mediocre loudness. But have an adequate sound output for ringing. But there is a pretty chance of missing your alarm and having problems with hearing media in a loud environment.
The audio quality and loudness through the headphone jack are good. But it only offers SBC codec. I think some other budget phones offer AAC or aptX. So little disappointed with that.
The call quality on Redmi 9A is pretty good. The other end can hear my voice with precise details. The earpiece speaker is pretty loud too so that no one would have complaints about it.
The auto-brightness sensor on Redmi 9A is not good. And after using it for some minutes, I turned it off. Most of the time, it stays at low brightness levels compared to its need to be.
The face unlocking on the Redmi 9A is non-reliable, and sadly it is the only biometric option in this phone like other low budget phones. It is pretty slow and sometimes doesn’t work. Also, face unlocking methods wouldn’t work on low light.
Redmi 9A 2GB+32GB doesn’t have any competition in the market at all. All of the other options in the market under Rs.7000 have way inferior internals so couldn’t recommend to anyone.
When it comes to 3GB+32GB models, we have 2GB+32GB variant of Realme C11 with better Processor( Around 15% better benchmark scores) with similar other hardware. We haven’t tested it yet, but we made a spec comparison between Realme C11 and Redmi 9A recently if you are interested in checking it from this link.
Redmi 9A is the phone you should buy if your budget is limited to 7000 Rupees. But if you can stretch in 7500 rupees, you should either pick Redmi 9A or Realme C11. Redmi 9A didn’t perform as well as we expected it to be. We haven’t texted Realme C11 as of now. So we are a little confused about our final recommendation. As of now, you will not go wrong with either of them. Purchase any of them based on availability.
Redmi 9A vs Realme C11, which is the best phone to buy?
Realme C11 comes with 15%-20% more powerful processor, but with 2GB Ram at the same Price of Redmi 9A with 3GB Ram, we think it is better to go with Redmi 9A, because 2GB RAM may not handle well UI skin like Realme OS, But we are not sure, we have to test Realme C11 to confirm it.
What is the difference between Redmi 9A and Redmi 9i?
Redmi 9i is Redmi 9A with more RAM and storage, but we do not recommend Redmi 9i to anyone, because Helio G25 is the main limitation of Redmi 9A and not its storage or RAM. So we think it is better to invest phones with a Better processor than more RAM and Storage at this Price. Especially 3GB RAM is far more enough at this price category
Does Redmi 9A have a fingerprint sensor?
Redmi 9A doesn’t have any fingerprint sensor. It offers facial unlocking, but in our experience, it not reliable at all.
Is Redmi 9A good for gaming?
Don’t expect too much at this price range. But you can play big game titles at its lower graphics settings. For example, you can play PES Mobile at medium+60FPS with low number of frame drops and COD Mobile at Low+Medium(frame rate) settings without any noticeable frame drops.
Other Phones with Helio G35(example: Realme 9i and Redmi 9) also have the same GPU, so they both have the same gaming capabilities.
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