Xiaomi launched its Redmi 9 at the start of the summer. Behind a particularly aggressive price, now less than 150 euros, is a rather solid technical sheet. But what is the smartphone worth in use? This is what we tested for you.
Like every year, in addition to its Redmi Note range, Xiaomi has also launched a more accessible model, in this case the Redmi 9. While its predecessor was a semi-disappointment, what is this new smartphone worth? This is what we will see in this full test.
Xiaomi Redmi 9 technical sheet
This test was carried out using a copy provided by Xiaomi
A pleasant design to handle
The Xiaomi Redmi 9 does not basically swear with the design codes of smartphones in 2020, but it mainly uses the language of 2019. On the front, we will thus find a large screen of 6.53 with a thin notch in the upper part rather wide borders all around.
Do not expect to find the borderless design of a high-end smartphone, here we are on an entry-level model and it is felt especially in the thickness of the chin. Still, for this price range, the smartphone does not have to be ashamed of its front panel.
On the back, the Redmi 9 is a little more original. We will find a module with three cameras positioned at the top of the device, in its center. On the right, a fourth device is integrated, just above the flash. As an extension of the three main devices, Xiaomi has integrated a fingerprint reader. A positioning that makes it a bit high and it would have been closer to the center of the smartphone for easier access.
Above all, the back of the smartphone is quite original by its materials. There is indeed a plastic shell, but striated so as to reproduce the circle around the photo module on the entire back. A rather discreet effect which will be seen especially up close, but which has the advantage of making it easier to grip the smartphone.
At the slice level, the Xiaomi Redmi 9 benefits from a USB-C socket at the bottom, next to the speaker and the headphone socket. On the left edge, we will find the SIM card drawer – with a slot for two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card – while on the right are the volume keys and the standby button.
On the whole, the format of the Xiaomi Redmi 9 is quite classic and does not come as a particularly surprise with its originality. We will appreciate the presence of a complete connection and a good grip. Note, however, that the smartphone is not certified for waterproofing, although that's no surprise at this price point.
A Full HD screen … lacking in brightness
The Xiaomi Redmi 9 has a 6.53-inch screen. Rather rare for this price range, it displays a definition not in 720p, but indeed in Full HD +, with 2340 pixels by 1080, enough to display a density of 394 pixels per inch. This is quite comfortable for reading content on the screen and will be more than enough not to distinguish between two pixels in traditional use, outside of virtual reality.
In use, the LCD screen of the Xiaomi Redmi 9 does not particularly impress. It will be difficult to go up to high brightness to counterbalance a particularly bright sky outdoors for example. Likewise, the display with the default mode, set to "Auto" with a default temperature, looks too blue. The contrast, however, seems pretty decent with relatively dark blacks even at maximum brightness.
These impressions were confirmed by our measurements. Using a probe and Calman Ultimate software from Portrait Displays, I was able to measure a maximum brightness of 333 cd / m², well below the 400 cd / m² advertised by Xiaomi. For contrast, however, the Xiaomi Redmi 9 fared better in my measurements than in the figures announced by Xiaomi. If the manufacturer communicates on a contrast ratio of 1500: 1, I was able to find on my side a ratio at 1993: 1 very correct for LCD.
On the other hand, as is often the case with entry-level models, it is indeed on the white balance that the Redmi 9 catches. The smartphone offers an average temperature of 7999K by default, a far cry from the 6500K recommended for approaching white sunlight. We can lower this very blue tint by activating the “hot” option in the display parameters, to go down to 7162K, but we will especially recommend switching to the standard color scheme, while keeping the warm parameter, to switch to at 6724K.
MIUI 11 and many bloatware
For the software, the Xiaomi Redmi 9 is equipped with Android version 10 and the manufacturer's MIUI 11 interface. For the security patch, the smartphone has the May 2020 version on board. However, we would have appreciated a slightly more recent version.
On the side of MIUI 11, we find the same flaws and the same advantages as on most Xiaomi smartphones. It must be said that MIUI 11 is an Android interface that departs greatly from Google's vision. There is thus a plethora of customization functions. By default, the smartphone offers for example bar navigation with the back button on the right and multitasking on the left. However, it is possible to reverse these keys, but also to opt for gestural navigation. Likewise, the smartphone does not integrate any application drawer at ignition, but it is possible to activate it in the settings. There is also a rather comprehensive parameter menu.
The main complaints are in the menu navigation side, since it can be difficult to navigate. For example, you will have to go to "full display" to modify the navigation keys. Another complaint, which MIUI is regularly made, is the presence of an advertising page-like virus scan when installing applications, including the one from the Google Play Store. Fortunately, this option can be turned off. Also note the presence of plethora of bloatware with nothing less than three default browsers (Mi Browser, Chrome and Opera) and games that you will probably never open (Block Puzzle Guardian, Bubble Shooter with Friends, Bubble Story, Crazy Juicer, Dust Settle). Fortunately, they can be uninstalled.
Note also that as with the last high-end smartphones of the brand, Xiaomi has integrated a number of Google applications into its Redmi 9. In addition to Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube Music, there are also applications that are not imposed by Google. This is the case with Google Discover, present on the left of the home screen, but also with Messages and Phone, which act as the default SMS and calling applications.
For biometric security, the Xiaomi Redmi 9 benefits from fairly fast facial recognition, but based on 2D recognition that is less secure than systems from Apple, Google or Huawei. The fingerprint reader is also present and rather fast, if not well placed as we saw earlier.
Regarding streaming video playback, the Redmi 9 is compatible with the Widevine DRM management system at L1 level. It is therefore capable of playing Netflix, Molotov or Disney Plus videos in high definition.
A Xiaomi Redmi 9 that remains fluid
While the Xiaomi Redmi 8 was equipped with an entry-level Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon 439, Xiaomi decided to switch suppliers for its Redmi 9. Here is a mid-range MediaTek chip, the Helio G80 , which is embedded in the manufacturer's smartphone. Here it is backed by 3 or 4 GB of RAM and 32 or 64 GB of storage – expandable by microSD card – depending on the version chosen.
On a daily basis, the Xiaomi Redmi 9 is certainly not a thunderbolt, but the smartphone is doing well. During my week of testing, I didn't notice any major slowdowns, and while the smartphone can take a bit long to open apps, I didn't particularly mind. The experience turned out to be much smoother than on some competing devices launched at the same price or even on its predecessor.
When it comes to mobile games as well, the Redmi 9 does well … but not with all. On the Fortnite side for example, it is simply not possible to download the game to the smartphone, as Epic Games considers that it is not powerful enough to run its flagship game. However, I was able to launch Call of Duty Mobile without any problems. The game defaults to weak graphics and medium frame rate. However, I was able to switch the graphics to medium and the frame rate to high. Even with these graphics settings – the highest offered on the Redmi 9 – the game responded smoothly. I haven't experienced any slowdown.
In order to compare the Redmi 9 to some competing smartphones, I also submitted it to the benchmarks offered by AnTuTu v8. I was then able to compare the results with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9. On the overall score, the Redmi 9 manages to do better than its big brother, since it reaches the score of 200 740. For comparison, the Wiko View4 , offered at a similar price, cannot even run an entire AnTuTu v8.
We are therefore entitled to a smartphone with solid performance with this Redmi 9. Obviously, the performance may be a little weak compared to that of a smartphone over 250 euros, but for its price, Xiaomi's smartphone s 'comes out with honors.
A very average photo module
The Xiaomi Redmi 9 is equipped with a module with four cameras on the back: three aligned vertically, and one positioned on the side. So, we will find from top to bottom, then on the side:
- 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, 15mm equivalent (f / 2.2)
- 13-megapixel main wide-angle camera, 27mm equivalent (f / 2.2)
- Camera for 2 mega-pixel portrait mode (f / 2.4)
- 5 megapixel macro camera, 23mm equivalent (f / 2.4)
As is often the case with entry-level or mid-range devices, Xiaomi has chosen to offer four cameras, but only two that will prove useful. We have here a main wide-angle module and an ultra-wide-angle – but no telephoto – as well as two secondary photo modules which seem mainly there to increase the number of cameras on the back. For the photos below, I took a scene first with the ultra wide-angle, then with the main module:
Overall, the Redmi 9’s camera does not particularly impress with its performance. The ultra wide-angle module offers a very different color from the wide-angle and, in both cases, we are entitled to a fairly average management of high dynamic ranges and light. One might expect to have a brighter main camera than the ultra wide-angle, surprisingly, it isn't. It must be said that both cameras have lenses with a particularly low aperture of only f / 2.2. On the stage inside the Palais Garnier, we can see how neither of the two modules manages to take the floor with good light.
It is even worse at night as seen in the last photo footage. Neither module manages to take sufficiently illuminated pictures. Note also that Xiaomi has not planned any night mode for its Redmi 9.
The smartphone does a little better for portraits with a dedicated mode. For the photos below, I was able to take a photo of my colleague Jérôme in two different frames, first in automatic mode, then in portrait mode.
Unsurprisingly, the Redmi 9 is still struggling to offer a suitable brightness despite the slight backlight in the second photo. Note, however, that the automatic mode is doing slightly better than the portrait mode. For the contouring of the silhouette, even if a few strands of hair go to the ace, the smartphone is doing well this time, especially for its price.
For selfies, it's an 8-megapixel camera, with a 26mm (f / 2.0) equivalent lens that's built into the thin notch at the top of the Redmi 9's screen.
Let us note above all that, by default, Xiaomi includes beauty filters for the selfies of the Redmi 9. It will therefore be necessary to deactivate them if you want a faithful image and not a completely smooth skin. Overall, the front camera does relatively well. If the skin tone tends a little too much towards red in automatic mode, portrait mode is quite effective, even if, here again, the smartphone sometimes has trouble managing the strands of hair.
Finally, for video, the Redmi 9 is able to shoot Full HD footage at 30 FPS with the rear camera, just like with the selfie camera.
The Xiaomi Redmi 9 has an impressive battery to say the least with its 5020 mAh capacity. Enough to happily exceed the day's use. In my case, it took me over 46 hours to go from 100% to 10% battery. Over these two days of use, however, I have not been idle. The screen remained on for 7.55 hours, including 10 minutes on YouTube, 40 minutes on Twitter, 33 minutes on Messenger or 30 minutes on Chrome. It was also during this battery cycle that I ran AnTuTu for benchmarks, a rather power hungry task.
Si on a droit à une autonomie longue durée, on peut en dire de même pour la recharge. Il faut dire que le Xiaomi Redmi 9 est fourni avec un chargeur de 10 W (5V, 2A) que l’on qualifiera de tranquille. Il faut savoir prendre son temps et ne pas être pressé. En partant d’une charge à 10 %, j’ai pu récupérer un smartphone chargé à 50 % en une heure, à 88 % en deux heures et il aura fallu patienter un total de 2h43 pour une charge complète. Notons cependant que le smartphone est compatible avec une charge 18 W, mais que Xiaomi ne propose pas de chargeur de cette puissance dans la boîte.
Bien évidemment, le Redmi 9 n’est pas compatible avec la charge sans fil, mais difficile de lui reprocher à ce segment de prix.
Réseau & communication du Xiaomi Redmi 9
Le Xiaomi Redmi 9 est un smartphone doté de deux emplacements pour cartes nano-SIM. Il est compatible avec l’ensemble des fréquences 4G disponibles en France et ne posera donc aucun problème pour capter, quel que soit votre opérateur.
Concernant le Wi-Fi, le smartphone est compatible avec le 802,11 a/b/g/n/ac (Wi-Fi 5). Il profite également du Bluetooth 5.0 avec l’ensemble des codecs Bluetooth audio disponibles : SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD et LDAC. Le smartphone intègre également une puce NFC, bien pratique pour le paiement sans contact, l’appairage Bluetooth ou les titres de transport dématérialisés.
Pour la géolocalisation, le Redmi 9 est capable d’être détecté aussi bien par le GPS que les satellites Glonass ou Beidou. La fixation a su se faire rapidement à chaque fois, en moins de cinq secondes.
Concernant la qualité d’appel, le Xiaomi Redmi 9 s’en sort très bien pour réduire les bruits ambiants, même les sons de klaxon ou de circulation. Il aura cependant tendance à compresser largement votre voix pour votre interlocuteur. On pourra également regretter tendance du microphone à saturer sur les consonnes occlusives comme les p, b, t ou d.
Prix et disponibilité du Xiaomi Redmi 9
Le Xiaomi Redmi 9 a été lancé en France au milieu du mois de juin. Proposé initialement à 160 euros, on peut désormais le trouver à 130 euros en version 3/32 Go et à 140 euros pour la déclinaison 4/64 Go. Trois coloris sont proposés : vert, noir et violet.
À ce prix-là, on trouve assez peu de smartphones performants. On pourra cependant citer le Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T, à 160 euros, mais aussi le Wiko View 4, à 150 euros.