Redmi 9 Power is the latest smartphone in the Redmi 9 series after the Redmi 9, Redmi 9 Prime, Redmi 9a and the Redmi 9i. Unlike the other smartphones in the series with either MediaTek Helio G25 or G35 entry-level and mid-range Helio G80 SoC in the Redmi 9 Prime, this one is powered by Snapdragon 662 SoC. It also comes with an improved 48MP main camera and a whopping 6000mAh battery. Is the phone worth the price? Let us dive into the review to find out.
- Redmi 9 Power 4GB + 64GB storage version in Blazing Blue colour
- USB Type-C Cable
- 2-pin 22.5W charger
- SIM ejector tool
- Clear protective case
- User manual
The Redmi 9 Power has a Full HD+ display with a pixel resolution of 2340 × 1080 pixels, 19.5:9 aspect ratio 2.5D curved glass screen with gentle rounded corners. It has a large 6.53-inch screen size and a pixel density of about 394 PPI. The display is bright, thanks to 450 nits brightness and the colors are vibrant. Sunlight legibility is good, since it has a Sunlight display that uses hardware-level technology to adjust the contrast of each pixel in real time, so images are less affected by glare. It doesn’t have an HDR display like the mid-range Redmi Note 9 series phones.
Since this has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio screen, you can pinch to zoom to fill the screen when you use video apps, but the content is cropped. There is also an option to hide the notch that adds a black bar on the top. Under the display options there are different options to adjust colors and contrast based on your preference. There is also a reading mode that lets you reduce the display’s blue light emission, so it doesn’t cause eye strain when you are reading at night. There is Dark mode with customizations, similar to other phones running MIUI 12.
Above the display there is an earpiece on the top edge, but it doesn’t have a notification LED. The proximity is on the bezel, but it is hardly visible. It also has a gyroscope and a magnetic sensor, otherwise known as a magnetometer. There is also an 8-megapixel camera on the front.
There is a small bezel below the display, which is almost the same as the Redmi Note 9.
Coming to the button placements and ports. The volume rockers and the power button that also comes with a fingerprint scanner are present on the right. It has dual SIM and a microSD card slot on the left arranged in a single tray. The 3.5mm audio jack is present on the top along with the IR sensor and a vent for the speaker. The primary loudspeaker speaker grill, USB Type-C port and the primary microphone are present on the bottom.
This doesn’t miss out on the dedicated dual SIM and microSD card slot.
On the back there is a 48-megapixel camera along with an 8-megapixel 119° wide-angle lens, 2-megapixel depth sensor and a 2-megapixel macro camera. This has a slight camera bump due to the large sensor, but the camera lens is protected by a scratch-resistant glass and the case also protects it. Even though the phone has a large screen, it is compact to hold. This has a textured polycarbonate back that offers improved grip and resistance from fingerprints. There is a large Redmi branding on the back. We have the Blazing Blue colour, but it also comes in Mighty Black, Fiery Red and Electric Green colours. It has Splash proof P2i coating and corrosion-proof ports. The phone weighs 198 grams even though it has a huge 6000mAh battery, and the weight distribution is good. Overall the build quality is good for the price.
The phone packs quad rear cameras, that includes a main 48-megapixel primary rear camera with single LED Flash, 1/1.2″ Samsung GM1 ISOCELL sensor, 0.8μm pixel size, f/1.79 aperture, secondary 8-megapixel camera with 119° ultra-wide angle lens with OmniVision OV8856 sensor, f/2.2 aperture, 1.12μm pixel size, 2-megapixel depth sensor with OmniVision OV02B for portrait as well as 2-megapixel camera with SK Hynix Hi259 for macro with 1.75μm pixel size and f/2.4 aperture. It has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with OmniVision OV8856 sensor, 1.12μm pixel size and f/2.05 aperture.
The camera UI is familiar with other Xiaomi smartphones running MIUI 12 with flash, HDR, AI, Filters (Normal, Vivid, Gold Vibes, Lime, Gourmet, Film, Amour, Movie, Soda, Sky blue, Blush, Childhood, Lit, Travel, Rise, Cyberpunk, Black ice, B&W and Classic) and Google Lens on the top. Pressing the menu option shows Movie frame, show gridlines, straighten, Macro, Tilt-Shift, Pro colour and Timed burst. There is a front camera toggle on the bottom along with option to select modes such as Pro, Video, Photo, Portrait, and More option has Night, 48MP, Short Video, Panorama, Documents, Slow motion, Time-lapse and AI watermark. Pro mode lets you adjust white balance, focus, shutter speed (1/4000s to 30 seconds), ISO (100 to 4000) and option to select main and ultra-wide lens. You can also shoot in RAW in Pro mode and enable focus peaking, exposure verification and more options. Beautify option for the front camera lets you adjust several features, in addition to smoothness. The 21:9 wide portrait feature which is called ‘movie frame’ mode works both rear camera front cameras and for video, but there is no separate portrait video mode.
Xiaomi has enabled Cam2API by default, so you can side-load ported Google Camera APKs for advanced editing including RAW capture.
Coming to the image quality, daylight shots came out well, but the white balance is not the best at times since some images look dull even in daylight, but the AI mode helps in such cases. After 4-in-1 pixel binning you get 12MP output. HDR shots are better with improved dynamic range, but the macro shots from the 2MP camera is just average. Wide-angle shots are good as well, and the portrait shots have good edge detection. 48MP mode that offers a lot of details, but some images can go up to 20MB in size. Even though there is no telephoto lens, it uses the software for offering 2x zoom, which might be handy sometimes, but it loses details.
Low-light shots are decent, thanks to 4-in-1 Super Pixel technology that lets the camera’s sensor hardware combine 4 pixels into a single 1.6μm large pixel, and the night mode is even better making the images brighter offering more details, but there is noise and the ISP can’t handle when it comes to low-light shots. Images with flash are good and the flash is not overpowering. Daylight front camera shots are decent for an 8MP camera, but low-light front camera shots are just average. Portrait shots have decent edge detection even though it is done using software.
Check out the camera samples (Click the image to view the full resolution sample.).
It can record videos at 1080p at up to 30 fps from both main and ultra-wide cameras, and it also has slow motion 720p resolution video at 120fps. You can also shoot 720p 30 fps video using macro camera. Check out the video sample below.
Software, UI and Apps
It runs Android 10 out of the box with MIUI 12 on top. It has Android security update for November 2020, and should get Android 11 update in the coming months. MIUI 12 that was introduced last year brings several features including improved animation, Dark mode 2.0, Privacy improvements and more. This has all the usual set of features such as Dual Apps, Second Space, App Lock, Quick Ball and more. Inside the special features option there is Game Turbo, Video toolbox, floating window and Lite mode, but misses out Quick Replies and Second Space features that are present in Redmi Note 9 series.
Apart from the usual set of utility apps, Google apps and Xiaomi’s own set of apps, it comes pre-loaded with Amazon Shopping, Facebook, WPS Office, Amazon Prime Video and LinkedIn app and some games. It also asks for additional app installation during setup, which you can skip. You can easily uninstall these apps, but these come up when you reset the phone.
Xiaomi is infamous for showing ads on its phones with MIUI, which the company says is done in order to support the development cost of its own apps. If you don’t want to see ads, you have to disable recommendations while setting the phone up, promoted apps and in Xiaomi’s own apps such as Music, Mi Video, File Manager, Mi Drop, App Vault, and others. You can also uninstall these apps by following the procedure here without rooting the phone.
Since the phone has an infrared sensor for remote function, it comes with Mi Remote that lets you control your home appliances easily. Out of 4GB RAM, you get 3.7GB of usable RAM, and about 1.5GB of RAM is free when default apps are running in the background. Out of 64GB internal storage, you get about 47GB of free storage. Since this has UFS 2.1 storage, we got sequential read speeds of about 492MB/s. Since the 128GB storage version has UFS 2.2 storage, it will have faster read speeds.
Fingerprint sensor and Face unlock
The phone has a fingerprint sensor on the ride side, embedded into the power button. It immediately unlocks the phone just by keeping your finger on the power button so that you don’t have to press it. This is more convenient compared to the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and faster than the in-display fingerprint scanner. You can add up to 5 fingerprints. You can also use the fingerprint for app local and payments in apps. The phone also supports face unlock, but it is not as secure as fingerprint since it can be unlocked with a photo.
Music Player, FM Radio and Multimedia
The Mi Music Player is the default music player with usual Xiaomi audio effects and equalizer. It also has FM Radio with recording. Audio through the speaker is loud. Since the phone has stereo speakers audio is louder than the mono speakers found in most smartphones in the price range, which is a good move. Audio through earphones is good as well.
This comes with Widevine L1 support out of the box so that you can enjoy HD content on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hotstar and other streaming apps. This is good for a phone in the price range.
Dual SIM and Connectivity
It supports 4G VoLTE for Reliance Jio, Airtel and other networks and support Dual 4G VoLTE that offers 4G in both the SIM cards at a time. There is Snapdragon X11 LTE modem, but you can’t expect carrier aggregation in the price range. Other connectivity options include Dual-Band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4 + 5GHz), Wi-Fi calling / VoWiFi support, Bluetooth 5.0 LE and GPS. It also has USB OTG support that lets you connect USB drives. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume was loud. It has stock dialer and messaging apps.
The Redmi 9 Power’s body SAR is 0.865 W/Kg (Distance:15mm) and head SAR is at 0.868W/Kg which is below 1W/kg, even though the limit in India is 1.6 W/kg (over 1 g).
Performance and Benchmarks
Coming to the performance, this is powered by an Octa-Core Snapdragon 662 11nm Mobile Platform, which has 4 x Kryo 260 Performance CPUs (A73-based) clocked at up to 2GHz and 4x Kryo 260 Efficiency CPUs (A53-based) at up to 1.8GHz. It has Adreno 610 GPU with support for Open GL ES 3.2, Open CL 2.0, as well as Vulkan 1.1 graphics and 4GB LPDDR4x RAM.
We did not face any issues or frame drops in games. It gets a bit warm on intensive gaming and 4G data use, but it doesn’t get too hot to handle. That said, check out some synthetic benchmark scores below, which shows good performance compared to other mid-range chips, but it can’t beat the Helio G80 when it comes to gaming.
Coming to the battery life, the phone has a 6000mAh (typical) built-in battery making it the largest battery in the Redmi phone. It lasts for a whole day even with heavy use, and with average use it lasts for two days, thanks to optimization in the MIUI 12. Since the phone has support for 18W fast charging, it takes about 1 hour for 0 to 50% and 0 to 100% takes over 2 hours using the bundled fast charger. This is decent for a phone in the price range. If you want faster charging, the POCO M2 Pro is an option, which comes with 33W fast charging at slightly higher cost. At the launch event the company said that it offers enhanced lifespan battery with 1000 charge cycles compared to 600 cycles in other phones.
It achieved One Charge Rating of 19 hours and 59 minutes in our battery test, which is almost same as the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the Pro Max that come with a 5020mAh battery. This might be due to the SoC used an the optimization, which might be different. Battery life is based on different factors such as software optimization and the processing power that requires to power the phone, so if the phone lasts for a day with heavy use, it is good.
At a starting price of Rs. 10999, the Redmi 9 Power is decent budget smartphone from Xiaomi. The 6.53-inch FHD+ screen good compared to most phones that only offer HD+ screen in the price range, the 6000mAh battery offers good battery life even with heavy use and the build quality is good. The camera is not impressive enough compared to the competitors and the phone has a lot of bloatware and the UI has ads.
The Moto G9 is a direct competitor that offers better camera quality and a stock Android experience for the same price. The latest POCO M3 at the price is also a good option, if you can compromise on the ultra-wide camera for 6GB of RAM and no ads. If you spend more the POCO M2 Pro is a good deal after the price cut since it doesn’t have ads, puch-hole HDR display and faster 33W charging.
Priced at Rs. 10,999 for the 4GB RAM with 64GB storage version and Rs. 11,999 for the 4GB RAM with 128GB storage version, it is available from Amazon.in, mi.com and Mi Home Stores, Mi Studios and Mi Stores.
- Large Full HD+ display
- Smooth performance
- Stereo speakers
- Good battery life
- Average camera performance
- Bloatware and ads in UI