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realme 9 4G Review Philippines: In a Tight Spot

by Duey Guison  June 14, 2022

Review verdict: the realme 9 4G is in an awkward spot in the Philippines, sandwiching itself between the realme 9i and realme 9 Pro. Even with an AMOLED display and a 108-megapixel main camera, its Pro sibling offers better value for money. 

Pros

  • 90hz AMOLED display
  • Main camera takes great photos
  • Decent ultra-wide-angle camera

Cons

  • No 4K video recording
  • Expensive for a Snapdragon 680 phone
  • Priced too close to the realme 9 Pro

realme 9 4G review Philippines Specs

  • Snapdragon 680 processor
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • 6.4-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display, 90hz refresh rate, 360hz touch response rate
  • 108-megapixel f/1.8 ISOCELL HM6 main camera with PDAF, 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor
  • 16-megapixel selfie camera
  • 4G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, in-display fingerprint scanner
  • 5000mAh battery
  • 33w fast charging
  • Android 12, Realme UI 3.0

The realme 9 lineup is finally complete in the Philippines with the arrival of the realme 9 4G. The phone is caught in a tight spot though, as its sandwiched between the realme 9i and realme 9 Pro, in terms of pricing and features. Is there enough to differentiate the phone from its siblings, or its it bound to get stuck on the shelves as its brothers get picked up by buyers?

Design

Like the rest of its siblings, you have the same design language as the realme 9 4G, particularly with the camera module. It looks more similar to the realme 9 Pro+ because of its use of an AMOLED panel and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Exclusive to the realme 9 4G is the Sunburst Gold colorway that we think is the best color option among the entire realme 9 line. The bright yellow color of the back panel complements the gold-colored frame, and the finish has a ripple effect that depicts sand dunes–it’s the first time realme went for this particular finish, and we liked how it looks in person.

Unlike the realme 9 Pro+, the realme 9 4G comes with a dedicated MicroSD card slot, which is very useful in case the 128GB internal storage is not enough for your needs.

Display

The realme 9 4G essentially inherits the same AMOLED display used on the 9 Pro+. You also get a Full HD+ resolution, 90hz refresh rate, and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Echoing our impressions with the realme 9 Pro+’s display, you get bright colors and deep blacks that are typical of an AMOLED. The panel goes very bright at up to 1000nits, which makes it easy to see even when under the noon sun. The 90hz refresh rate is a good addition to the panel and is one of the few phones at under Php 15k to have both a high refresh rate and an AMOLED panel.

Cameras

The realme 9 4G is better than the 9i and 9 Pro thanks to its rear camera setup, the highlight of which is the high-resolution 108-megapixel snapper. What’s special with the main camera is that it uses a new ISOCELL HM6 sensor, which is relatively big at 1/1.67 inches and uses Samsung’s 9-in-1 pixel binning tech to create larger 1.92um pixels for better low-light capabilities.

While it is one of the few phones under Php 15k that has a 108-megapixel main camera, the majority of those phones use an older ISOCELL HM2 sensor. While the HM2 is slightly larger at 1/1.52, the HM6 offers a newer pixel binning tech for better low-light performance. Compared to the relame 9i, the realme 9 4G takes much better photos using the main camera.

Aside from the new main camera, the realme 9 4G thankfully has an ultra-wide-angle camera, which was notably absent on the realme 9i. The 8-megapixel snapper gets the job done in most scenarios, but you’ll need to manage your expectations in low-light situations.

Like both the realme 9i and 9 Pro, the 9 4G can only record videos at up to 1080p due to limitations to its processor. You don’t get EIS on board, you you either need a stable pair of hands or a gimbal to take clean footage with the realme 9 4G.

Internals and Battery Life

The realme 9 4G shares the same set of internals as the 9i: Snapdragon 680, 6GB RAM, and 128GB internal storage. We find the configuration concerning, with the realme 9 4G priced at under Php 15k and the 9i being Php 3k more affordable with the same internals.

We have tested several phones using a Snapdragon 680, and our sentiments remain the same: while there’s no question with its power efficiency thanks to its 6nm process, the Snapdragon 680 fall short in the GPU department, where it struggles with running demanding titles like Genshin Impact and Asphalt 9.

Just like the realme 9i and 9 Pro 5G, the 9 4G comes with a 5000mAh battery with support for 33w charging. Just like our experience with its siblings, the realme 9 4G can easily do over 20 hours of battery life in PCMark’s battery benchmark test.

Wrap up and conclusions

Among all of the realme 9 variants available in the Philippines, the realme 9 4G is the strangest variant in the lineup. Despite offering a 90hz AMOLED display and a 108-megapixel main rear camera, the realme 9 Pro 5G is a better deal for only a few thousand pesos more with 5G connectivity.

realme 9 4G Review Price Philippines

The realme 9 4G is priced at Php 14,999 and will be available exclusively to Lazada from June 15 to 18. Come June 19, the realme 9 4G will have a discounted price of Php 12,499 and will come with an additional 1-year warranty and a pair of realme Buds Q2.

For those buying at realme stores nationwide from June 15 to 19, all realme 9 4G purchases will come bundled with the Buds Air 2 Neo.

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