Is this the new mid-range champ for 2020?
2020 is looking to be one of the toughest years for smartphone manufacturers on record, and convincing people to drop money on a new smartphone is going to be incredibly challenging for any brand. Thankfully, Xiaomi already has the formula down to a science: slap a powerful processor, decent camera, big battery in a chassis that looks like it was made for a flagship, and oh yeah, drop the price down far enough that your competitors will have trouble matching it.
That’s the story with the Redmi Note 9S. Thanks to a solid set of hardware and aggressive branding, it might just be the next phone for people who want to get the most out of their money during these tough times. Here’s our Redmi Note 9S Unboxing and Hands-On Review:
Packaging and contents:
Xiaomi’s newest mid-range star comes in a white box with the device clearly printed on the front, along with its name. Inside the box are documentation, charger, USB cable, and a silicone case. No headphones here, which is par for the course for the phones offered by the company.
Glossy finish hides mid-range hardware
Xiaomi’s slowly moving away from bombastic gradient finishes that have been the norm the past few years in mid-range phones. Instead, the company has slowly been migrating to high-gloss finishes, paired with their symmetrical “Aura Balance” design language.
This means the Redmi Note 9S has gentle curves on the side, as well as a square quad-camera module that doesn’t make you rip your eyes out.
And while the Redmi Note 9S might be incredibly affordable for what it’s giving you, the back is made out of glass, not plastic. Specifically, Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 for added scratch protection.
The power button pulls double duty as a physical fingerprint scanner. I personally like this placement a lot since my thumb usually goes there anywhere when I’m holding the phone, making for incredibly quick unlocks.
The phone is a little larger than the previous generation, all thanks to the 6.67-inch full HD IPS display. A punch-hole notch is situated right near the top of the phone that holds the 16-megapixel front camera.
The quad-camera setup on the rear is headlined by a 48-megapixel camera that uses Samsung’s GM2 sensor, a step back from the 64-megapixel camera on the previous generation device. We’re not exactly sure how the step down to a 48-megapixel shooter will affect overall image quality – we’ll have to test it out more when we have more time with the device.
The Redmi series returns to the arms of Qualcomm with the Redmi Note 9S, thanks to the capable Snapdragon 720G processor. The chipset is made up of two Kryo 465 Gold cores, as well as six Kryo 465 Silver cores. As far as graphics go, the Snapdragon 720G processor comes with an Adreno 618 GPU which looks capable enough.
There will be two variants of the phone in the Philippines: a lower-spec’d 4GB/64GB variant and a higher 6GB/128GB variant. Just like most phones that Xiaomi sells, the Redmi Note 9S will come with MIUI 11 based on Android 10, and if you’ve ever used a Xiaomi phone before you’ll see that the user interface is pretty much the same as before. If you used one Xiaomi phone, you’ve used them all, I guess.
If there’s one thing we really like about this phone is the fact that it has a huge battery – the Redmi Note 9S has a 5020mAh capacity, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that the phone will last you the entire day at the very least.
Battery charging speed is at 18W which is a little slow, especially since the phone has such a big tank to fill.
The Redmi Note 9S certainly has a lot of things going for it, but its main appeal here is the price—in the Philippines, the phone will be sold at just Php 10,490 for the base 4GB/64GB version, which is incredibly affordable as far as mid-range devices go.
If you get the phone immediately, it will be available on Lazada this Friday, you’ll be able to get it at its introductory price of Php 9,990, which is insanely affordable.
You’ll have to add a bit more for the 6GB/128GB variant priced at Php 11,990 but what you’re getting the price is still pretty aggressive.
Will the Redmi Note 9S be the mid-range king for this quarter? We’ll have to see how consumers react to their pricing. We’ll be back for our full review in a few days.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G octa-core processor
- Adreno 618 GPU
- 4GB/6GB LPDDR4X RAM
- 6.67-inch Full HD+ IPS display, Gorilla Glass 5 Protection, 20:9 aspect ratio
- 64GB/128GB UFS 2.1 expandable internal storage
- Quad rear cameras: 48-megapixel f/1.8 ISOCELL GM2 main camera; 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera; 2-megapixel depth-sensor; 5-megapixel macro camera; with LED, PDAF
- 16-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- 2×2 MiMo WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
- Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, face unlock, USB-C
- 5020mAh battery with 18w wired charging
- Android 10 with MIUI 11