Along with gas, electricity and ice cream scoops, smartphones are also getting more expensive. Apple now charges a hefty premium for its iPhone 14, and even once “cheap” smartphone makers have launched devices that break the mythical $1,000 mark. Mid-range phones offer many flagship-level features at a fraction of the cost, and they’re an attractive proposition for those looking for a value-for-money device. For example, the Realme 9 5G is just $200 if you find a good deal. Read on to see if this NextPit review is worth buying!
- beautiful tail design
- Takes good photos in good lighting conditions
- great battery life
- 120 Hz refresh rate
- hardly any improvement over its predecessor
- Triple camera is very, very inflexible
- slow fast charge
- LCD Monitor
In short, Realme 9 5G
Overall, the Realme 9 5G is a fairly marginal improvement over its predecessor. First, monitors with higher refresh rates have practical advantages in everyday use. Beyond that, when it comes to the Realme 9 5G, you end up with a mediocre smartphone for under $300. Despite the technology available, Realme still relies on 18-watt fast charging, which is also annoying.
If that hasn’t put you off, it means you’re ready to shell out around $200 for the Realme 9 5G, which comes with 64 GB of storage and 4 GB of RAM based on the existing MSRP. If you want to double the storage, for the asking price of $280, you won’t have to pay more. However, this smartphone has experienced a price drop since its release, so if you search around, you might find some great deals along the way.
Display and Design
Realme’s “9 5G” offers a 6.6-inch LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The display has no bezels, is embedded in a 164.3 x 75.6 x 8.5mm case, and has a punch-hole camera on the front. You’ll have to use it without IP certification, and the fingerprint sensor is inside the power button on the right side of the chassis.
what do I like:
- Nice gradient on the back
- High refresh rate of LCD panels
nice and thin
What I don’t like:
The Realme 9 5G has a refresh rate of 120 Hz, and its display is twice as fast as the $799 iPhone 14. The displayed content is smoother by far, but that doesn’t automatically make the display any better. In addition to what you see in the tech specs, the LCD panel offers light colors, medium brightness levels, and annoying shadows around the punch-hole camera located on the top left edge of the screen.
Granted, the new iPhones and the Realme 9 5G are in different categories, but one thing is clear: Realme should use the slower OLED panels on its mid-range smartphones, although the 120 Hz refresh rate looks good on the box and body. Specification Table.
Aside from the display, Realme was once again able to modernize the design of its 5G smartphone. The cameras on the back are asymmetrically arranged, inspired by current smartphone trends, and the multi-colored back is a nice gimmick. However, playing YouTube videos naturally draws your attention to the poor sound system. There’s a mono speaker on the bottom that puts out very tinny audio, not really loud even at max volume.
Another downside of this phone is the lack of IP certification, so the smartphone has no protection from being used in the rain or accidentally dropped into water. While the fingerprint sensor on the power button was responsive and quickly recognized my prints, any successful unlocking was accompanied by a very painful vibration.
After the release of the Realme 8 5G (read the review), powered by a MediaTek processor, Realme is back again with the Qualcomm 9 5G. The Snapdragon 695 5G SoC is paired with 4 GB of RAM. As a 5G model, you can get fast internet access in metropolitan areas, but the mid-range smartphone device is mediocre.
what do I like:
- 5G compatible
- UFS 2.2 as a faster storage standard (formerly UFS 2.1)
- No thermal throttling during gaming
What I don’t like:
No better performance than its predecessor
- No more dedicated microSD slot (for use with second SIM)
The history of Realme’s 5G models is a little curious. The Realme 7 5G, for example, offers more performance than its successor from two years ago — and the Realme 9 5G doesn’t really reverse that trend. Despite the advantages of a more modern 6nm manufacturing process, the accompanying Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 chipset offers similar levels of performance to the MediaTek hardware in its predecessor in all benchmarks.
However, Realme offers solid performance in everyday use. The app opened after a short load time, and I was able to play FPS Call of Duty: Mobile smoothly with all high graphics settings enabled. However, this impression is only based on a few days of testing, and like many mid-rangers, I think performance after a year or two is critical. I’d like to see performance improvements in the 2002 version.
Realme 9 5G benchmark comparison
|benchmark||Geekbench 5 CPU (Single/Multi)||3D marker slingshot||3D marker wild animals||3D Mark Wildlife Stress Test|
|Realme 9 5G||609 / 1,710||4,100||1,184||1,213 / 1,165|
|Real Me 8 5G||573 / 1,769||3,321||1,100||1,109 / 1,090|
|Realme 7 5G||581 / 1,801||4,271||1,585||1,594 / 1,583|
|Realme 8 Pro||568 / 1,685||3,671||1,050||1,050 / 1,045|
Realme also has a different organization in the 9 5G is the location of the microSD card. You can use two SIM cards and a storage expansion in its predecessor. By contrast, the 9 model relies on a combo SIM card slot. So you end up having to choose between two SIM cards and a SIM card and a microSD card.
Another amazing thing about the Realme 9 5G: I had a hard time finding a spot that didn’t cover the mono speaker while gaming. You’ll either have to use Bluetooth 5.1 and the latency-reducing AptX codec, or you’ll have to use wired headphones via the 3.5mm jack.
Camera: Actually only one focal length
Although you can see three lenses on the back of the Realme 9 5G, you can only use one focal length. In addition to the 50-megapixel main camera, Realme has installed a macro camera and a monochrome camera of 2-megapixel each. The smartphone can take selfies at 16 MP.
what do I like:
- Creative picture modes (filters, skew and shift, etc.)
- funny street pattern
What I don’t like:
- Two fancy lenses on the back
Overall picture quality is mediocre
- Too much post processing
The Realme 9 5G has to compete with the mid-range smartphone market. Unfortunately, manufacturers still haven’t integrated an ultra-wide-angle camera in 2022. You can only digitally zoom in on your subject, but you can’t select larger portions of the image indoors. Since digital zoom is a disappointment in quality, the camera is very inflexible in this regard.
Instead, Realme offers a number of picture modes that are especially beginner-friendly. In addition to creative filters, there’s a tilt and shift mode and a street mode that I’ve never seen in a smartphone. Here, you can adjust focus and exposure via the control pad, while the smartphone itself works in a sort of semi-automatic mode. It’s fun to play, but the phone doesn’t really produce better results.
Still, the overall picture quality of the 48-megapixel main camera is surprisingly good. During the day, photos look sharp and natural in many situations, but HDR scenes look a little unnatural. In low-light conditions, the Realme 9 5G illuminates subjects reliably, but details end up being very blurry, and the overall quality drops a bit to my liking.
If you want to record video with your phone, the Realme 9 5G can record in Full HD at 30 frames per second or 720p at 30 or 60 frames per second. Here, the Realme 9 5G falls behind the current standards that even relatively affordable smartphones can achieve.
Battery: slow charging
Despite its slim body at just 8.5mm thick, the Realme 9 5G has a built-in 5,000mAh battery that ensures very long battery runtimes. However, with 18 watts of slow fast charging, the charging time is too long.
what do I like:
Very stable battery runtime
- Charger included
What I don’t like:
The Realme 9 5G delivered a solid 2-day battery life the entire time I used it. However, this is not uncommon in mid-range phones, where manufacturers like to use large batteries rated at 5,000 mAh or more. The PC Mark benchmark, which measures battery life, confirms this with a very good result of around 14 hours of screen-on time.
Disappointingly, however, Realme’s 5G smartphone packs just 18 watts. Realme is one of the companies that regularly breaks fast charging records. Although I didn’t expect the $250 Realme 9 5G to have 150W fast charging, 50W or even 80W would be more beneficial for a larger battery. However, an Apple defector or smartphone novice might be happy to put the charger in when you open the box.
Realme 9 5G technical specifications
Realme 9 5G
|Screen||6.6″ LCD, FHD+, 120Hz refresh rate|
|system-on-chip||Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G|
(varies by region)
|4 GB RAM
64 or 128 GB UFS 2.2 Internal
|software||Android 12 | realme UI 3.0|
|Expandable memory||yes, microSD|
|main camera||50 MP | f/1.8 | 1/2.76″|
|BW Portrait Camera||2 MP | f/2.4|
|macro camera||2 MP | f/2.4|
|selfie||16 MP | f/2.05|
|video||1,080p 30 fps | 720p 30 or 60 fps|
|Charge via cable||maximum. 18 watts|
|Wireless charging (Qi)||Do not|
While manufacturers always emphasize how important the sub-$300 market is, Realme has paid little attention to its mid-range base models this time around. The Realme 9 5G is a tepid remake of its predecessor, which in turn is a tepid remake of its predecessor. The improvements here are mostly cosmetic, with a handsome back and a more modern triple-camera configuration.
The display can now display content at 120 Hz again, just like two generations ago. However, Realme is relying on LCD panels this time around, while Redmi already offers OLED displays in this price range. Performance is reasonable enough for everyday use and mobile gaming. Camera quality is very good during the day, but sharpness and sharpness drop off too much at night.
In a nutshell: Smartphones under $300 have more to offer in 2022 — and you can even find models that are more powerful than the Realme 9 5G in the Best Smartphones Under $200 category. We will share with you the recommended budget smartphones in the linked list.