Flagship phones are all very well and intensely interesting to some but a smartphone whose price hovers around ₹10,000 is just the thing to keep many going through a pandemic that has meant the disruption of daily life. A smartphone is the one open door to participating in life’s activities — if one can but afford one. Even before this scenario came to be, Xiaomi’s Redmi brand has been one that readily comes to mind when considering a budget phone. And now, there’s a new offering that has a good set of specs for the price —and a big battery to keep one going.
Also read: Redmi unveils Redmi 9 Power in India
The Redmi 9 Power is the new alternative to the Redmi 9 Prime which has been the most readily recommended in recent times. The 9 Power is a 6.5-inch phone and feels substantial, not small, and quite weighty though surprisingly light for a phone that has a 6,000mAh battery in it. That battery is, of course, the biggest though not the only selling point for this device because one can just keep going undisturbed for hours without having to stop for an anxious charging session. It takes about two hours to charge; it’s a good idea to just charge overnight or very early morning and then forget about it for the entire day. There should be more than enough power to get through classes, gaming, video calls, etc. The standby battery is also great. Strangely, there’s a 22W charger in the box while the phone supports 18W charging. It sounds like a matter of charger stock being with Xiaomi!
The back panel of the Redmi 9 Power is made of a textured plastic with a pattern that lets light radiate from the rectangular camera housing area on the left. It doesn’t look bad at all, with the best thing being that there’s no evidence of fingerprints and smudges on it, but I wouldn’t say it looks premium as it looks plastic, which it is. It looks as if it doesn’t need a case (though there’s one provided) and, in fact, the plastic back almost looks like it might itself be a case, specially as the camera portion is glassy and stands out from the rest of the texture. We got a rather prominent blue to review but there are three other colours — green, black and red.
The power button on the right has the fingerprint sensor built in and it works ok except that I had a big of a struggle registering my print. On the front, we have a FullHD+ IPS display which looks a little colour-shifted when looking at something white or very light coloured but which otherwise looks deep and intense enough. This is a screen that could be a bit brighter specially outdoors but is overall usable. The screen has a slight curvy notch which is forgivable. You’ll actually find the 3.5mm jack retained and it also has stereo speakers.
The specs on the 9 Power are decent for the price. It runs on the Snapdragon 662, a budget processor. It has 4GB of RAM and 64 or 128GB of storage with a dedicated microSD card slot to add more. The storage is UFS 2.2. The phone runs on Android 10 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 12, which is a personal non favourite of mine. There’s lots of pre-loaded junk and prompts to get yet more. You really have to be alert when setting up the phone and giving permissions.
The primary 48MP camera is not bad at all as long as it’s used outdoors in good light. Indoors images can get soft and blurry looking as if they were oil painted. In daylight, the colours are quite real and uncompromised. There’s an 8MP ultra wide, a 2MP macro and a 2MP depth sensor. A lot of cameras for a phone that costs in the region of ₹10,000. I can’t resist thinking back to a time when cameras on inexpensive phones were barely usable at all. What a long way we have come. The front camera is an 8MP.
Price: ₹10,999 and ₹11,999
Pros: Big battery and light despite it, solidly built, IPS display not bad, balanced good specs, true value for money
Cons: Annoying preloaded apps and push notifications specially at setup time, busy interface