The mid-range in mobile phones is harder than ever with so much brand and device, and it seems that Xiaomi’s strategy is to strengthen its Redmi brand with a good batch of models so far this year. We have a representation of this in the analysis of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro , something like the intermediate brother between the Redmi Note 9 and the Redmi Note 9S .
They are similar formulas, in this case reaching up to 6 GB of RAM and with four rear cameras. With a design with flag symmetry and a Qualcomm processor for a competent gaming mid-range, we tell you in detail about the experience with another aspiring mobile “BBB” from Xiaomi.
Design: symmetry as a differential resource
One of the most curious aspects of its design and construction when seeing it presented was that large camera module , as symmetrical and focused as it is notorious. It gave the impression of standing out a lot and it does, with almost 2 millimeters of protuberance.
It is not something that bothers the grip due to its location, which seems key to avoid the “rocking effect” that it would surely have to be on the side. We do not see it in this case when we handle it while leaning on the table, unless we go to “look for the tickle” and touch very on the side edge (something that is rather forced).
It is the highlight of a rear that has a fully reflective and metallic finish, with the brand’s logo and some symbols on the bottom. Of course, the back gets dirty very easily and normally we will see it full of traces, although perhaps it compensates this in the sense that it does not slip and we will not have to add the thickness of a cover if the a priori reason was this.
The latter is important given that it is a mobile phone that is now medium-sized (and is synonymous with being large), although they have managed to contain the thickness on the sides , thus giving the feeling that it is less thick. It is voluminous although in the usual trend today, in fact in a volume very close to that of the Realme 6 Pro, they have managed to put in a much larger battery without increasing the weight (1 gram to be precise).
It therefore goes to the league of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra in terms of volume and battery, although thinking less . In fact, it’s almost as thick as its cousin the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro , but the Redmi Note 9 Pro’s battery is superior in capacity.
Thus, it is a mobile with a comfortable grip , without it being a feeling that you got from that of other large mobiles. It does not get tired and given the dimensions the positive thing is that it does not slip.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 both on the back and on the front, having plastic edges. The construction is good and we see that the back and edge fully keep the aesthetic harmony although the tone and finish of each one is different (the edge is matte), forming a box for the front, which, seen in profile, is a protrusion.
At these edges we see the SIM tray, alone on the left side as the physical volume buttons and the fingerprint reader are on the side . And on the lower edge are the speaker, the USB type C and the 3.5 mm jack, not completely aligned in the center of it.
The earpiece grille fits into the upper edge taking advantage of the joint with the screen, seeing that there is also no notch , but a hole for the front camera. Later we will enter the use of the screen, but for now we can say that it is a single camera and that the hole is centered. All about simmetry (almost everything) in the aesthetics of this Redmi.
Something that is a note of distinction and at the same time a reminder is the notification LED also installed in the grille of the earpiece. We will see what we can do with it by talking about the software, but it is no longer something common in smartphones and despite being something so seen for years it is at the same time something different.
Display: the survival of IPS and flat panels
In the current mid-range we see that the IPS tends to be maintained in some cases, perhaps due to costs and / or energy consumption. We saw it in the Realme 6 and we also see it in this Redmi Note 9 Pro, with a 6.67-inch IPS screen and FUllHD + resolution (1,080 x 2,400 pixels).
The screen definition is acceptable and in accordance with the characteristics of the mobile, but the automatic brightness adjustment can improve
With this they achieve a density of about 399 pixels, which translates into an acceptable definition and in accordance with the characteristics of the mobile. The maximum brightness is 450 nits , which is why we haven’t missed more intensity, although normally the automatic brightness adjustment is too high (and could be corrected to improve energy saving).
The screen comes somewhat cold and saturated from the factory, but we can adapt it more or less to our liking with the display settings , being able to lower the saturation by selecting a color mode or the hue of the panel. We will also find options to show or not the screen hole, both in general and for each app.
In MIUI we find a series of screen settings in relation to the lock in another corresponding section. There we see that we can activate options such as double tap or lift to wake up the screen , as well as configure automatic suspension and other aspects. What we will not see is an ambient screen of any kind, since it is an IPS screen.
The panel is also correct in terms of contrast and viewing angles, with no display problems in any situation. Well also in terms of touch sensitivity, in fact we will see that it is something that is taken care of by the software when talking about the Game Turbo. It also helps that it is a flat screen , which usually reduces the possibility of accidental touches.
Speaking of the use of the front, in this case we see that the screen occupies 84.6% of it according to GSMArena . Not bad for a mobile of the current mid-range, considering that although the side and upper frames are relatively thin and it has a hole for the front camera, it has the usual chin.
Speaking of the hole on the screen, it’s roughly 4.28 millimeters in diameter. Due to its position, the toolbar occupies about 7 millimeters, so the text is “lost” a little in space.
It doesn’t seem very far from what we saw in the Mi 10 Pro, although this one had the hole on one side. It is more or less what we saw in the Realme 6 Pro or the Huawei P40 Pro and its double holes, moving away from what Samsung has achieved, which continues with the less invasive and well-used incorporation of the perforation that we have seen here.
In the end what matters is that it does not bother or interfere with our user-interface interaction and this is the case in this Redmi. Whether or not we adjust to full screen (and whether or not we hide the hole) we have not detected any problems, not even in games that occupy the entire panel horizontally.
Performance: enough hardware that we could not fully enjoy
This Redmi Note 9 Pro integrates the Snapdragon 720G , a processor focused on meeting the needs of large sensors and displays of up to 120 Hz refresh rate, but above all on giving what is necessary for games to perform well. In this case we see it with 6 GB of RAM as squires, at least in the model that we have tested here.
In general, there is a fairly present lag , especially when we try to put a task in the background or open another. It is not uncommon that we notice that they “crawl”, or that to minimize any, they ignore us at the first touch of the button or when making the corresponding gesture. In fact, in full-screen apps it is quite remarkable given that it also has to deal with orientation; this is kind of a perfect storm for lag .
It calls our attention to be something that we did not see in the Realme 6 Pro, having this the same processor although with 2 GB more of RAM. That hardware difference (and the 90 Hz that the Redmi does not have) may favor less fluidity, but 6 GB of RAM has always been enough to move a layer of customization and any game as we have seen repeatedly (being associated with powerful enough processors as is the case). Hence, both from the symptoms and from other experiences, it seems that the software is responsible for giving a somewhat worse experience, especially if we open games like ‘PUBG’, or even with the change from one task to another if they are “heavy”. “
In fact, once we open them we can play both ‘PUBG’ and ‘Real Racing 3’ and other titles with high graphic requirements without them closing or limping, it is something that is more noticeable in the previous load and not so much in the departure. And in relation to the temperature , we will notice that it warms slightly, but without posing any problem.
As for the benchmarks , we show you the results obtained in the usual performance tests comparing it with mobiles of similar specifications.
Software: where Redmi is less Xiaomi than others
In this Redmi Note 9 Pro, the software is carried out by Xiaomi on the Google operating system, seeing the 11.01 version of MIUI Global on Android 10 . The aesthetic is defined by this layer of customization, with a simple style but that disguises everything we would see in Android stock.
In the system pre-load we will already find some options to customize the system and the interface, such as choosing the default search engine, changing the font size or theme. We will automatically install the system utilities and Google apps, as well as some third-party ones that we can remove.
Curiously, Netflix comes to us, but in this mobile we continue to experience the incompatibility that exists with some Xiaomi devices and said app, having to download an old version of it if we want to see it.
The settings menu is clear and is ordered Xiaomi style, with the data of the phone and the software before the rest of the usual sections. We have already seen in the screen section that those of the same are divided into several sections, but except for the “special functions” the rest are quite common and deductive, and if we do not have a search engine.
As for the home screen, we did not find an option that there is not only a desktop and an app drawer is separated. We can choose between two grid sizes and some other options, such as disabling Google Discover (which is activated at the factory).
What is still pretty hidden are the navigation options . For this you have to find “Play full screen”, being able to activate navigation gestures as an alternative to traditional buttons.
Among the system and layer tools we find digital well-being , without incentives and just as Android presents it. A way to see what tasks we use our hours of use and also to establish limitations, own or related to parental control.
In relation to application management , we will find its section in the settings where we can see what they occupy, disable them, etc., as well as dual applications (something “traditional” in MIUI). But we will have to go to the screen settings to choose the full screen mode of each one, as well as to select the dark mode.
In the additional settings we find other aspects of the configuration such as the navigation that we mentioned before, being able to activate the one-handed mode or the floating ball, or more atypical options such as cleaning the speaker with sound. Also what we can configure in relation to the notification LED , which is really little.
MIUI also has a tool to automatically activate certain settings if we play, in this case called Game Turbo . We find it within the special functions, although we will see that when installing a game it is automatically included in this mode.
It will automatically show us the activity of the CPU and GPU, although the interesting thing is everything that allows adjusting so much in general for each game. There is a high-performance mode with which the network and touch response are optimized to favor the game, and we can establish specific settings for each at the level of touch response, sensitivity to repeated touches or select the area of reduction of sensitivity in the areas where there is usually accidental touches with the base of the thumb.
We will also find the usual maintenance suite , which in this case is distributed in the Security and Cleaner apps. It is a way for the system itself to guide us when it comes to managing system resources such as memory or battery, usually facilitating the emptying of tasks or expendable files such as caches.
In general, the layer is complete and if we miss any function it will probably not be the most generic or basic
In general, the layer is complete and if we miss any function it will probably not be one of the most generic or basic, seeing that in Redmi there are not all the settings that do appear in the Mi (especially on the screen). It lacks some customization option that is quite common (at least in customization layers), but it provides many options and basic utilities , with a very complete game mode and its own app store (which we will not be able to eliminate if we are not interested ).
What we notice is that in this case it is not as fluid as in other Xiaomi (with better hardware or equivalent), so it may be necessary to optimize it a little better for this configuration. We recently tested the Realme 6 Pro, with this same processor (although with 2 GB more RAM), and there was no lag or dragging as we see here sometimes, it seems that it is related to the software.
It should also be noted that advertising is maintained in its own services, such as within the installer or in the cleaner, where it is even more confusing. It is quite invasive in the apps where it appears considering that it is also third-party, although we do not see it on the lock screen or in the general settings.
In the Redmi Note 9 Pro we find the two biometric identification methods par excellence: facial recognition (simple) and the fingerprint reader . In this case it is a sensor on the side of the phone, which acts as a power / lock button.
Although as we have said it is a large mobile, the sensor is well located so that it does not cost too much to reach even if we have small hands. It works very well, it is fast and not too demanding in terms of the footprint required for reading.
As for facial recognition , the registration is very fast (it does not give time or to be seen in the circle) and it gives us several options in terms of unlocking, such as choosing whether we want the lock screen to open or to go directly to the desktop. It does not work in absolute darkness (with a black screen background) and it will only work with the screen activated, but if we configure the activate screen when lifting normally we will not have problems, and also in low light conditions the system boosts the brightness of the screen so that there is enough light to detect our faces.
Of course, although it tolerates backlights well, we will see that with sunglasses it does not recognize us, but with glasses. There is also no option to configure an alternative aspect as other systems offer, such as One UI.
Cameras: options and lenses for almost every taste
Protagonists in the back of this mobile, the rear cameras of this new Redmi 9 Pro are the following:
- 64-megapixel sensor (1 / 1.72-inch, 0.8 μm or 1.6μm pixels grouped with pixel-binning) with 6P lens with f / 1.89 aperture and AF.
- 8 megapixel sensor (1.12 μm pixels) with 5P ultra wide angle lens with f / 2.2 aperture and 119 degree field.
- 5 megapixel sensor with macro lens (2 cm – 10 cm).
- 2 megapixel sensor for depth analysis.
Thus, we opt for the combination of four cameras that includes a macro lens and one for depth without telephoto lenses and optical stabilization, something that we are seeing in many current mid-range mobiles. For its part, the front camera integrates a 16-megapixel sensor (1 μm pixels) with a lens with f / 2.48 aperture, featuring artificial intelligence- mediated facial recognition.
The Xiaomi app is an old acquaintance, but keeping its foundations it has been adapting to the changes that have been added at the hardware and software level. In this case we see tabs for the usual modes to which the brand adds the short video and one for the 64 megapixels of the main lens, as we have been seeing for some time.
There is no “More” tab, so perhaps the Macro mode may seem somewhat hidden to us at first. It’s in the options drawer where we find the settings and other functions with quick access, not being too intuitive but not too far-fetched.
The manufacturer’s approach to users taking the helm of their photographs is very interesting: not only the HDR can be manual, but also the help derived from the AI (in appearance), the 64 megapixels and the choice of lens in the Pro mode . And as we usually comment, peaking for focus is very useful , which we also find in Pro mode.
Video mode also has a manual option and allows you to adjust aspects such as focus or shutter speed. In general highlights all this potential for manual control if the user wishes, and if the automatic ones are not, seeing that the night mode and the portrait are entirely automatic .
Of course, the app continues to be somewhat slow . It is a problem that has been dragging on for a long time and is especially noticeable when adjusting aspects such as HDR or those that we find with quick access.
The portrait mode is also still very demanding and unclear as to the necessary distance from the item, but at least it does not require that they be human beings . We will see that the night mode also only works with the main camera.
It should be noted that in the video interface we can change from one lens to another only before starting the recording . Although it is appreciated that there is direct access to the quality change on the same screen and without having to go to the settings, since as we will see below the quality of the shot will depend a lot on the resolution we choose.
In general we see a standard performance, fulfilling minimums but without miracles . We will note that in general the colors are somewhat muted, although the solution, as we will see later, the AI button will not be the best solution.
It is just a little dynamic range, it is perhaps the aspect that has the most room for improvement along with the detail in exteriors with low light or at night. Although speaking of the main lens, it works well with backlights with HDR activated and, as we will also show later, there is a good performance in portrait mode.
If we want to have a larger image (9,280 x 6,944 pixels with respect to the 4,640 x 3,472 pixels of a photo at 16 megapixels) we can go to the 64 megapixel shooting tab or Pro mode and select it (especially if we want the RAW file) . It does not compensate if we are not going to print or want larger cuts without losing detail, since there are hardly any changes when enlarging.
The HDR is going to be a great help, with that we were commenting that the automatic processing does not have too much of dynamic range. In fact, we will see that in photographs with a background sky (and especially with the wide angle) the burned sky and a much smaller range of tones will appear in automatic shooting.
The wide angle is perhaps the camera that suffers the most in the most demanding light conditions, seeing that the white balance may experience variations from the main objective. In general we see too much contrast and a sharp loss of sharpness, although the distortion by the curve is well corrected and we do not see exaggerations at the edges.
The wide angle at night is perhaps one of the weakest points in the photography of the Redmi Note 9 Pro. It directly draws us oils if the lighting is average, so better to do without it in this situation.
Speaking of night shooting in general and with the standard lens, the amount of noise and grain means there isn’t too much definition. Better not to resort to 64-megapixel shooting, since perhaps because it is slower it usually gives us even more diluted images.
The night mode is simple, without assuming long exposure to use, and in some cases it is very similar to using the automatic. Also, if the lighting is sufficient it will create an overexposed photo by increasing the ISO too much without being better than the standard one.
Speaking of macro shooting , which we see as an option in many of the manufacturers, we managed to shoot at the minimum distance from the object without blurring. Of course, they are optics that need a greater contribution of light to perform well and indoors or at night we will see a lot of noise, but in favorable conditions good photos are obtained.
The portrait mode has improved compared to its predecessors and is somewhat less demanding when it comes to activating. It is surprising how the cut respects quite complicated elements such as spines, although in the end the blur can be quite flat. We can reduce it to make it more natural, in addition.
As for AI assistance , we see that scene recognition is activated and that you can suggest or apply edits depending on it. It is not a clear advantage over automatic shooting, especially speaking of cases where vivid tones abound and oversaturation is applied which, far from improving the image, loses quality.
With the subjective camera we see somewhat inconsistent results, but in the end it gives more or less acceptable photographs in all environments. With lighting that is not so favorable, such as a daylight or some contrast, we can see that the background is quite distorted and that the dynamic range is missing if we do not activate the HDR , but with the light in favor it saves the detail quite well and we don’t see excess of contrasts.
Thus, if we have doubts we can activate the HDR and thus prevent the sky or the background from being lost due to burning in the snapshot. This won’t be overkill with the outlines and leftovers in the foreground, so he usually behaves well.
The portrait mode has a good cut even in backlights, bullfighting the hair and those most common enemies especially when it is a portrait mode by software as it is the case. It has not failed us and it solves quite well, without losing detail in the foreground.
At night we will see that the result is somewhat worse, although almost more for the slowness of the shot than for the quality that the shot usually leaves, since it is what is expected in a front camera of a mobile of this range. More noise and less definition, especially if the light fails, but even in this case portrait mode works.
Contrary to what we saw in general in photography, in the videos we see that the supersaturation is a constant outdoors in abundant light, either in 4K or 1080p. You take with the colors too exaggerated , as well as a decompensated turn of the tone to the magenta as a consequence perhaps of a white balance that does not fit well at all in these situations.
We see that some stabilization is missing when talking about the main camera in 4K shots. On the contrary, at 1080p and even using the wide angle we see fairly stable videos considering that it is all electronic and there is no OIS.
Curiously, it lets us make videos with the macro camera , although it will be a fairly punctual use surely. In any case, it will allow us to get as close as possible to what we are recording without unfocused shots and with good detail, although very low in dynamic range and saturation.
At night we will see that the stabilization at 1080p is preserved although somewhat less, with less control of the tremors that usually occur when recording while walking. More detail in 4K, but we still see shots too magenta depending on the lighting.
As for the video with the front camera , the image has a correct level of sharpness speaking of 1080p, seeing that contrary to what happened with the main rear they lack some vividness to the colors. They are also quite stable and fluid shots, without appreciating tremors or destabilization in plane changes.
At night we will see that there is some noise and the shots are much less defined, but nothing out of the ordinary. White balance is correct and the audio jack is correct.
Autonomy: numbers meet expectations
One of the strengths that stood out in the presentation of the mobile was its battery, housing one of 5,020 mAh . It is a capacity that exceeds the most usual, although each time we are seeing more mobiles that approach or exceed 5,000 mAh like this, thanks in part to its large dimensions.
But, as we usually say, not everything is milliamps per hour and other factors must be taken into account. Although by precedents such as the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 we could hope that in this aspect it did not go wrong.
In this case, it is not uncommon that using a load that is not very demanding lasts up to two days , reaching at least 18 hours when we do use it more intensively. Thus, like that of its twin brothers, the autonomy of this Redmi Note 9 is also a remarkable point and perhaps the one with the most potential.
Since the specimen we tested did not have the standard charger, we could not check how fast charging is doing with it. At least testing with the 30W of the Realme X3 SuperZoom takes about two and a half hours , which is not expected seeing the times of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S with the 22.5W, so it will be necessary to see if we can go back to later try this aspect.
Sound: betting on customization according to the type of headphones
Audio performance through the external speaker is within expectations, being relatively clear and well compensated. It would do him good to boost the bass a bit more and above all have more dynamic range , but he still behaves well.
At maximum volume it gives about 106 decibels at the speaker output, which is around 76 dB ambient, which is more than enough to set the mood for a room. In fact, it highlights the fact that there is no noticeable loss of quality when we put it at such high volumes, although for hearing in general it is more pleasant to leave it at most 85 or 90% (about 71 dB).
Speaking of headphones, we’ve tested both wireless and wired and the quality is maintained, indirectly improved by the isolation they provide. Although we can notice differences with respect to the speaker at the bass level, especially if we activate the Mi Sound enhancer within the sound settings .
We will see that as always in the Xiaomi mobiles there are options for Mi headphones, but we can leave it in one of the standard configurations or test whether for a model of another brand there is a similar one and the fit fits us. In our case, testing with a Corsair in-ear headphones, we obtained better quality selecting the Mi Headphones.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro, Xataka’s opinion
The Redmi range is one of the strongest in terms of being a candidate to beat sales of this mobile brand. This time it seems that although the options multiply with up to three Note 9s, the essence is the same and little changes between one and the other.
Speaking of the Pro, his last name designates him as the superior of the three, the older brother, the one who has to capture the attention of those who want the most from this year’s Redmi Note. But what the user will take away is something very similar to what is experienced in the Note 9S , perhaps with a little more power and with photographs that can be larger.
In general it is a correct mid-range mobile, somewhat striking in appearance and of course, a power bank made mobile like the other two Redmi Note and its large batteries. And the experience is quite in line with the expected price and performance, having good value for money, but there is still a lot to polish at the software level; in this it does not remember at all other Xiaomi.