realme 9 Review: All-rounder smartphone?

The realme 9 fills in the window between the 9i and the 9 Pro in the midrange segment. The company is positioning the handset in mobile photography with its 108MP "ProLight" sensor and a suite of in-app camera features. On top of that, the smartphone packs a stunning 6.4-inch AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate. It is also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chipset which is quite popular in this space.

realme 9 Review

realme 9 Review

The realme 9 is climbing an uphill battle when it comes to pricing and features not only with its contemporaries but also with its brethren in the series. Will you end up getting this phone over the others?

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The realme 9 continues to be a compact phone despite its humongous 5000 mAh battery. It comes with a premium build just like any other smartphones in the series. Though we are served with a plastic back, the design language is something to be lauded at. This means that if you want to showcase its elegance, you should use it without a case. The back panel is defined by the "Ripple Holographic Design" for the Sunburst Gold and our Stargaze White variant. If you prefer a more discreet look, you can grab the Meteor Black.

realme 9 Review

The rails are also plastic with angled edges in contrast to the 9i's curved frame. This makes handling the phone a bit labored when used with one hand. However, its svelte form factor and light weight make up for the misstep. The camera module is identical to the previous releases under this lineup with the realme 9 having three cameras. Ports and button are also where it should be as described in our unboxing and first impressions.

realme 9 Review

The front panel is defined by a hole-punch design. Bezels are also thin except for the chin.


realme 9's display is one of its strongest suits. On the get-go, I am quite impressed by the stunning 6.4-inch AMOLED screen. This 1080 x 2400p panel offers good color accuracy. Colors are vibrant with deep blacks. There's also plenty of details in the screen; and the dynamic range is very generous.

realme 9 Review

The 90Hz refresh rate gives an added perception of smoothness while scrolling through the interface. The screen also supports the in-display fingerprint sensor which is quite zippy. Overall, the excellent display quality makes the realme 9 a great companion in consuming multimedia content.


The realme 9 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 680. It's an efficient and powerful chipset from the chipmaker's 2021 lineup. Though it does not have 5G connectivity, the chip can still manage to get things done in terms of your daily smartphone needs - messaging, web browsing, calls, social media, and more. Likewise, the smartphone can do MOBA gaming and shooting games.

realme 9 Review

I tried playing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang in Ultra graphics and I felt the toll on the processor so I shifted back to High. You can also take advantage of high refresh rate in the said popular game - no Super or Ultra settings support. Call of Duty Mobile also run smoothly with the realme 9 with decent graphics. Its decent performance especially on long-gaming sessions is also reflected in our benchmark test.

The realme 9 scored 290523 in AnTuTu Benchmark, which placed the device in the 101st rank as of this writing.

realme 9 Review: Performance Test

We also tested the handset using 3DMark: Wild Life Stress Test, a 20-minute test to give us an idea how the device performs in long gaming sessions.

  • Loop score (Lowest to Highest): 447 to 449 with 99.6% Stability
  • Battery drop: 93% to 91%
  • Temperature: 35 to 36°C
  • Frame rate: 2 to 4 FPS

realme 9 Review: Gaming Test

The phone packs a roomy 128GB of storage but it's expandable up to 256GB should you need more space. The realme 9 is also capable of the Dynamic RAM Expansion feature wherein you can take advantage of up to 5GB of extended RAM whenever you needed to. It's also worth-noting that only the 6GB variant is available in the country, whereas our review unit has 8GB of RAM.

realme 9 Review

The realme 9 employs dual-stereo speakers which, on paper, would be a complementary feature to the immersive AMOLED display. We can tell that the loudspeaker is above average due to its balanced sound quality and efficient bass response. However, it could get pitchy on higher levels of volume.

The 4G connectivity is still fast given that the mobile wireless standard covers a lot of areas in the country. Calls are also clear using the earpiece, loudspeaker or Bluetooth earbuds. All in all, the realme 9 could be considered as an all-rounder when we talk about performance.


The company is banking to the 108MP "ProLight Camera" for the standard realme 9 handset. However, you'll get a binned 12MP photo by default unless you use the 108MP mode in your camera app. In its class, photos coming from the main camera of the realme 9 looks stunning in daylight with superb color accuracy.

The dynamic range is impressive; and details are captured well even in shadowy areas. However, the camera is a hit and miss when dealing with white balance.

realme 9 Review

The Night Mode took good night photos. In fact, I could tell that realme's Night Mode implementation is way better than its closest counterparts. However, you need to spend a bit of extra time to capture good night shots. The 8MP wide angle camera is always a welcome feature for outdoor shots and landscapes, but expect to have a dumb-down photos in terms of quality.

The 16MP selfie camera is a good camera for social media use. Colors coming from this sensor is a bit low on saturation but with ample details. The beautification modes are quite fine with photos registering to be natural and not over processed. Here are our sample photos:

realme 9 Sample Photo
Sample Shot: Night Mode

realme 9 Sample Photo
Sample Shot: Night Mode

realme 9 Sample Photo

realme 9 Sample Photo

realme 9 Sample Photo

realme 9 Sample Photo

realme 9 Sample Photo
Sample Shot: Lowlight

realme 9 Sample Photo
Sample Shot: Selfie

Software and Battery

The realme 9 boots with realme UI 3.0 - a skinned version of Android 12. The skin is very intuitive in laying out the most used settings and toggles. It defaults with round and flat icons - all of which you can change by using a customization app. Just like the realme UI 2.0, you still get a bucket full of bloatware; most of the pre-installed apps you'll spend time to uninstall.

realme 9 review

The realme 9's battery life is one of the most efficient you'll find in a smartphone at this segment. The 5000mAh battery wouldn't die on you in the middle of the day. The device also has a 33W fast charging support; according to realme, the phone can be charged to 50% in 31 minutes and from 0 to 100% in 75 minutes.

The realme 9 tallied 16 hours and 33 minutes in our PCMark battery life test. In our actual charging test using the phone's companion 33W charger, we were able to fully charge the phone (from 0 to 100%) in 85 minutes (1 hour and 25 minutes).

Verdict: Should You Buy The realme 9?

Collectively, the realme 9 is a good smartphone. This means that if you're looking for an all-rounder handset, this could easily meet your expectations. The camera is consistent in giving decent shots while the battery life is very impressive. If you're more inclined into gaming, this phone could also perform well in most circumstances.

realme 9 Review

To be honest, the realme 9 is not that very easy to recommend especially with the realme 9 Pro being just a couple of grand away in terms of pricing. However, if you're keen on having an AMOLED display, good battery life, better camera, and you're hard-pressed on a Php 15K budget, this smartphone would be a good purchase.

Deal: You can get the realme 9 for a limited-time offer of Php 12,499 with free Buds Q2 and one year warranty today, June 19, via Lazada. For brick and mortar store buyers, the realme 9 is bundled with Buds Air 2 Neo.

Pros and Cons:

  1. Stunning AMOLED Display
  2. Exquisite design
  3. Capable camera
  4. Impressive battery life
  5. No 5G Support

realme 9 Specs

  • 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED Display, 90Hz, 1080 x 2400p, 411 PPI, 430 nits (typ), 1000 nits (peak), 90.8% STB ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Snapdragon 680 4G (6 nm) SoC
  • 2.4GHz Octa-core CPU
  • Adreno 610 GPU
  • microSD support, up to 256GB (dedicated slot)
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB UFS 2.2 Storage
  • Triple rear cameras: 
  • 1. 108MP, f/1.75, Samsung HM6 Sensor, with Dual Pixel PDAF
  • 2. 8MP, f/2.2, 119.9˚ ultrawide 
  • 3. 2MP, f/2.4, macro
  • 16MP, f/2.45 front camera
  • 1080p@30fps videos 
  • Loudspeaker
  • 3.5mm jack
  • 4G/LTE
  • Dual SIM (Nano)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth v5.1
  • USB Type-C 2.0, USB OTG
  • Fingerprint (under display, optical)
  • Realme UI 3.0, based on Android 12
  • 160.2 x 73.3 x 7.99 mm, 178 grams
  • Li-Po 5000 mAh battery with 33W fast charging
  • Support Reverse Charging
  • Meteor Black, Sunburst Gold, Stargaze White
  • Php 14,999 SRP
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