4G Phones Still Have Their Place

It’s laborious to imagine the first actual Realme phone used to be launched as not too long ago as 2018. The corporate has launched a staggering 44 telephones in simply 4 years, even though no longer all were to be had globally.

However, the most recent Realme 9 sequence is definitely represented in the United Kingdom and Europe. Five of the six handsets have made it to those shores, together with the common Realme 9. At £249/€279, it’s nonetheless with regards to in finances phone territory, however the Realme 9 5G is to be had for a similar worth.

The usual type is proscribed to 4G however provides some higher specifications in different places. Is that sufficient to make it a sensible possibility, or will have to you go for probably the most many nice possible choices round this worth? I spent a couple of weeks with the Realme 9 to determine.

Design & construct

  • Premium construct, in spite of plastic again
  • Relatively compact and light-weight
  • Frustrating fingerprint sensor

The Realme 9 could be the cheap phone, however its daring design is bound to show heads. That is probably not obvious from the entrance, however flipping it over finds the crowd pleasing plastic end. It’s shiny and displays and shimmers in some way that imitates glass, however with out the higher weight or fragility.

Realme 9 review

The impact is in an instant visual at the colourful ‘Sunburst Gold’ type I examined, however you’ll nonetheless understand it at the ‘Stargaze White’ and ‘Meteor Black’ variations. I to begin with discovered this traumatic, nevertheless it grew on me all through my checking out time. Not everybody will in finding it aesthetically satisfying, although, and also you’ll wish to move case-free to peer the overall receive advantages.

The sturdy plastic again supposed I wasn’t too frightened about destructive the phone. Even earlier than making use of the tinted silicone case integrated within the field, it provides a variety of grip.

I additionally favored Realme’s determination to not come with its ‘Dare to Leap’ slogan in large letters at the again of the phone. That’s one thing we’ve noticed previously, however the smaller Realme brand this is a lot more tasteful.

Above it, you’ll in finding triple rear cameras and a flash inside a transparent module. This handiest extends quite from the again of the phone, that means there’s no longer an excessive amount of motion when the use of face up on a desk.

Realme 9 review

By 2022 requirements, Realme has opted for a normal design at the entrance. The handiest actual characteristic of notice is the punch-hole for the selfie digital camera within the peak left nook. I in most cases desire a central placement, however briefly were given used to this structure. It’s extremely not likely to ever difficult to understand the most important data there.

The Realme 9 additionally has an optical in-display fingerprint scanner, however I want it didn’t. Enrolling is straightforward sufficient, however I constantly struggled to release the phone this fashion. Less than part of my makes an attempt have been a success, or even then it used to be a lot slower than many different telephones. It left me depending at the much less protected face release, which isn’t preferrred.

Realme 9 review

Slim bezels will also be discovered at the peak and aspects of the phone, however the phone nonetheless has a big chin.

There’s no longer a lot to put in writing house about at the aspects of the phone, with quantity controls on one aspect and tool button at the different. Annoyingly, the latter triggers the Google Assistant relatively than energy controls by means of default, however this will simply be modified in Settings.

A USB-C port and downward-firing speaker will also be discovered on the backside, along a three.5mm headphone jack. It’s uncommon to peer the technique to attach stressed out headphones nowadays, however I admire its inclusion right here.

Realme 9 review

Despite the massive exhibit, Realme 9 stays impressively compact. At 8mm thick and 178g, it’s one of the moveable and pocketable big-screen telephones round.

Screen & audio system

  • Full HD, 90Hz OLED exhibit
  • Excellent, wealthy viewing enjoy
  • Single speaker is underwhelming

Display is the place the Realme 9 actually excels. It’s a 6.4in, 1080×2400 panel, swapping out LCD at the 5G type for awesome OLED right here. The display screen sticks on the conventional 20:9 facet ratio, with the ones slender bezels giving it a decent 84.2% screen-to-body ratio.

As the ones specifications counsel, the Realme 9 delivers a very good viewing enjoy. You get colourful colors, deep blacks and a variety of element – you’ll be able to’t ask for a lot more at this worth. The display screen additionally will get rather shiny (as much as 442 nits in checking out), making it most often visual except you’re in direct daylight.

Realme 9 review

The handiest compromise is a 90Hz refresh price, versus 120Hz at the Realme 9 5G. However, this shouldn’t be an excessive amount of of a reason for fear, and it nonetheless supplies a noticeable receive advantages in comparison to the usual 60Hz. Just make sure to flip it on in Settings.

As I alluded to, the Realme 9 has a unmarried downward-firing speaker. It doesn’t mix with the earpiece for a stereo setup and the consequences replicate that. Despite getting impressively loud, the phone lacks bass and is liable to distortion at upper volumes. It’s high quality for social media and the occasional YouTube video, simply no longer a lot more.

Specs & efficiency

  • Powered by means of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 680
  • Combines with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of garage
  • Fine for on a regular basis use, however gradual from time to time

Given all the focal point on 5G nowadays, it’s simple to disregard that Qualcomm continues to be making new 4G chips. They come with 2021’s Snapdragon 680, which powers the Realme 9. The top-spec type I examined pairs it with 8GB of RAM, however a inexpensive configuration drops it all the way down to 6GB.

Performance from the phone is… high quality. I’ve examined a number of high-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 telephones not too long ago so don’t need to be too harsh, however the Realme 9 feels gradual from time to time. It’s maximum noticeable when opening/remaining apps or multitasking, with important delays between tapping the display screen and it in reality acting the motion.

The state of affairs improves as soon as the apps are open, however you’ll wish to permit a couple of extra seconds to get arrange every time. You can be expecting this from an affordable phone, however different handsets round this worth ship higher efficiency.

If you simply desire a phone for the fundamentals – assume calls, messages, internet surfing and social media – this phone will nonetheless serve you neatly. Casual gaming may be inside succeed in, however there’s noticeable dropped frames on anything else extra difficult. If you’re purchasing a phone for the likes of Call of Duty: Mobile or Asphalt 9, you will have to glance in different places.

This lacklustre efficiency is mirrored within the benchmarks beneath, the place many in a similar way priced telephones carry out higher throughout a variety of assessments:

There’s just one possibility with regards to interior garage: 128GB. That would possibly really feel a little bit at the low aspect, however the Realme 9 does reinforce growth by means of a microSD card.

As discussed above, the phone is proscribed to 4G connections, so if you wish to have quicker 5G speeds then you’ll have to glance in different places.


  • 108Mp major sensor is spectacular
  • 8Mp wide-angle and 2Mp macro deficient by means of comparability
  • Great 16Mp selfie digital camera

Gone are the times when finances telephones may just escape with sub-par cameras. That’s obtrusive at the Realme 9, which has a 26mm major sensor at 108Mp. The next megapixel rely hardly equals higher pictures, however you’d in most cases handiest see this kind of lens on flagships.

Stills from the main digital camera are spectacular, providing first rate color accuracy and bold dynamic vary. It’s specifically adept at panorama photographs, however can combat with publicity the place there’s much less herbal mild.

Unfortunately, there’s a noticeable drop in high quality when switching to the 8Mp ultrawide lens. Colours glance extra washed out and main points within the background are regularly misplaced. It’s great to have the versatility of a 120° box of view, however I want Realme had made the entire lenses of similar high quality.

Realme 9 review

The 3rd of those is a 2Mp macro digital camera, which provides virtually not anything to the enjoy. Even with the devoted mode activated, it struggled to correctly focal point on close-up photographs.

Without a telephoto digital camera, the zoom characteristic is all virtual. That approach the standard drops sharply the additional you move, with the max 10x generating blurry, grainy photographs which might be handiest usable for reference functions.

There’s no intensity sensor both, however you are going to discover a software-based portrait mode. It can produce some great effects from time to time, however constantly struggles with edge detection.

Another digital camera characteristic that will depend on application is evening mode. The Realme 9’s model does a just right process of brightening low-light environments with out sacrificing an excessive amount of element.

However, the 16Mp front-facing digital camera is a pleasing wonder. It delivers shiny, detailed selfies that maintain publicity neatly. Portrait-style photographs are to be had right here too, and I used to be actually inspired by means of the real looking background blur it produced.

A variety of digital camera samples are to be had within the gallery beneath:

Realme 9 camera test

On the video aspect, the Realme 9 can seize pictures as much as 1080p at 30fps. This is okay for the general public, particularly with optical symbol stabilisation (OIS) at the major lens holding video quite secure while you transfer round.

Battery lifestyles & charging

  • 5,000mAh battery
  • Excellent battery lifestyles, even at 90Hz
  • Decent 33W stressed out charging

Battery lifestyles is a space the place some finances telephones make compromises, however that’s no longer the case right here. The Realme 9 has a big 5,000mAh mobile, which conveniently delivers a complete day of reasonable utilization from a unmarried rate. Depending for your utilization patterns, it can be imaginable to eke out two days earlier than attaining for the charger.

That’s mirrored in Geekbench 4’s battery check, which serves as a measure of screen-on time. With the brightness set to 120 nits, the Realme 9 lasted an outstanding 13 hours and half-hour.

Everyday utilization will dissipate the battery extra briefly, nevertheless it’s nonetheless probably the most longest enduring telephones I’ve examined in a very long time. And have in mind, that check is at 90Hz and with out a battery saver mode grew to become on. Adjusting those settings will lengthen battery lifestyles even additional, particularly with the phone’s cast standby time.

When you do wish to rate it, the 33W USB-C adapter within the field provides you with 27% again in quarter-hour. Reaching 50% in half-hour is in line with Realme’s claims, and is on the higher finish of what you can in finding on telephones this worth. It would’ve been great to peer wi-fi charging too, however that’s nonetheless no longer specifically commonplace on finances telephones.

Software & updates

  • Realme UI 3.0 over Android 12
  • Custom pores and skin has a couple of notable variations
  • Eligible for no less than two Android model updates

The phone runs the customized Realme UI 3.0 pores and skin over Android 12. Realme’s technique to application is quite other to Google’s, with notable adjustments to fast settings, the app drawer, and digital camera app. All really feel intuitive and simple to navigate, however there’s a certain studying curve when you’re coming from a Pixel or Samsung phone.

Realme has additionally made up our minds to incorporate its personal variations of many inventory apps, together with symbol gallery, voice recorder and calculator. None of those will also be uninstalled, that means you’ll be caught with extra application you received’t ever use. Plenty of Android phone makers are accountable of this, although.

Realme 9 review

Realme says the phone gets two Android updates and 3 years of safety updates. That approach the Realme 9 gets Android 13 and 14, however that could be it – although that is nonetheless with regards to the most efficient application reinforce you can in finding at this worth at the moment.

Price & availability

Realme has saved issues easy with pricing for the Realme 9 in the United Kingdom and Europe. There’s only one configuration to be had – 8GB of RAM and 128GB of garage – for £249/€279.

It’s available for purchase immediately from the Realme web site, the place you’ll these days get a unfastened pair of Realme Buds Q wi-fi earbuds.

The Realme 9 is unlocked so to be had to make use of with all UK networks, however there is not any availability in the USA in any respect.

At that worth, it’s nonetheless with regards to in finances phone territory. However, festival is fierce at this worth level. Xiaomi leads the way in which right here, with the Poco X3 Pro, Redmi Note 10 Pro and Poco M4 Pro 5G all to be had for the same quantity. But handsets such because the Samsung Galaxy A13 or Oppo A54 5G also are price taking into account.


In ditching 5G, the common Realme 9 delivers a cast all-round smartphone enjoy.

The 90Hz OLED exhibit is a pleasure to behold, whilst battery lifestyles is likely one of the best possible you’ll in finding on any smartphone. A good digital camera is succesful of a few very good photographs, whilst I actually loved the top class design and light-weight construct.

But hit-and-miss efficiency takes the shine off the enjoy, whilst the application and in-display fingerprint sensor may just each be higher.

It’s the most efficient phone within the Realme 9 sequence for the general public, however that doesn’t imply you will have to purchase it over any other nice handsets to be had for the same worth.


Realme 9: Specs

  • Android 12 with Realme UI 3.0
  • 6.4in Full HD+ (1080×2400) OLED exhibit, 20:9, 90Hz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 (4G)
  • 6/8 GB RAM
  • 128 interior garage (expandable by means of microSD)
  • 108Mp major, 8Mp ultrawide, 2Mp macro cameras
  • 16Mp selfie digital camera
  • Fingerprint scanner (in-screen)
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • GPS
  • USB-C
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • 33W stressed out charging
  • 160.2 x 73.3 x 8mm
  • 178g

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