Realme and Xiaomi are competing head to head from IoT devices to smartphones. In January, Realme announced its Realme 9i which defends the mid-range category and within a month, they’re back with the Realme 9 series. Which adds two new smartphones into its portfolio, Realme 9 Pro and Realme 9 Pro+.
This ‘Pro+’ moniker is an answer to throwing one’s hat in the ring against the Redmi Note 11 Ultra. The Realme 9 Pro+ adds a colour changing glass back, Sony IMX 766 camera sensor, MediaTek Dimensity 920, a 90hz AMOLED display, supports 60W Fast Charging and the fingerprint sensor also doubles up as a heart rate sensor. Tempting spec-sheet, Right?
With this device, Realme also increases its price a bit higher to be in the same segment as the OnePlus Nord 2 and Xiaomi Mi11i HyperCharge.
So does Realme 9 Pro+ stand out from the competitors? After using this device as our primary device for almost two weeks. Here’s our review of the Realme 9 Pro+. Before proceeding towards the review, here’s a sneak peek at the specifications.
Realme 9 Pro+ 5G Full Specifications
|Model||9 Pro+ 5G|
|Price in India||₹24,999|
|Release date||16th February 2022|
|Launched in India||Yes|
|Dimensions (mm)||160.20 x 73.30 x 7.99|
|Battery capacity (mAh)||4500|
|Colours||Aurora Green, Midnight Black, Sunrise Blue|
|Refresh Rate||90 Hz|
|Screen size (inches)||6.40|
|Protection type||Gorilla Glass|
|Pixels per inch (PPI)||409|
|Processor make||MediaTek Dimensity 920|
|Rear camera||50-megapixel (f/1.8) + 8-megapixel (f/2.2) + 2-megapixel (f/2.4)|
|No. of Rear Cameras||3|
|Front camera||16-megapixel (f/2.4)|
|No. of Front Cameras||1|
|Operating system||Android 12|
|Skin||Realme UI 3.0|
|Wi-Fi standards supported||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax|
|Bluetooth||Yes, v 5.20|
|Number of SIMs||2|
|Supports 4G in India (Band 40)||Yes|
|Supports 4G in India (Band 40)||Yes|
|In-Display Fingerprint Sensor||Yes|
|Ambient light sensor||Yes|
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
The Realme 9 Pro+ doesn’t receive a major foothill in terms of design and looks very identical to Neo 2. Meanwhile, it’s Realme’s first time with a colour-changing rear panel just like the Vivo V23 Pro. Cough! Cough! This ‘Light Shift’ technology is only limited to its Sunrise Blue colourway which switches its colour from light blue to coca-cola-ish red. However, we got its ‘Aurora Green’ colourway which turns out into a sparkle-like effect that resembles a group of stars as soon as sunlight strikes on it.
This back panel is slightly curved for better ergonomics and has a high gloss finish which attracts fingerprint smudges on it. With a slim profile of 7.99mm and a weight of around 182 grams, it feels remarkably lightweight during in-hand operations. The central mid-frame is made of plastic with the corning gorilla glass in the front and the protection isn’t mentioned for the back glass yet. The haptic motors are extremely good as I’m someone who needs vibration feedback while typing, they stood out well.
The In-screen fingerprint sensor is reliably fast and also doubles up as a heart rate monitoring sensor. This feature can be accessed in Realme Lab which reflects the results by scanning the fingerprint sensor where accuracy might be a concern and is not reliable at all but a nice feature to flaunt off. It comes with three colour profiles:- Vivid, Natural and Pro Mode. However, we’ll recommend switching towards ‘Pro mode’ and toggling the ‘Brilliant’ for a better colour reproduction experience. To sum up, the display on the Realme 9 Pro+ is not its strong department to clash with the competitions.
The Realme 9 Pro+ is powered by the Mediatek Dimensity 920 which is based on 6nm technology, an upgrade over last year’s, including the competition Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC. Hence, it directly competes with its rivalry:- Xiaomi Mi11i HyperCharge, this chipset isn’t slouched but it isn’t a flagship killer either. In day-to-day usage, there aren’t stutters while navigating into the UI and the experience was pretty fluid and fast. While pushing the limits, the device heats up little but never feels uncomfortable while using it for prolonged gaming sessions. Coupled with two RAM configurations:- 6GB and 8GB RAM and up to 256GB of UFS 2.2 storage. Yes, A UFS 2.2!
Pictures that are captured from the primary camera sensor hold slightly warm tones and sharp details and edge detection whether it’s human or object is on point. It manages dynamic range pretty well with a presence of noise reduction which is often called the oil-pastel effect which is evident in it. The highlights and shadows are bright and consist of a lot of details in good lighting conditions which usually smartphone lacks in this price segment. This oil pastel effect is also present in the shadows and the highlights during low-light and indoor scenarios. Moving onto the low light scenario, this camera captures bright pictures with grainy shadows and a lack of details. All thanks to built-in OIS present in Primary Sensor but due to slow shutter count in low light, it fails to capture moving objects and produces a totally washed out and weird heal effect which is irksome.
SOFTWARE & BATTERY
That said, it packs in a 4500mAh battery which easily lasts up to a day on moderate usage which includes watching Netflix, playing games, capturing photos and browsing social media apps like Twitter and Instagram. However, the battery status can differentiate during hardcore gaming or shooting videos. It supports 60W Fast Charging although it ships with a 65W charging brick in the box which can top-up the battery from 0%-100% within 70 minutes which lessens one’s speed with the 120W HyperCharge technology by Xiaomi.
THE UNBIASED VERDICT
With the introduction of Realme 9 Pro+ this year, Realme is trying to improve its camera game for which people criticized the Realme GT Neo 2, Realme GT 5G and Realme GT Master Edition including us. For delivering a good camera experience, they’d have to do some compromises on the material used in the back panel and the choice of adding an underpowered MediaTek Dimensity 920 for this segment performs well but it’s not exciting as much as the Realme GT series. The display experience is also compromised by the lack of HDR certification and implementation of 90Hz on this display panel.
Realme 9 Pro+ delivers a fluid and snappy experience and feels quite compact during in-hand operations which are coupled with decent battery life, a great camera experience of around 6 hours of SOT and fast charging which juices the smartphone in 70 minutes. However, it’s difficult to recommend it while looking at the competitors right beside it. The Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge has a blazing fast 120W Fast Charging which looks and delivers more tempting results onboard. If performance is your utmost priority, you can consider Realme GT Neo 2 or the OnePlus Nord 2 which ships with Mediatek Dimensity 1200.