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Overview of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S was announced in March 2020 and launched in April of the same year. The popular Redmi Note smartphones are at their ninth generation this year, and the initial limited run has enjoyed a warm reception. But the Note 9 lineup is now going global, spearheaded by the Redmi Note 9S and it’s we are about to see what it’s made of.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S price in Kenya was very competitive considering the features that were added.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S specs at a glance;
- Body: Plastic frame, Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, splash-proof, 165.8×76.7×8.8 mm, 209g.
- Display: 6.67″ IPS LCD, 1080 x 2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 395ppi, HDR10.
- Rear camera: Primary: 48MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1/2.0″ sensor size, 0.8µm pixel size, PDAF. Ultrawide: 8MP, f/2.2, 1/4″, 1.12µm pixels. Macro camera: 5MP, f/2.4, 1.12µm. Depth sensor: 2MP; 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, 720p@960fps video recording, EIS.
- Front camera: 16MP, f/2.5 aperture, 1.0µm pixels. 1080p/30fps video recording.
- OS: Android 10; MIUI 11.
- Chipset: Snapdragon 720G (8nm): Octa-core (2×2.3 GHz Kryo 465 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 465 Silver), Adreno 618 GPU.
- Memory: 4/6GB of RAM; 64/128GB UFS 2.1 storage; dedicated microSD slot.
- Battery: 5,020mAh; 18W fast charging.
- Connectivity: LTE-A; USB-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; dual-band GPS; Bluetooth 5.0; FM radio; IR blaster.
- Misc: Side-mounted fingerprint reader; 3.5mm audio jack.
Design and Build
This reviewer has been nostalgic for the old dumbphones of various shapes, but today everything is all about the screen, and it usually comes wrapped in glass. And so is the Redmi Note 9S – a Gorilla Glass phone – built around a large screen – and featuring all the trendy curves and flashy paint jobs.
Not having an OLED screen makes it nearly impossible for the companies to put the fingerprint scanner under the screen, and that’s why it is on the right side of the Redmi Note 9S – that’s another recent trend. The surface of the power key is touch-sensitive, and the button also doubles as a fingerprint reader. It is fast and accurate, and we have no complaints.
The Redmi Note 9S features a large 6.67″ IPS LCD with a punch-hole notch at the top to make room for the selfie camera. The resolution is extended 1080p – 2,400 x 1,080 pixels – making for a 395ppi density.
The backlighting around the round notch is uneven and it is easily visible on white background. So, be prepared to see this imperfection a lot. Such uneven backlighting is a pretty glaring disadvantage of the LCD panels when compared to OLEDs.
User Interface and Performance
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S boots the latest version of MIUI 11 out of the box and it runs on top of the latest Android 10 OS. You can unlock the screen via the side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The reader is easy to set up and works fast. The accuracy is superb, too, and, overall, it is excellent for your daily unlocking.
The Redmi Note 9S supports Dark mode – it will switch all system colours from white to black. With MIUI 11 it has been improved, and now more apps support Dark mode, and the icons and their colours have been redesigned to suit it better.
The Redmi Note 9S employs the Snapdragon 720G chipset, and it is the second phone we meet with this hardware, the first was the Realme 6 Pro. We guess the rivalry is still going strong with these two brands.
The SoC uses an octa-core CPU in a 2+6 configuration – 2×2.3GHz Kryo 465 Gold (Cortex-A76 derivative) cores and 6×1.8GHz Kryo 465 Silver (Cortex-A55 derivative) cores. The GPU in this chip is Adreno 618 – the same one found in the Snapdragon 730.
The main camera of the Redmi Note 9S uses a 48 MP sensor with a Quad-Bayer filter, probably the ISOCELL Bright GM2 sensor by Samsung. It’s a large sensor with 0.8µm pixels, and the lens has an f/1.79 aperture. The image output is 12MP.
The 119-degree ultrawide-angle camera has an 8MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture. There is automatic distortion correction applied when necessary, but you can opt out of it.
Then there’s the 5MP macro camera with 1.12µm pixels and lens with f/2.4 aperture. Autofocus is available, which is a rarity among those type of snappers and much appreciated.
The last camera on the back is the 2MP depth sensor.
The 16MP selfies aren’t that sharp and we suspect the imager of having a Quad-Bayer filter. Still, the photos are good, HDR works great when needed, and we observed good colours and contrast. We’d be happy with the native 8MP shots though, just saying.
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The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S captures videos up to 4K @ 30fps, but 1080@60fps and 1080@30fps are available as well.
It seems at first that you can capture in these resolutions with all cameras, but you cannot. The ultrawide-angle and macro snappers record only 1080p clips at 30fps.
Let’s talk about the main camera. The video bitrate is 40-42Mbps in 4K and about 20Mbps in 1080p at both 30fps and 60fps. Audio is recorded in stereo with a 96Kbps bitrate.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S is powered by a large 5,020mAh Li-ion battery. It supports 18W quick charge, but the 9S ships with a 22.5W brick – meaning you will be overequipped. Xiaomi says it is one of their universal chargers for smartphones, smart home accessories, tablets and even small laptops.
The bundled charger refills about 37% of the entirely depleted battery in 30 mins, 60% in 50 mins, while a full charge takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
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