Review: Realme 9i 5G – A low-cost and balanced 5G smartphone

Review: Realme 9i 5G - A low-cost and balanced 5G smartphone is for those who save money, for fans of big, nice smartphones and for fans of good batteries and fast charging

Design and Build:

The Realme 9i, as an addition to the Realme 9 series, maintains a design language reminiscent of its predecessors. It boasts a substantial 6.6-inch LCD screen, which, while expansive for content consumption, also contributes to its overall bulk. The phone’s dimensions measure 164.4 x 75.1 x 8.1 mm and it weighs 187 grams, making it relatively light for its size, thanks to its plastic construction. However, the design doesn’t break new ground, with angular lines and a notched display. The rear panel, while visually appealing with its iridescent finish, tends to hold onto fingerprints, which can be a minor annoyance.

In terms of connectivity, the Realme 9i is well-equipped, featuring a headphone jack – a feature that is increasingly rare among modern smartphones. It also offers dual nano-SIM card slots and a microSD card slot for expandable storage, ensuring users have plenty of options for their needs. The device supports Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi ac for seamless wireless connections, and the fingerprint reader integrated into the power button provides speedy and convenient unlocking.


PerformanceOcta core (2.4 GHz, Dual Core + 2 GHz, Hexa Core)MediaTek Dimensity 8104 GB RAMDisplay6.6 inches (16.76 cm)400 PPI, IPS LCD90 Hz Refresh RateCamera50 MP + 2 MP + 2 MP Triple Primary CamerasLED Flash8 MP Front CameraBattery5000 mAhFast ChargingUSB Type-C Port


The audio experience on the Realme 9i may leave some users wanting more, despite Realme’s claims of Hi-Res certified speakers. While the device features built-in speakers, they can fall short in delivering a rich and balanced sound. In particular, the treble range can sound somewhat harsh, leading to audio that lacks the depth and clarity found in higher-end smartphones. However, it’s important to note that these speakers can still serve adequately for casual media consumption and calls.

A notable highlight is the inclusion of a headphone jack, a feature that is becoming increasingly rare in modern smartphones. This jack provides users with the flexibility to connect their preferred headphones or external speakers, potentially improving the audio experience significantly. When using the headphone jack, the Realme 9i’s audio output quality is relatively distortion-free, enhancing the overall listening experience. While the device’s built-in speakers may not offer audiophile-grade quality, the availability of multiple audio options ensures that users can tailor their audio experience to their liking and enjoy high-quality sound when using headphones or external speakers.


The Realme 9i’s display is a mixed bag, offering both advantages and room for improvement. With its generous 6.6-inch Full HD+ LCD panel, the device excels in providing an expansive canvas for multimedia consumption, gaming, and general smartphone use. However, the display’s performance in certain aspects may not meet the highest standards.

On the positive side, the screen achieves a maximum brightness of 416 cd/m², which is respectable and generally sufficient for indoor use. This level of brightness ensures that content remains visible and clear in most indoor lighting conditions. The large size of the display also enhances the overall viewing experience, making it suitable for watching videos and playing games.

However, there are notable downsides to the display. One key concern is its color accuracy, as indicated by a delta E of 3.7, which suggests noticeable color deviations, particularly in the red and green color ranges. These inaccuracies may affect the device’s ability to reproduce colors faithfully, potentially impacting the viewing experience, especially when dealing with color-sensitive tasks such as photo editing. Additionally, the color temperature tends to lean towards the cooler side, measuring 7630 K, which falls short of the ideal 6500 K balance. This cooler color temperature can result in a less warm and natural visual experience. Despite these challenges, the display’s responsive touch interactions, with a 15 ms response time and a touch delay of 101 ms, ensure that everyday tasks and gaming remain smooth and intuitive.


The Realme 9i’s performance can be described as a well-rounded offering that strikes a balance between handling everyday tasks smoothly and showing limitations with more demanding applications and games. The device’s hardware configuration includes 4 to 6 GB of RAM, with the tested model featuring 6 GB, and it is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 810 chip.

For typical smartphone use, such as web browsing, social media, email, and light productivity tasks, the Realme 9i performs admirably. It offers a responsive and lag-free experience, making it suitable for day-to-day smartphone usage. Users can expect swift app launches, smooth multitasking, and efficient performance for everyday needs.

However, where the Realme 9i may show its limitations is in handling more resource-intensive applications and games. The MediaTek Dimensity 810 chip, while efficient, may struggle to maintain consistently high frame rates and graphical performance when confronted with graphically demanding titles. It is not designed as a gaming powerhouse, and users seeking top-tier gaming performance may need to explore higher-end options. Nevertheless, for the majority of users, the Realme 9i should provide a satisfactory and reliable experience for everyday smartphone tasks without significant performance hiccups.


The Realme 9i features a triple-camera setup, but the primary 50-megapixel sensor is the standout performer. In well-lit conditions, it captures decent photos with sufficient detail, albeit with a tendency to apply excessive contrast for an artificial look. However, in low-light scenarios, image quality takes a significant hit, with noise becoming pronounced and optical defects becoming more noticeable. The secondary 2-megapixel sensors, one for portrait mode and the other for macro shots, offer limited versatility and practicality. The selfie camera, an 8-megapixel sensor, tends to produce overly smoothed images, even with skin enhancement features turned off. Portrait mode and video recording at 1080p lack refinement and stabilization, which may lead to shaky footage during recording.

Sample pictures

Battery Life:

One of the Realme 9i’s strengths lies in its battery life. Equipped with a 5000 mAh battery and an 18 W charger, it may not break any speed records in charging, taking approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes for a full charge. However, its impressive endurance ensures it can last through a day of moderate to heavy usage without the need for frequent recharging. In ViSer tests, the Realme 9i managed an impressive 21 hours and 15 minutes before shutting down, making it a reliable option for users who prioritize battery life.


Sustainability is an increasingly critical aspect of evaluating electronic devices like the Realme 9i, although this review doesn’t provide an in-depth analysis. Sustainability-conscious consumers are encouraged to scrutinize various factors when assessing a device’s environmental impact and long-term viability.

  1. Repairability: The repairability of a smartphone like the Realme 9i is a vital aspect of sustainability. Devices that are easily repairable, with readily available spare parts and clear repair guides, tend to have extended lifespans. This directly contributes to reducing electronic waste and lessens the need for frequent upgrades.
  2. Durability: Durability is another cornerstone of sustainability. Devices designed to withstand everyday wear and tear, constructed with robust materials, are more likely to enjoy prolonged lifecycles. Durable devices help mitigate the need for frequent replacements, reducing the environmental footprint associated with electronic waste.
  3. Warranty and Updates: Realme’s warranty period and commitment to software updates play pivotal roles in sustainability. A longer warranty reflects the manufacturer’s confidence in the device’s longevity. Timely software updates, including security patches and operating system upgrades, not only ensure the device’s ongoing usability but also enhance its security.
  4. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policies: Evaluating Realme’s CSR policies is crucial for gauging the overall sustainability of the Realme 9i. Ethical manufacturing practices, environmentally responsible initiatives, and fair labor standards all contribute positively to the device’s sustainability and the manufacturer’s broader impact.
  5. E-waste Management: Responsible electronic waste (e-waste) management is central to sustainability. Manufacturers that facilitate recycling programs or take-back initiatives for old devices help reduce the environmental consequences of electronic waste disposal.

Incorporating these sustainability considerations into the decision-making process can significantly influence the device’s environmental footprint and long-term usability, aligning with the values of sustainability-conscious consumers.

Interface & OS:

The Realme 9i runs on Android 12, paired with the Realme UI 3.0 interface. The UI offers a familiar Android experience but comes with a notable drawback: the inclusion of preinstalled apps. Realme tends to bundle additional applications, including alternatives to Google services and shortcuts to various apps. While users have the option to remove these apps, the presence of unwanted bloatware can be a minor inconvenience.

The Realme 9i operates on Android 12 and utilizes the Realme UI 3.0 interface, offering a familiar Android experience. However, there is an important consideration regarding the inclusion of preinstalled apps that may affect the user experience.

  1. User-Friendliness: Realme UI 3.0 strives to provide a user-friendly interface with intuitive navigation and customizable options. This design philosophy aims to ensure users can comfortably and efficiently interact with their device.
  2. Preinstalled Apps: One notable aspect of the Realme 9i’s interface is the presence of preinstalled apps, often referred to as bloatware. These apps may offer alternatives to Google services or shortcuts to various applications. While users retain the option to remove or disable these apps, their presence can be perceived as an inconvenience for some users who prefer a more streamlined experience.
  3. Software Updates: Regular software updates are essential for both usability and security. Realme’s commitment to providing timely updates, including security patches and major operating system upgrades, is integral to maintaining the device’s performance and safeguarding against security vulnerabilities.
  4. Customization: Realme UI 3.0 offers users the ability to customize their device’s appearance with themes, wallpapers, and icon layouts. These customization options allow users to tailor their device to suit their individual preferences, enhancing the overall user experience.
  5. Performance: The Realme 9i’s interface aims to deliver smooth and responsive performance. Efficient app launching, multitasking, and fluid animations contribute to a seamless user interface, ensuring users can navigate their device effortlessly.

In conclusion, the Realme 9i’s interface and operating system aim to provide a user-friendly, customizable, and efficient experience. While the inclusion of preinstalled apps may be a minor inconvenience, users can adjust and personalize their device to meet their specific needs and preferences.

In Conclusion:

In summary, the Realme 9i 5G is a budget-friendly smartphone that strives to provide an all-around user experience. Its design, while not groundbreaking, offers practical features and connectivity options. The device excels in battery life, ensuring users can go through a full day without frequent charging. However, its camera system has limitations, especially in challenging lighting conditions, and its charging speed is not the fastest. For those seeking an affordable 5G option without compromising essential features, the Realme 9i remains a viable choice.


  • Good autonomy.
  • Complete connection.
  • Satisfactory daytime photos.


  • Slow charging.
  • Poorly calibrated screen.
  • Not very versatile in image capture.