realme 9i First Impressions: Is it a Direct Upgrade?

realme 9i
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The realme 9i is the latest entry in the brand’s numbered “I” series. It acts as a more budget-friendly option to the realme 9 Pro and Pro+. It is a slight upgrade compared to the realme 8i from last year with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680, a faster 33W Fast Charging, and dual speakers.

realme 9i Specifications

realme 9i

Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 680
Screen 6.6-inch IPS, 2412 x 1080, 90Hz
RAM 6GB LPDDR4x, 5GB Virtual RAM
OS Android 11, realme UI 2.0
Rear Camera 50MP f/1.8 Main, 2MP f/2.44 Macro, 2MP f/2.4 Mono
Front Camera 16MP f/2.1
Storage 128GB UFS 2.2, expandabla via MicroSD
Network Dual-SIM, 4G LTE
Connectivity WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, 3.5mm Audio Jack
Battery 5,000mAh, 33W Fast Charging
Others Dual Stereo Speakers, Side-Mounted Fingerprint Scanner
Dimensions 164.4 x 75.7 x 8.4mm
Weight 190g
Colors Prism Black, Prism Blue

A Shiny Exterior

realme 9i

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The 8i already had a reflective exterior but the realme 9i ups this by having a more fanciful design. The unit we have here is the Prism Blue variant and it reflects quite a lot of light when exposed. It does turn some of it into rainbow balls, which can be impressive when observed up close. Those who want a muted design can also choose its Prism Black variant.

Though the rear has a new look, everything still feels familiar. The chassis is made out of plastic but is solid nonetheless. The buttons all feel tactile and the power button has an integrated fingerprint scanner.

Upgraded Internals

realme 9i

The realme 9i now comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 instead of a MediaTek chipset. The variants that will arrive in the Philippines will come with 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM with 5GB virtual RAM, and 128GB of UFS 2.2 storage. Overall performance of the device feels smooth and we did not experience any major lag while playing games though we haven’t had the time to test framerates yet.

A 5,000mAh battery powers the whole device which is standard for smartphones in this class. realme is upping the charging speed to 33W compared to last year’s 18W to deliver faster charging speeds.

What Else is There?

realme 9i

The device has a 6.6-inch 2412 x 1080 IPS display running at 90Hz. Again, it is fairly average for a smartphone in its price point but we would have liked a 120Hz instead or an AMOLED panel with at 90Hz. realme does upgrade its speakers to dual stereo speakers to have a better listening experience especially while watching media.

For its imaging, a 50MP f/1.8 main lens rests at the back accompanied by a 2MP f/2.4 macro and a 2MP f/2.4 mono lens. Selfies are taken with a 16MP f/2.1 front-facing camera. It still runs on Android 11 with realme UI 2.0 on top but given its release date, it’s safe to assume that it will be upgraded to Android 12 soon.

realme 9i First Impressions

realme 9i

The realme 9i seems like an incremental upgrade to its predecessor though it does have a new design, dual stereo speakers and an upgraded Snapdragon 680 chipset and 33W fast charging. Most of its features feel familiar like its triple cameras.

We’re still a few days away from its May 4, 2022 launch in the Philippines. Our full review and benchmarks will be available once its embargo lifts at the launch. Until then, we will continue testing the device.