When the Redmi Note 8 Pro came to our hands, we said that it is one of the best mid-range phones we’ve tried at that time – especially for its main 64MP camera. Fast-forward to today, we have the new Redmi Note 9S. Xiaomi fulfilled its promise of bringing the latest and greatest device to Malaysia as soon as possible – and this is the second time they’ve done so.
There is a lot of hype and anticipation for the Redmi Note 9S – and it’s safe to say that Xiaomi did not disappoint. For the price of RM799 – here’s all you need to know about the Redmi Note 9S.
The whole box design is rather simple. Nothing spectacular here but it does show how the phone looks like – and that’s all that matters.
Digging out everything, we have:
- The Redmi Note 9S itself
- A TPU case
- USB-A to USB-C cable
- 22.5W charger (more on this later)
One thing I find funny is the colors available for the Redmi Note 9S. Officially, there are three colors to choose from – Aurora Blue, Glacier White, and Interstellar Grey – which we have here.
When I unboxed this phone, the first thing that came into my mind is a question – you sure this is grey? In the official renders provided by Xiaomi, it’s grey for sure. But looking at it in person, it’s pretty much bluish. My family members looked at it and said it’s blue too.
But I’m not complaining. I like this subtle hint of blue on the phone. It’s unique, though I think it shouldn’t be called grey. The included TPU case does make it black, though.
The new Redmi Note 9S is also sandwiched with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 – which means it is covered from the front and the back. Moreover, Xiaomi also included a film screen protector right out of the box!
Like some of the newer mid-range smartphones we’ve seen, Xiaomi integrated the power button with the fingerprint scanner and moved it to the side. Nice.
Connectivity & Ports
The Redmi Note 9S is pretty much top-notch in terms of connectivity here. We have 5GHz WiFi support, triple card slots, and an IR blaster at the top.
The IR blaster is something that I’ve been accustomed to since using the Mi 9 as a part of my daily driver for a year. I control virtually control air conditioners, fans, TVs, and even my Nikon D7000 camera using the Mi 9. It’s something convenient to have.
Also, the Redmi Note 9S has an audio jack and a USB-C port for charging. Pretty much the norm for all the modern mid-range smartphones nowadays.
The Redmi Note 9S comes with a rather large 6.67-inch IPS LCD screen with 2400×1080 pixels in resolution – and it has a circular cutout at the center top of the display. It’s a nice display and I love it.
Oh – here’s the interesting part. Firstly, a lot of people were saying that the camera bump is huge. But honestly, it’s not. And here’s the camera spec that the Redmi Note 9S has:
- Quadruple rear-facing cameras
- Main: 48MP f/1.8 with PDAF
- Ultra-wide angle: 8MP f/2.2 with autofocus
- Macro: 5MP f/2.4 with autofocus
- Depth sensor
- 16MP f/2.5 selfie camera
Xiaomi made a lot of big claims about the cameras on the Redmi Note 9S. Since we’re stuck in this restricted movement order, we can’t go out and take beautiful pictures. We’ll make do with what we have.
For all the picture samples, please watch the video at the top of this review.
Software – Android 10 with MIUI 184.108.40.206
We’ve been accustomed to MIUI over the year. There’s nothing particularly different from the previous versions of MIUI, and it works overall. At least the Redmi Note 9S is using the latest version of Android and MIUI.
I have to say, the Redmi Note 9S that we have on our hands for review only has 4GB RAM. While 4GB RAM might sound like it’s sufficient, the way MIUI handles it is quite aggressive. We constantly have the launcher killed, too.
The screen randomly lights up as well. A small matter, but just something to point out.
Performance & gaming
I think this is the part where many of us are interested in. Here is the hardware that comes with the Redmi Note 9S:
- 6.67-inch IPS LCD screen
- 2400×1080 pixels in resolution
- Punch hole notch at the center top
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD)
- 5,020mAh battery
- Supports 18W fast charging
In terms of performance, take a look at these benchmarks here. It’s pretty much the best in the market right now. We can’t exactly trust the MediaTek Helio G90T chipset benchmarks as MediaTek as a chipset vendor has been cheating in benchmarks.
As for gaming, it’s going to be sufficient for many of the games that we’ve tested. Most notably, PUBG Mobile can run at ultra frame rate with the lowest graphical settings.
Battery & charger
With a massive 5,020mAh battery, the Redmi Note 9S manages to last for a supremely long time in our battery life test. A little too scary, to be honest. Combined with the supremely power-efficient Snapdragon 720G chipset, the Redmi Note 9S manages to last more than 20 hours in our battery life test.
For whatever reason, Xiaomi included a 22.5W charger in the box – because why not? However, the Redmi Note 9S itself can only charge at 18W maximum. Don’t worry, nothing will happen to your phone.
The charging time is pretty good for a 5,020mAh battery as it takes about 130-ish minutes to charge from 15% to 100%. Remember – a single charge means we can use it for 2 days.
Wrapping up the Redmi Note 9S review
The new Redmi Note 9S is a beautiful mid-range smartphone. It’s classy and does not have any tacky lightning bolt design on it. It’s a sleek device with a unique color – remember, our Interstellar Grey looked bluish – and it felt great on my hands.
We’ve used lots of Xiaomi phones in the past and we’ve also been accustomed to MIUI. It does work well despite having room for further improvement.
The Redmi Note 9S is available in two different configurations. The one we have here is the base model and is available at RM799.
- 4GB RAM + 64GB storage @ RM799
- 6GB RAM + 128GB storage @ RM899
With all things considered, the Redmi Note 9S is an easy recommendation. But we will suggest splurging a little and get the higher-specced version with 6GB RAM. That’ll offer an even better user experience.