The ongoing pandemic has increased our dependence on electronic devices so much that it is now safe to say that our smartphones are the gateway to the outside world. The most important thing is the battery life. A dead smartphone is as useless as a mask on your chin. Now Xiaomi has introduced the Redmi 9 Power. This new smartphone comes with a 6,000 mAh battery, one of the largest in a Redmi smartphone. How well does the Redmi 9 Power perform? Here is my review.
Redmi 9 Power Design
Smartphones with large batteries are usually heavy and bulky. So this is a compromise that you should be ready for. Xiaomi has tried to make this less of a compromise than an adjustment by keeping the Redmi 9 Power’s weight in check. The phone weighs 198 g; Lighter than the Redmi 9 Pro (review), which weighs 209 g despite the smaller battery.
The Redmi 9 Power has a slightly new design and the back is very different from the other smartphones in the Redmi 9 series. They have a large Redmi logo on one side and the entire back has a textured surface that makes it resistant to fingerprints. Xiaomi used some eye-catching colors on the Redmi 9 Power: you get Blazing Blue, Electric Green and Fiery Red. If you don’t like these, you can go for the more subtle Mighty Black color option. I had an Electric Green unit that didn’t go unnoticed by the people around me.
Redmi is sticking to the current trend and offers a quad camera setup in a rectangular module that protrudes only slightly from the rear. The plastic body of the Redmi 9 Power is curved to the side and flat at the top and bottom.
Interestingly, the Redmi 9 Power has a top-notch speaker that gives you stereo sound. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack and an IR transmitter at the top of the Redmi 9 Power. At the bottom is a USB Type-C port, the primary speaker and microphone, while the SIM tray is on the left. The power button and volume down button are on the right, and the power button has a built-in fingerprint scanner. I found these buttons well positioned and didn’t have to stretch too much to hit them. The display has a dewdrop notch for the selfie camera.
Xiaomi bundles a suitcase in the box and you get a 22.5W charger. Interestingly, the phone is limited to 18W for charging and the charger that comes with it actually exceeds its requirements.
Redmi 9 performance specifications and software
The Redmi 9 Power has a 6.53-inch display with Full HD + resolution and there is Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. The Redmi 9 Power is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC, which I use in the Moto G9 (Test) used. You get 4 GB LPDDR4X-RAM on the Redmi 9 Power and you can choose between 64 GB and 128 GB UFS 2.2 storage. The basic variant costs Rs. 10,999 while the higher variant is priced at Rs. 11,999. This means that it is positioned very close to the Redmi 9 (Review) and the Moto G9. I had the 64 GB version with me for this test.
In terms of software, the Redmi 9 Power MIUI 12 runs on Android 10. It had the acceptable November Android security patch. I noticed that the phone recommends installing lots of apps during setup. Even after skipping the suggestions, I found a fair amount of bloatware pre-installed on the Redmi 9 Power, including Osom Rummy, Moj, Dream 11, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, WPS Office, Linkedin, and a few more games. GetApps, an alternative to the Play Store, shows even more app suggestions on the start screen. It also sends push notifications every now and then, which can be a bit annoying, and I’ve seen some notifications from the Themes app as well.
All new changes in MIUI 12 are available on the Redmi 9 Power. You can swipe down from the right side of the screen for quick access to quick switches and from the left to see notifications. This is not enabled by default. Other functions such as Game Turbo and Ultra Battery Saver are also available on the Redmi 9 Power.
Redmi 9 performance
The Redmi 9 Power ran quite well and gave me no reason to complain about the performance. It was able to load apps pretty quickly and multitasking wasn’t an issue with the 4GB of RAM it has on board. I found the fingerprint scanner to unlock the device quickly and never take more than one try. You also get facial recognition that is easy to set up and quick.
I enjoyed watching videos on the Redmi 9 Power as the stereo speakers enhanced the experience. Widevine L1 is supported so you can easily stream HD content on the Redmi 9 Power. While viewing content indoors was pleasing, I found that the display brightness was on the lower side outdoors.
I ran power benchmarks on the Redmi 9 to see how it fares. 180,054 points were managed in AnTuTu and 5,768 points in PCMark Work 2.0. Geekbench 5’s single-core and multi-core tests scored 317 and 1323 points, respectively. In GFXBench’s T-Rex test, it could be an average of 32 fps. These values are very similar to the Moto G9, with the Moto having an advantage in graphics benchmarks due to its HD + display with lower resolution. However, the Redmi 9 Power lags behind the Redmi 9 Prime (review) in terms of CPU performance.
Call of Duty Mobile ran fine on the Redmi 9 Power, but it takes some time to load. This phone can run the game with medium graphics quality and medium frame rate. It was playable at these settings, but the phone warmed up after just five minutes of playback. After playing Call of Duty Mobile for about 20 minutes, I noticed a 5 percent drop in battery life.
A larger battery allows you to stay away from the charger for longer. You should be able to get a battery life of just over a day and a half. You can expand this in Ultra Battery Saver mode. In our HD video loop test, the Redmi 9 Power ran for 17 hours and 39 minutes, which is a pretty good score. Charge time is acceptable given the large battery capacity and support for 18W fast charge. The Redmi 9 Power achieved 28 percent in 30 minutes and 44 percent in one hour. It takes more than two hours to fully charge the smartphone.
Redmi 9 power cameras
Xiaomi has built in a quad camera setup for the Redmi 9 Power. You get a 48-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Xiaomi’s camera app is still the same and the settings are easy to find. Among other things, there are quick switchings for HDR and AI. Xiaomi still saved the macro camera button in a different submenu which is not very easy to notice instead of letting it be selected as the shooting mode.
Daylight photos taken with the Redmi 9 Power were decent and the subjects nearby had good detail. The dynamic range was acceptable for a smartphone at this price point. The wide-angle camera captured a much wider field of view, but didn’t reproduce as many details as the main camera. There was also some distortion at the edges.
Close-ups were average, and the main camera can occasionally have trouble locking the focus. However, once it does, you get a nice depth effect in the background. You can use the macro camera to get closer to a subject. It does manage to take sharp shots up close, but like most other smartphones at this price point, the output is limited to 2 megapixels. Portrait shots had good edge detection, and the Redmi 9 Power allows you to simulate the aperture before taking the shot.
Recordings in poor lighting conditions were below average and the Redmi 9 Power could not capture any details in the shade. You get a special night mode that takes around 4-5 seconds to take a picture. The output had better details and also looked brighter when compared to shooting in standard photo mode.