realme recently unveiled the latest addition to its popular 9 series in the realme 9 4G. The smartphone makes good its claim as a powerful camera phone with a 108MP ProLight camera. It also boasts a 90Hz AMOLED display with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor.
The realme 9 4G is priced at P14,999, available in stores starting June 15, 2022. Let’s see if it can live up to the hype.
Inside the Box
- realme 9 4G
- Pre-installed screen protector
- Silicon case
- USB-C cable
- SIM eject tool
Design and Display
The design of the realme 9 4G is just like most of the new realme smartphones, such as the realme 9 Pro+. In fact, from the front, you can barely tell the two apart.
But once you turn it over, you’ll be greeted by a bold style with realme’s ripple holographic design. The back panel is made of plastic, but the effect resembles that shine you see on gold or other similar colored metal.
The design is most evident with the Sunburst Gold, which is our review unit’s colorway. It’s also seen on the Stargaze White colorway. If you want a more subtle look, you can opt for the Meteor Black unit.
The rear cameras sit on a transparent rectangular island with a huge bump. It will cause the phone to wobble when placed on its back, but it does accentuate the gold color and the lenses, though, which adds style points.
The realme 9 is ergonomic with curved sides of the back panel. It has a solid build and feels good in the hand. The volume rocker is on the left, together with the SIM tray. While the power button is on the right. There’s a secondary mic at the top, and at the bottom, you have the headphone jack, the main mic, a USB-C port, and the mono speaker.
The mono speaker is loud. The sound quality is okay, despite the lack of bass. I think it’s good for the occasional TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix video.
On the front, the smartphone has a spacious 90Hz 6.43-inch AMOLED display with a 2400 x 1080 resolution. It has a small punch hole camera in the upper left corner. It also has an in-display fingerprint scanner, which I found good most of the time. And if you want faster access, you can use face unlock.
The display is surrounded by thin bezels, save for the bottom one which has double the thickness. There’s nothing to gripe about here, though, as thick chins are common in mid-range phones.
As for the AMOLED panel, it’s plenty bright with deep blacks. Colors are punchy and very saturated, which lends itself well to watching videos and viewing images. The refresh rate, which I set to High so it stays on 90Hz, adds smoothness to the animations, while at the same time, giving a perception of snappiness.
Like most modern handsets, it also has a dark mode, which works well with the AMOLED panel, and allows you to save a bit of battery. Paired with the eye comfort feature, it’s easier on the eyes as well.
The realme 9 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor, clocked at 2.4GHz. Our review unit has 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. It only has 4G connectivity, which is fine if you don’t need 5G.
The smartphone runs on realme UI 3.0 on top of Android 12. It comes with its fair share of apps that many would consider bloat. Thankfully, you can just delete the ones you don’t want to use.
The phone features realme’s RAM expansion, which converts storage space to virtual RAM. With it, you can add 2GB, 3GB, or 5GB RAM, which boosts total RAM to up to 13GB. You can change it by going to Settings> About Device> RAM> RAM Expansion.
Performance-wise, it’s all good as a daily driver. It’s not as quick as higher-end mid-range phones, but it’s fine for most things. Basic navigation is responsive with little issue, maybe a small stutter from time to time, but it’s not a big deal.
You can play casual games as well, but don’t expect too much when it comes to graphics-intensive titles like Call of Duty Mobile or Genshin Impact. You can get away with low settings, but you might experience some dropped frames.
If you’re into benchmark scores, here’s how the realme 9 4G fared.
- AnTuTu – 285,195
CPU – 83,733
GPU – 50,690
MEM – 71,122
UX – 79,650
- Geekbench – 381 (Single-core); 1555 (Multi-core)
- 3D Mark – 447 (Wild Life)
The 108MP ProLight camera is one of the highlights of the realme 9 4G. It’s paired with 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP depth cameras. Meanwhile, the 16MP camera in front handles selfies.
The main camera is backed by a Samsung HM2 image sensor with what they call Nonapixel Plus technology. It uses a 9-sum pixel binning technique that combines nine pixels into one giant pixel, allowing it to absorb more light.
It doesn’t have optical zoom, but rather digital or in-sensor zoom. This means it relies on cropping and some AI enhancements to simulate zoomed-in pictures.
Photos from the main camera are impressive. It has good colors and a dynamic range with good detail.
The 8MP ultra-wide camera, on the other hand, produces photos with less quality. The colors look dull with subpar details. Sharpness looked lacking as well.
The 16MP selfie camera, on the other hand, is actually good. The colors look pleasant, especially the skin tones. It has good exposure with adequate details as well.
Here are some camera samples you can check out.
The realme 9 4G has a 5000mAh battery with 33W fast charging. It can comfortably get you through a day with moderate usage. If you’re a particularly light user, you can stretch that up to two days.
The included charger can top up the phone to almost 50 percent with a 30-minute charge. Meanwhile, a full charge can take up to an hour and 15 minutes to complete.
The realme 9 4G is a good mid-range phone with a 108MP camera that can elevate the quality of your photos and videos for TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Outside of the camera, it has an eye-catching design, a bright AMOLED display, and decent battery life with fast charging.
Do consider that this phone only has 4G connectivity. Not everyone needs 5G, though, and the phone has other things to offer.
So if you’re on a fixed budget and value camera quality over 5G connectivity, then you should consider the realme 9 4G.
realme 9 4G specs
- 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display, 90hz refresh rate, 360hz touch response rate
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 680
- 6GB/8GB RAM
- 128GB storage
- 108MP main camera, f/1.8 ISOCELL HM6
8MP ultra-wide camera
2MP depth camera
- 16MP selfie camera
- 4G LTE
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS
- In-display fingerprint scanner, USB-C, 3.5 mm headphone jack
- realme UI 3, Android 12
- 5000mAh battery, 33W Dart Charge