Two new realme devices have hit the Kenyan market. These include the midrange realme 9 4G and the entry-level realme C35.

The realme 9 4G joins the realme 9i which is the entry-level smartphone in the 9 series.

It shares some features but takes it further with various tweaks and improvements which makes for one of the best options if you don’t want to spend a lot on a phone.


Before we begin, here’s what you get in the box.

The realme 9 ships in this colourful yellow-orange box that contains the phone, the Type-C charging cable and the 33W power brick. A case comes included plus a sim ejector tool and user guide.

DESIGN

Picking up this phone, you’ll feel how light and compact it is. It comes weighing 178g and features a 6.4” display which means it’ll fit real nice in your hand and make for easy one-handed operations.

The phone’s design feels premium too, rocking Gorilla Glass 5 for the front. The back is plastic but that doesn’t diminish much of the overall feel.

It can get slippery which makes it hard to hold in some scenarios but the included case gives you a good grip.

It comes in three colours including Stargaze White, Sunburst Gold and Meteor Black for our unit.

The sunburst gold is the prettier one but if you don’t like attention, the Black one is the perfect pick.

Other design features are similar to what you’d expect with the power button on the right-hand edge of the phone and the volume rocker and the SIM tray on the left. The bottom edge is home to the speaker and the USB-C slot. We have an optical under-display fingerprint sensor, which I found to work quickly and seemed accurate.

Coming to the star of the show is the 6.43” AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 which is suitable for watching most videos, playing games, or anything else you want your phone screen to show.

Realme 9 4G 6.4″ AMOLED screen featuring 90Hz refresh rate
Realme 9 4G 6.4″ AMOLED screen featuring 90Hz refresh rate

With 1000 nits peak brightness, you’ll have no issues using the phone outdoor when you’re out and about. The screen also sports a smooth 90Hz refresh rate, which may be a bit jarring coming from a handset with a 120Hz display but it’s good enough if you’re upgrading from a phone with a 60Hz refresh rate.

At this point, all midrange smartphones should have 120Hz or more when it comes to refresh rates.

All in all, you’ll be served well with the design and display of the Realme 9.

PERFORMANCE

Under the hood, we get Snapdragon 680 processor which has become common on phones in the mid-range tier. Realme 9 was capable of running every game and app we threw at it thanks to the ample horsepower. From heavy multitasking to switching between light games and graphic intense games such as Ninja Arashi, Asphalt 9, and Shadow Fight 3 among others.

Realme 9 is a plenty powerful phone if you’re in the market for one.

Our unit ships with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.2 storage. You also get virtual RAM expansion up to 5GB.

Android 12 software is on the Realme 9 as Realme UI 3 which looks o familiar to ColorOS 12. You are getting delightful icons, a more spatial and fluid interface, smart theming engine that customizes your phone by picking colours from your wallpaper and applying those colors across system elements, and sketchpad AOD that converts your portrait wallpaper into artistic AOD aesthetics that are indeed yours, floating window 2.0 for multitasking,

In my opinion, the realme UI 3 feels more cohesive when compared to realme UI 2.

The realme 9 is also in the lineup to receive the Android 13 update when it officially launches later this month.

The whole interface added by the reliable performance of the phone makes it hard to not recommend this phone.

BATTERY LIFE

Keeping the light on the realme 9 is a 5000mAh battery and supports 33W fast charging.

The gigantic battery will last you a full day from a single charge with some left in the tank for late-night browsing if you’re a heavy user.

Moderate and light users can make it last a day and a half or more.

And if you drain the battery out – the realme 9 fast charging will juice up your phone from 4% to 99% in 77 minutes. If you need a quick boost, you can get to 67% in 40 minutes.

CAMERAS

Coming to the optics, the realme 9 sports a 108MP triple camera setup that features an 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro lens.

Realme 9 4G 108MP Camera
Realme 9 4G 108MP Camera

The primary camera and the ultra-wide are suitable for most scenarios.

On the front, inside a punch-hole, is a 16MP selfie camera that gives some fantastic results for video calling, taking selfies, and everything else you’ll want from the front-facing shooter.

The selfies turned out really well especially the portraits with the background blur.

The food shots coming straight from the cameras were worth sharing on social media. If you like posting a lot of food shots, then this is the camera to go for.

I was blown away by the quality of the shots whether taken during the day or at night. And this includes selfies too.

With the Realme 9, there isn’t much you need to tweak or work around when shooting photos, which is the ideal experience on a smartphone.

Video is capped at 1080p 30fps for the main camera and front-facing lens and the realme 9 took some really decent videos both during the day and at night worth sharing on Instagram stories or WhatsApp status.

VERDICT


The midrange smartphone market in the country has become so crowded and competitive and the realme 9 fights its way to stand out – it remains a top mid-range pick with great performance, fantastic and reliable cameras, gorgeous display,  fast charging and more.

PRICING AND AVAILABALITY

realme 9 is going for Ksh 30,999 at realme’s retail stores countrywide and at e-commerce sites like Jumia.


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