This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
We bring you a review of the Redmi Note 9S, the first Redmi series phone launched by Xiaomi in Japan. The best feature is the value for money... it's a bit of a stretch to say that, but it's more than capable for a phone that you can get for less than 30,000 yen including tax even in the higher configurations.
The 4GB RAM and 64GB storage model is priced at 24,800 yen including tax, while the higher-end 6GB RAM and 128GB storage model is priced at 29,800 yen including tax. The former model is only available on Amazon.co.jp and Hikari TV Shopping. The latter model is sold exclusively at electronics mass merchandisers such as Yodobashi Camera, Bic Camera, and Yamada Denki.
In this review, we borrowed a 6GB memory + 128GB storage version from the manufacturer to test it.
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A clean, organized design
It doesn't look cheap, even though it's truly in the middle of the budget smartphone price range. The overall design is lean and neat, including the camera unit at the top center and the only printed "Redmi" logo.
The display is large at 6.67 inches and is vertical with a 20:9 aspect ratio. When juxtaposed with the higher-end Mi Note 10 Lite, there's a difference in the brightness of the screen and the thickness of the frame. Compared to the Mi Note 10 Lite's OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display, the Redmi Note 9S uses the LCD. The ability to display the clock and other information when the screen is off is not supported by the Redmi Note 9S.
The back curves gently towards the rim, and the center is a bit thicker, but not unacceptably so. We'll get into the specs later, but as Xiaomi said, "If you compare it on features, it's the cheapest in its price range," and in the 30,000-yen range, we'd say it's overpriced.
However, the balance in the hand is a bit of a concern. In the case of this phone, the back of the phone is made of a relatively slippery material, the camera and chipset are grouped together at the top, so the center of gravity is probably a bit higher up.
It weighs 209 grams, which is a heavy weight, but it's within the range of what a large screen phone could be. Instead, there's a big battery in there, 5040 mAh, which looks like it could last a few days of use. So it's a meaningful trade-off.
What is the power of the 48-megapixel 4-lens camera
Now, the most eye-catching element of this phone is the quadruple lens camera on the back. The main sensor is large at 48 megapixels and 1/2 inch. It's not as high as the 100-megapixel sensor of the Mi Note 10 or Galaxy S20 Ultra or the 64-megapixel sensor of the Mi Note 10 Lite in terms of resolution, but it's a gorgeous camera for a mid-range phone. Other components include a 119-degree ultra-wide angle lens (8 megapixels), a macro lens (5 megapixels) and a depth sensor (2 megapixels).
When shooting, the camera supports ultra wide angle 0.6x, equal magnification (wide angle) and 2x optical zoom. With digital zoom, you can shoot up to 10x. The image quality has few little anomalies, allowing you to capture even the smallest of subjects clearly. The blur processing is a bit too harsh compared to other flagships. It is more than adequate for the price range.
Gallery: Redmi Note 9S 作例 | of 10 Photos
No shortage of basic performance, even in games
The chipset is the Snapdragon 720G, a mid-high chip made by Qualcomm, and the GPU Increased performance and support for gaming. However, as of early 2020, it's not the latest design, it's a generation old chip. RAM (memory) is 6GB, which is on par with high-end smartphones.
I have no complaints when operating it, including playing major 3D games. I played PUBG for a while, and it was comfortable to use without any processing drops. It runs Android 10 and the home UI is covered with MIUI 11. Of course, it is GMS compatible and Google Play is available.
However, when I kept crunching away with the camera, the unit became slightly hot and I could hear the fan spinning as fast as it could. The process of taking full advantage of the 4-lens camera seems to take some strain. Still, it didn't interfere with the actual shooting.
Mobile communications are not compatible with 5G, but 4G LTE supports four carriers, including Rakuten Mobile . It's dual-SIM and can be used with two SIMs and a microSD. According to Xiaomi, there are some cases where they are cooperating with mobile carriers to verify the operation, and others where Xiaomi is only verifying the operation by itself.
Other clever features include an 18-watt charge via USB PD (AC adapter included), fingerprint recognition with side buttons, and an infrared remote control function for operating appliances and other devices.
The downside is that besides the weight, it lacks a whole bunch of features for the Japanese market. It doesn't have a mobile wallet, and its water resistance is equivalent to IPX2, which is enough to prevent water drops. It's not the level of waterproofing that one would normally expect.
This phone is not an option for those who want water resistance, mobile wallet, 5G, etc., but if you are looking for a phone with a large screen and camera performance, this is one that you will be happy to buy. If possible, I recommend checking on the size and weight of the product before you buy it.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.