The Realme 9i is an Android smartphone that aims to deliver a high-end experience for a low-end price – just under £200. There’s plenty of competition at this price point, with the Redmi Note 11 offering a similar performance-per-pound promise and the Poco M4 Pro 5G boasting many of the same features, but with added 5G support, for a bit more at £239. While there’s a lot to weigh up, on its own merits, the Realme 9i already offers a lot – a 6.6in 90Hz display, all-day fast-charging battery, a triple-lens camera – and all for just two tons. Can the Realme 9i challenge for the best budget phone.

What’s in the Box

The Realme 9i comes with a colorful, all-day fast-charging battery, a triple-lens camera, and built-in speakers that can be turned off for a more private experience, or on for extra impact. The box features a removable SD card, and two micro-USB charging cables, one for the host device and one for the guest. It also comes with a full set of user manuals and instruction manuals, as well as a user guide with all the ins and outs of using the device.

Design & Build

The design and build of the Realme 9i are nothing short of amazing. The phone is built using a highly advanced Metalilboard technology, which ensures a strong and durable phone. The frame is made of magnesium alloy with dimensions of 18.2 x 6.6 x 0.8mm. It includes a non-removable sand-cast glass back, and a unique dual-lens design. A front camera is a 5MP unit, and the rear camera has a 16MP lens, shooting 4K video and 3D images. The device comes with a single-sided silicone case, which softshells well over time and provides some protection from drops. It also comes with a built-in stand for viewing and charging, and a micro-USB charging port that doubles as a data port.

Display and resolution

The Realme 9i sports a 6.6in 90Hz+FHD+LCD display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. It also comes with support for 3D video, as well as VR and AR features. The display is brightness and color matching, with few issues such as bright white and dark colors. It doesn’t have the blazing lights of other high-res models, but it does a good job of featuring most colors. The display’s color Gamut is a bit off-center, but this doesn’t affect its image quality or performance.


The Realme 9i has a 5MP front-facing camera, as well as a 2.1MP back-facing camera, which means there’s plenty of room for friends and family to add input, including voice communications. The phone comes with Bluetooth v 5.0, along with two further Bluetooth support models: BT v 5.0 + A2, which helps with voice and data communication, and BT v 5.0 + F, which provides video and photo support. The Authentication and Security feature helps to keep data and sensitive information secure, while the passcode and passphrases are easy to set and forget.

Built-in speakers

The built-in speaker on the Realme 9i is a single-year-old Bluetooth speaker, which comes with a few extra features, including an automatic pairing when a device is connected to the house. There are six different settings to choose from: low, medium, high, strong, and weak. The sound quality isn’t great, but it does the job and is a good addition for an occasional speaker on a trip. The speaker can be removed and replaced with a separate speaker, or wirelessly connected to a sound system.


The Realme 9i comes with a 3,000mAh battery, which is charged using the included fast-charging cable. Unfortunately, it’s a rather slow charger, which takes around 30 minutes to charge the battery to 50% charge it. To get the fastest charging rate, you’ll need a faster charger, such as the Oneplus One fast-charge cable.


The storage on the Realme 9i is a jack of all trades. It comes with a 32GB micro-SD card, which is expandable up to 128GB, and a micro-USB port for data charges. There’s no micro-SD card slot, so you’ll need to store larger files on an external hard drive, or use an internal memory card. For easy access, the phone comes with a slots-free cover, so you can store all your frequently-used files and apps.


The New Samsung Galaxy Note 10a and Motorola Moto Z Style both feature a 12MP camera, while the Google Pixel 2 has a 20MP camera. The Realme 9i features an 8MP camera, which is decent for a camera that’s targeted at first-time smartphone buyers. The camera on the phone doesn’t have a wide-angle lens, so it’s limited in the field of view, but it does a good job of showcasing most indoor plants and animals.

Specs and Performance

The Realme 9i comes with a 6.6in 90Hz+FHD+LCD display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. It also comes with support for 3D video, as well as VR and AR features. You can select between a white or black phone, complete with a blue light sensor, and a speaker that doubles as an optical zoom lens. The camera on the Realme 9i is an 8MP unit, which helps with low light photography and video coverage, while the Zoom lens helps to increase the field of view.

Final Words

The Realme 9i is a high-end mid-ranger with plenty to offer, and it comes with some nice features that will appeal to budget-conscious users. With a slightly larger display and less-than-stellar camera, this phone is probably not the best budget option for everyone.

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