Review

Redmi Note 9 Pro Global Version for $269.99

The probably most popular smartphone series from Xiaomi is getting a new generation. After the Redmi Note 8 and Note 8 Pro, the new Redmi Note 9 Pro and Redmi Note 9 Pro Max has also been officially introduced. The Redmi Note 9 is the cheapest model, while the Redmi Note 9S and the Redmi Note 9 Pro are almost identical in construction. Are the differences worth the surcharge of the Redmi Note 9 Pro or will you be happy with the Redmi Note 9S?

Technical data

Redmi Note 9 Pro Redmi Note 9S
Display 6,67″ IPS LC display with 2400 x 1080p, Gorilla glass 5 6,67″ IPS LC display with 2400 x 1080p, Gorilla glass 5
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G Octa-Core @2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G Octa-Core @2.3 GHz
Graphics chip Qualcomm Adreno 618 Qualcomm Adreno 618
Working memory 6 GB LPDDR4X 4/6 GB
Internal memory 64/128 GB, expandable by microSD by 512 GB 64/128 GB, expandable by microSD by 512 GB
Main camera 64 MP Samsung GW-1 sensor with ƒ/1.89 aperture + 8 MP wide angle + 2 MP depth sensor + 5 MP macro camera 48 MP Samsung GM-2 with ƒ/1.79 aperture + 8 MP wide angle + 2 MP depth sensor + 5 MP macro camera
Front camera 16 MP 16 MP
Battery 5,020 mAh with Quick Charge 30W, 33W charger included 5,020 mAh with Quick Charge 3.0 18W, 22.5W charger included
Connectivity LTE Band 1,3,5,7,8,20,WLAN AC, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Bluetooth 5, Dual SIM, NFC LTE Band 1,3,5,7,8,20,WLAN AC, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Bluetooth 5, Dual SIM
Features Fingerprint Sensor | USB Type-C | Face Unlock | Headphone Jack | IR-Blaster Fingerprint Sensor | USB Type-C | Face Unlock | Headphone Jack | IR-Blaster
Operating system MIUI 11, Android 10 MIUI 11, Android 10
Dimensions / Weight 165.75 x 76.68 x 8.8 mm/ 209g 165.75 x 76.68 x 8.8 mm / 209 g

We could already test the Redmi Note 9S in detail. As it is actually identical in construction to the Redmi Note 9 Pro except for 3 or 4 differences, we will not repeat our test impressions in this article. You should therefore read our Redmi Note 9S review for our assessment of the display, battery life, performance, software, design and workmanship.

Xiaomi mixes Apple, Samsung & Huawei

Even though Xiaomi claims that the Redmi Note 9 Pro and 9 Pro Max have the largest display in the Redmi range, both models have to share this space with the Redmi K30. A 6.67 inch display is also used in the Note devices, although fortunately the Note 9S and Note 9 Pro are equipped with a Full HD+ resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels. Redmi relies on an LC display, i.e. an IPS panel with a brightness of 450 nit. The panel is protected by Gorilla Glass 5.

The Redmi Note series is not particularly innovative and generally uses the latest mainstream design. Thus, this generation is oriented towards Samsung and relies on the same central hole-punch notch that is also found in the Samsung Galaxy A51, for example. The fingerprint sensor finds its place on the right side and also serves as a power button, similar to the Honor 9X Pro.

Redmi Note 9 Pro Smartphone Punch-Hole

There is a visual difference between Redmi Note 9S and Redmi Note 9 Pro on the back. If one differs for the Tropical Green Colorway of the Redmi Note 9 Pro, one gets a reduced camera module that does without the additional black border. Moreover, the lower half of the backside is diagonally hatched.

Whether this also results in a better grip, we cannot say at the moment, as we have the Interstellar Grey version, which is optically identical to the Redmi Note 9S. Furthermore, the mobile phone is still available in Glacier White, which is also identical on both devices.

Note 9S and Note 9 Pro with same CPU

As in the Redmi Note 9S, the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 720 processor is plugged onto the board. The Octa-Core CPU offers a lot of power and consists of a dual-core cluster with 2.3 GHz clock frequency and a 1.8 GHz Hexa-Core cluster. It sits in the upper midrange, but offers an absolutely comparable performance to the Helio G90T from the Redmi Note 8 Pro.

Redmi Note 9 Pro Processor

Unlike the Redmi Note 9S, the Redmi Note 9 Pro is only available with 6 GB LPDDR4X RAM and either 64 or 128 GB UFS 2.1 mass storage. The internal memory can be extended by microSD card. The Redmi Note 9S is optionally available with 4/64 GB or 6/128 GB.

So two Nano-SIM cards and one microSD card can be used simultaneously. In addition, there are dual-band ac-WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, a 3.5 mm jack and USB-C. Like almost every Xiaomi smartphone, the Redmi Note 9 Pro works with the MIUI 11 operating system. We couldn’t detect the WLAN bug in the Redmi Note 9 Pro. Our impressions of the operating system and the connection options can be found in the Redmi Note 9S review.

64 instead of 48 megapixels – a difference?

Apart from the processor, the camera is probably one of the most prominent features – in the truest sense of the word. The Redmi Note 9 Pro is equipped with a quad camera. In contrast to the Redmi Note 9S, it uses a 64 megapixel main sensor with ƒ/1.7 aperture, the Samsung GW-1 sensor, which is also found in the Redmi Note 8 Pro. The Redmi Note 9S is equipped with a 48 megapixel Samsung GM-2 sensor.

But the rest of the equipment is identical: 8 megapixel ultra wide angle camera with 119° angle of view, 5 MP macro sensor and a 2 MP portrait sensor. A 16 megapixel front camera sensor is used on the front.

We made several test photos with the Redmi Note 9S and the Redmi Note 9 Pro and can only see minimal differences even in comparison on the computer. The Redmi Note 9 Pro shoots slightly sharper photos overall and can partly focus a little better. As both shoot “only” with 16 or 12 megapixels in normal photo mode thanks to pixel binning technology (four pixels to one), the difference in release is already smaller in most situations anyway.

Since Xiaomi does without a zoom camera on both phones, it is an alternative to take photos in 64 MP mode in order to be able to zoom in better afterwards. Only there would be a noticeable difference, in everyday use and with “normal” photos, the larger sensor is in my opinion not worth the extra price. In total, it is a really solid camera in the price range of the Redmi Note 9S and the Redmi Note 9 Pro!

30W fast charging – “luxury” for the middle class

But the most important criterion of the Redmi Note series is probably the battery. With a capacity of 5,020 mAh, it turns out to be bigger than ever before in a Redmi Note device. As in the Redmi Note 9S, the battery life is a great strength of the Redmi Note 9 Pro and lasts for almost 18 hours in the benchmark. This corresponds to almost 2.5 to 3 days of battery life if you are on the go a bit sparingly. But two days are no problem.

In comparison to the Redmi Note 8 Pro, the Qualcomm processor, which is simply more energy-efficient than the predecessor’s MediaTek Helio G90T, is particularly noticeable here. The battery life is also very satisfactory there, but the Redmi Note 9 Pro is clearly better in this respect.

While the Redmi Note 9S charges with 18W, the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max even charges with a proud 30W! There is even a 33W charger included. This gives you a feature that is only possible with Xiaomi’s more expensive models like the Xiaomi Mi 10, Poco F2 Pro or Mi Note 10 Lite. In the practical test, you can go from 20% to 80% within 45 minutes, for which the Redmi Note 9S needs a good 15 minutes more. From 20 to 100% you need a good hour and 10 minutes.

Redmi Note 9 Pro with NFC

In my opinion the most relevant difference between the Redmi Note 9S and the Redmi Note 9 Pro is NFC. Only the Redmi Note 9 Pro is equipped with NFC (Near Field Communication) for contactless payment via Google Pay, for example. This is an important yes/no criterion in the purchase decision, especially during the Corona period, when contactless payment has become even more relevant. Interestingly enough, the cheaper Redmi Note 9 is also equipped with NFC, but Xiaomi did without it in the Redmi Note 9S.

I do think Xiaomi’s release strategy for the Redmi Note 9 series is unfair. If you pre-ordered the Redmi Note 9 series and three weeks later found out that the almost identical phone was now available with NFC, you might have thought twice about buying it. Xiaomi has already done something similar with the Redmi Note 8 and the Redmi Note 8T.

Conclusion: Buy Redmi Note 9 series Pro?

There are few, but partly decisive differences between the Redmi Note 9S and the Redmi Note 9 series. Since the same CPU is used in both devices, the difference is less than in the previous generation. After testing both devices, one can safely say that the decision to buy can only be made dependent on NFC.The faster loading and the minimally sharper camera are quite nice, but not worth the extra price.

Thus, those who need NFC or at least don’t want to miss it, should choose the Redmi Note 9 Pro. For the price one gets a sharp camera, a top battery life, a very solid performance, a standard display, a good operating system and a great workmanship. Thanks to the microSD slot, you don’t even have to resort to the 128 GB variant. Since it implements the basics very well in this price range, you could almost call it a “small Poco F2 Pro”. For owners of the Redmi Note 8 Pro, however, I really don’t see any reason to upgrade, here you should at least wait for the next generation, which will surely be released in autumn.

If you want to spend less and still can’t do without NFC, you should wait for our review of the Redmi Note 9 series. Only those who know 100% that they don’t want to use NFC for the next two years at all can take the Redmi Note 9 series. But since these are probably the fewest, I don’t think we should have published the Redmi Note 9S, even if it is a good smartphone.

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Profile picture from Thorben

Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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Comments (1)

  • Profile picture from Mia
    07.04.20 um 14:49

    Mia

    Wow when I thought I seen everything, this beauty come in to play. Amazing

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