Frantically, the low-end smartphones basically provide very poor performance. So many ignore them. For instance, most of them come with the regular 5W charging head and a small 3000mAh battery. Thus, even the charging of such handsets is a real headache. Plus, their weak hardware does not allow users to play mainstream games or do other operations but the basic tasks. 2GB or 3GB memory options do not allow us to open many apps in the background.
However, as Lu Weibing aid, there are still 60 million users in China who choose entry-level phones each year. This may be the reason why Redmi continues to unswervingly launch ultra-low-priced phones.
In the first quarter of 2020, among the top 10 best-selling models in the world, Redmi has three exclusive models: Note 8, Note 8 Pro and Redmi 8A. The Redmi 9A we are going to review is the successor of the Redmi 8A.
The Redmi 9A uses a 6.53 inch drop full-screen design, and the back cover of the fuselage is made of polycarbonate. In terms of performance, it is equipped with the MTK Helio G25 processor. In AnTuTu, it exceeds 100,000. There is also a 4GB memory, a rear 13MP AI camera, a 5000mAh battery, and a 5V/2A charger.
Just in terms of some key specifications (100,000 score, 5000mAh battery, 4+64GB), Redmi 9A is approaching some high-premium products with a price of 1,000 yuan ($143), which makes people wonder what the actual experience is.
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Redmi 9A Design
Pragmatism is the most typical feature of the Redmi 9A. In recent years, the models with plastic back cover always like to simulate the appearance of metal and glass. And there are even precedents of using the term ‘plexiglass’ to cover up their use of plastic.
This type of plastic machine is often neither resistant to dirt nor anti-slip. It will scratch and become greasy after a long time of use. It has no benefit except for something like glass or metal.
The Redmi 9A is made of polycarbonate without any concealment. The CD pattern is added to increase the friction, improve the anti-skid and anti-fouling properties, and use the bare machine to have the same experience as wearing a frosted protective shell.
The Redmi 9A uses a water drop screen design. It has an HD resolution. When looking closer, the picture is indeed not as fine as 1080P. But under the normal viewing distance use, there is no obvious discomfort.
Also, the Redmi 9A has a single camera on the rear, without adding a make-up lens. We don’t regret the lack of the secondary sensor. But the company should add a fingerprint scanner.
The Redmi 9A does not support infrared remote control function, but it leaves a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The charging interface is not a Type-C port, but a more traditional micro USB port.
Redmi 9A Battery Life
Under the hood, this handset sports a 5000mAh battery. According to the official statement, the capacity retention rate of the battery is still above 80% after 1000 cycles, which is more durable than the conventional 800-cycle battery. Among the ultra-low-priced models, battery and battery life are the main areas that can be improved.
We played a 720P video online. The brightness is 70%, and the volume is kept at 30%. After playing for a period of time, we observed the power failure.
After 1 hour and 40 minutes, we found that the power consumption was only 11%. From this point of view, under such test conditions, more than 10 hours of video playback is no problem.
The Redmi 9A supports 10W charging. When testing, most of the charging process is close to a straight line, and the battery can be charged from 6% to 85% in 2 hours. It may take longer to fully charge.
Redmi 9A Performance
In terms of performance, the Redmi 9A sports a MediaTek Helio G25 processor with a 12nm process technology, which is MediaTek’s latest 4G entry-level platform.
Specifically, the G25’s CPU has an octa-core A53 architecture. The frequency is up to 2GHz. The integrated GPU is the IMG PowerVR GE8320 (650MHz), which supports maximum 21MP single camera or 13+8MP dual camera, the maximum 1600×720 resolution screen, 4/6GB LPDDR3/ LPDDR4X memory, eMMC 5.1 flash memory, Wi-Fi 5/Bluetooth 5.0, etc.
The MTK Helio G25 is somewhat similar to the Snapdragon 625. It adopts an energy-saving and low-power strategy. The CPU part has eight A53s cores and lacks a large core. So it is not suitable for gaming.
If you have to play games, you can run ‘Honor of Kings’ without lag. We used low picture quality, low particle quality, high resolution, multi-threading and high frame rate mode to experience it. The average frame rate is close to 35 frames. In a few cases, it can exceed 50 frames. A team battle scene with a large number of people will make the frame rate drop below 30 frames.
System: MIUI 12
Frankly speaking, a model like the Redmi 9A is more suitable for use as a backup machine. Of course, there are also some users who use it as the main machine, that is, the elderly. So can the Redmi 9A be regarded as a competent old machine?
We were pleasantly surprised to find that the Redmi 9A is also preset with Xiaomi’s latest custom ROM MIUI12, which of course has been specially optimized.
The Redmi 9A supports the display of Big Mac fonts.
In minimalist mode, the desktop adopts a three-column layout and enlarges application icons and names. In addition to system applications, there are two unique high-frequency applications and a flashlight. The remaining application icons are stored in the application folder. The virtual keys are used by default, and the handwriting input method is used by default.
In addition, when making a call, the UI interface is also optimized for details. Users can add contacts to the negative screen, and click on the avatar on the negative screen to call directly. New contact person hides all kinds of unnecessary added information. When receiving a call, it will be displayed in full screen without floating notification. When answering a call, the digital dial is displayed directly, not the answering function page.
When downloading an application through an unofficial app store, a pop-up window will be displayed for confirmation to avoid accidentally downloading unwanted applications. This can be considered as a target for middle-aged and elderly people who are not very “on the Internet”.
Redmi 9A Camera
Thanks to Xiaomi’s high-level input and output in the image part, the Redmi 9A as an entry-level machine has also gained some potential energy influence to a certain extent.
Its rear 13MP single camera supports 27 scene recognition, standard HDR mode, portrait mode, time-lapse photography and short video kaleidoscope. The front has a 5MP beauty camera, which supports front HDR, face recognition, hand photography, portrait mode, short video kaleidoscope and other functions.
Next, let’s take a look at the samples. Although there is still a considerable gap with our own mid-to-high-end models. It is still useful to take pictures of the surrounding scenery under sunny conditions and simply record some of what we have seen and heard.
Almost all manufacturers that still make low-end models try to cut everything possible to make the price controlled under 1000 yuan. But Redmi doesn’t get even a penny from this phone. And in some sense, this is a matter of honor. Undoubtedly, Redmi has become the last goalkeeper among ultra-low-priced models.
As a 599 yuan entry-level machine, the Redmi 9A has better overall performance than the first generation of the Snapdragon 625. Say, even its AnTuTu running score is more than 100,000 points. Coming with a 4+64GB storage, you can even play the Honor of Kings.
The 5000 mAh large battery is paired with the eight A53 power-saving cores of the MTK Helio G25 platform. This is far better than the large number of 3000mAh entry machines at the same price. Say, you can play an HD video for 10 hours. And this is quite attractive.
Not only these, considering that the users of the entry machine is mostly elderly and students, the Redmi 9A has also been adding special features for the user population in MIUI 12: the Big Mac font allows the elderly to find glasses without picking up their phones.
It is true that most of these functions are not innovative. But they can indeed help the elderly and extremely price-sensitive people, and bring real changes to these ‘most difficult to speak’ users. This is why the Redmi 9A exists. The meaning of it, even as a backup machine, is also a good choice.