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realme 9i hands on review: a perfomance centric device

We’ve had a month-long touch and feel of the realme 9i, a successor of the realme 8i and the 8 series, realme’s recent device in the 9 series, part of the company’s pipeline smartphone for the performance-centric millennials. And the company’s first budget smartphone to launch in 2022.

realme has set a cumulative trend in the mid-range smartphone market that has seen the company bag 40 million shipments in only 14 quarters after its launch in 2018. If you have been looking for a budget phone in Kenya, realme should definitely be part of that list because they are offering everything you need.

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As a brand that is set to Better echo the aspirations and unique personality traits of its focused demographic, the younger generation, the 9 series doesn’t disappoint. In this article, we will note down our Dare to Leap experience in detail.

We unboxed the device early this month and today we will outline the deeper contents of the device, features and specifications from our experience. The phone comes out as a good successor for the 8 series with good camera capabilities, a new snapdragon 680 processor a more powerful chipset, a better battery performance of 5000mAh and a dual speaker that gives it better audio performance.

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realme 9i specifications and software

realme 9i specs

DisplaySize: 6.6 inches, Res 1080 x 2412 pixels (~400 ppi density) (~84.2% screen-to-body-ratio)
Dimensions: 164.4×75.7×8.4mm (6.47×2.98×0.33 in)
Weight: 190g
BodyGlass front and plastic back.
Sim: Dual sim (Nano-SIM, dual standby)
ColourPrism Blue and Prism black
PlatformOS: Android 11, realme UI 2.0
Chipset: Snapdragon 680 (6 nm)
CPU: Octa-core
GPU: Adreno 610
MemoryCard slot: MicroSD (Dedicated slot)
Internal memory: 128GB ,6GB RAM
CameraTriple AI camera 50MP, f/1.8,26mm (wide), PDAF
2MP, f/2.4, (Macro)
2MP, f/2.4, (depth)
video 1080p @30fps
Selfie camera
16MP f/2.1, 26mm(wide)
video 720p@30fps
BatteryLi-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable Charging: 33W dart charge
ModelRMX 3491
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot
USB: Micro-USB 2.0
Bluetooth connectivity 5.0
Wireless charging: No
Headphone jack: Yes
FeaturesFingerprint sensor (side-mounted) accelerometer, proximity, compass

What’s in the box

The phone is packaged in a black and yellow themed outer casing. On the inside, it houses a realme 9i prism black phone, a charger, a USB data cable, a copy of a device safety guide and a quick guide. It also comes with a clear protective case and a sim ejector tool.

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realme 9i features

realme 9i hardware


The device comes in two colour variations prism blue and prism black. our unit is black. The realme 9i has a 6.6-inch display with a stereo prism design with very thin bezels on top and sides and a slightly thicker chin. The phone weighs around 190 grams which makes it very lightweight.

The phone has a power button on the right which also acts as a fingerprint scanner for convenience when locking and unlocking the smartphone.

On the left, we have the volume button and sim tray just above the volume buttons. The sim tray houses a dual sim tray and a Micro SD tray as well. On the chin, we have the headphone jack, the phone doesn’t come with earphones for all units. It houses a type-c port and primary microphone speakers.

At the back, we have a triple camera set up island similar to that of the realme GT Neo 2. The back panel from our unit has a catchy effect when exposed to light at certain angles. You get a glass screen and a cutout in the top left corner of the front screen for the selfie camera. The phone can refresh to up to 90HZ.


The realme 9i comes with a snapdragon 680 chipset found in most mid-range phones. The realme 9i is powered by Android 11 and the realme UI 2.0 and boosts the 5G connectivity and features the snapdragon 680 octa-core processor, Cortex -A73 and four 2.4Ghz and Cortex-A53 cores. The presence of 2.4 GHz makes it an ideal phone as it guarantees good speed for normal operation and gaming.  Of course, you can’t expect it to have flagship-level visuals, but the experience is quite good. 

The default speed is set at 60Hz which makes the device feel slower but you have the option set it up to 90Hz. The realme 9i UI also gets you a number of useful utility features, like uninstalling apps in batches, an app search gesture, and the ability to broadcast audio to wired and wireless headphones simultaneously.

realme is set to update the device to UI 3.0 due to time which sets it up for better performance, an integrated Android security patch, improved quality of photos and fixed stability issues.


Our unit comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB ROM memory with an expandable MicroSD card of up to 11 GB. However, the space above is good enough and doesn’t really need extra space unless you really have big files.


The device spots a triple camera set-up that consists of a 50-Megapixel primary camera, a 2 MP macro camera and a 2-megapixel and 2-megapixel portrait camera on the rear panel. It also comes with a 16-megapixel selfie camera. It allows for video recording for up to 1080 pixels including for selfie camera.Some camera trials below


The realme UI is feature-packed including dark mode options, themes and app switching and other in-house apps. Also, as a sucker for space, the phone offers good memory enough for heavy usage

However, with video shooting the camera is a bit unstable and gives shaky footage. The 90HZ refresh rate is much of a downgrade considering the 8i comes with a 120HZ at the same price range.

Notably, there’s no Android 12 and so far there’s no update issued upfront on the upgrade. We hope realme is working on it. More details on the table above.


The phone retails at kes 22,999 which makes it a budget phone. It also offers very good performance in terms of speed and access.

It also comes with stereo speakers, loud enough to function without headphones. The model offers a 33W faster charging and a longer-lasting battery that can go for days without the need to top up with moderate usage. With just calls and 2 hours of social media per day, it lasted for 48 hours and was charged on the 3rd day.

A quick comparison of the 8i and 9i devices besides the basis of price, a redesigned camera module, a Snapdragon processor the 8i series would beat it with a better refresh rate of 120Hz which makes it more powerful in terms of speed.

Val Lukhanyu
Val Lukhanyu
I cover technology news, startups, business and gadget reviews

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