The realme 9 Pro series has finally arrived in the Philippines. It features a Snapdragon 695, a maximum of 8GB RAM, a 64MP camera, and a beautiful iridescent design. At first, it may seem like a downgrade compared to last year’s realme 8 Pro with its Snapdragon 720G SOC and 108MP rear camera. But what else has changed and which parts can we consider an upgrade? Find out in this review.
Table of Contents
Design and Construction
So first let’s talk about the design. realme ditched the slogan print on the phones seen on the 8 series and opted for a much more chic and bold finish for the 9 Pro and 9 Pro+. The company joins the trend of having a color-changing phone. The unit we have is in the Sunrise Blue that changes color from light blue to red when exposed to sunlight, which is pretty attractive.
It is also available in Aurora Green, Midnight Black and all of the design has a shimmering glitter.
More on its back, you’ll see a protruding camera setup which makes the phone wobble when you use it laid flat on a table. Its body is made out of polycarbonate material, unlike the 9 Pro+ that has a glass back.
The realme 9 Pro has a full-screen display on the front with slim bezels around except for the chin, a plastic frame, and plastic back. There’s a punch-hole for the selfie camera in the upper-left corner.
For buttons and ports, located on the right side is the power button. Unlike the realme 9 Pro+ which has an in-display fingerprint scanner, realme 9 Pro uses a side-mounted scanner this time, which we think is a downgrade, but others probably wouldn’t mind.
On the left side, you’ll see the volume rockers and the hybrid SIM card tray. Buttons are well-placed and easy to reach.
Up top there’s a secondary microphone, while at the bottom there’s the USB Type-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, speaker grille, and the primary microphone.
Overall, the phone is quite slim despite the big battery and huge cameras. With a weight of 195 grams, we like how this feels in hand and is comfortable to hold thanks to its curved corners and edges. However, it attracts fingerprints and dust so we suggest putting a protective case on it.
Display and Multimedia
For display, the realme 9 Pro features a 6.6-inch IPS LCD display with 2412 x 1080px resolution with a pixel density of 400ppi. Unlike the 9 Pro Plus, realme decided to go for a higher refresh rate rather than a 90Hz AMOLED, so this IPS screen is capable of up to a 120Hz refresh rate. You can opt to use it on the high refresh rate, drop down to 60Hz or use it on auto-select to have a balance between performance and battery life.
More on the display settings, there are a few things you can tweak around such as switching to a system-wide dark theme, video color enhancer, and personalizing your preferred screen color.
There’s no mention of glass protection here but it does have a pre-installed screen protector.
The quality of the display is pretty good, it does have vibrant colors and great contrast. To top it all off, the realme 9 Pro comes with a 240Hz touch sampling rate, making this not only highly responsive to your finger but also gives a better edge when it comes to something like gaming which we will talk about later.
As for audio quality, the single bottom-firing speakers are loud enough, but you would want to tone it down a bit as the sound can become distorted at max volume. Sound quality is decent enough to watch the occasional YouTube videos and a few tunes you want to share with friends but those who want a more immersive sound experience will benefit from the headphone jack.
Let’s talk about the camera. The realme 9 Pro comes with quad rear cameras consisting of a 64MP F1.8 (main), 8MP F2.3 119° (ultrawide), and 2MP F2.4 (macro). For selfies, we have a 16MP front shooter.
The cameras provided us with awesome daylight photos, colors were vibrant and the images were crisp. realme’s camera technology has been tweaked to make colors pop a little more than reality, making them appealing to look at and share on social media without the need for post-processing. Same with the ultrawide shots.
The macro lens, just like most other devices, is sub-par. It’s not much of a gimmick since it does work, but the quality is far from what you can get compared to the rest of its lenses. Portrait shots maintain a great subject background separation, particularly when there’s a good amount of light.
Shooting in night mode is probably one of its best features, as it does a solid job at capturing images in low-light situations. Even with the night mode turned off you get a great shot on this phone. Of course, we also got to try the Starry Mode, which gives us awesome results.
When it comes to selfies, even without the beauty mode, this phone produces social media-ready snaps with a decent amount of detail, providing for a pretty great selfie. Color accuracy is good, and details are present.
For videos, you can shoot up to 1080p at 30fps, Stabilization needs more improvement here.
OS, UI, and APPS
When it comes to software, the realme 9 Pro runs on realme UI 3.0, based on Android 12. If you’re a previous or current realme or OPPO user you’ll know what to expect as there’s not much different from previous versions.
And out of 128GB of internal storage, only 110GB was available to use. Some of that space is consumed by pre-installed apps, such as Booking.com, SoLoop, Snack Video, realme Link, Facebook, Agoda, TikTok, and Lazada, which you can still uninstall.
We also have the usual apps from Google such as YouTube, Gmail, Drive, Photos, and the like. There’s an option to use an app drawer, and you can navigate with gestures or the usual buttons if you prefer. It also has a dedicated dark mode that can be toggled on in the settings, as well as an eye-care mode to reduce eye strains at night.
Performance and Benchmarks
Under the hood, powering the realme 9 Pro is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G (6nm) chipset with an Adreno 619 GPU. As for RAM, it comes in 8GB.
When it comes to performance, the phone is excellent in day-to-today use, like browsing the web, heavy social media, video watching and it’s capable of handling graphic intensive games with ease in their default setting.
Check the benchmark scores that we got below.
• AnTuTu v9.3.1 – 399,099
• AnTuTu Storage Test v9.3.1 – 22,595, 529.6 MB/s (Seq. Read), 208.2 MB/s (Seq. Write)
• Geekbench 5 – 682 (Single-Core), 2,026 (Multi-Core), 1,409 (OpenCL)
• PC Mark –9,830 (Work 3.0)
• 3D Mark – 1,210 (Wild Life), 362 (Wild Life Extreme)
As for security, there’s a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and face unlock capabilities.
Connectivity and Battery Life
As for connectivity, we have the usual connectivity features, we get WiFi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, and for those who need NFC, we have that available as well. Plus, of course, this device supports 5G.
Keeping everything running is a 5,000mAh battery, which is bigger compared to 9 Pro+ but with 60W fast charging. On average use, it is good enough to last throughout the day. The PCMark battery test rates it at 12 hours and 47 minutes, while our standard video loop test gave us a total of 24 hours of playback. For juicing this phone up, the realme 9 Pro supports 33W fast charging and takes 1 hour to reach from 0-100%.
To wrap things up, the realme 9 Pro is priced at PHP 16,990 (8GB+128GB) and it’s a nice smartphone with an attractive design, a large display, great cameras, excellent performance, good battery life, and fast charging. It provides a huge leap in performance compared to the realme 8 Pro thanks to the newer CPU and the inclusion of 5G. It faces a lot of competition, though, considering there are other devices in the market that also has 5G, has an AMOLED screen and bigger storage in the same price range. But if you like the realme vibe, this one is a performer.
realme 9 Pro 5G specs:
6.6-inch FHD+ (2412 x 1080) IPS display, 400ppi
120Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G SoC
Adreno 619 GPU
6GB, 8GB LPPDR4X RAM
128GB UFS 2.2
microSD card (hybrid)
Triple rear cameras:
• 64MP F1.8 main
• 8MP F2.2 ultra-wide
• 2MP F2.4 macro
16MP F2.1 front camera
5G, 4G LTE
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
3.5mm audio jack
Fingerprint scanner (side)
realme UI 3.0 (Android 12)
5,000mAh battery w/ 33W fast charging
164.3 x 75.6 x 8.5 mm
Aurora Green, Midnight Black, Sunrise Blue