Realme 9 review

GSMArena Team, 11 July 2022.

Design and handling

The Realme 9 and the 9 Pro+ are the smallest of the bunch featuring 6.4-inch displays, and we have a suspicion they share the same OLED panels as well. But more on that later. The vanilla 9, however, is slightly lighter as it features an all-plastic body, except for the display, which is protected by a Gorilla Glass 5 sheet. The handset feels nice in hand - compact, light and relatively thin at 8mm.

Realme 9 review

Although nice to touch, the back panel is a bit slippery as it imitates frosted glass. We have the Sunburst Gold in our hand, which isn't a color everyone would like, but it looks nice in person. There's a distinctive gradient showing up under the right lighting angle. Bonus points for not showing fingerprints and smudges. They are there but hard to notice.

Realme 9 review

The curves on the back meet the side frame almost seamlessly without forming any annoying ridges, while the front panel has slight curves towards the edges, contributing to the overall ergonomics.

As far as the camera module is concerned, it sticks out quite a bit, and it's easy to recognize that it's not glass. The lenses are separated with metal rings and protrude on their own. When placed on its back, the Realme 9 wobbles on a flat surface.

Realme 9 review

Going around the sides, we find the volume keys on the left alongside the SIM card tray, which can hold two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time. That's a rare feature to have these days. The power button is on the right, while the bottom is home to the USB-C connector, the loudspeaker grille and the audio jack.

 - Realme 9 review  - Realme 9 review
 - Realme 9 review  - Realme 9 review

And while the buttons on the sides are well-positioned, the fingerprint reader is too close to the bottom edge of the screen. It sits too close to the bezel requiring some awkward finger gymnastics, depending on how you hold the phone.

Realme 9 review

Speaking of the screen, it has razor-thin bezels on the left and right, a decently thin top bezel and a thick chin. We weren't expecting an almost bezel-less screen in the first place, although we are pleasantly surprised by the tiny cutout for the front-facing camera. Perhaps the OLED panel allowed Realme to shrink it compared to the Realme 9 Pro, for example, which has an LCD screen.

Realme 9 review

Having realistic expectations of the build and ergonomics is key here. The budget nature of the Realme 9 doesn't allow premium materials to be used. However, we like that Gorilla Glass 5 protects the display on the front, there are no unpleasant ridges around the chassis, the screen bezels are adequately thin, and the whole handset feels compact, lightweight and somewhat comfortable in hand.

Reader comments

  • Meh
  • 25 Sep 2022
  • U@i

You expect budget phones to be on the same level as flagships? Coming down from the Royal Palace and telling peasants what is good and what is not based solely from his personal experience and taste. I've never seen him give any good comment abo...

  • Meh
  • 25 Sep 2022
  • U@i

Guys a joke. Comin down from his Royal palace and telling peasants what is good and what is not. I've never seen him give any good comment about about any phone I've checked here. He expects budget phones to be on the level of flagships lma...

  • Anonymous
  • 21 Jul 2022
  • gXp

for anyone technologically inclined, you can get the Chinese version for less than 200 usd and just flash the global rom and radio should. I'm not sure of community support or anything, but the sellers on aliexpress usually flash the global...