Realme 9 Pro review

GSMArena Team, 16 February 2022.

Standard triple-camera combo with 64MP main camera

The camera setup hasn't changed much from the Realme 8s 5G, except for the addition of the ultrawide camera. The 9 Pro retains the 64MP f/1.8 main camera along with the 2MP f/2.4 dedicated macro unit and swaps out the 2MP depth sensor for an actually usable 8MP f/2.2 camera with ultrawide lens (119-degree FoV). It employs the commonly used, small 1/4.0" sensor.

Realme 9 Pro review

On the front we have a 16MP f/2.5, 1/3.0", 1.0µm camera.

Camera menus

Realme's overhauled software didn't reach the default camera app as it looks exactly the same as before. Swiping left or right switches between the usual camera modes while the "More" section accommodates the secondary modes, including the Expert. The latter gives you granular control over ISO, exposure, focus, white balance and shutter speed.

Camera menus - Realme 9 Pro review Camera menus - Realme 9 Pro review Camera menus - Realme 9 Pro review Camera menus - Realme 9 Pro review
Camera menus

In the standard Photo mode, you will find an AI toggle for boost in colors, HDR control, three toggles for the ultrawide, main and 2x zoom.

Camera menus - Realme 9 Pro review Camera menus - Realme 9 Pro review Camera menus - Realme 9 Pro review
Camera menus

Daylight samples

Main camera

The daylight samples with the main camera look about average for the price point. Dynamic range is wide, sharpness is great, even if there are small traces of oversharpening halos but only if you are pixel-peeping. The level of fine detail is more than adequate. You can even call it impressive when compared to some of the competitors.

16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2608s - Realme 9 Pro review 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2089s - Realme 9 Pro review 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1999s - Realme 9 Pro review
16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2058s - Realme 9 Pro review 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/874s - Realme 9 Pro review 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 161, 1/40s - Realme 9 Pro review
16MP main camera samples

That's not to say there aren't glaring issues here. The most notable one is the apparent yellow-ish tinge across all of the outdoor samples. We believe this is a result of inaccurate color temperature metering, making all of the stills look considerably warmer than they should. Additionally, some may say that colors are a bit too saturated but others may find them appealing. And lastly, if you look close enough, you could spot some noisy areas on uniform backgrounds and shadows. Of course, it's more noticeable indoors.

16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2028s - Realme 9 Pro review 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1699s - Realme 9 Pro review 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/669s - Realme 9 Pro review
16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 145, 1/50s - Realme 9 Pro review 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 361, 1/33s - Realme 9 Pro review 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/848s - Realme 9 Pro review
16MP main camera samples

But in case those colors aren't enough, there's an AI toggle that produces the same images with punchier colors. We found that in some cases the color temperature is slightly cooler.

AI mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2608s - Realme 9 Pro review AI mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2028s - Realme 9 Pro review AI mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1969s - Realme 9 Pro review
AI mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2089s - Realme 9 Pro review AI mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/874s - Realme 9 Pro review AI mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2028s - Realme 9 Pro review
AI mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1649s - Realme 9 Pro review
AI mode samples

Like all phones using a quad-bayer camera, the Realme 9 Pro gives you the option to use the full 64MP resolution of the main camera. The benefits are little to none, though. The non-binned images are generally more detailed, but you will be losing a significant amount of sharpness and noise becomes more apparent. The HDR doesn't work in that mode as well.

64MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2646s - Realme 9 Pro review 64MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1969s - Realme 9 Pro review 64MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1940s - Realme 9 Pro review
64MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2058s - Realme 9 Pro review 64MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/874s - Realme 9 Pro review 64MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2058s - Realme 9 Pro review
64MP camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1674s - Realme 9 Pro review
64MP camera samples

2x zoom

The 2x zoom photos aren't comparable to proper telephoto camera's images but they get decently close. The sharpness drops a little and noise becomes more apparent on uniform areas, whereas the rest of the processing is identical to the standard non-cropped photos. Either way, the 2x zoom samples look more than decent and suitable for social media posting.

2x crop zoom samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2458s - Realme 9 Pro review 2x crop zoom samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/646s - Realme 9 Pro review 2x crop zoom samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/2608s - Realme 9 Pro review
2x crop zoom samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/1776s - Realme 9 Pro review 2x crop zoom samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/969s - Realme 9 Pro review 2x crop zoom samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/267s - Realme 9 Pro review
2x crop zoom samples

Ultrawide camera

The ultrawide's camera quality is exactly what we would expect. The popular 8MP sensor seems to perform similarly on all competing handsets. The ultrawide shots suffer from limited dynamic range, noise, washed out colors, color fringing and lack of sharpness. On a more positive note, the barrel distortion is almost completely taken care of the algorithm.

Ultrawide samples - f/2.2, ISO 463, 1/30s - Realme 9 Pro review Ultrawide samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/2056s - Realme 9 Pro review Ultrawide samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/2056s - Realme 9 Pro review
Ultrawide samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1967s - Realme 9 Pro review Ultrawide samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1442s - Realme 9 Pro review Ultrawide samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/2567s - Realme 9 Pro review
Ultrawide samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/325s - Realme 9 Pro review Ultrawide samples - f/2.2, ISO 136, 1/100s - Realme 9 Pro review
Ultrawide samples

Macro camera

The popular 2MP sensor tailored for macro shots makes an appearance once again and expectedly produces subpar images, which in turn are the standard for budget phones like the Realme 9 Pro. Since it has a fixed focus distance of 4cm, most of our shots were blurry. Due to the limited resolution, detail isn't impressive, contrast is lacking and colors are on the pale side.

Macro camera samples - Realme 9 Pro review Macro camera samples - Realme 9 Pro review Macro camera samples - Realme 9 Pro review
Macro camera samples - Realme 9 Pro review Macro camera samples - Realme 9 Pro review Macro camera samples - Realme 9 Pro review
Macro camera samples

Low-light samples

Main camera

The low-light samples taken with the standard Photo mode don't seem to be all that different from the competition. They are maybe a bit on the soft side and shadows look rather underexposed. We've also noticed most of the light sources and highlights clipped, suggesting a narrower dynamic range. Lastly, colors could use a little boost. Detail is good, though and so is noise management in non-dark areas.

Low-light main camera - f/1.8, ISO 1069, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light main camera - f/1.8, ISO 3698, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light main camera - f/1.8, ISO 4048, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review
Low-light main camera - f/1.8, ISO 1025, 1/25s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light main camera - f/1.8, ISO 5993, 1/17s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light main camera - f/1.8, ISO 2231, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review
Low-light main camera - f/1.8, ISO 1119, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review
Low-light main camera

The dedicated Night mode clears up the image considerably and balances highlights and shadows. The fine detail in the shadows is more visible while light sources look contained. There's a noticeable boost in sharpness and a touch more color. However, in some instances, we noticed fine detail being smeared away because of the noise reduction algorithm. There's a lot less noise in the Night mode samples but lack the same level of detail as the standard ones.

Night mode main camera - f/1.8, ISO 1629, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review Night mode main camera - f/1.8, ISO 4351, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review Night mode main camera - f/1.8, ISO 5021, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review
Night mode main camera - f/1.8, ISO 1368, 1/23s - Realme 9 Pro review Night mode main camera - f/1.8, ISO 6407, 1/17s - Realme 9 Pro review Night mode main camera - f/1.8, ISO 3761, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review
Night mode main camera - f/1.8, ISO 1630, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review
Night mode main camera

There's also a Pro Night mode switch that lets you tinker with some of the camera controls to get better results. There's still image stacking, of course.

2x zoom

As expected, low-light 2x zoom shots aren't ideal as cropping from the main camera is will inevitably lead to increased noise and reduced sharpness. We can't say the overall quality is satisfactory, but we see the same overall rendition as the non-cropped images.

Low-light 2x zoom: Normal - f/1.8, ISO 3985, 1/19s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light 2x zoom: Night mode - f/1.8, ISO 5483, 1/19s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light 2x zoom: Normal - f/1.8, ISO 1131, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review
Low-light 2x zoom: Night mode - f/1.8, ISO 2646, 1/17s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light 2x zoom: Normal - f/1.8, ISO 5100, 1/17s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light 2x zoom: Night mode - f/1.8, ISO 5212, 1/17s - Realme 9 Pro review
Low-light 2x zoom: Normal • Night mode • Normal • Night mode • Normal • Night mode

Interestingly, the noise suppression algorithm washes away the little detail left and makes the zoom samples even softer.

Ultrawide

The ultrawide camera struggles to deliver half-decent low-light images. They are soft, lack detail, have limited dynamic range and show a lot of noise. Switching on the Night mode significantly improves the overall image quality. It clears up the noise, improves the detail in the shadows, gets rid of the clipped highlights, adds much-needed sharpness and adds contrast and color. We can even go as far as saying that the Nigh mode ultrawide samples are quite decent.

Low-light ultrawide: Normal - f/2.2, ISO 1250, 1/17s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light ultrawide: Night mode - f/2.2, ISO 1550, 1/15s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light ultrawide: Normal - f/2.2, ISO 1999, 1/14s - Realme 9 Pro review
Low-light ultrawide: Night mode - f/2.2, ISO 1550, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light ultrawide: Normal - f/2.2, ISO 1612, 1/13s - Realme 9 Pro review Low-light ultrawide: Night mode - f/2.2, ISO 1550, 1/20s - Realme 9 Pro review
Low-light ultrawide: Normal • Night mode

Here's how the primary camera on the Realme 9 Pro stacks against the rest of the competition in the controlled environment of our Photo Compare Tool.

Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool
Realme 9 Pro vs. Poco X3 Pro and the OnePlus CE 5G in our Photo compare tool

Portraits

The handset produces decent portraits but they are definitely not the sharpest ones around. Colors are punchy, dynamic range is good and the software keeps the subject's face well-exposed no matter how challenging the conditions are. Noise starts to show only in sub-optimal lighting conditions. However, the bokeh effect isn't very convincing and it can sometimes miss a spot or blur out only parts of a foreground object. You can see this in the first sample picture below.

Portraits - f/2.8, ISO 345, 1/33s - Realme 9 Pro review Portraits - f/2.8, ISO 234, 1/30s - Realme 9 Pro review Portraits - f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/586s - Realme 9 Pro review
Portraits - f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/523s - Realme 9 Pro review Portraits - f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/1999s - Realme 9 Pro review Portraits - f/2.8, ISO 219, 1/100s - Realme 9 Pro review
Portraits

Selfies

The selfie quality is unsatisfactory. We expected more from the 16MP camera in terms of sharpness and detail, although under the right conditions, selfies are sharp enough. Noise is apparent in almost all lighting conditions and the washed-out colors can make subject look anemic. The portrait mode looks a bit too aggressive with the bokeh and often blurs out the edges of the subject.

Selfies: Normal - f/2.0, ISO 215, 1/30s - Realme 9 Pro review Selfies: Portrait - f/4.0, ISO 250, 1/33s - Realme 9 Pro review Selfies: Normal - f/2.0, ISO 572, 1/33s - Realme 9 Pro review
Selfies: Portrait - f/4.0, ISO 554, 1/33s - Realme 9 Pro review Selfies: Normal - f/2.0, ISO 121, 1/33s - Realme 9 Pro review Selfies: Portrait - f/4.0, ISO 200, 1/43s - Realme 9 Pro review
Selfies: Normal - f/2.0, ISO 100, 1/61s - Realme 9 Pro review Selfies: Portrait - f/4.0, ISO 100, 1/63s - Realme 9 Pro review Selfies: Normal - f/2.0, ISO 100, 1/70s - Realme 9 Pro review
Selfies: Portrait - f/4.0, ISO 100, 1/164s - Realme 9 Pro review
Selfies: Normal • Portrait

Video recording

Unfortunately, due to the SoC's subpar ISP, the phone can't record 4K videos. Even though the Snapdragon 690 had a 4K-capable ISP. Anyway, the Spectra 346T is capped at 1080p@60fps video recording. We took it for a spin and recorded 1080p@30fps videos with the main camera and the ultrawide one.

Sadly, the results are a bit underwhelming. We can see the same warm color temperature making that golden tinge throughout the whole scene. Sharpness, detail and dynamic range are all unsatisfactory as well. The white buildings in the distance are noticeably clipped. And colors are washed out too.

The ultrawide camera doesn't have that yellow-ish cast but it offers an even narrower dynamic range, anemic colors, more noise, poor contrast and no fine detail. Sharpness is virtually non-existent.

We also recorded a video to test out the EIS but the results were once again disappointing. We have definitely seen better implementation of the EIS, especially on 1080p videos.

Once you are done with the real-life scenarios, take a look at our video compare tool to see how the Realme 9 Pro stacks against the other phones we've reviewed.

Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool
1080p: Realme 9 Pro vs. Motorola Moto G51 5G and the Samsung Galaxy A32 in our Video compare tool

Reader comments

  • ARISHMITA
  • 27 Sep 2022
  • y25

camera good quick charged but charge not stay long battery bad performance ok

  • Anonymous
  • 21 Aug 2022
  • MMt

9i and 9 pro plus better than 9 pro

  • Anonymous
  • 01 Aug 2022
  • y6V

Its because you dont know how to use a smartphone