Redmi 9C hands-on: A good uber-budget option

Here’s another Xiaomi phone. Coming from Poco X3 NFC, we now go hands on with the Redmi 9C. Both phones are not marketed exactly as Xiaomi phones, but they are under the family of Xiaomi devices. They’re more like cousins, not siblings.

Anyhow, the Redmi 9C is a budget phone that’s not meant to deliver the best features but rather offer a decent smartphone experience. It’s a good secondary phone and also a pretty well-equipped starter phone. Let’s take this bright orange Redmi 9C for a spin.

Big and bright

With a tall display that measures 6.53 inches diagonally, the Redmi 9C will be considered as a “phablet” if it was maybe 2015. The phone is big — not exactly for one-handed use — but in 2020, this size is pretty standard. In the budget segment, the bigger the display, the better value. Although, it only has an HD+ resolution or roughly 269ppi and it’s not as sharp as I want it to be.

Design-wise, the phone has an interesting pattern on its plastic back that sort of resembles a fingerprint. Ironically, thanks to the patterned back, the phone resists fingerprints and smudges well. Plus, it gives a good grip that complements the curved sides.

Not thrifty in performance

Budget phones are expected to run so-so, but the Redmi 9C is a notch higher than other budget phones when it comes to performance thanks to its Helio G35 chipset from MediaTek. The phone runs smooth with virtually no hiccups. But, since I didn’t load all my apps and files to this phone for this hands-on, I do expect it to experience some slow down when it’s already packed. It needs some time to load apps, but majors lags aren’t anticipated.

Xiaomi’s latest MIUI 12 on top of Android 10 also contributes to the overall smoothness of the phone’s performance. Whether you like MIUI’s design or not, you can’t deny that it’s still one of the most fluid interface and it performs well even on cheaper hardware such as the Redmi 9C.

Another major win of MIUI for the Redmi 9C is software updates. Truth be told, most low-end phones are disregarded when it comes to software upgrades. While the Redmi 9C won’t be the first to receive the newest features, it’ll still get them — or at least a security patch in the coming months or even years (not more than two years, for sure) to come.

Can let go of the extra cameras

At the phone’s back, it’s got three cameras neatly positioned together with an LED flash, and they do look like a stovetop. 😋 The main shooter is a 13-megapixel camera with a modest f/2.2 aperture, while the remaining two are a pair of 2-megapixel sensors dedicated for macro photography and depth computation for better (supposedly) portrait-style shots.

As expected, only the main shooter is usable. The two extra sensors don’t necessarily help the main camera or they contribute very little. The 13-megapixel camera lets me capture stills that are up to scratch. Check out these samples:

Since we have a macro camera on board, I tried it out as well. Spoiler alert! The 2-megapixel resolution doesn’t help leverage its niche purpose. 🤷‍♂️

As for selfies, indulge yourself using its 5-megapixel shooter. Redmi 9C’s selfie camera may not be mind-blowing, but it’s good enough to take your daily selfies.

Feels slim despite the big battery

I mentioned that Redmi 9C is a pretty big phone, but it’s not bulky as you’re thinking. Even with a huge 5000mAh battery inside, the phone is actually slim for its standards.

Paired with the efficient processor, this big battery can provide juice for more than a day of moderate use. If you’re going to be modest, it can stretch up to two days. However, we have no fast charging tech here; there’s only support for 10W. Meaning you gotta wait for a while for a full charge — like almost 3 hours. 😫

Is it a LiTT phone?

For its price, I’d say it’s lit. The Xiaomi Redmi 9C costs P5,290 for the base 2GB and 32GB model and the slightly better 3GB and 64GB variant is at P5,990. It goes without saying that you should go for the 3GB/64GB variant. Shelling out an extra P700 for the added memory and storage space is worth it.

That being said, the Redmi 9C is a solid contender in the budget segment. Like most cheap phones, it’s nowhere perfect. I do find the Realme C15 as the better option in the budget segment with its bigger and faster charging battery plus ultrawide camera, although it’s priced a bit higher. If your budget is really tight, the Redmi 9C will suffice. You might even find it at a lower price since it goes on sale frequently.

What’s lit about it:
✅ Bang for the buck
✅ Decent display for the price
✅ Updated software

What’s not lit:
👎 Battery drain when in standby
👎 Slow 10W charging
👎 Impractical extra cameras

Buy the Redmi 9C (2GB/32GB) on Lazada

Buy the Redmi 9C (2GB/32GB) on Shopee

Buy the Redmi 9C (3GB/64GB) on Shopee