The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S officially arrives in France. However, we have already been able to grapple on it in order to know what it is worth every day. Here is a full test to find out about this phone.
The Redmi Note 9S is the new representative of a very popular range from Xiaomi. We think this one will have some commercial success thanks to its attractive price / quality ratio and it is for this reason that we ordered it as quickly as possible. Random calendar: the brand has formalized the launch of the phone in France a few days before the publication of this article. Note that we have in hand an international version of the smartphone. Make way for the full test to find out all the important aspects.
Our test of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S in video
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehXoQ6xquXE (/ embed)
Technical information sheet of Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S
This test was carried out with a copy purchased by Frandroid on an e-commerce platform before the specific announcement of the telephone in France.
Oh how tall he is!
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S is great. Oh yes, great! At 165.75mm in height, it is not nearly as huge as a colossal Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, but it easily dominates the Galaxy Note 10+. It's not nothing. Add to that, the fact that the phone is very thick (8.8 mm) and relatively heavy (209 grams) and you get a beast that imposes in the hand.
What about the comfort of use? You know the song: we don't recommend this kind of phone for people with small hands. Gripping would be complicated and impractical. However – and this too is a common catchphrase -, if you like big smartphones, then the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S deserves your attention.
It has finishes that are pleasant to the touch, even if we would have liked the chassis and the edges of the screen to merge better. On the Redmi Note 9S, the border between these two elements is felt under the finger, but see nothing unacceptable. This does not cause discomfort on a daily basis.
In front, the flat slab occupies the surface well. It is however framed by fairly wide borders, especially at the chin, without these being unsightly. To tell the truth, we just feel that this is not an ultra premium product where this detail would be much more disturbing. As long as we're talking about the screen, note that it is pierced by a bubble for the front photo sensor. It’s not the most discreet punch on the market, far from it, but immersion during viewing is preserved.
Good point, the back is adorned with the same Gorilla Glass 5 integrated into the front of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S. Alas, if the material offers a touch to the top, it also attracts fingerprints, to the point of reminding a slate badly erased with a damp sponge.
On this rear face, the eye is mainly attracted by the photo module. The four sensors are nestled in a small protruding square highlighted by a small flat insert itself adorned with an LED flash and the words “48 MP Camera”. Here we observe the reason why the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S is wobbly when it is lying on its back.
The fingerprint reader is located on the right edge, within easy reach of the thumb, but perhaps a little less obvious to use for the index of a left-handed person. This sensor also functions as an unlocking button. It is located under the volume buttons which, for their part, are unfortunately more difficult to access. To increase the sound, stretching your thumb is almost inevitable.
The drawer for the two nano SIM and the microSD has taken refuge on the left side, when we find the jack and the USB-C port at the bottom.
A balanced screen
Without being transcendent, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S offers good viewing comfort with its large 6.67 inch LCD screen which offers a Full HD + definition of 2400 x 1080 pixels. This gives us a resolution of 395 pixels per inch. In other words, you will not be able to distinguish one pixel from the other with the naked eye.
On a daily basis, the slab seemed to me to be well balanced. It's not a stunning experience, but the contrast is pretty good with a ratio of 1267: 1 and the colors don't get too blue in the standard configuration. As for the maximum brightness, we would have liked to see it rise a little higher than the 411 cd / m². As the sun beats a little more strongly this season, it can happen that we have some difficulties in correctly distinguishing what is displayed. I’m not going to say that I had to squint either.
Our probe associated with the Calman software from Portrait Displays reveals above all an interesting versatility of this slab. Whether you like well saturated colors or rather natural shades, you will find your account. In addition, the standard display mode offers a temperature measured at 6600K, which is very close to the 6500K recommended for good fidelity to reality.
Witness the average Delta E of 4.3 observed. The higher this index, the less the colors displayed on the screen are realistic. On smartphones, the ideal would be to approach a Delta E of 3. This is not the case of the Redmi Note 9S, but the latter is still doing very honorably on this exercise.
However, there is also a saturated mode allowing “ always improve colors ” With this activated, the temperature rises to 8000K for tones that draw much more on blue. The average Delta E follows the same trend, rising to 5.9. The display is therefore more vivid and undoubtedly more pleasant to look at for a good number of people, but it is very far from reality.
In saturated mode, the phone covers 128% of the sRGB which is fairly easy to manage for today's smartphones. However, this rate is only 86% on the DCI-P3 which is a larger color space and therefore more difficult to grasp, especially for an entry level or mid-range device.
To put it another way, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S is not the champion for displaying a very wide palette of colors, but it is not to blame either. It would have been a surprising bonus if he had performed better in this area.
Finally, be aware that, by default, the screen is set to an auto mode which adjusts colors according to the ambient light, a bit like what Apple offers with its True Tone function. You can also refine here if you want a slab that draws hot or cold.
Xiaomi paw with a lot of Google
MIUI 11 is here and the interface is based on Android 10. What can I say except that the interface of Xiaomi is still very marked by the leg of the Chinese manufacturer who wishes to underline the difference of his software experience by a design very recognizable on the application icons, an organization of parameters quite different from what is traditionally done and by the absence of application drawer.
On this last point, already addressed in our test of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, you should know that the application drawer is gradually being deployed on MIUI and that the brand's phones which do not yet benefit from it should not be long in coming to taste. As it stands, however, the Redmi Note 9S is deprived of it. For the moment, this is therefore a defect, because many users do not appreciate being forced to store apps on different pages of the home screen.
Another creaking detail: the annoying virus scan automatically launched by the system when you download an application, even if it comes from the Play Store. It seems unnecessary, but above all, this intermediate step is more like an advertising sign with its classified ads with sometimes questionable taste. Fortunately, this scan can be disabled quite easily.
Let's not stop at these few annoyances. MIUI remains an interface rich in customizations which gives you the possibility of modifying a large number of elements to refine your user experience, without forgetting the dark mode, navigation by gestures or the native screen recorder.
We were talking earlier about the marked paw of Xiaomi on this interface. Despite this, the manufacturer offers very advanced integration of Google applications right out of the box. If we find the classic Play Store, YouTube, Gmail, Drive, Maps and Chrome, the Redmi Note 9S also natively embeds services like Google Podcasts, Google One or Google News. The default Phone, Contacts and Messages apps are also those of the Mountain View company. However, you should know that these applications are not included in the package required to obtain Google services.
So this is clearly a choice from Xiaomi to show that the Google ecosystem is perfectly compatible with this phone. Some will see it as a not-so-subtle tackle against Huawei products. The goal seems above all to reassure new Western users with a message that could be interpreted as follows: the software experience is certainly a little different from what you know, but all your benchmarks are still there.
That doesn't stop Xiaomi from pushing a few home services like calculator, audio recorder, radio listening app or remote control. We will notably underline the presence of the Mi Share functionality which allows to easily share a file between two smartphones, without the need to connect to the internet.
Let's just remember that Mi Share only works with Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Realme phones because these brands have formed an alliance to create this system which exploits the Wi-FI Direct standard. However, I failed to send a photo to a Realme 6. The interface displayed the device, but the transfer was never successful.
Note that third-party apps are also preinstalled, like Facebook, eBay, or Netflix. For the latter, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S has the hardware specifications required to enjoy an HD or Full HD stream on SVoD platforms.
Indeed, DRM side, the phone benefits from the Widevine L1 security level which is supposed to unlock this video quality. However, on our international model purchased before the product was announced in France, we see that the application only recognizes a lower level of security (Widevine L3) which only gives access to SD streams.
It could have been annoying if the Redmi Note 9S was not certified Widevine L1, because it would require a hardware update to correct this problem. Here, it's mainly Netflix that must take the time to validate the device for HD content and Xiaomi France has confirmed to us that this would indeed be the case with the copies sold by us. This should also apply to Disney +, myCanal or OCS, etc. Good news in short!
Less good news: the phone does not take advantage of NFC for mobile payment or validation of your metro ticket.
A powerful, but limited speaker
The speaker of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S benefits from a big power, but not from a very good spatialization of the sound because of the absence of stereo. You just have to cover the grid with your thumb to hear nothing.
If the pieces of music are well transcribed in the whole, we note that the bass have a hard time establishing itself when the treble can saturate from time to time when the volume is pushed up.
Interesting photo versatility
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S has a quadruple photo module on the back. Here's what he has in store for us:
- a 48-megapixel main sensor (f / 1.79)
- 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle (f / 2.2)
- a sensor with macro lens of 5 megapixels (f / 2.4)
- a 2 megapixel depth sensor (f / 2.4)
For classic shots, be aware that the main sensor offers images of 12 megapixels. The merging of four pixels into one effectively captures more light and provides shots that weigh less on the storage space. Under the right conditions, it's hard to fault something about the photo quality of the Redmi Note 9S. The exposure is good, the colors are pleasant to look at without overdoing the saturation and the dynamic range, without being immense, is very satisfactory.
It should be noted, however, that on very contrasted stages, the shadow areas would benefit from being a little better lit, but we nitpick a little at this price.
Unsurprisingly at night, the images suffer from a sharp blur and the camera is damaged by the halos of light. There is a significant loss in detail, but it is not catastrophic for a phone of this ilk.
In addition, the Redmi Note 9S enjoys a night mode with an interesting added value. By activating this option, the phone delivers photos that are better lit and much more pleasant to look at. The function does not make up for lost details, but at least the exposure is more effective.
Don't expect miracles either. On very dark scenes, the phone sees almost nothing and the night mode does not improve much.
The main sensor also allows the use of a 48 megapixel mode, for more detailed images. By zooming in the images, we can see that the quality is a little better.
However, the gain remains too low to make this option truly essential.
In ultra-wide angle, the phone offers pleasant consistency in color processing and succeeds in fairly effectively avoiding image distortion on the sides. The level of detail is however lower compared to the main sensor, but this is completely normal.
If you want to play with the macro mode, expect many failures as the focus on a close object is not easy. However, some renderings are interesting for capturing certain details that we sometimes miss. The subjects in the photos below, for example, were really tiny, the purple flowers, for example, are the size of my thumbnail.
Alas, the definition of the image is too weak to be able to really exploit the images perfectly on social networks.
For portrait mode, the bokeh effect is not extremely precise and some hair or beard hair on the photographed face is thus blurred as if it were the background. Overall, the processing is still fine and you can adjust the level of blur as you like even after shooting.
Exposure and color rendering can be subject to some vagaries with this mode on outdoor photos. We can end up with an overexposed decor, a face too dark or a strange orange filter on the trombine.
As you may have noticed, Xiaomi applies an annoying filigree to the pictures taken with the rear module. To remove this watermark, you will need to go through the camera settings.
On the selfie side, it's a 16 megapixel (f / 2.48) sensor that we find at the controls. The details of the face are well transcribed, but the background can quickly turn white if you are in a lit environment. Also, consider disabling the beauty filter that smoothes the skin and enlarges the eyes too bizarre to be aesthetic. Your august facies don't need it at all.
On the video side, note that you can shoot up to 4K at 30 frames per second, or in 1080p at 60 fps.
Video games run very well
The captain at the helm of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S is a Snapdragon 720G engraved in 8 nm with a crew of 4 GB of RAM. As evidenced by the letter G that it sports as a suffix, this SoC is heading for the aspectgamingwithout getting too familiar with the powers of the most high-end chips.
The phone makes Fortnite run pretty well in 30 fps with graphics that you can adjust to medium, but not beyond. By pushing the 3D resolution to 100%, I was able to enjoy stable sessions, despite some regular hiccups during the first minutes of the game or in the animated combat phases. We notice quite clearly that the textures in the distance are sacrificed for better efficiency, but I did not have to complain about the decorations near my avatar.
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S||Realme 6||Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro||Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T|
|SoC||Snapdragon 720G||MediaTek Helio G90T||MediaTek Helio G90T||Snapdragon 665|
|AnTuTu 8.x||272,446||289,301||n / c||n / c|
|3DMark Sling Shot Extreme||2,519||2,552||2,377||1,130|
|3DMark Slingshot Extreme Graphics||2,366||2,389||2,213||979|
|3DMark Slingshot Extreme Physics||3,253||3,354||3,213||2,447|
|GFXBench Aztec Vulkan High (onscreen / offscreen)||10 / 6.6 FPS||10 / 6.7 FPS||6.5 / 9.9 FPS||n / c|
|GFX Bench Car Chase (onscreen / offscreen)||15/17 FPS||16/18 FPS||15/18 FPS||6.3 / 7 FPS|
|GFX Bench Manhattan (onscreen / offscreen)||37/40 FPS||45/50 FP||43/48 FPS||17/20 FPS|
|Sequential read / write||489/171 MB / s||518/204 MB / s||524/192 MB / s||316/174 MB / s|
|Random read / write||31.3 / 29.1 IOPS||42.6k / 43k IOPS||38K / 42K IOPS||23k / 22k IOPS|
On Call of Duty Mobile, the phone is running at full speed. All graphic parameters can be set to “very high” and your games will run smoothly. The benchmarks above show us however that in terms of pure power, the Snapdragon 720G does not equal the Helio G90T which we find, among others, on the Realme 6.
Also note that when the phone is pushed to its limits, it tends to cool down. It's never hot enough to burn or annoy, but you should also know that the Redmi Note 9S does not particularly dissipate this heat during a game. So watch out for sweaty hands.
The indestructible athlete
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S has a huge 5020 mAh battery and it holds. It holds very very well even, throughout the day and even that which follows. You can chain various activities of all kinds without really worrying about the endurance of the phone, because the phone runs out of steam very slowly.
On our personalized ViSer test protocol, the Redmi Note 9S resisted for more than 16 long hours the numerous applications launched tirelessly one after the other. This is a huge record which is certainly due to software optimizations triggered by the system in the face of the heavy use to which it was subjected.
The actual battery life of the Redmi Note 9S may not fully reflect this result, but make no mistake, it is clearly a champion in the matter. For example, an hour-long video launched on YouTube consumes a maximum of 5% battery. A quarter of an hour of Fortnite nibbles more or less 4% of battery, which is really very little.
Also note that the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S comes with an efficient 22.5 W charger which allows the battery to go from 9 to 44% in 30 minutes. Another half hour brings you to 95%. Knowing that you shouldn't have to recharge it regularly is not bad at all.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S network and communication
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S is compatible with all of the French 4G frequency bands, including the 700 MHz B28 mainly operated by Free. For my part, in the Paris region, no concern was expressed about the capture of the Orange network. Note that the device is also compatible with Bluetooth 5 and Wi-Fi 5.
For calls, confined to my apartment, I simulated the noises of the city with a video launched on my computer to assess the noise management of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S in communication. My interlocutor said that he could only hear extraneous sounds next to me while my voice seemed slightly compressed. Nothing that would hinder the discussion. For my part, it took me a few seconds before I figured out where I should position my ear so that it was right in front of the speaker.
Also note that you can insert two nano SIMs in addition to the microSD on this phone. In terms of GPS, no particular concern, but again, the confinement does not allow me to travel long distances to experience the functioning of geolocation.
Price and availability of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S is announced in France at a price of 249.90 euros in its version of 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. It will cost 279.90 euros for the 6/128 GB version.
Pre-orders open on April 27 for deliveries scheduled for May 7, 2020. Finally, if you buy a Redmi Note 9S 64 GB before May 11, you will be entitled to Mi Band 4 as a bonus. For the acquisition of a 128 GB version before this same date, you will be offered Mi True Wireless Earphones Lite.