Realme 9 5G and Realme 9 5G Speed Edition have just been launched in India. The Realme 9 5G is priced at Rs. 14,999 with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage (initial offer) and Rs. 17,499 with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage in India. The more powerful Realme 9 5G Speed Edition starts at Rs. 19,999 with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage and goes up to Rs. 22,999 for 8 GB of RAM and the same 128 GB of storage. SBI and ICICI Bank cardholders can enjoy an instant discount of Rs. 1500 at first and Rs. 2000 on the latest model. Both will go on sale from 12:00 on March 14.
Realme’s smartphone lineup in India has become quite confusing, with several models from different series overlapping in price. The company’s numbered models are for mass use, but again, we have a few options. The two new models sit above the Realme 9i (Review) and below the recently launched Realme 9 Pro 5G and Realme 9 Pro+ 5G (Review). However, there is some overlap with the Realme 9 Pro 5G.
Today we are going to take a look at the Realme 9 Speed Edition or SE, which is the more premium of the two new models. Does it offer as good a price as its predecessors and can it compete with its siblings and power hitters like the new Redmi Note 11 Pro and Moto G71 (Review)? I managed to get my hands on the device, so here are my first impressions.
Starting with the design, there is nothing out of the ordinary here. The Realme has a fairly plain plastic body with a slightly rounded bezel and curved sides on the back. The only real design flair is the protruding metal rectangle on the back that houses the phone’s three cameras and a flash. Realme is offering the 9 5G Speed Edition in Azure Glow and Starry Glow color options – the first one I have is mother-of-pearl with lilac-purple accents that appear when you slide the back panel under a light. The latter appears to be a solid purplish-blue.
No major design flair was applied here, and thankfully there was no unwieldy brand slogan on the back. Judging by previous Realme models and even the color choices, the 9 5G Speed Edition seems pretty bland and even a bit dated. This phone is also relatively chunky, at 8.5mm thick and 199g in weight. Realme says it has reinforced the corners and edges of this phone to reduce the chance of the display breaking on impact, but there is no mention of reinforced glass. Similarly, the design is said to be able to withstand spills, but there is no IP rating.
You get a 6.6-inch Full-HD+ (1080×2412 pixels) display at 144Hz and a fairly large camera hole in the top left corner. The Realme 9 5G Speed Edition gets its name from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G SoC, while its less expensive sibling is powered by the cheaper MediaTek SoC. The battery has a capacity of 5000 mAh and comes with a 30W charger. As the name of this phone suggests, 5G is supported. There are two Nano-SIM slots and a separate microSD card slot. The fingerprint sensor is built into the power button on the right.
The camera specs are somewhat disappointing – you only get a 48MP main camera, a 2MP macro camera, and what Realme calls a “black and white portrait lens”. There’s no ultra-wide-angle camera. There is a 16-megapixel front camera for selfies. Competitors at this price point, including the Realme 9 Pro, seem to have more substantial camera specs, but we’ll see what kind of photo and video quality the Realme 9 5G Speed Edition can deliver when we do a full review.
In terms of software, you get Realme UI 2.0 running on top of Android 11. The box includes a plastic case, a 30W charger, a USB Type-C cable, and a SIM eject pin. The adhesive screen protector was pre-applied to my unit.
“Speed” in Realme 9 5G Speed Edition comes with powerful SoC, 5G support, 144Hz refresh rate and fast charging capability. It looks like this phone will appeal to gamers and anyone who puts performance above all else. However, the camera specs are disappointing and it’s not the prettiest phone in its segment. Gamers may also want stereo sound, which is not available here.
There are many options that offer various balances of specifications for less than Rs. 20,000, and if you’re considering a higher-end option with more RAM, the competition is even fiercer. It should be interesting to see if the performance, battery life, and quality of the camera is enough to attract buyers, so stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for a full review coming soon.