I tested several Xiaomi's last year and each time I came to the conclusion that no other brand could offer such a good price/performance/quality ratio.
At the beginning of 2020, I diversified my portfolio by testing a lot of other brands and I discovered Realme with the Realme 6 which finally offers a credible competition to Xiaomi...but for how long?
Xiaomi comes back with a new generation and my first Xiaomi this year will be the Redmi Note 9s which is positioned as an evolution of the Redmi Note 8 Pro while this one is still selling very well. I'm going to end up wondering if Xiaomi's biggest competitor isn't Xiaomi itself after all.
I test the phones according to a pre-established structure (see below) to provide you with as much information as possible. Unfortunately, this takes a long time. Some tests like network performance tests take several days and for photo tests I sometimes have to wait until the weather is suitable to take pictures in good conditions. I am therefore obliged to publish the tests step by step, so I invite you to come back if the test is not complete at the time of your visit.
How are my tests different from others on the web?
- I usually buy the devices with my own money, so price is just as important as you are! - I keep the devices for at least a few weeks (sometimes more) to see what they are worth in real conditions. - I answer (when possible) your questions to help you decide before you buy - no one pays me to do these reviews, so I'm completely neutral and independent... - My pages are not filled with ads
The list below shows the prices for the Redmi Note 9s from more than 50 sites around the world. If you are not satisfied with any price, you can subscribe to a price alert to be the first to be notified when the price drops.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S (64GB ROM 4GB RAM / 128GB 6GB Snapdragon™ 720) [Teléfono Móvil Versión Glo...
helpThe above links are affiliate links from companies such as Amazon, Gearbest, Aliexpress,... If you appreciate my work, I would be grateful if you could purchase these products through these links. It costs you absolutely nothing but I get a small commission that allows me to buy the material I test. Thank you very much!
30/03/2020 Purchase of Redmi Note 9s on Aliexpress (seller: Xiaomi Spain) 14/04/2020 Phone delivered and unpacking can start
Why this phone?
I mainly test phones sold between 200 and 300€, so I couldn't miss the launch of this new Redmi. Beyond the price aspect, this new Xiaomi comes with a solid proposal that will again push the limits of what you can buy for around 200€.
The Redmi Note 9s has a 6.67-inch screen, which is one of the largest screens in this price range. With this large screen, there is also a 5020 mAh battery, few devices do better. On the performance side it will tickle much more expensive phones.
For once, Xiaomi did not play the card of excess with the camera because the sensor offers 48 million pixels where Xiaomi has already ventured to 108 million on other devices.
The boxes proposed by Xiaomi are not very original, we can see the picture of the camera and the box is quite compact. In the box we find the phone, a charger and its USB cable type C, a flexible semi-transparent case and a small manual. That's what you can find in most of Xiaomi's boxes.
Length : 165.7 Width : 76.7 Thickness : 8.8 Weight : 209 Jack output : Yes USB Type : Type C USB norm : 2.0 Infrared port : Yes
The rest of the configuration is quite similar to what's done on other devices, only the configuration of the side fingerprint sensor has been moved to the very end after configuring the email accounts.
The side fingerprint reader is new to Xiaomi and the configuration of it was no problem, I didn't have to test the thumb in many different positions to finalize the configuration.
I had two crashes during the initial configuration, it didn't block the phone but it doesn't give a great impression.
With each new generation, Redmi smartphones go up a range in terms of finish. The Redmi Note 8 was sober and elegant but didn't stand out much from other phones in this price range. The Redmi Note 9s takes a different direction with a metallic-looking back where blue mixes with green on a fairly reflective surface. The picture will probably give you the impression that the back is made of metal, but it is not, it sinks slightly when pressed. Despite this choice of material, the phone makes a good impression. This is the first time I see this choice of color at Xiaomi, the Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite uses the same kind of material but the color used was more classic. Most phones have a similar size and shape, only the color really differentiates them and this new Redmi does it very well with this metallic effect.
At the top of the phone there are two small holes that are probably used to pick up sound and the infrared port. The loudspeaker is quite large, so this should make it easier to position the ear.
At the bottom is a very classic configuration with an audio jack connector, a USB type C port and a grille for the external speaker.
On the sides it is an old recipe with the SIM drawer on the left and the volume and ignition buttons on the right. The special feature of this new Redmi is the presence of a fingerprint sensor on the power button. This is the third phone that I test with this possibility, a trend seems to set up. I'll come back to this in the biometrics section.
The absence of a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone frees up the back of the phone by providing a virtually uninterrupted surface from end to end. Xiaomi has chosen to place the camera in the middle of the upper part with a block of 4 sensors that stand out quite strongly. It's been a long time that I found that the positioning of the camera at Xiaomi was not ideal, this time it's there, the sensor is in the middle, it's exactly what I wanted. A sensor in this position will reduce the risk of seeing your fingers on the pictures (especially in wide angle) but it will also reduce the effect of offset between what you see on the screen and the position of the camera, the offset will only be horizontal in this configuration.
As I was writing, the sensor comes out quite strongly from the back of the camera, it was already the case with the Redmi Note 7 but this time I find it less disturbing because it doesn't unbalance the phone when I put it somewhere. The protective shell also helps to reduce this effect.
The screen is huge, with its 6.67 inches it is impossible to use it with one hand. The screen takes up 84% of the available space, the edges are still visible but with each generation they get smaller. The borderless experience is currently reserved for high-end phones.
The information below comes from the Device Info HW application. The application provides detailed technical information about the tested phone.
I obtained a score of 274444 points with Antutu v8, this score ranks it again at the same level as Realme 6 and Redmi Note 8 Pro but if you look at the details I still notice some differences.
The score at the processor level (Snapdragon 720G) is surprising, it exceeds the Realme 6 as well as the Redmi Note 8 for a lower price.
Xiaomi generally has a lower memory performance than the competition but this is no longer the case with this Redmi Note 9s, it exceeds the Redmi Note 8 Pro by far.
If I have to summarize what I see here I would say that Xiaomi has managed to raise the bar once again. This Redmi Note 9s is a successor of the Redmi Note 8, it is sold in the same price range but with 59% more performance!
The Redmi Note 9s is not a gamer phone but it offers enough performance to play most games in good conditions.
I got a score of 2492 points with 3DMark, this score puts it more or less at the same level as the Realme 6 and the Redmi Note 8 Pro. With this score, most games will work without problems.
Antutu score : 274444 Antutu CPU : 100612 Antutu GPU : 71242 Antutu UX : 54036 Antutu Mem : 48554 3D Mark Open GL : 2492 3D Mark Vulkan : 2329
Top 10 - performance ranking based on Antutu 1. Poco F2 Pro - 569559 2. Samsung Galaxy S20 - 503905 3. Xiaomi Mi 9t Pro - 430403 4. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5g - 385000 5. Oppo Reno 5g - 375000 6. Meizu 16s - 374190 7. Xiaomi Mi 9 - 372006 8. Sony Xperia 1 - 372000 9. Lg G8s Thinq - 371000 10. Lg V50 Thinq 5g - 370000
Number of smartphones in the ranking:102 Position of this smartphone in the ranking:31/102
Note: this ranking only contains the phones I tested as well as a few others that I added for reference.
Gaming To test the performance in game, I download the mobile PUBG game and evaluate the in-game experience, graphics level and depth of vision. This game is quite demanding and should help you evaluating the performance of a phone.With the score obtained with Antutu, the Redmi Note 9s should be able to run games like PUBG Mobile without any problems.
On the following video you can see that this is indeed the case. The game doesn't stutter, the frame rate is good and the depth of vision is maximum.
Redmi Note 9s covers European 4G frequencies, including support for the B28 700 Mhz for operators such as Free and Bouygues in France.
3G frequencies : B1 (2100), B2 (1900), B4 (1700/2100 AWS A-F), B5 (850), B8 (900) 4G frequencies : B1 (2100), B2 (1900), B3 (1800), B4 (1700/2100 AWS 1), B5 (850), B7 (2600), B8 (900), B20 (800), B28 (700), B38 (TDD 2600), B40 (TDD 2300) Bluetooth : Bluetooth 5.0 LE SAR / head : 0.960 SAR / body : 1 Volte : Yes VoWifi : Yes NFC : No Number measurements : 1860 Average signal : -99.4 Download speed : 150 Upload speed : 60
Choose your country to check if your phone is compatible:
The frequencies displayed below will allow you to see if this phone is compatible with your operator or if you will be able to use it in the country where you are going on vacation.
Signal 4G The ability to pick up the network correctly is an essential element for a phone but it is only very rarely measured. To measure a phone's ability to pick up the network, I perform a large number of measurements on the same cells to be able to compare phones under similar conditions. The signal is measured in dBm, a value of -90dBm indicates a worse signal than -70dBm. These measurements are therefore taken under real conditions and not in a laboratory, they are not scientific but give a good indication of performance.
Network signal sensitivity rating
Average signal (dBm)
Number of measurements:
Xiaomi Mi 9t Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite
Samsung Galaxy A70
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
Xiaomi Mi A3
Huawei Y6 2019
Meizu Note 9
Motorola G8 Power
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
Umidigi S3 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
Samsung Galaxy A21s
Ulefone Armor 7e
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s
Poco F2 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9
Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5g
The Redmi Note 9s is not the best in class for the network, it was already the case for the Redmi Notes 7 and 8, so there is no evolution here. I didn't encounter any problems using it but if you live in an area with low network coverage, this phone is not for you.
I have compared the Redmi Note 9s with its most direct competitor and if there is one point where the Realme is much better than the Redmi it is the ability to pick up the 4G network. The difference is quite obvious and the phones were in strictly identical conditions and I made over 1000 measurements for each device.
Download/Upload speed To test the download speed, I have identified some 4G cells offering good performance where I test all my devices several times to see what download and upload speed they can achieve. Top 10 - speed ranking in download 1. Samsung Galaxy S20 D:351Mbps U: 20Mbps 2. Poco X3 D:232Mbps U: 55Mbps 3. Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5g D:223Mbps U: 52Mbps 4. Poco F2 Pro D:207Mbps U: 53Mbps 5. Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite D:153Mbps U: 68Mbps 6. Xiaomi Mi A3 D:150Mbps U: 60Mbps 7. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s D:150Mbps U: 60Mbps 8. Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite D:149Mbps U: 60Mbps 9. Samsung Galaxy A21s D:147Mbps U: 51Mbps 10. Huawei Y6 2019 D:145Mbps U: 61Mbps
Number of smartphones in the ranking:30 Position of this smartphone in the ranking:7/30
Note: the theoretical maximum speed of a telephone is often limited by the configuration of the mobile network and the congestion of the network at the time of the measurement. So maybe you could get a higher speed on another network
I got a good speed score in 4G with the Redmi Note 9s. In download I got a speed of almost 150 Mbps and in upload I got almost 60 Mbps. Since these values seem to get stuck around 150 and 60, this is probably the maximum tolerated by the network or the maximum speed of the phone.
With such a speed you exceed the speed of all terrestrial VDSL connections.
To test a phone's ability to receive the network properly, I take measurements near my router and then remotely (and always at the same place). This gives me an average in dBm where a value of -90 dBm indicates poorer performance than a value at -30 dBm.
Wifi frequencies : 802.11a, 802.11ac, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11n 5GHz Download speed : 200 Signal / close : -18 Signal / distant : -65
Wifi signal When I measure the signal close to the router I get a signal of -18 dBm, this is simply the best score I've gotten so far.
When I measure the signal at a distance I get a signal of -65 dBm, this is also the best score I've gotten so far.
The Redmi Note 9s exceeds here the performance of the Redmi Note 8 Pro which was already a very good phone for wifi.
Top 10 - wifi sensitivity ranking 1. Poco F2 Pro -11dBm 2. Samsung Galaxy A21s -13dBm 3. Poco X3 -17dBm 4. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s -18dBm 5. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro -19dBm 6. Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite -19dBm 7. Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5g -19dBm 8. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 -19dBm 9. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 -19dBm 10. Redmi 9a -19dBm
Number of smartphones in the ranking:30 Position of this smartphone in the ranking:4/30
Download/Upload speed To test the speed in Wifi, I connect to my router in 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz (if available) and use the Ookla application to measure the speed.I measured a wifi download speed of almost 200 Mbps. With this kind of speed, you will be able to stream in 1080p or play online without any problem.
Top 10 - wifi download speed ranking 1. Samsung Galaxy S20 351Mbps 2. Poco F2 Pro 341Mbps 3. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro 319Mbps 4. Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5g 300Mbps 5. Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite 260Mbps 6. Poco X3 251Mbps 7. Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 250Mbps 8. Umidigi F1 220Mbps 9. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 211Mbps 10. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 207Mbps
Number of smartphones in the ranking:30 Position of this smartphone in the ranking:11/30
Note: I have a 400Mbps line and a modem capable of delivering higher speed, but I can never be sure how much bandwidth is available when doing a test.
To test the quality of the GPS signal I use the Offline Maps application and I make the same train trip in pedestrian mode. Why? In pedestrian mode, the GPS does not artificially correct the signal to stick to the road, it has no markings, so you can see the actual position. I then use an application to measure the accuracy of the signal.
The accuracy test shows that the Redmi Note 9s offers average GPS performance with an accuracy of 3 meters. The Redmi picks up 29 satellites and uses half of them for positioning. This accuracy should be enough to position it correctly in easy conditions but I'm not sure that the number of satellites is sufficient for more difficult areas such as woods or tunnels.
The road test shows that the Redmi Note 9s positions the car correctly without straying too far from the road. I couldn't test the GPS in difficult conditions but it is likely that the result is not as good because of the number of satellites used for positioning.
Number of smartphones in the ranking:5 Position of this smartphone in the ranking:0/5
Note: An accuracy of 3 meters or less can easily be corrected by a good GPS application. Phone performance also plays a role in how fast your display updates, so good accuracy could be compromised by too slow a display.
Capacity : 5020 Fast charge : Yes W max : 18 Range (100% brightness) : 663.00 Range (50% brightness) : 1876.00 Charging time : 224.00 Discharge speed (100%) : 0.15 Discharge score (100%) : 7.57 Discharge speed (50%) : 0.05 Discharge score (50%) : 2.68 Charging speed : 0.45 Charging score : 22.41
From March 2020, I replaced my subjective battery test with a technical test to better measure the real behaviour of the battery. Now I test the autonomy and charging time under absolutely identical conditions. I perform several measurements, so this test alone takes several days during which I cannot use the phone for anything else.
Battery life - methodology To test the battery life, I measure the battery consumption every minute in strictly identical conditions to be able to compare phones and also to allow you to evaluate your phone in the same conditions. I rule out any influence of applications that could interfere with the measurement. The autonomy is not linear, the battery sometimes discharges much faster at the end. This is a frustrating phenomenon but with my measurements, you will know if you need to find a charger quickly.
Battery life The battery of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s has a capacity of 5020 mAh and has discharged from 100% to 1% in 663.00 minutes with 100% brightness, it has discharged from 100% to 1% in 1876.00 minutes with 50% brightness. I obtain in this way an average discharge speed of 0.15% per minute with 100% luminosity and 0.05% per minute with 50% luminosity, the consumption is therefore 7.57 mA per minute with 100% luminosity and 2.68 with 50% luminosity. To be able to compare the efficiency of the phone and its influence on the battery, you have to compare the 7.57 (or 50%) score with that of other smartphones, the figure should be as low as possible.
Charging time - methodology To test the charging time, I always use the same charger with the same cable. I measure the charging time minute by minute to see the evolution of the charge as well as the charging speed. The charging speed of a battery is not linear, it is often faster at the beginning and slower at the end. The charger is compatible with fast charging.
Charging time The battery of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s has a capacity of 5020 mAh and has been charged from 1% to 100% in 224.00 minutes. This gives me an average charging speed of 0.45% per minute and therefore an increase of 22.41 mA per minute. To compare the performance of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s compared to other phones, you should use the 22.41 per minute score, this score should be as high as possible.
Important note: the charging speed is not always linear, the graph below gives you an indication of the battery behaviour.
The following table lists the phones tested with the technical battery test, they are ranked in order of efficiency. A higher battery capacity should logically result in a higher battery life but it is not always the case and it does not give any indication of the efficiency of a phone.
Battery life (minutes)
Battery life (minutes) / 50%
Efficiency Score / 50%
Samsung Galaxy S20
Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5g
Poco F2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy A21s
Motorola G8 Power
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
Ulefone Armor 7e
helpHow to read these figures? The battery capacity is an important element in determining the autonomy of a phone but it is not the only factor. A phone with a large battery may have a shorter battery life if it consumes more power. If I had to take an example from everyday life, I would use the universe of the car. If a car has a large fuel tank, it should be able to drive a longer distance unless its average fuel consumption is higher. The battery efficiency score works the same way, it should be as low as possible and represents the energy consumption of the phone. These differences in efficiency are often related to the brightness of the screen, large bright screens will tend to consume more energy and even if they have a large battery, their range will be shorter.
In summary [battery product="xiaomi-redmi-note-9s" capa="5000" lg="en"] The Redmi Note 9s is equipped with above average battery capacity but with below average energy efficiency. Some phones with lower capacity have equivalent battery life.
It took 221 minutes to charge the battery, the charging speed is linear up to about 80%, the remaining 20% will take longer. Charging speed is above average.
It took 663 minutes to completely empty the battery, I got a much better score with the Motorola G8 Power which has the same battery capacity but lasted 1061 minutes. The difference is partly due to energy efficiency but also to the fact that the power save mode was not engaged by default (unlike the Motorola).
With this level of autonomy and normal use you should be able to last 2 to 3 days if you use the energy saver once you reach 20%.
Photo camera test
To test the quality of photos produced by a phone, I do a technical test (resolution, sharpness, chromatic aberration,...) in studio (identical conditions) to evaluate the technical part objectively. From the second half of 2020, I built my own laboratory to take completely objective technical measurements. I then take pictures in real conditions to see how the camera performs. I then evaluate these photos according to my criteria but I publish the photos so that you can evaluate the result according to your criteria.
Selfie / resolution : 16 Resolution : 48 Sensor : Samsung S5KGM2 Video resolution : 2160p mm wide angle : 4.74mm mm ultra wide angle : 1.65mm
The Redmi Note 9s is equipped with 4 sensors on the back, the main sensor is a Samsung S5KGM2 with 48 million pixels that can be found in other devices such as the Redmi Note 9 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy A51.
This is an evolution of the sensor used in the Redmi Note 8 which used a Samsung S5KGM1, the biggest difference is in the autofocus but I will have to test the camera to see if the difference is important.
The photo application of the Redmi Note 9s is very similar to the one used on the previous models of the brand, the differences are quite subtle. We find the following features: - Photo - 48M - Portrait - Night - Panorama - Pro - Video - Short video - Slow Motion (120 fps, 240 fps, 960 fps)
The zoom controls are always displayed in superimposition of the photo capture area and they are always so difficult to read when the scene of the photo is clear, I regret that Xiaomi persists in this direction. If the icons were filled with a solid color or if they changed color according to the background image, it would make it easier to use.
The most important change (in my opinion) is in the settings where it is no longer possible to choose the resolution of photos and videos, so you can no longer choose to produce videos in 1080p or 4k. The resolution of the videos is not even visible anymore in the details of the videos in the gallery. Unless you transfer the video to your computer, you can't see what resolution you're shooting in.
Photo test / studio First example: ƒ/1.79 1/145 4.74 mm 100 ISO
Exposure: slightly underexposed Sharpness: good Colours: slightly too dark Depth of field: good Distortion: none Chromatic aberration: none Vignetting: none Digital noise: none
The main sensor of the Redmi Note 9s produces a correct result in the studio. The picture is still a bit too dark but this is the case for most phones and usually the pictures are even darker. The sharpness is however very good, the detail of the car's headlights are really visible, the Ford logo is also clearly readable.
Second example: ƒ/2,2 1/311 1,65 mm 100 ISO
Exposure: strongly underexposed Sharpness: medium Colours: too dark Depth of field: good Distortion: none Chromatic aberration: none Vignetting: none Digital noise: none
The Redmi Note 9s has a wide angle sensor with a focal length of 1.65mm which allows you to capture photos with a very wide angle. Not surprisingly, the photo taken with the wide angle is underexposed, it is the same for the vast majority of phones. The quality of the wide angle sensor at Xiaomi is always inferior to the main sensor, so this sensor should only be used in good light conditions.
Third example: ƒ/1.79 1/130 4.74 mm 100 ISO
Exposure: almost correct Sharpness: very good Colours: almost correct Depth of field: good Distortion: none Chromatic aberration: none Vignetting: none Digital noise: none
The zoom function is a digital zoom from the 48 MP version of the picture. The quality of this digital zoom is really good, the phone applies a contour enhancement that doesn't damage the photo, you can even see the dust that has settled on the car hood.
Photo test / sunny First example: ƒ/1.79 1/878 4.74 mm 100 ISO
Exposure: good Sharpness: good Colours: good Depth of field: good Distortion: none Chromatic aberration: none Vignetting: none Digital noise: none
I have tested several phones from the Redmi range and have seen a progression in photo quality with each new generation. Photo quality depends mainly on two factors, the first is the physical sensor on the back of the camera and the second is the processing of the image. The sensor of the Redmi Note 9s hasn't changed much compared to the previous generation but I find that the processing has progressed well. Where Xiaomi tended to push the saturation too far to make the pictures more vivid, the Redmi Note 9s offers a better color balance. The colors are much more natural, the sharpness is good, the dynamics of the photo is overall very good. If I had to criticize the processing, I would say that the colors are slightly too warm but honestly this is quite acceptable.
At the same time I test the Realme 6 which is the most direct competitor of the Redmi Note 9s. I took a picture at the same place with only a few seconds difference.
EXIF: ƒ/1.8 1/776 5.58 mm 101 ISO
The Realme 6 is equipped with a Samsung Bright S5KGW1 sensor, this is the same sensor as the Redmi Note 8 Pro. I found that the pictures on the Redmi Note 8 Pro were too cold and here with the Realme 6, it's the opposite, the colors are warmer. From a purely technical point of view, the two pictures are the same but when you compare them next to each other, the color treatment of the Realme is quite visible. This is a choice made by Realme because I didn't get such warm pictures with the Redmi Note 8 Pro. I prefer the photo of the Redmi Note 9s but everyone will make their own opinion according to their taste.
Second example: ƒ/2,2 1/760 1,65 mm 100 ISO
Exposure: good Sharpness: good Colours: good Depth of field: good Distortion: low Chromatic aberration: none Vignetting: none Digital noise: light
I took a picture in the same place and at the same time with the wide-angle sensor. Wide-angle sensors generally deliver poorer pictures than the main sensor and the light conditions must be good to produce a good result. The light conditions were good for this picture and the result with the wide angle sensor is good too, I'm surprised because I wasn't expecting that. The color processing is more neutral than the main sensor, the sharpness is good whereas it is often a problem on this kind of sensor. There is a slight distortion on the edges and the sky is slightly noisy, these are minor defects. I hadn't yet seen a good wide angle sensor at Xiaomi, we'll have to see if it delivers such a good quality when the light is not so good.
Third example: ƒ/1.79 1/1146 4.74 mm 100 ISO
Exposure: slightly under-exposed Sharpness: good Colours: too dark Depth of field: good Distortion: none Chromatic aberration: none Vignetting: none Digital noise: none
\The zoom provided by the Redmi Note 9s is a digital zoom, so the sensor zooms inside a bigger image to give the impression of getting closer to the subject. Xiaomi usually applies sharpness processing that works quite well for this kind of picture, but this is not the case here. I don't understand what motivated them to make this choice because they strongly reduced the exposure time compared to the photo without zoom (yet it's exactly the same sensor) and the result is not very good. If you look at the EXIF, the zoom uses the same value for the diaphragm and the ISO but the exposure time decreases strongly. I repeated the operation several times in different places with the same result. I hope they will change this setting in an update because here the quality is lower than the previous model.
Here are other pictures taken in the same conditions, they confirm the diagnosis on the sensor. The Redmi Note 9s is able to produce very good pictures and in this price range, it's probably the best. Look at the level of detail in some of the following pictures, especially the flower, it's really not bad at all!
Photo test / cloudy First example: ƒ/1.79 1/1064 4.74 mm 100 ISO
Exposure: underexposed Sharpness: good Colours: too dark Depth of field: good Distortion: none Chromatic aberration: none Vignetting: none Digital noise: none
Like most phones, the Redmi Note 9s produces photos that are too dark when the brightness is less favorable. I tested 3 other cameras at the same time as the Redmi Note 9s, so I was able to take pictures in strictly identical conditions and the exposure problem is visible on each camera. On the other hand, the sharpness is quite good, it should allow to recover the picture by increasing its lighting.
Here are some examples to compare:
Redmi Note 9s vs Umidigi F2
The Umidigi F2 produces a better illuminated photo but the colour processing is not good, the photo is too low in contrast.
Redmi Rating 9s vs Realme 6
The Realme 6 can be considered the closest competitor to the Redmi Note 9s but it does not do better than the Redmi Note 9s in these light conditions. The ground is brighter with the Realme but the sky is darker. The color temperature of the Realme is too warm. Even if the image is less well exposed, the processing of the Redmi Note 9s photo is better, it only lacks brightness while the Realme photo has other defects.
Redmi Note 9s vs Motorola G8 Power
Motorola's main sensor does not compare with Redmi Note 9s.
Redmi Note 9s with GCAM? GCAM is the photo application used by the cameras made by Google (the Pixel range), this application has the reputation of offering better image processing. I tested it on the Redmi Note 9s but it's quite unstable, it crashes regularly but I still managed to take some pictures. Pictures taken with GCAM don't have a signature at the bottom of the picture. You'll notice that GCAM doesn't offer a better result than Xiaomi's photo application.
I haven't yet found a camera in this price range that produces good pictures when the light is not good. You have to use the manual mode to avoid this kind of problem but I doubt that many people take the time to do so. So the Redmi Note 9s is still one of the best cameras in this price range despite under-exposed pictures.
Test photo / night First example: ƒ/1.79 1/15 4.74 mm 14267 ISO
Exposure: good Sharpness: medium, smoothing at the edges Colors: a little too warm Depth of field: good Distortion: none Chromatic aberration: none Vignetting: none Digital noise: none
The Redmi Note 9s produces quite correct photos in night mode, I just find that the smoothing treatment is too pronounced, so the photo loses some detail on some areas. The colors are a bit too warm but it's not too disturbing. The digital noise is almost invisible. The night mode does not allow to change the sensor, this mode is only available on the main sensor.
Despite these positive points, I find that Xiaomi has regressed a bit from the Redmi Note 7 where I had really incredible results in night mode. If I compare the Redmi Note 9s to its most direct competitor (Realme 6), the Redmi wins the battle.
Here is a picture taken by the Realme 6 at around the same time:
As you can see, Redmi may not be perfect but it produces better results than Realme.
I also wanted to push the cork further by testing the night mode proposed by GCAM with the Redmi Note 9s. This application is not stable but when it works, it is able to deliver good results for night photography:
The result is really good. The sharpness is much better than with the default application, the colors are more faithful to reality, the depth of field is not extraordinary but it may be due to a slight movement during the shooting. I had tested GCAM in daylight and I had not obtained better results than with the default application but at night, GCAM produces a very good result.
Second example: ƒ/1.79 1/14 4.74 mm 25600 ISO
Exposure: underexposure Sharpness: medium, smoothing at the edges Colors: a little too warm Depth of field: good Distortion: none Chromatic aberration: none Vignetting: none Digital noise: none
It's the same observation as with the first photo, the treatment applies a too pronounced smoothing which made lose details but the photo is of much better quality than the Realme or the other cameras I tested at the same time (Umidigi F2, Motorola G8 Power). Here too the use of Gcam will improve the situation.
Video stabilization is generally available on mid-range phones but is rarely effective. In the video below, I find that the result is better than what I'm used to seeing in this price range. You can still see a bit of the jerking caused by walking but it is well damped by the stabilization.
Video normale conditionsThe Redmi Note 9s has a 4k mode at 30fps and a 1080p mode at 60fps. By default the 1080p mode is enabled. The following video was filmed in 1080 60fps but YouTube may have taken some liberties for compression.
The quality of the video in daylight is really good, the colors are vivid, the sharpness is good and you can hardly see the changes in exposures where on other phones I see jumps in exposures. The overall video is pretty smooth. The Samsung sensor does a good job.
Slow motion video 960 fps The Redmi Note 9s has an slow motion mode operating at 960 fps. Other Xiaomi's also offer this feature, so it's not new.
The 960 fps mode doesn't shoot continuously, that means you have about a second to shoot something in slow motion, so you have to aim well. You end up with a video of up to 10 seconds. It's a really annoying restriction but with a little bit of coordination you can get interesting results:
Video low light
The video is blurred from beginning to end, I hadn't seen it when I shot it. This means that to be sure to have a sharp video, you have to press the screen to indicate which area should be sharp because the phone might not detect this area on its own. Apart from sharpness, the colours are a bit too warm, the movements are quite fluid and the digital noise is very little visible because the Redmi applies a smoothing treatment. I'll try to make another video later by forcing the sharpness.
To test the quality of the phone's audio output, I connect the device's audio output to a measuring tool, then play sounds on all frequencies and measure the differences between the original sound and the sound produced by the phone. In this way I measure the phone's ability to correctly reproduce all sounds.
Before starting my technical test I do a first subjective listening from the external loudspeaker and then with headphones.
The sound produced by the external loudspeaker is not very powerful, the trebles are quite pronounced and the bass sounds are not deep enough. With headphones, I feel the same lack of volume, in this case it is the treble that lacks sharpness while low frequencies are strong enough.
This Redmi Note 9s is not bad for the music but it is not the best Xiaomi has produced. At Xiaomi, the best smartphone for the sound I could test is the Mi 9T Pro but it's a much more expensive phone, so I compared the Redmi Note 9s with the Redmi Note 8 Pro.
Frequency Response This test is intended to test the device's ability to correctly reproduce all frequencies. The white line in the middle of the graph is the ideal situation and the other colors come from tests on different phones. A deviation from the reference line indicates a deviation from the ideal situation. To see good sound at all frequencies, it is therefore necessary to get as close as possible to the reference line. The Redmi Note 9s offers a frequency reproduction very similar to the Redmi Note 8 Pro except in the high frequencies where the Redmi Note 9s moves away from the reference more quickly. This is exactly what I experienced with my subjective listening through headphones, the reproduction of high frequencies is less good.
Dynamic Range This test is designed to test a phone's ability to play sounds at different volume levels. Here too, the phones must be as close as possible to the reference. Subjective listening revealed that the sound was not very powerful and this is also true in the technical test, the difference with the Redmi Note 8 Pro is quite visible.
Noise Level This test aims to identify if the device under test is able to reproduce sounds without too much noise. A high score indicates a low parasite rate, a lower score indicates a higher presence of parasites. The Redmi Note 9s has no interference problems, but again we can see that it deviates from the norm in the high frequencies.
The Redmi Note 9s is therefore slightly lower in sound than the closest model in the Redmi/Xiaomi range. In terms of sound, Samsung is still in first place with the S10+ and the A70.
Concert recording The purpose of this test is to measure the recording quality of the phone when there is a lot of ambient noise. Since I don't have the opportunity to go to a concert every time I test a phone, I simulate the noise of a concert in a closed environment.The Redmi Note 9s is not the ideal candidate for live recording. It deviates from the reference in low frequency sounds, but this is the case for all phones. On the other hand, it deviates more strongly from the average in the high frequencies or it deviates strongly from the average from 1khz to 10khz. The high frequencies are therefore strongly distorted.
To test the screen, I use a colorimetric probe that measures the color accuracy of a screen, as well as other parameters to see if a screen is able to correctly reproduce an image. I also test the brightness level to determine if the screen will be able to display an image in full sunlight.
Screen size : 6.67 Resolution : 1080 x 2400 Ratio : 20:9 Protection : Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Type : IPS LCD % occupancy : 84 dE white : 3.1 dE red : 1.0 dE green : 1.1 dE blue : 1.2 dE jaune : 1.2 dE cyan : 2.0 dE magenta : 0.7 Contrast : 1763:1 Brightness : 610
Xiaomi generally produces good screens and I realize that every time I test other brands in the same price range, I rarely get similar results. When I started to test the Redmi Note 9s I was surprised to find an incorrect colorimetry and then I remembered that Xiaomi had gotten into the bad habit of configuring their screens to a too high saturation level. This gives the impression that the colors are more punchy but in reality, from a purely technical point of view, these colors are not correct. Fortunately, one click is enough to change the situation, you have to choose the standard colorimetry in the display settings. By making this manipulation, you go from a dE of 6 to a dE of 1.47, it's simply one of the best IPS screens I've ever tested. The eye perceives a color difference from a dE of 3, this Redmi is well below.
Top 10 - ranking of the best screens by colorimetry 1. Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5g dE = 0.73 2. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 dE = 1.2 3. Samsung Galaxy S20 dE = 1.4 4. Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite dE = 1.46 5. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s dE = 1.47 6. Honor 9x dE = 1.5 7. Poco F2 Pro dE = 1.73 8. Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite dE = 1.91 9. Samsung Galaxy S10+ dE = 2.01 10. Xiaomi Mi 9t Pro dE = 2.11
Number of smartphones in the ranking:29 Position of this smartphone in the ranking:5/29
Note: the colorimetric difference is measured in dE. After three, the human eye will perceive a colorimetric difference, so the dE should be the lowest. The tests were all carried out with a colorimetric probe.
Brightness / Contrast The Redmi Note 9s screen is bright enough with the automatic brightness adjustment to be used everywhere, I measured a brightness of almost 500 cd/m² with the brightness set to the maximum. If I simulate a strong light like the sun, the screen rises above 600 cd/m². With this level of brightness, you will be able to use the Redmi Note 9s in full sunlight without any problem. It is one of the brightest screens I have tested in this price range.
In terms of contrast, I measured a maximum contrast of 1763:1, this is a very high value for a screen of this type, this contrast will vary depending on the ambient brightness but with such a level of contrast, the screen of the Redmi Note 9s outperforms most other devices in this price range.
Light Absorption/Reflection The smartphone screen reflect light and sometimes turn them into a real mirror. This mirror effect makes it harder to read.
The absorption index below indicates the percentage of light absorbed by the screen. The readability of a screen is better when the absorption index is high.
% light absorption
Samsung Galaxy S10+
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro
Redmi Note 9s
Motorola G8 Power
Poco F2 Pro
Redmi Note 9
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
Samsung Galaxy S20
Samsung Galaxy A21s
The phones tested have an average absroption rate of54 %
The particularity of the Redmi Note 9s is its fingerprint sensor on the side, this is the first time I test a Xiaomi equipped with this possibility.
Before testing the Redmi, I tested two other phones with this type of fingerprint sensor and I was not convinced because I could never find the right position to unlock the phone and I almost always ended up entering the pin code by hand. The Redmi works much better, the finger positioning is good and the detection is fast.
Even though the Redmi works well with its side fingerprint sensor and even though in theory it's a good idea, in practice I find that the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone is still the most efficient method to unlock a phone.
The Redmi Note 9s is released with MIUI 11, I received an update a few days after the first use of the phone and I upgraded to MIUI 11.0.6
Here is a demo of the different screens available in MIUI 11:
If you've used MIUI before, you'll find your way back. I find that MIUI is getting closer and closer to the Samsung experience, there's not much missing to bring it to the same level.
I appreciated the return of the news feed on the left screen because this screen was reserved for a customization space in the previous version, I didn't find it very useful.
The application organization hasn't changed much, I see that it's no longer possible to uninstall an application from the application icon but it seems to be the case on all recent devices.
What I still miss at Xiaomi is an internal search engine that doesn't go looking for results on the internet. When you have too many applications, a search engine becomes really useful but here you have to go through Google to get results.
Not yet available / tested
Accessories Redmi Note 9s
To better enjoy your experience with your smartphone, I offer links to all kinds of accessories that you might find useful
I assigned a score of 1 to 10 for each test that determines the strengths and weaknesses of a product. I am using 0 for criteria that have not (yet) been tested. A score of 1 to 3 indicates poor performance (and yes, it does), a score of 4 to 6 indicates average performance, a score of 7 to 8 indicates good performance, and a score of 9 and 10 indicates exceptional performance. . The score is calculated based on my measurements and when there are no measurements, it is a subjective opinion based on my experience.
The scores are not static, they change over time because the performance of new products changes and this must be taken into account.
I took more time than usual to test my smartphones because of the COVID containment which reduced the possibilities for my outdoor testing. Although some measurements are missing, I have enough information to draw a conclusion. I was expecting the Redmi to take a place among the top phones in this price range and not surprisingly, it is probably the best device you can buy in this price range. However, not everything is perfect, so you will have to check the different points of the evaluation according to your priorities and expectations in order to make the right choice.
I get a lot of questions about the comparison with the Realme 6. It is probably the most direct competitor of the Redmi Note 9s. If I look at the overall score, the Redmi Note 9s is better on many points, the Realme is not yet able to dethrone the Redmi Note 9s but if you have problems with some of the weak points of the Redmi, the Realme could become your best choice.
The competition is moving forward a little bit and Xiaomi is not alone anymore but Xiaomi's biggest competitor is...Xiaomi! The Redmi Note 9 Pro is coming soon, it's an almost perfect copy of the Redmi Note 9s, the two elements that will distinguish them are the camera and the fast charge. I'm also going to test the Redmi Note 9 Pro, so don't hesitate to check my other test.
Strengths Quality/price/performance ratio Screen Daytime photo and night mode with Gcam Battery
Weaknesses Network performance in low coverage areas
Alternatives to this product
Price Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s
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