Realme has begun launching its latest range of budget smartphones, with the Realme 9i now official and the rest of the set expected to arrive soon.
Specs and renders of the phones have begun leaking, but with contradictory reports when it comes to screen sizes and chipsets, there’s still more we don’t know about the Realme 9, 9 Pro, and 9 Pro+ than there is what we do know.
Here’s all we know so far about the Realme 9 series.
When will the Realme 9 be released?
Realme has already announced the Realme 9i, which is on sale now in India and some other Asian markets.
The company has now confirmed that the 9 Pro series will launch globally, including India and Europe, on 16 February – specifying that it’s the Pro models that will arrive then, so we’re not sure if or when the regular Realme 9 will follow.
This is around the time we expected the introduction of the new handsets, as Realme launched the Realme 8 and Realme 8 Pro in March of 2021, with the Realme 8 5G following shortly afterwards, although it did take some time for the models to arrive in western markets. As with previous releases, it looks unlikely that US customers will be able to buy the new devices except by importing.
We’re also still waiting for the global launch of the Realme GT 2 and GT 2 Pro flagships, which have been unveiled in China but haven’t yet reached anywhere else.
How much will the Realme 9 cost?
We already have official pricing for the Realme 9i in India:
- 4GB + 64GB: ₹13,999 (around £140/$190/€165)
- 6GB + 128GB: ₹15,999 (around £160/$215/€190)
We don’t know much about the pricing of the other models yet – a Realme 9, 9 Pro, and 9 Pro+ are rumoured – but pricing is likely to be slightly higher than the 9i, with a bit of variation between all the models.
What about the Realme 9 specs and design?
Several reports have emerged that the Realme 9 range will feature four models – Realme 9i, 9, 9 Pro and 9 Pro+. Other than the 9i there’s not much known about how they will be equipped, but here’s what we’ve manged to gather together on the various devices.
Let’s start with the only model that’s launched so far, the 9i, which is expected to be the entry-level phone in the range.
The phone’s design is simple, and fairly understated by Realme’s usual standards – no giant logo or racing stripe to be found. It’s available in the blue above, or an even simpler black version.
The Realme 9i has a Snapdragon 680 chipset paired with 4/6GB RAM and 64/128GB storage. The display is a 6.6in FHD+ IPS LCD that can handle refresh rates from 30Hz up to 90Hz.
On the camera side you get a 16Mp selfie camera and a triple rear camera: a 50Mp, f/1.8 main camera with a pair of 2Mp sensors – one macro and the other monochrome.
Finally, you get a 5000mAh battery with support for 33W wired charging. It runs Android 11 out of the box.
Here are the full specs:
- 6.6in FHD+ 90Hz IPS LCD display
- Snapdragon 680
- 6GB RAM
- 128GB storage
- Rear camera:
- 50Mp, f/1.8 main camera
- 2Mp, f/2.4 macro camera
- 2Mp, f/2.4 monochrome camera
- 16Mp, f/2.1 selfie camera
- 5000mAh battery
- 33W charging
- Android 11 with Realme UI 2.0
- 164.4 x 75.7 x 8.4 mm
We haven’t seen much in the way of solid leaks about the regular Realme 9. The most official we’ve seen is an FCC listing for the phone, which curiously claims that the phone is, technically speaking, identical to the Realme 8 5G and so the testing results for that phone continue to apply.
The accompanying images do indeed show a phone that looks essentially identical to the 8 5G, and lists specs that are the same except for the core chipset – a Dimensity 810, instead of 8 5G’s Dimensity 700.
The other specs include a 5000mAh battery, 6.5in display, and a triple camera with a 48Mp main shooter plus two 2Mp sensors – with a 16Mp selfie shooter on the other side.
That info isn’t consistent with a report from The Economic Times in India, which says the new handset could feature a 6.5in Super AMOLED display with an FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080) resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio and 405ppi.
The newspaper says processing will be handled by a MediaTek Helio G95 SoC, aided by 6GB of memory and 64GB of storage. Of course, as with the Realme 8, there are likely to be multiple memory/storage configurations available.
In the optics, we could see a four-lens array, comprised of a 64Mp main camera, joined by an 8Mp ultra-wide, 5Mp macro and 2Mp depth camera. There will also be a 32Mp selfie camera on the front. Here you’ll also find an embedded fingerprint sensor.
It’s not clear if the Economic Times report is incorrect, or if it refers to yet another model – perhaps with a regular Realme 9 that’s different to the Realme 9 5G.
Realme 9 Pro
We’ve heard more about the 9 Pro, which is expected to be a more powerful phone, and is confirmed to feature 5G.
For one thing, we know what it will look like. Realme has revealed images of the the 9 Pro and Pro+ – which are expected to look almost identical – to show off the phone’s design.
This is the hero colour – called ‘Sunrise Blue’ – which features tech that Realme is calling a ‘Light Shift Design’. It sounds similar to the colour-changing glass we’ve already seen this year in the Vivo V23 series, and in this case the blue phone will turn red when exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet light, returning to blue when it’s out of the light.
The phones will also both be thin and light – apparently clocking in at just 7.99mm thick and weighing only 182g.
Previous leaks from OnLeaks and Smartprix had already revealed this design and colour name, and suggest it will also launch in Midnight Black and Aurora Green.
As for specs, the same report claims you can expect the 9 Pro to be powered by a Snapdragon 695 chipset, with 6/8GB RAM and 128GB storage (though another report suggests India will also get a 4GB RAM model).
The display could be a 6.59in AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rate, and a 5000mAh battery will power the phone (the battery spec at least has independently been confirmed by TUV certification). Finally, that rear camera setup should consist of a 64Mp main lens plus 8Mp ultra-wide and a third 2Mp lens.
It’s worth noting that we’ve heard contradictory specs from other sources. According to a report from 91mobiles and tipster Mukul Sharma it will be powered by either the MediaTek Dimensity 810 or Dimensity 920 chipset. There’s debate about whether the display will really be AMOLED or LCD, while a previously leaked sketch instead details a smaller 6.43in AMOLED display – though as we’ll see in a moment, that may be referring to the 9 Pro+.
Realme 9 Pro+
There are similar contradictions when it comes to the 9 Pro+.
We have a few confirmed specs. From Realme itself, we know that the 9 Pro+ will use a MediaTek Dimensity 920 chipset, and the camera will include the 50Mp Sony IMX766 sensor, together with optical image stabilisation (OIS) – the same setup used to great effect in the OnePlus Nord 2, our current favourite mid-range phone.
We also know that the phone will have the ability to measure your heartrate using the display, which is possible since the phone will have an AMOLED screen.
— Madhav Sheth (@MadhavSheth1) February 1, 2022
Beyond that, things get a little less clear.
After publishing the full spec list for the 9 Pro, Smartprix claimed that the sketch design above is actually for the 9 Pro+, to explain the inconsistency. They’ve since doubled down, adding that the Pro+ comes with just a 90Hz display, compared to 120Hz for the Pro. That doesn’t really make sense though – would you really expect the Pro+ to be smaller than the Pro model and have a lower refresh rate?
Smartprix also predicts that the phone will use a 4500mAh battery, and a triple rear camera: 50Mp + 8Mp + 2Mp, with a 16Mp selfie shooter.
Meanwhile 91mobiles predicts the 9 Pro+ will have a 6.5in FHD+ display, with a 5000mAh battery and support for 65W fast charging.
There are also some camera specs listed for the Pro+, with a quad rear camera – though since we now know for sure that the phone has a triple camera, this casts doubt on the rest of the 91mobiles spec sheet.
We’ll know more soon at least. Before the launch, the company has promised to reveal more about the camera in a “24-hour online Camera Lab experience” on 7 February, which should reveal more.
Until then, take a look at our roundups of the best budget Chinese phones and best budget phones that see the rivals that Realme will need to overcome – or the best Realme phones to see what the brand has managed so far.