Redmi 9C test / review
Published on: 12-09-2020 / Modified: 10-01-2021
I mainly test phones between 200 and 300€ because they offer everything you would expect from a phone and that gives me something interesting to test.
I sometimes make exceptions by buying entry-level phones but so far I have been disappointed. For example, I had tested the Huawei Y6 which was sold for the price of a Redmi Note 8 but couldn't compete with the Xiaomi in any way.
I decided to test the entry level Xiaomi with this Redmi 9C and bought the Redmi 9A which you can find in another article. These two phones are sold for less than 100€ but they offer a price/performance ratio that you won't find in the competition.
I obviously expect the Redmi 9C to come in at the bottom of the performance rankings but I'm curious to see what it has in store and whether Xiaomi will once again have managed to conquer a price segment with the best offer.
Structure of my testsI 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.
Price Redmi 9cThe list below shows the prices for the Redmi 9c 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.
The 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!
Timeline02/09/2020 purchase of the Redmi 9C for 94€ on Edwaybuy.
04/09/2020 I received the phone, so the test can start.
Why this phone?I hadn't yet bought an entry-level Redmi, I was convinced that there was no reason to test them. I changed my mind with the arrival of the Redmi 9C and Redmi 9A as these two phones are comparable to what the competition is doing but they cost much less.
For less than 100€ you can find mainly Chinese phones like Umidigi, Doogee or Cubot. If I add criteria to my selection such as a battery like the Redmi's, a large screen and reasonable performance...there's nothing left!
The Redmi 9C is an entry-level phone, so I don't expect to be surprised by the contents of the box.
The box of the Redmi 9C looks like the boxes of the Redmi Note, the contents are about the same but there is no transparent shell. The usual USB chargers and cables are present.
First configurationI couldn't take a screenshot during the start-up procedure of the Redmi 9C, I had the same problem with the Redmi 9A. I guess this is a common restriction for both phones.
The startup procedure has been standardised on most Xiaomi phones running MIUI 12. It doesn't present any difficulty, restoring the backup might be a bit slower because the phone is slower and it is not compatible with the 5Ghz frequency in wifi.
Xiaomi will try to seduce with its cloud at the end of the procedure, they added a shortcut to register with a Google account, so don't be fooled if you don't need the cloud.
This is the first time I have tested an entry-level Xiaomi phone. I had had the opportunity to test entry-level models from other brands and the finish was the first visible element of the phone's price positioning.
This Redmi 9C surprised me positively. Plastic is ubiquitous but the finishes are good for a phone in this price range.
The screen is quite large (6.53 inches) and takes up 81% of the available space. The borders are visible but no more than a mid-range phone. The front camera is housed in a notch, as was often the case a year or two ago.
The back of the phone uses a ribbed texture that makes the phone look less monotonous. There is also a fingerprint sensor and a photo module with 3 sensors. This module stands out a little but without interfering with the use of the phone.
The rest of the phone has a very classic configuration with the SIM drawer on the left (2 SIM slots + 1 memory card slot), the usual buttons are available on the right, they are clearly visible and well positioned. At the bottom there is a micro USB port, which is a pity because today all phones come out with a USB C port. The phone is also equipped with an audio jack output.
The information below comes from the Device Info HW application. The application provides detailed technical information about the tested phone.I bought the Redmi 9c in a 2Gb / 32Gb version, there is also a 4Gb / 64Gb version.
Buyers of this phone will probably not buy it for its features.
Here is an overview of the features:
CPU / GPU Performance
The Redmi 9c is equipped with a Helio G35 processor, this processor is also found in the Realme C11. It is an entry-level processor that is designed for general telephone use.
For the graphic part, the Redmi 9c is equipped with an IMG PowerVR GE8320 graphic chipset which will allow you to play 720p videos without any problems, this chipset is not designed for mobile PUBG games.
Benchmark Antutu/3DMarkTesting a phone like the Redmi 9c with Antutu doesn't make much sense because this phone was not designed to break performance records.
I got a score of just over 110,000 points with Antutu, which should be enough for everyday use such as surfing the internet, watching some videos and playing some little games.
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.
The Redmi 9C is not a phone designed for gaming, so I didn't expect to be able to play PUBG Mobile in good conditions and yet the result is not that bad.
The loading time of the game was very long, it took me several minutes to get into the game but once in the game, the gaming experience is not too bad. The level of graphics is at a minimum, the animations are not always fluid and sometimes the reaction time was not fast enough but overall the game was playable.
Network performanceThe Redmi 9C supports most European frequencies, so you should be able to use it everywhere.
Signal 4G (before december 2020)
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.
With exactly 1000 measurements, I obtained an average signal of -97.04 dB. It's been a long time since I've tested a Xiaomi that ranked above average.
The Redmi 9c scores well on the network level, it outperforms most of the other Xiaomi I tested this year. I also get a better score than the Samsung Galaxy A21s with which I have an average signal of -97.78.
Signal 4G (from December 2020)
I decided to change the methodology for measuring the network because I noticed that the configuration of the mobile network changes over time. This makes it more difficult to compare phones because the conditions are no longer exactly the same.
To overcome this problem, I set up a device that captures 24 hours a day about ten parameters from the mobile network (ex: cell id, rssi, rsrq, snr, frequency,...). I then place the phone next to the device for 24 to 48 hours taking the same measurements so that I can compare them.
Overview of the phones tested with this methodology
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.
The Redmi 9C is not very fast in 4G but this should not stop you from using the phone. The speed in 4G allows you to surf the internet, watch videos on Youtube and use applications. You probably won't be able to use the phone as a modem because the speed will probably not be fast enough for comfort of use.
Wifi performanceTo 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.
With an average signal of -19 dBm close to the router and -63 dBm remotely, the Redmi 9c offers a good sensitivity to the wifi signal (above average).
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.The Redmi 9C (as well as the Redmi 9A) are only compatible with wifi frequency (2.4Ghz) and unfortunately this affects the download performance.
I measured a little less than 50 Mbps for downloading, this is much less than phones running on 5Ghz but this speed should be enough to watch videos on Youtube.
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 Redmi 9C is equipped with a Mediatek processor which often results in better GPS accuracy. Once again, the Redmi 9C achieves an accuracy level of 2 metres.
However, the low power of the Redmi 9C will be a problem for fast travelers as the phone will have to refresh fast maps and latency may occur.
Battery rangeWith a 5000 mAh battery and a phone that doesn't require a lot of performance, I should have good autonomy. Tests show that this is indeed the case but with a small downside. When the screen is switched on at full power, consumption rises exponentially because with 100% brightness, the Redmi 9c consumes 3 times more energy than at 50%.
This can be seen in the following graph:
The consumption is linear but the battery discharges 3 times faster when the brightness is 100%. With 50% brightness, I obtained more than 32 hours of autonomy, which is an excellent score.
The battery charging time is average for this type of phone. It is not completely linear, the last percentages take longer.
With 32 hours of autonomy in continuous use, you should be able to last 3 to 4 days in regular use without any problem, so the Redmi 9c has a very good autonomy.
Photo camera testTo 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.
HardwareXiaomi did not communicate any information about the photo sensors, so I don't know what type of sensor was used in the Redmi 9c. Looking at the specifications, I couldn't find a similar sensor in the other phones I tested.
The main sensor is a 3.43mm sensor with 13 million pixels. There is no ultra wide angle sensor. This sensor is also used in the Redmi 9a.
The default photo application of the Redmi 9c is the same as in most Xiaomi running MIUI 12. The phone's poor performance is felt when using the photo application as it reacts slower than on other mid-range models. Switching from one mode (e.g. photo to video) to the other will be done with low latency.
Photo test / studio
I was positively surprised by the quality of the photo of the Redmi 9c in the studio. I was expecting a bad result but it is not the case. The photo is a bit underexposed but the sharpness is really good for a phone in this price range. The colours look pretty good too even though the lack of contrast gives the impression that a veil is covering the photo.
Analysis of the colorimetry reveals that the Redmi 9c deviates from the norm mainly on greens and blues. The colorimetric deviations of the other colours are in the average.
If I look at where these colours deviate, I see that green deviates towards yellow, blue deviates towards a lighter blue. Photos with a blue sky should therefore appear with a lighter blue than in reality. The vegetation will probably take on a warmer colouring.
Photo test / sunny
For less than 100€, you can't expect to find a phone capable of producing very good photos...and yet this Redmi 9c is doing quite well!
The technical test of the photo showed that the phone was going to produce blues that were a bit too light and greens that were slipping towards yellow. This can be seen in this photo without it becoming a problem. Apart from these two elements, the colours are well restored. The sharpness is also good.
If I compare the photo with the price with a better phone at the same time, this is what it looks like:
Here we see that the blues are deeper, the green does not slide towards yellow and the colour temperature is generally cooler.
Here are some other pictures taken with the Redmi 9c which confirm the observations:
Photo test / cloudy
The Redmi 9c is put in difficulty when the light decreases because all the vegetation is in an underexposed zone and the sky shows a significant overexposure. The sharpness is correct but with such a difference between the exposure areas, the photo loses a lot of detail.
Test photo / night
Not yet available / tested
The Redmi 9c does not have stabilisation, so shocks are not dampened, but in this price range no phone offers stabilisation.
Video normale conditions
The light conditions were not ideal for the video test but I think the Redmi 9c does really well for a phone under 100€. The sharpness is good, the focus is fast and the movement is not too jerky.
The colours are not always correct and the exposure could be better but again in this price range the result is more than correct.
Video low light
Not yet available / tested
Audio qualityTo 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.
I first tested the Redmi 9C in subjective listening and without headphones, the sound quality of the loudspeaker is not very good. The sound is quite muffled and the highs are exaggerated. Fortunately, the sound is much better when listening with headphones.
The Redmi 9C delivers good sound quality but lacks a little power. In this price range, this is quite normal, I would even say that the sound is technically at the level of phones over 150€.
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.
I compared the Redmi 9C with the Redmi Note 9 and got a very comparable result. They both have a very similar performance with a slight quality stall at around 2khz which becomes more pronounced above 10khz. This can be heard if you are used to listening to music on a good quality device but for the average person I imagine the sound quality will be quite acceptable.
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.
I again compared the Redmi 9C to the Redmi Note 9 and was surprised to see that the Redmi 9C performs better than the Redmi Note 9 when the volume increases. The Redmi 9C offers a more powerful sound than the Redmi Note 9 with better stability across all frequencies. The Redmi Note 9 suffers from a rather obvious power problem.
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 9C has no interference problems and again outperforms the Redmi Note 9 in this test.
Screen qualityTo 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.
The Redmi 9c uses an LCD-type screen that occupies 81% of the space with a resolution of 720x1600. The pixel density is lower than average, so the pixel deviation is slightly visible if you pay attention.
At the colorimetric level I measured a deviation dE of 2.6, this is an excellent score. However, you need to change the display configuration to set the colour temperature back to "standard" in the display settings otherwise the phone will present a poorer colourimetry.
Brightness / Contrast
I measured a luminosity of 380 cd/m² with my probe, which is a fairly average score. The Redmi 9c also has a "sunlight type" parameter to allow a better reading of the screen in full sunlight. This parameter does not give enough brightness to the screen to be perfectly readable in full sun.
I measured a contrast ratio of 1704:1 with my probe, which is an above average score for this type of screen.
The Redmi 9c may be an entry-level phone, but it can compete with more expensive phones like the Samsung Galaxy A21s.
BiometryThe Redmi 9c is equipped with a fingerprint sensor on the back, this sensor works very well but is slower than average due to the poor performance of the phone.
Operating systemThe Redmi 9C runs on MIUI 12 and the experience is not degraded compared to another device using the same operating system. The reaction time is obviously slower than on a faster device but this does not affect the operation of the phone.
Encoutered bugsNot yet available / tested
Accessories Redmi 9c
Compare Redmi 9c with the others
Test / Review conclusionThe Redmi 9C is an entry-level phone that has started to be sold at around €100. For this price, you won't find many phones with a large screen, a large battery, several photo sensors, ... Xiaomi has once again managed to establish itself in a price segment with a proposal that makes sense.
So, yes, the Redmi 9C is not a performance war machine but it is probably not the priority of buyers of this type of phone. It's slower than most phones I've tested but it's not the slowest.
The Redmi 9C should be seen as a lighter version of the Redmi Note 9 which costs around 50€ more and it even allows itself to be better than the Redmi Note 9 in some aspects.
The Redmi is not a "simple" phone as it runs on MIUI 12 like the other Xiaomi phones, it should be seen as a complete smartphone with some concessions such as performance.
4G network sensitivity
MicroUSB port instead of USB-C
Wifi only in 2.4Ghz
Alternatives to this product
Not yet available / tested