Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9 series is making lot of waves with its eye-catching colours and the quad camera setup. If you are willing to spend more, there is a Redmi Note 9 Pro Max (starts at ₹16,499) which offers a superior front and back camera and more RAM and faster charging.
It is competing with the Realme 6 Pro, which starts at ₹17,999 and runs on the same processor.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max has a glass back finish, side-facing finger print sensor and a massive 6.67-inch screen with a punch hole camera on top middle. Though it has a bigger battery and lasts bit longer, at 209g, it feels slightly bulkier than Realme 6 Pro (195g).
The Xiaomi phone’s 6.67-inch display and 2,400 x1,080p resolution puts it is on par with any other mid range phone. What it misses out is the higher refresh rate. It has 60Hz refresh rate, which is lower than the 90Hz refresh rate you get on the Realme 6 Pro. Higher refresh rate means smoother gaming experience. And unlike a year ago, there are loads of games that can take advantage of the 90Hz screen.
The Realme 6 Pro also has two front cameras. There is a 16MP primary camera and wide angle camera for group selfies. This may not be the time for group slefies, but it may come in very handy when things are normal again. Redmi Note Pro Max has a single 32MP front camera.
Both Redmi 9 Pro Max and the Realme 6 Pro runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G octa-core processor, which is designed for gaming and offers higher clock speed. The former offers up to 12GB RAM while with the latter you get up to 8GB RAM. Both offer up to 128GB internal storage.
In terms of everyday work, the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max doesn’t disappoint. It is fast, apps load quickly and we didn’t notice any lags during multi-tasking. The gaming performance is smooth and we were able to play heavy games like PUBG Mobile, at slightly reduced graphics settings, without any hiccups.
Display looks sharp and colours look vibrant enough to make gaming and movie playback enjoyable.
Further, what separates the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max from its sibling is the 64MP camera. It is part of a quad camera setup which includes an 8 MP ultra wide camera, 5 MP macro camera and 2 MP depth camera.
The 64MP camera isn’t active by default and one has to enable in camera interface before taking a photo. Daylight shots from the 64MP camera look well lit and show ample amount of detail too. Colours are not the brightest but don’t feel washed out either. Indoor shots look dull and grainy. Macro camera is impressive and captures well-detailed close-ups but only in well lit conditions. Selfies from the 32MP front camera look sharp and well lit.
Xiaomi always had a bit of an edge over rivals in the software department. Its MIUI looks far more polished and balanced than UIs of other Android phonemakers. But that is no longer the case. Realme has done a good job with the interface on its phones. It UI looks equally well designed and offers lots of cool customisation options too.
Overall, the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is a better bet than the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the slightly higher price tag doesn’t seem misplaced. However, if you compare the Xiaomi phone with the Realme 6 Pro, the balance seems a bit tilted in the latter’s favour on account of screen with higher refresh rate, dual front cameras and lighter form factor.