Realme has officially announced its latest 9 Pro series in the Philippines with two new models in tow.
We already published our full review of the Realme 9 Pro, which is officially priced at P16,990, or roughly $324 converted, in the country. In our review, we said that the baseline variant “shines in battery endurance and overall performance, while being at least average everywhere else.”
Is the Realme 9 Pro Plus, which retails at P23,990 ($458) for 8GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage a much better option for more money? Read on to find out.
Visually, not much has changed since last year’s release. The Realme 9 Pro Plus still sports a plastic frame with slightly curved back and a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen with a punch hole in the upper-left corner. This time around, though, the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 to shield it against bumps and scratches. Plus, the rear of the phone uses glass for a more premium look and finish.
Speaking of which, the Sunrise Blue variant of the Realme 9 Pro Plus adopts a fluorite-glass material at the back, giving it the ability to shift from a light-blue shade to a pinkish-red color when exposed to sunlight and UV light.
Realme is calling it a Light Shift Design, and it should make the entire lineup stand out versus the competition. Well, most of it, anyway. The Vivo V23 5G we reviewed recently has a similar chameleon-like design quirk, except it features a gold primary color. However, we really can’t say how good it looks in person, as both our review units of the Realme 9 Pro and Realme 9 Pro Plus are of the Aurora Green variety.
The green color variant has a glossy, glittery surface with subtle streaks of darker hues running across the top and bottom of the device and highlighting the lighter middle portion of the rear panel. It’s an attractive, albeit largely understated, handset, and the color-matching sides and camera island are a nice touch. But if you prefer a louder, more eye-catching color option, you should probably check out the Sunrise Blue model.
We found the Realme 9 Pro Plus to be just the right size for one-handed use. Coming in at roughly 180 grams, the weight of the smartphone is also manageable.
The fingerprint reader is embedded into the screen, unlike with the regular Pro model, where a physical fingerprint sensor is mounted on the right side.
Interestingly, the under-display scanner can also measure your heart rate, if you need it to. It’s a neat trick that makes the phone feel more useful, especially to users who frequently engage in physical activity. However, keep in mind that the Realme 9 Pro Plus is not a medical device and should not be used for diagnosis.
Another standout hardware feature is the phone’s stereo speakers. The bottom edge houses the main speaker, which sits alongside a USB-C port and a headphone jack.
The extra speaker channel is cleverly hidden inside the earpiece grill at the top. Realme’s dual-speaker setup is crisp and loud enough to be useful for everything from streaming media to gaming and fielding hands-free voice calls. It includes Dolby Atmos support as well for a more immersive listening experience.
Around the back is where the party is really happening. The Realme 9 Pro Plus boasts a triple-lens setup in a rectangular module with rounded edges. It actually reminds us of Apple’s iPhone 13 family, which is nice to look at, although the individual rings easily collect dust and lint and cause the phone to rock when the device is placed on its back.
The main sensor is 50 megapixels and has optical image stabilization. It’s a Sony IMX 766 1/1.56-inch unit with 1.0µm pixels and a Quad-Bayer filter that merges four adjacent pixels for brighter pictures with more vibrant colors. It’s the same sensor as the one found in the OPPO Find X3 and X5 families, as well as the Xiaomi 12 series and Realme GT2 and GT2 Pro.
The IMX 766 sits behind a six-element, 24mm-equivalent stabilized lens with an f/1.8 aperture. It’s pretty sharp, so you may zoom up to 2x without seeing any degradation in overall image quality. You won’t find a telephoto shooter here, and the 20x digital zoom won’t get the job done.
The secondary camera pairs an 8-megapixel Sony sensor with ultra-wide-angle optics, while the tertiary macro camera is 2 megapixels and offers a fixed focus at 4cm. The ultra-wide shooter also doesn’t have auto-focus. Night mode works on both the primary and secondary cameras.
Above are some pictures we’ve taken with the Realme 9 Pro Plus. Note the colors and contrast preserved by the 50-megapixel sensor. Obviously, the phone can capture bright night shots while retaining a rich level of detail and dynamic range, too.
Up front, you get a 16-megapixel sensor that also uses a Quad-Bayer filter, just like the one on the back of the handset. It outputs 16-megapixel photos, though, instead of 4 megapixels, so low-light shots and dynamic range aren’t strengths in this case. Portrait-style selfies captured on the front camera likewise looked great in daylight and showed satisfying separation between the subject and the background. In some cases, the fake blur was pleasing to look at, too.
Moving to the front, the Realme 9 Pro Plus packs a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen with FHD+ resolution and a tall 20:9 aspect ratio. Always-on features are offered here, to go along with a 90Hz refresh rate, but in terms of panel quality, the Realme 9 Pro Plus is par for the course for its class.
Maxing out at 90Hz at this price point also feels like a bit of a missed opportunity when you have a competent and highly efficient MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G chipset under the hood.
In case you’re not familiar, the Dimensity 920 is a 6nm chip with two Cortex-A78 performance cores operating at 2.5GHz and six Cortex-A55 efficiency cores. The GPU is a quad-core Mali-G68, which is perfectly capable of playing today’s most demanding games smoothly at medium settings. It can likewise push a consistent 90Hz experience when navigating the home screen and scrolling through apps and social media.
Benchmarks. Click on a thumbnail to launch the gallery
However, you won’t be running at 90fps all the time when gaming. Not all games support more than 60 frames per second. Our review unit has struggled to minimize frame drops at the highest frame-rate setting when playing titles that can run at 60fps like Mobile Legends.
The Realme 9 Pro Plus ships with 6GB or 8GB RAM and up to 256GB of UFS 2.2 storage. Ours offers 8GB RAM and 256GB built-in storage.
Similar to a bunch of recently launched smartphones, particularly from the likes of Realme, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi, the device features virtual RAM expansion. This uses memory space from the 128GB storage capacity to provide a temporary performance boost when you’re using a large portion of the phone’s RAM. But remember: Virtual RAM doesn’t actually increase the total physical RAM on any device, and it will only work if you have surplus storage to spare in the first place.
By default, the Realme 9 Pro Plus allocates 3GB of storage to RAM expansion, but you can set aside at least 2GB and as much as 5GB. Adjusting the RAM expansion options will require a restart of your handset.
For improved performance particularly when playing games, you can enable High Performance mode in the system settings, albeit at the expense of higher power consumption. There’s also a new gaming overlay courtesy of Realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12.
This lets you toggle between three performance settings (Low Power, Balanced, and Pro Gamer); activate Game Focus mode, which blocks incoming calls and notifications; and enable the built-in Voice Changer function that now supports the Discord app. Keep in mind, though, that not all games will work with this feature.
The Realme 9 Pro Plus carries a 4,500mAh cell, good enough for a one-and-done battery life with moderate usage that doesn’t involve long gaming sessions or video streams over 5G data. Our unit lasted 13 hours and 14 minutes in the PCMark battery test on 90Hz mode.
Per usual, the phone can be quickly recharged over a USB-C port when the battery runs out. It supports the 60-watt SuperDart standard, allowing us to charge our unit from zero to full in about 50 minutes, which is close to Realme’s advertised figure of 44 minutes. The included charging adapter in the box is rated at 65 watts, a little more than what is supported by the device.
Another year, another solid outing. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, the Realme 9 Pro Plus is a pretty compelling upper-midrange option that offers a smooth Super AMOLED display and strong performance with the upside of 5G and fast charging that can fully replenish the phone’s battery in under an hour. The built-in heart-rate sensor is an interesting addition, too. But the real kicker? The primary rear camera with an excellent Night mode for low-light situations.
If you prefer a more affordable choice, you can opt for the standard Pro model, which has a faster 120Hz LCD display; a bigger, longer-lasting battery; and a similarly attractive aesthetic. In the Philippines, the Realme 9 Pro has a suggested retail price of P16,990 ($324) for 8GB RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. Compared with the Realme 9 Pro Plus, the Realme 9 Pro sacrifices gaming performance as well as screen and image quality, and comes with slower 33-watt charging.
Another notable alternative in the brand’s backyard is the Realme GT Master Edition, which is a fantastic all-around phone with a truly gaming-capable 5G chipset and a unique, suitcase-inspired rear design that is sure to draw envious glances. Locally, the base 8GB/128GB storage variant sold for P18,990 ($363) at launch.
The Realme 9 Pro Plus is available on Lazada and at official stores and partner dealers nationwide.
Realme 9 Pro Plus specs
- AMOLED display, FHD+ resolution, 90Hz refresh rate, 360Hz touch sampling, 1,000 nits peak brightness, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
- 6nm octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 920 processor with 5G
- Mali-G68 MC4 GPU
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB/256GB UFS 2.2 storage
- Triple 50-megapixel main, 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 2-megapixel macro rear cameras
- 16-megapixel front camera
- Under-display fingerprint reader with heart-rate sensor
- 4,500mAh battery with 60-watt USB-C charging
- Realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12
- Color options: Sunrise Blue, Midnight Black, and Aurora Green
Share this Post