If you are looking for a cheap entry-level smartphone at Xiaomi, you will find three of them with Redmi 9A, Redmi 9C and Redmi 9. We explain the differences.
There are three Redmi 9 models. Obviously, Xiaomi doesn’t want prospective buyers to easily understand what which device can do or which is the best. There is no other explanation for the naming of the smartphones. Because while other providers follow a largely logical nomenclature, Xiaomi seems to use an inscrutable jumble of additional letters.
At Xiaomi, Redmi means cheap – so far, so good. But why a device without an additional letter is better than a model with remains a secret of the manufacturer. Especially since the Redmi Note 9 models are exactly the other way around, as we have already discussed in our article Differences: Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 vs Note 9S vs Note 9 Pro.
Visually, the biggest difference is the placement of the camera (s) on the back. With the Redmi 9A, the manufacturer arranges the camera unit upright in the upper left corner, with the 9C it is also top left, but square, and with the Redmi 9 (test report) it is again elongated, but in the middle in the upper area with sensors and LED flash next to it. The rest is largely identical: plastic instead of glass for the back, which is perfectly fine in this price range, teardrop notch on the front and similar dimensions and weight.
The first big difference is with the display. Although the panel size of 6.53 inches diagonally is the same in all three models, only the Redmi 9 without additional features offers Full HD + (2340 × 1080 pixels) and thus comes to almost 400 pixels per inch ( PPI). The first two models with only 1600 × 720 pixels are barely more than 260 PPI. Otherwise, the Redmi 9 has Gorilla Glass 3, while the manufacturer is silent on the material of the other two models. The rest is the same.
With the main camera, all three models go different ways. The cheapest model, the Redmi 9A, offers just a single lens with 13 megapixels and f / 2.2 aperture. The Redmi 9C adds a macro lens and depth sensor with 5 and 2 megapixels and the Redmi 9 also offers a wide-angle lens with 8 megapixels and f / 2.2 aperture. This makes the most expensive model, at least on paper, the most universally applicable. This also works quite well in practice, with decent lighting conditions the image quality in the test in relation to the price is convincing across the board. In low light and for videos, interested parties should prefer to use high-priced models – this should apply to all three Redmi 9 devices. When it comes to the front camera, the Redmi 9 is also ahead. The cheaper models only offer 5 megapixels, the 9 series has 8.
Xiaomi also staggered the three Redmi 9 models according to price when it came to the drive. So the 9A comes with a Mediatek Helio G25, the Redmi 9C with a Helio G35 and the Redmi 9 with a Helio G80. In the Antutu benchmark, the chipset in the Redmi 9 is around twice as strong as the G25 in the 9A model, and the amount of RAM is just as important. Because while the Redmi 9A and 9C are only available with a maximum of 2 GB, the most expensive Redmi 9 model is offered with 3 and 4 GB of RAM. In the longer term, this should offer noticeable advantages in everyday life, as the Redmi 9 does not reach its limits so quickly. This also applies to the internal memory. All three smartphones are available with 32 GB, and a version of the Redmi 9 with 64 GB is also available.
All versions accept micro SD cards with up to 512 GB. Apart from the chipset and memory, the lack of NFC in the Redmi 9A and 9C is the biggest difference – if you want to make contactless payments with your smartphone, you can’t avoid the Redmi 9. Xiaomi also saves on security in the cheapest model: It is the only device in this comparison that does not have a fingerprint sensor. On the Redmi 9C and Redmi 9, it is installed on the back. All three models come from the factory with Android 10 and MIUI 11.
At first glance, there is a tie when it comes to the battery: All three Redmi 9 models have a 5020 mAh power pack. Nevertheless, the runtimes are likely to vary due to the different display resolutions and chipsets (all 12 nm strong) – we guess the Redmi 9 (test report) brings up the rear, but due to the lack of test device availability of the two cheapest Redmi 9 models, we cannot substantiate this assumption. However, the Redmi 9 showed a solid value in the test report with around 9 hours of continuous use, so the other two models should do even better. There is a difference in the loading speed. Although all three models come to customers with a 10-watt charger, the charging time of the Redmi 9 can be shortened with a charger with at least 18 watts.
Among the Redmi Note 9 models, we recommended the medium-sized model, the Redmi Note 9S, in our comparison article because, in our opinion, it offers the best price-performance ratio. This is different for the Redmi 9 smartphones in this article, here for us the most expensive model, the Redmi 9 (test report), is clearly number one. Because it is the only one of the three smartphones to offer a sharp display, the most universal camera, the fastest chipset with the largest memory, the largest internal memory and NFC. Even with the battery, there is a small advantage, at least in terms of charging speed. All of this makes the Redmi 9 the best of the three Redmi 9 models – especially since it is not more expensive than the hard-to-get Redmi 9C in the small memory variant.
If you are looking for alternatives, you will find it in our guide: The ten best smartphones up to 200 euros. It gets even cheaper in our article So many smartphones are available up to 100 euros.