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We haven’t seen the ‘Prime’ branding on a Redmi smartphone in a really long time, but now Xiaomi has brought it back with the Redmi 9 Prime. Xiaomi explains that this model has been launched because its Redmi Note 9 series has become more expensive due to the GST hike and Rupee-Dollar fluctuations. The Redmi 9 Prime is priced below the Redmi Note 9 series and starts just below the Rs. 10,000 price point. Has Xiaomi gone overboard with cost-cutting, or does the Redmi 9 Prime offer you good value for money? I review the new Redmi 9 Prime to find out.

 

Redmi 9 Prime design : Functional

The Redmi 9 Prime looks a lot like the Redmi 9, which Xiaomi has launched internationally. The phone sports a 6.53-inch display with a dewdrop notch at the top. I found the bezels around the panel to be acceptable given the price of this smartphone. The phone is thick since it packs a big 5,020mAh battery, and also tips the scales at 198g. Xiaomi has curved the frame on the sides which makes this phone comfortable to hold, but you will notice the weight after using it for a while.

At the top, Xiaomi has placed an IR emitter which can be used to control appliances. This is a common feature on most budget Xiaomi smartphones, and a useful one. There is a 3.5mm audio jack, primary microphone, speaker, and USB Type-C port at the bottom. Xiaomi has positioned the power and volume buttons on the right, and they are easy to reach. The tray on the left has three slots; two for Nano-SIMs and one for a microSD card.

The Redmi 9 Prime has a dewdrop notch at the top of the screen

 

The Redmi 9 Prime has a textured back with a circular patch around the camera module that is smooth. This reminds me of the Poco X2 (Review). The camera module is pill-shaped and is slightly raised from the body. It also houses the fingerprint scanner, which is easy to reach while holding the device. Apart from the fingerprint scanner, the module houses three camera sensors. The fourth sensor is outside the module, positioned along with the LED flash.

Xiaomi includes a case in the box, along with a 10W charger which takes a long time to charge the 5,020mAh battery – more on this in a bit. The Redmi 9 Prime is offered in four colours: Matte Black, Mint Green, Space Blue, and Sunrise Flare. I had a Matte Black unit for this review.

Redmi 9 Prime specifications : New hardware

Xiaomi offers a full-HD+ display on the Redmi 9 Prime, which isn’t very common at this price point. The display also has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection which should help it withstand daily use. Powering the Redmi 9 Prime is the MediaTek Helio G80 SoC, an octa-core processor with two Cortex-A75 cores clocked at 2GHz and six Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.8GHz. This is paired with 4GB of RAM, and you can choose between 64GB and 128GB storage options. The base variant starts at Rs. 9,999 while the higher variant is priced at Rs. 11,999. I had the higher priced one for this review. Interestingly, it costs exactly the same as the base variant of the Redmi Note 9 (Review).

The Redmi 9 Prime runs MIUI 11 on top of Android, and was running the July Android Security patch at the time of this review. The user experience is very similar to what is available on other Xiaomi smartphones. It comes with a fair amount of bloatware preinstalled, such as GetApps, Zili, Rummy King, ShareMe, Mi Credit, and Mi Pay, plus a few games. The phone did not have any apps that are now banned in India.

redmi 9 prime android10 gadgets360 Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime

The Redmi 9 Prime runs MIUI 11 on top of Android 10

 

Some of the software features of the Redmi 9 Prime are clubbed together in the Settings app under Special Features. It has Game Turbo which shows all games installed on the smartphone for easy access. This app lets you set up a performance mode that assigns higher bandwidth priority to the game that’s running, and lets you reduce distractions as well as answer calls on the speaker while gaming. You also get Google’s Digital Wellbeing and parental control tools.

Redmi 9 Prime performance : Big battery, slow charging

The Redmi 9 Prime offers good performance. I did not encounter any lag or slowdowns while using the smartphone. It was quick to load common apps and I could multitask between them very easily. The display is decent but it should have been a little brighter for better outdoor visibility. It has decent viewing angles and you do have the option to tweak the display output to your liking. I found the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner as well as face recognition to be quick.

I ran the usual set of benchmarks to see where the Redmi 9 Prime stands compared to the competition. In AnTuTu, it managed 1,97,012 which is a slightly poorer performance than the similarly priced Realme Narzo 10 (Review) which managed 2,02,637 in the same test. The Redmi 9 Prime scored 356 and 1,327 in Geekbench 5’s single-core and multi-core tests. It also managed 8.2fps and 39fps in GFXBench’s Car Chase and T-Rex benchmarks respectively. It scored 1,722 in 3D Mark Sling Shot.

redmi 9 prime back gadgets360 Redmi 9 Prime Review

The Redmi 9 Prime has a textured back

 

PUBG Mobile ran at the ‘HD’ graphics quality and ‘High’ frame rate without any stutter. However, the phone did get slightly warm after playing a couple of matches – something you should keep in mind if you are planning to buy this phone for playing games on.

The Redmi 9 Prime offers good battery life. It lasted beyond a day and a half with my usage. The big battery also helped the Redmi 9 Prime last for 16 hours, 4 minutes in our HD video loop test. Xiaomi ships a 10W charger in the box which is relatively slow, and only got the Redmi 9 Prime to 19 percent in thirty minutes and to 36 percent in an hour. Charging the phone completely took around three hours. The phone does support 18W fast charging but you will need to find or buy your own charger.

Redmi 9 Prime cameras: Average performer

The Redmi 9 Prime sports a quad-camera setup with a 13-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 5-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. This hardware is acceptable for the lower variant of the Redmi 9 Prime. However, it seems inadequate for the higher variant which competes with the Realme Narzo 10 and the Redmi Note 9, both of which sport 48-megapixel primary cameras.

redmi 9 prime quad camera gadgets360 Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime

The quad-camera setup on the Redmi 9 Prime includes a 13-megapixel primary sensor

 

The camera app on the Realme 9 Prime is pretty basic and easy to use. You get quick toggles for AI, HDR, and filters. It has a Pro Colour toggle which boosts colours in the output. There is a Pro shooting mode as well, which gives you complete control over camera settings. At the front, it has a 13-megapixel selfie shooter.

The Redmi 9 Prime was quick to lock focus and the AI when enabled was quick to recognise scenes. In daylight, the Redmi 9 Prime managed decent shots and got the exposure right, with decent detail. The AI boosted colour slightly when shooting with the primary camera. The wide-angle camera has a lower resolution and the output isn’t boosted. It does offer you a wider field of view but the details aren’t as good.

Redmi 9 Prime Review NDTV Gadgets 360

Redmi 9 Prime daylight camera sample (tap to see full-size image)

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Redmi 9 Prime daylight wide-angle camera sample (tap to see full-size image)

 

For close-ups the camera takes some time to lock focus, and if you aren’t patient, you will get a blurry shot. If you give it time, the phone does manage good results. The Redmi 9 Prime also takes decent portraits but edge detection was strictly average. The Macro mode is hidden away in a sub-menu and is easy to miss. The macro camera lets you get close to a subject and manages sharp output.

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Redmi 9 Prime close-up camera sample (tap to see full-size image)

1597942776 243 Redmi 9 Prime Review NDTV Gadgets 360

Redmi 9 Prime macro camera sample (tap to see full-size image)

I couldn’t find a dedicated Night mode on the Redmi 9 Prime and had to rely on the AI to detect low light and set the camera up. The phone did a good job of keeping noise under control but the output isn’t sharp at night.

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Redmi 9 Prime low-light camera sample (tap to see full-size image)

 

The Redmi 9 Prime managed decent selfies, but the AI seems to boost colours here as well. It can also capture selfie portraits but edge detection isn’t great. In low light, quality takes a hit and you lose out on detail.

1597942776 60 Redmi 9 Prime Review NDTV Gadgets 360

Redmi 9 Prime selfie camera sample (tap to see full-size image)

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Redmi 9 Prime low-light selfie camera sample (tap to see full-size image)

 

Video recording is limited to 1080p on both the primary as well as the selfie cameras. There is no video stabilisation which results in shaky footage.

Verdict

The Redmi 9 Prime was brought to the market to serve the Rs. 10,000 price point since the Redmi Note 9 (Review) series can no longer serve that purpose. The full-HD+ display and the big 5,020mAh battery do work in Xiaomi’s favour, giving this phone an edge over the competition under Rs. 10,000. If you are on a strict budget then you can consider the base variant of the Redmi 9 Prime. However, the higher variant Prime does not offer the same kind of value. The Rs. 11,999 pricing puts it up against the base variant of the Redmi Note 9 which is better equipped, making this variant hard to recommend.


Why are smartphone prices rising in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Xbox Series X restock for Cyber Monday: Where to buy the next-gen gaming system

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Cyber Monday is the next opportunity to score the in-demand Xbox Series X. Here’s when and where to find it at Target, Walmart, Best Buy and Amazon.

Image: Microsoft

Cyber Monday will offer new opportunities to buy the Xbox Series X gaming system at retailers in person and online. Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Walmart and GameStop are some of the key retailers that have been restocking the next-gen gaming console.

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, which costs $500 and looks something like a skyscraper, debuted on Nov. 10 along with the $300 Xbox Series S, but it’s been in such high demand that it’s nearly impossible to snag a unit. Priced at $500, the Series X is the first major Xbox release since the Xbox One in 2013. Gamers are anxious to nab the Xbox Series X, because it’s new with blistering fast performance and load times, and an amazing frame rate. It can run games at 120 frames per second (fps), which is about double what the Xbox One could do. This kind of refresh rate makes games look unbelievably clear and also reduces any chances for motion sickness that some people experience when gaming with lower refresh rates.

When the Xbox Series X debuted, it was offered both in person and online, unlike the PS5, which was only sold online on its first day. But that hasn’t made it any easier to buy an Xbox. 

SEE: Guide to becoming a digital transformation champion (TechRepublic Premium)

Where to buy the Xbox Series X on Cyber Monday

Many retailers offered some stock on Black Friday, but are likely holding back additional restock units for Cyber Monday. This is the time to keep your finger on the refresh button and try to score a unit. Checking at unusual times such as 12:01 am and early in the morning around 4 am and 5 am seem to be fruitful. Because really, who needs sleep when it comes to buying a holiday gift, right?

At Best Buy, the Xbox Series X has been available periodically, and on Nov. 28, there were some units available, but for in-store purchases only. The retailer is also offering various bundles with additional games and accessories, such as one with the Xbox Series X with the Halo Infinite game for $560, or with the Xbox Series X console, an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 3-month membership, a controller and a 1TB SSD Seagate storage expansion card for $783, or another with the Xbox Series X console, a $100 Xbox gift card and the 1TB SSD Seagate storage expansion card for $810, and a bundle with the Xbox Series X console and the Cyberpunk 2077 game for $560. Keep in mind that Best Buy is one of the retailers that likes to restock at midnight. 

On Twitter, some people reported that Walmart offered in-person stock of Xbox and PS5 for people shopping at the store, but it hasn’t been confirmed by Walmart. 

Amazon has offered the Xbox Series X for sale, but it’s the first place many people look, so it’s one of the toughest places to get lucky. 

GameStop has offered the Xbox Series X at regular intervals, and will likely restock on Cyber Monday. GameStop often bundles the Xbox and the PS5 with games and accessories such as headsets, so search for bundles as well as individual units. 

Target is offering online sales and curbside and in-store pickup of the Xbox. Refresh the page frequently to see if your regional stores have available inventory.

This article is being regularly updated with the latest information on Xbox Series X sales.

Also see

  • Raspberry Pi: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
  • Technology in education: The latest products and trends (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
  • How to securely erase hard drives (HDDs) and solid state drives (SSDs) (ZDNet)
  • Gift Guides for Techies (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

  • PS5 restock for Cyber Monday: When and where to buy the next-gen gaming console

    (TechRepublic)

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    Deep Smartphone Sensors-WiFi Fusion for Indoor Positioning and Tracking

    wifi smartphone

    While outdoor navigation services are widespread, there is no reliable and universal service for indoor positioning. A recent approach to tackle this problem has been recently published on arXiv.org. It employs a number of different sensors of a smartphone. Network sensors and observed landmarks allow estimating an absolute position. Then, motion and position sensors, such as accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer, are used to estimate user displacement (an approach known as Pedestrian Dead Reckoning, PDR).

    Image credit: Mohammed Hassan via Pxhere, CC0 Public Domain

    Image credit: Mohammed Hassan via Pxhere, CC0 Public Domain

    A novelty of this paper is applying a deep learning approach to PDR. Convolutional and recurrent networks extract hidden correlations between different sensors, thus allowing them to cope with sensor noise. Moreover, barometer data is used to recognize the floor change. The system outperforms the International Conference on Indoor Positioning and Indoor Navigation challenge winner’s performance by a wide margin.

    We address the indoor localization problem, where the goal is to predict user’s trajectory from the data collected by their smartphone, using inertial sensors such as accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, as well as other environment and network sensors such as barometer and WiFi. Our system implements a deep learning based pedestrian dead reckoning (deep PDR) model that provides a high-rate estimation of the relative position of the user. Using Kalman Filter, we correct the PDR’s drift using WiFi that provides a prediction of the user’s absolute position each time a WiFi scan is received. Finally, we adjust Kalman Filter results with a map-free projection method that takes into account the physical constraints of the environment (corridors, doors, etc.) and projects the prediction on the possible walkable paths. We test our pipeline on IPIN’19 Indoor Localization challenge dataset and demonstrate that it improves the winner’s results by 20% using the challenge evaluation protocol.

    Link: https://arxiv.org/abs/2011.10799




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    Moto G9 Plus Spotted on BIS Certification Site, Hints at India Launch: Report

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    Moto G9 Plus has reportedly been spotted on Indian BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) certification website, hinting at a future launch in the country. The phone has already gone official in Brazil in September, and since then there has been no clarity on whether it will be launched in the Indian market or not. However, the fresh BIS listing raises hopes of an India launch in the future. The company has already launched Moto G9 model in the country, and Moto G9 Power is tipped to launch in the second week of December.

    MySmartPrice spotted the Moto G9 Plus listing on BIS site. The phone has been listed with model numbers XT2083-7 and XT2087-3 that are reportedly associated with Moto G9 Plus. There is no clarity on when the phone will be launched in the country, but the BIS certification does offer hope of its arrival in the imminent future. If we were to speculate, the phone could arrive alongside Moto G9 Power that is expected to launch in India sometime in the second week of December.

    Moto G9 Plus was launched in Brazil with a price tag of BRL 2,249.10 (roughly Rs. 31,000) for the lone 4GB + 128GB storage model. It should arrive in India within a similar price range. The phone was launched in the Brazilian market in Rose Gold and Blue Indigo colour options.

    Moto G9 Plus specifications

    As for specifications, we already know that Moto G9 Plus runs on Android 10 software and features a 6.8-inch full-HD+ Max Vision display. It is powered by the 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC, paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

    For photography, Moto G9 Plus has a quad rear camera setup that includes a 64-megapixel primary snapper, an 8-megapixel 118-degrees ultra-wide-angle shooter, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. At the front, there is a 16-megapixel selfie shooter.

    Moto G9 Plus has a 5,000mAh battery with 30W TurboPower fast charging support. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, GPS, USB Type-C, and a 3.5mm audio jack. There is a side-mounted fingerprint sensor on board.


    Mi TV Stick vs Fire TV Stick Lite vs Mi Box 4K vs Fire TV Stick 4K: Which is the best budget streaming device for TVs in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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