The 100 euro mobile phone for the patient

The Xiaomi Redmi 9A in the test: Here the Chinese manufacturer offers you a smartphone for around 100 euros. Sure: For the price you have to expect some compromises. But what can the cheap cell phone do? And for whom is it worth it? Our review provides the answers.

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Haptics and design: plastic everywhere

First: The Xiaomi Redmi 9A is surprisingly stylish for an entry-level smartphone. It has a textured and grippy back. A smooth stripe that runs from the camera from top to bottom over the device creates a pretty accent.

But you should be aware that for just under 100 euros you only get a corresponding level of workmanship. No, I couldn’t find any gaps or other defects on the phone. However, the back and frame are made of plastic. Since this material is more prone to scratches than glass, a cover should be used here.

Display: large but pale

A plus point of the cheap mobile phone is the large screen with a diagonal of 6.53 inches. This makes it similar in size to the popular Samsung Galaxy A51 mid-range mobile phone. Surfing the web and watching videos is very convenient. However, you have to accept compromises in terms of the quality of the LCD: The colors look relatively pale, but at least the contrast convinced me more than the equally cheap Huawei P Smart 2020.

The edges around the screen are very narrow, by the way – but the lower edge in particular is slightly wider than on more expensive models. Since the front camera is located in a small recess in the top center, it does not bother us. So there is modern design here for little money.

The lower edge is slightly wider than on more expensive smartphones(© 2020 CURVED)

Technology: The Redmi 9A is for the patient

With a smartphone this cheap, nobody would have expected high performance. And that’s exactly how it is: Regardless of whether you are surfing websites, opening an app or navigating through the settings: you sometimes have to wait a second or two – at least. The slow chipset and 2 GB of RAM are noticeable here. However, there are no stutters in the browser: Once a program has been opened or loaded, you can use it without any problems.

Even games run almost smoothly without stuttering, but they take a long time to load. We tried “Asphalt 8” and “Call of Duty: Mobile”. We couldn’t even download “Asphalt 9” because the Xiaomi Redmi 9A is obviously not compatible. But if you prefer to play less complex mobile games like “Fire Emblem: Heroes”, like me, you won’t have any performance problems here.

The stripe on the left visually enhances the back(© 2020 CURVED)

However, you shouldn’t install many titles: only 32 GB of storage space is available, which fills up quickly. With a handful of apps and three games, we already had 21.8 GB of occupied memory on our test device. After all: If you need more memory, you can insert a microSD card into the Xiaomi Redmi 9A.

Incidentally, the WLAN module also lacks performance: some downloads take a long time. I was able to download almost 2 GB for “Fire Emblem: Heroes” in just 20 minutes. For comparison: The significantly (significantly!) More expensive Galaxy Note 20 Ultra only needed five minutes over the same WLAN network. In practice, however, this should hardly be a problem: YouTube videos start smoothly and without a hitch in HD quality. Even while surfing, I didn’t notice the lack of speed. The whole thing only becomes apparent when you download large amounts of data – and how often do you do that?

One more point for all disoriented readers: The Redmi 9A lacks a gyroscope. For example, on Google Maps, the mobile phone cannot show you in which direction you are currently looking.

Camera in the test: not for amateur photographers

The entry-level smartphone is reduced to the essentials. And this is also shown by the camera, which is more of an accessory than a highlight. There is only a wide-angle lens on the back. And unfortunately it cannot record many details. Photos quickly appear washed out, which is why the Xiaomi Redmi 9A is suitable for snapshots during the day. But if you want to look at them on the big screen or even print them out, you should use another cell phone.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many camera options either(© 2020 CURVED)

If it is darker, the quality of your images is also significantly reduced and the images quickly appear pixelated. The same applies to the front camera: without light, there isn’t much left of you on selfies.

Anyone who takes a photo every now and then to capture a special moment should be fine with it. On the other hand, those who often snap photos with their smartphones will not be happy here. The slightly higher-priced Xiaomi devices offer significantly more quality.

Fingerprint sensor, battery and Co .: What else should be mentioned

There are a few more points that I should mention in this review. For example, the Xiaomi Redmi 9A lacks a fingerprint sensor. To unlock you have to rely on the tried and tested Android methods (for example, code or pattern entry) or use face recognition. The latter method does not work in the dark and is considered to be rather unsafe.

Those who like to listen to music will be happy about the existing headphone connection. The internal speaker is a little less fun: If you watch a YouTube video, the voices are clearly audible and you understand everything.

But the internal speaker is really not suitable for music. I have the whole thing with the sonically very dense and new song “Obey” from “Bring Me The Horizon” tested. I couldn’t hear more than the singing. The instruments combined into such a pulp that all elements of the title disappeared and almost sounded like a noise. It’s a shame, but I expected that.

The battery life should be mentioned positively: the cell phone usually lasts 1.5 days or even longer on one charge. It also hardly loses any energy in standby. Some flagships could also learn something here.

Conclusion to the test of the Xiaomi Redmi 9A: You get what you pay for

You can currently get the Xiaomi Redmi 9A in Germany (depending on the dealer) for 100 to 120 euros. If you really only surf the web every now and then and occasionally use WhatsApp or Google Maps (but then, as mentioned, without the viewing direction display), you get everything you need with your mobile phone. In short: a very affordable smartphone that offers the most important basic functions and brings you to the mobile network.

The Xiaomi Redmi 9A is worth it – if you have few demands(© 2020 CURVED)

If you want to do a little more with your smartphone, you should also spend a little more money. Then you can choose the Redmi Note 8T (to stay with Xiaomi). For a few extra euros there is even the fast Redmi Note 9 Pro with 64 MP camera. And if you’re already thinking about it, it might be worth taking a look at the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite. Especially if you want to buy a mobile phone with a contract, the models are only a few euros apart.

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