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realme 9 Pro+ Unboxing, First Impressions, Camera Samples

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The Philippines' top mobile player realme recently announced that the company will soon introduce its first two major smartphones of the year in the country—the 9 Pro series. 
Meet realme 9 Pro+

On top of that line is the realme 9 Pro+, the first of the company for its "so-called" number series with a  "Pro+" in its name. This suggests that the handset has "extras" coming from the realme 9 Pro.

Near-complete package!

Basically, it features a higher-end display with stronger protection, a faster MediaTek chip, more storage, speedier charging speeds, and a more powerful primary camera.

In particular, the realme 9 Pro+ uses a 6.4-inch Gorilla Glass 5 protected AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and FHD+ resolution, 2.5GHz 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 920 octa-core processor, 256GB UFS 2.2 expandable storage, 60W SuperDart Charge, and a flagship-level 50MP f/1.8 Sony IMX766 main sensor with PDAF and OIS.

Luckily, we were fortunate enough to test the units ahead of launch. We do not know its pricing yet, but here's what we think about it so far.


Unboxing/Accessories

Everything inside the box of realme 9 Pro+
Everything inside the box of realme 9 Pro+

Similar to other realme smartphones, the realme 9 Pro+ arrived in a bright yellow box. But, it is slightly revamped with a dark line/accent at the bottom and different text placements. At the back of the box are some of the regulatory information on key features of the phone.

Anyway, let's check what you will find inside. Upon opening the box, you will be greeted by a smaller carton box containing a FREE translucent TPU flexible case, SIM ejector tool, and paper documentation.

After that, you will find the phone itself. Upon closer inspection of its display, you will see that it has a pre-installed screen protector.

Underneath, it has a USB-A to USB-C data/charging cable and a FREE USB 60W SuperDart power brick.

Its inclusion of a fast charger is very much welcome as unlike other mobile makers, realme won't charge you extra for the power brick.

There are no FREE earphones with a microphone though. Otherwise, this is a near-complete package.

Build Quality/Design

realme 9 Pro+ in Aurora Green

One of the things that makes the realme 9 Pro+ more premium than the regular realme 9 Pro is its use of a real glass back cover instead of glasstic.


Gorilla Glass 5 in front!

The material found on the camera island is also glass-like, the frame is metal with chamfered edges, and the front panel is protected by a 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 5. We are used to not seeing glass protections in mid-rangers. So, this is a welcome addition.
SIM tray slot
SIM tray slot

The build of this device is solid and will likely last with proper care. One nitpick, it has no mention of water resistance. Even the SIM card tray has no rubber gasket for some sort of protection against water splashes. This is a feature we wish the device have.

Design-wise, it is aesthetically great at the back. The handset features a 3D curved glass material at the back available in Sunrise Blue and Aurora Green colorways.

The unit that we have is the Aurora Green version with a gradient color from dark green to lighter shades of green. It also has a glittery finish that some may like and some may don't like.

The result is it made the device wobbly when you tap it on the corners when placed on a flat surface.

Here in the Philippines, the device is also available in Sunrise Blue. We haven't seen this device in person yet, but the company highlights that it is using the new Light Shift Design. The company said that it changes color from light blue to red when exposed to sunlight—similar to the sky from sunrise.

At the back, you will also find the glass-like rectangular island to house its triple camera configuration and the LED flash. To nitpick, it still has an extra hump for the camera lenses. Personally, it would have looked sleeker if the camera sensors are flat to the camera island.

My only concern is its back is a bit prone to fingerprint smudges. Thankfully, it has a case included in the package so you won't need to wipe the device all the time.

Surprisingly, the device is not slippery to hold even if it has a glossy smooth finish.
Punch-hole display
Punch-hole display

In the front, the device is using a 6.4-inch large AMOLED type display. It has a punch-hole on the upper-left corner to lessen the bezels and increase the screen-to-body ratio at 90.8 percent. It is 2.5D curved as well.

Only the chin bezel is a bit thicker than what we wanted. realme did not improve its bezels coming from the realme 8 Pro. This is one of its few downsides that we can't help but notice since most competing smartphones are better in this aspect.

The top of the display shows the earspeaker that doubles as the secondary loudspeaker. Also, this device also has a fingerprint scanner on the bottom portion of the display.

By the way, this display is bright, vibrant, and smooth due to its use of an AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate.
Top and bottom
Top and bottom

On the top, you will see it has the first microphone hole. Underneath, you will find a 3.5mm headphone jack slot, another microphone hole, USB-C reversible port, and the down-firing speaker. Together with the earspeaker/loudspeaker on top of the display, it'll provide a stereo sound experience.
Left and right
Left and right

On the left, you will find the pinhole access to the hybrid SIM card tray together with the volume up and down keys. On the right side, there is one button for the power key.

The handset measures 160.2 x 73.3 mm making it not that big for a device with a large display and pretty slim in general at 7.99 mm.

At 182 grams, it has enough heft to make the device not too light or too heavy. It is generally comfortable to hold as well.
The powerful  50MP main cam alongside the two other cameras

For cameras, the handset banners the massive 50MP f/1.8 Sony IMX766 sensor. At 1/1.56-inch, this sensor size is bigger than several camera sensors found on more expensive smartphones. In comparison, this is larger than the 1/1.9-inch 12MP main cam of the regular iPhone 13.

50MP flagship cam on a mid-range smartphone!

The benefit of a bigger sensor is it will let more light in for better low light performance. Moreover, IMX766 is a high-end camera sensor with plenty of features to improve focus, colors, and overall picture quality of your shots. realme even paired this with optical image stabilization for less shaky videos.

The other cameras that realme included include an 8MP f/2.2 119-degree ultra-wide-angle with EIS and a 2MP f/2.4 camera for macro shots. Lastly, it has an LED flash.

It also has plenty of camera tricks from different Portrait effects, Nightscape, Street Photography 2.0 with Smart Long Exposures, Ultra Nightscape video, and many more.

Anyway, here are the first few shots we took using this handset.

First Camera Samples

Daylight
Daylight
Daylight ultra-wide
Daylight ultra-wide

As expected, it won't have any issues in daylight shots. It is crisp with hardly noticeable noise and vibrant colors. All our initial daylight shots looked great and properly exposed. Even the ultra-wide shot is not bad despite only using an 8MP shooter. 
My only gripe is its AI might oversaturate the shots a little on some occasions.
Well-lit 2x and 3x zoom

In a well-lit indoor environment, we were able to get highly detailed shots even when you zoom up to 3x. Exposure might be bit brighter than usual due to its large sensor size.
Indoor 1x
Indoor 1x
Indoor 2x
Indoor 2x

In an indoor scene with slightly dimmer lighting, this is where the shoots will look the most natural so far. Exposure, colors, and 
Low light 1
Low light 1
Low light 2

Our first few shots in the dark also turned out to be very impressive. The shots we took are crisp with minimal noise and respectable range. But, it isn't too bright to the point where the Night images will look like day shots.
Selfie indoor sample
Selfie indoor sample

For selfies, it uses a 16MP snapper with a bit of beautification and skin whitening by default. We like that it takes crisp-looking images and is loaded with plenty of modes that could help its users take Portrait shots and even bright selfies in the dark.

For videos, it records up to 4K in quality. It even has OIS and Nightscape for videos that we are excited to try soon.

realme 9 Pro+ Specs

Display: 6.4-inch Gorilla Glass 5 protected Super AMOLED screen w/ 90Hz refresh rate, FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 411 ppi
CPU: 2.5GHz 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 920 octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-G68 MC4 GPU
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
ROM: 256GB UFS 2.2 expandable storage via microSD card slot up to 256GB
Back Camera: 50MP f/1.8 Sony IMX766 w/ PDAF, OIS + 8MP f/2.2 119-degree ultra-wide-angle w/ EIS + 2MP f/2.4 4cm macro + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16MP f/2.4
Battery: 4,500mAh w/ 60W SuperDart Charge
OS: Android 12 w/ reaIme UI 3.0
Connectivity: WiFi 6, 5G SA/NSA, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.2, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIM (nano)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor w/ heart rate monitor, Dolby Atmos Dual Stereo Speakers, Hi-Res Audio, X-axis linear motor, Vapor Chamber Cooling System, USB-C, Colors: Sunrise Blue, Aurora Green
Dimensions: 160.2 x 73.3 x 7.99 mm
Weight: 182 g
Price: PHP 23,990

As of the moment

The punch-hole to house the selfie cam
The punch-hole to house the selfie cam

This is easily the most capable realme number series smartphone that we ever tested yet.

We have very few complaints with its construction, the cameras are looking to be formidable for the expected price, the AMOLED screen is smooth, and the performance is generally smooth.

The Dimensity 920 is a reasonably fast and power-efficient chip so far. The charging is also fast and it barely gets hot when playing CODM.

We also like that the unit we are testing was updated to realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12 recently.

What do you guys think?
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