Xiaomi's Redmi Note 9 series had just started rolling out in India before the country went into lockdown. We did review the Redmi Note 9 Pro, but its more premium sibling, the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max, couldn't get to us in time. That's not all, the very first sale of this device had to be cancelled, and we've even had a GST hike leading to increases in the prices of all variants since they were first announced. India is a cost-sensitive market, so will higher prices and the lockdown dampen buyers' response to this phone, or will there still be excitement? We can finally take our first look at the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max to find out.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is a big smartphone and you will notice it the moment you lay eyes on it. Xiaomi has opted for a big 6.67-inch display with a full-HD+ resolution. We found this screen to be a bit too tall for comfortable single-handed use, as it isn't easy to reach the top. It is an LCD panel with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for protection. The company also claims to have used an anti-oil and anti-fingerprint coating on the top. We could still see a few smudges on the screen despite this. Another thing that will stand out is the hole-punch at the top centre of the display. The Redmi Note 9 Pro (Review) and the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max are the first budget devices from Xiaomi with this feature.
Xiaomi has managed to keep the bezel size down to acceptable levels but the chin is still quite thick. Pick the phone up and you will notice its heft. The device tips the scales at 209g which could be down to the fact that it packs in a massive 5020mAh battery. Xiaomi has curved the back of the phone along the edges which makes it comfortable to hold.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is offered in three colour variants: Glacier White, Interstellar Black, and Aurora Blue. We have the Interstellar Black colour variant with us and it looks blue when light strikes it. The rear panel of the smartphone is super glossy and picks up smudges very easily. Xiaomi does supply a case in the box, which you can use to prevent this.
Just like the Poco X2 (Review), the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max has a fingerprint scanner on the right side, but it is positioned slightly higher than where our thumb rests naturally while holding the device. If you are left-handed, you would find it easier to register your index finger. An IR emitter, which is common on most Xiaomi smartphones, can be found on the top of the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max along with a secondary mic.
At the bottom, the device sports a USB Type-C port, along with a speaker, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the primary microphone. Xiaomi ships a 33W charger in the box which is a good addition. This should help charge the massive battery very quickly. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is a dual-SIM device with two nano-SIM slots as well as a dedicated microSD card slot for storage expansion.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max sports a quad-camera setup at the back consisting of a 64-megapixel primary shooter, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 5-megapixel Macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. These sit in a square module on the rear that protrudes slightly, causing the device to rock when placed on a table.
Now that we have taken a good look at the device itself, let's take a look inside. The first thing that pops out is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC. This is a powerful SoC, and we have already put it through its paces in our review of the Realme 6 Pro (Review). Xiaomi offers the Note 9 Pro Max in three variants: 6GB / 64GB, 6GB / 128GB, and 8GB / 128GB. The base variant now starts at Rs. 16,499 in India, while the top variant is priced at Rs. 19,999.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max runs MIUI 11 on top of Android 10. It comes with a fair number of apps and games preinstalled. We are curious to see if this device will suffer from spammy ads and notifications like we have faced with Xiaomi devices in the past.
This Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and the non-Max model do share a lot of hardware. The primary and selfie cameras are the main distinguishing factors between the two models. Also, the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max supports faster 33W charging and comes with a suitable charger in the box, while the non-Max model has to do with 18W. Camera performance could very well be the only parameter that sets the two models apart. The variants of these two models also overlap in price, so the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max isn't that much more expensive. Should you spend a little extra money for it?
We will be testing the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro Max to see if it can be the best smartphone to go for in the sub-Rs. 20,000 segment. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for the full review.
Is Redmi Note 9 Pro the new best phone under Rs. 15,000? We discussed how you can pick the best one, on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.