Xiaomi launched the Redmi 9 Prime under Rs 10,000 with the MediaTek Helio G80 under the hood.
In this article, we examined the features Xiaomi offers in this smartphone for gamers, as well as the performance of two popular Android games — PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile
The results are certainly impressive, but not without some caveats.
Amidst the few devices Xiaomi launched in India this year, the Note series of course is the most popular, but with the increase in GST rates and supply chain disruptions, we did not get a Note device at the sweet Rs 9,999 price this year. Instead, Xiaomi launched the Redmi 9 Prime to fill the gap.
The Redmi 9 Prime is powered by the MediaTek Helio G80, and comes with 4GB RAM and up to 128GB storage. The chipset is part of the Taiwanese chip maker’s gaming portfolio, and promises good gaming performance. With most mid-range gaming smartphones now becoming expensive, we tested the Redmi 9 Prime to see if this fits the bill for a budget gaming device under Rs 10,000.
For that, we examined the features Xiaomi offers in this smartphone for gamers, as well as the performance of two popular Android games — PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile, using an app called GameBench which gives us intensive data like the frame rate, FPS stability, CPU usage and more, here’s what we found —
Gaming on the Redmi 9 Prime
Like all Xiaomi smartphones launched this year, the Redmi 9 Prime also runs on MIUI 11, with a promised upgrade to MIUI 12 in the coming few months. One good thing about MIUI 11 is the dedicated Gaming Mode called Game Turbo. It’s a default app that houses the games installed in the device. While it stops short of offering gaming profiles for each individual games, the Game Turbo Mode frees up resources when you launch the app, and gets you ready to game. There’s a performance mode that prioritises bandwidth for the game, and enhances the audio output. There’s also an optimisation to keep the phone from overheating while you are gaming, and for the 30 minutes of PUBG Mobile I played, the phone didn’t heat up too much. The Redmi 9 Prime also offers a in-game shortcut strip housing the essential settings like screen-recorder, call and notifications block, etc.
Now that we know what’s on offer for gamers, here’s how well the Redmi 9 Prime can run the popular, graphics-intensive games —
PUBG Mobile on the Redmi 9 Prime can only run at HD graphics with High frame-rates, which means you won’t get the best quality graphics which is offered by mid-range smartphones like the Realme 6 Pro or the Poco X2.
So right from the draw distance, the texture of the grass and trees, and the houses itself appear bare bones, but the gameplay itself is quite smooth. The game ran at 30 FPS with 99 percent stability, which is certainly quite good.
The red flag is in the RAM usage, however. The game eats up around 1GB RAM on an average, and with just 4GB RAM on offer, it’s likely that switching to a messaging app while playing the game will slow it down.
And while the CPU never hits the 2.0GHz mark, which it does when running benchmarks (cheating, are we?), PUBG Mobile makes use of 16% of CPU resources while gaming, with the peak usage hitting up to 39.73%. GameBench cannot record GPU metrics, but that’s likely where the bottleneck comes in, and prevents the phone from cranking up the graphics. After all, there’s only so much that a two-core Mali G52 GPU can do.
Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty: Mobile offers a slightly better experience, although at the cost of poorer graphics. The popular first-person-shooter runs at 59 FPS during a multiplayer match with 99% stability. However, the game itself runs at the lowest possible graphics settings. So all the realistic characters, maps and guns look a little toy-like in the Redmi 9 Prime. Not that it affects gameplay all that much. The response times, aiming and shooting are good enough to rake up the kills.
Interestingly, Call of Duty: Mobile also consumes less RAM in the Redmi 9 Prime, around 950 MB or so. CPU consumption is around 17% on an average, and 28% at its peak while the CPU cores itself hits 1.9GHz at its peak with all cores fired up at the same time.
While there is so much more to look at before giving a verdict, the Redmi 9 Prime at least aces our gaming test with flying colours. Sure, it can’t run games at the highest graphics, but for the price, you at least can play the game smoothly enough. Having said that, smooth gaming performance, with low graphics has been the norm for smartphones under Rs 10,000. So the Redmi 9 Prime is not really special here. Just that, should you choose to buy this smartphone for gaming, you won’t be disappointed.