108MP Samsung HM6 sensor introduced on Realme 9 phone series

Realme 9 series images
(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Realme’s new 9 series may be affordable, but it focuses squarely on imaging. We've already tested the excellent Realme 9 Pro Plus, with its Oppo Find X3 Pro-matching camera sensor. 

Now the Realme 9 is official, loaded up with a new 108MP sensor – the Samsung HM6. The Realme 9 uses ‘9 Sum Pixel Binning’, which we’ve seen a variation of before, but seldom at the Realme 9’s price point. 

• These are the best camera phones right now

The Realme 9 launches alongside the Realme 9 5G, an alternative option with a less headline-grabbing 50MP sensor, but a superior processor and nippy 5G data speeds. With both phones costing £249 (approx $304 / AU$444), the choice is yours – speed or specs? 

Alongside the phones, Realme also introduces its first tablet to launch in the West, the Realme Pad Mini, a low-cost, metal slate. 

Realme 9: 8GB 128GB

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

The Realme 9’s design features six nanolayers to create a zingy looking wavy pattern set against a shiny plastic backing. Looking something like a toffee penny (one for old school candy fans), at just 7.99mm thin, the phone’s slender, and at 178g, it’s also one of the lightest around, despite its ample 5000mAh battery.

Also noteworthy is the 6.4-inch 90Hz Super AMOLED display, protected by Gorilla Glass and getting as bright as 1000 nits – and there’s even an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Powered by a Snapdragon 680, the phone’s 6nm processor should match up to flagships a couple of years old, helping it handle those massive 108MP images. With dynamic RAM, the phone can also jump from the pre-installed 8GB to 13GB with ease.

The Realme 9's 5000mAh battery is massive, and it charges at 33W – around as fast as Sony Xperia 1 III. And just like Sony’s flagship, Realme's phone also sports a headphone jack.

Realme 9 5G

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

There are a few things that separate the Realme 9 from the Realme 9 5G, but the first clue is in the name. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, the 5G option's got cutting-edge 5G connectivity and dual-SIM support.

The move from MediaTek to Qualcomm for its 5G offering shifts focus away from value, and towards brand name and performance, and with 4GB RAM and up to an additional 3GB of dynamic RAM, the phone should be well optimized for 2D and 3D games, as well as multi-tasking.

Available in Stargaze White and Meteor Black, the Realme 9 5G is 8.5mm thin and weighs 191g. Despite its superior chip and identical price, the 5g phone is actually technically inferior to the vanilla Realme 9 in a few key areas. 

There’s a side-mounted fingerprint scanner (versus an in-display scanner on the standard Realme 9). There’s also less storage in the 9 5G, starting at 64GB versus 128GB, and the camera is a 50MP Samsung JN1 sensor. It also misses out on an ultra-wide camera, instead, featuring a 4cm macro camera which is fixed-focus, and a 16MP front camera.

Realme Pad Mini

As for the Realme Pad Mini, this HD tab enjoys a 7.59mm thin profile, which makes it one of the thinnest tablets in its price range. It also boasts a high-resolution 8MP rear camera that captures 1080p video, and a stereo dual speaker setup.

Powered by a Unisoc T616 processor, it won’t compete with top-end chips, however, will launch with a €179.99 ($220/£147) price, which reflects its affordable positioning.

Packing up to 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, as well as microSD card expansion, the Realme Pad Mini is an interesting mix of high-resolution imaging and affordability.

Read more: 

Best 5G phones
Best budget camera phones
Best tablets for photo editing

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Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is a freelance technology journalist and content creator with a number of specialisms. He started his career at Canon Europe, before joining Phone Arena and Recombu as a tech writer and editor. From there, he headed up and runs Tech[edit], a technology YouTube channel, and has worked alongside this role at Future as a Senior Producer, sharpening his considerable video production skills. 

His technical expertise has been called on numerous times by mainstream media, with appearances and interviews on outlets like Sky News, and he provides Digital Camera World with insight and reviews on camera phones, video editing software and laptops, on-camera monitors, camera sliders, microphones and much more.