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Realme 9 Pro and Pro Plus announced with color-changing new design

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Is this going to become a trend?

The “sunrise blue” Realme 9 Pro Plus turns red in sunlight.

Realme has announced the Realme 9 Pro and Pro Plus, two new phones that now sit at the top of its extremely popular mid-range numbered series. We reviewed the 8 Pro last year and found it to be one of the best value phones available anywhere — except the US, of course, where Realme doesn’t have a presence.

The two new 9 Pro phones are big upgrades on the 8 Pro. The physical design is all new, combining thin flat sides with a curved back panel that, at least on the “sunrise blue” model, uses a photochromic layer that changes color under exposure to sunlight. Take the phone outside on a reasonably sunny day and it’ll change from blue to a reddish tint in a matter of seconds. Vivo, which shares the same BBK ownership as Realme, launched a phone with a similar effect earlier this year.

This is the same phone as the one in the first image. It’s blue until you take it outside.

The headline feature on the 9 Pro Plus is its 50-megapixel primary camera, which has optical image stabilization and uses the same Sony IMX766 sensor found in some BBK flagship phones from last year like the OnePlus 9 Pro and the Oppo Find X3 Pro. It’s a large 1/1.56” sensor with 2.0µm pixels, though its performance will of course be affected by how Realme has tuned the software. The main cameras are backed by a 119-degree ultrawide and a macro lens; the non-Plus 9 Pro’s main camera has an unspecified 64-megapixel sensor that doesn’t have OIS and is presumably physically smaller.

The spec differences between the 9 Pro and the 9 Pro Plus are actually quite unusual, because the Plus isn’t necessarily better across the board. The 9 Pro Plus has a 90Hz OLED screen, a MediaTek Dimensity 920 processor, and a 4,500mAh battery that fast-charges at 60W. The 9 Pro, meanwhile, has a 120Hz LCD, a Snapdragon 695 processor, and a 5,000mAh battery with 33W fast charging. The 9 Pro Plus’ OLED screen with an in-display fingerprint sensor is really what marks it out as the more flagship-aping device.

The Realme 9 Pro phones combine curved back panels with flat edges.

Realme hasn’t provided pricing or release information for the 9 Pro and 9 Pro Plus yet. Launch markets are likely to include India and Europe.