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Mione Joy 9 Review: BUBU Delivered as Expected

Mione Uganda sent us the Mione Joy 9 to review, and from our first impression, I have to say BUBU delivered as expected.

Story Highlights
  • The Mione Joy 9 is a big step towards supporting the government’s vision of empowering millions of Ugandans to embrace technology.
  • The Mione Joy 9 is a decent phone, the UI is clean with no bloatware, the performance is good, the photos and videos are decent, and the battery on a single charge at least it is able to take you throughout the day.
  • The Mione Joy 9 is priced at UGX399,000.
  • Hon. David Bahati urged Ugandans to embrace Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) and Buy Africa Build Africa (BABA) by buying the Mione smartphones.

Mione a mobile phone manufacturer with its headquarters in Dubai, UAE opened an assembling plant in Mbale City, Uganda — and they have managed to assemble their first-ever two smartphones, the Mione U1 and Mione Joy 9 — which were officially launched in the market last month by the Minister of ICT and National Guidance; Hon. Chris Baryomunsi.

Not only have they assembled smartphones, but Mione has also assembled feature phones, and according to their Brand Representative in Uganda; Mr. Ben Yu, they have sold over 500,000 feature phones.

While we managed to witness the launch of these assembled Mione smartphones in Uganda, the company early this month sent us, the Mione Joy 9 to review, and from our first impression, I have to say BUBU delivered as expected.

Price and specifications

The phone is priced at UGX399,000 and is available at all Mione outlets and authorized mobile phone outlets across Uganda, ensuring easy accessibility for interested buyers.

  • Body: 76 x 164.5 x 8.95mm, 190g; plastic back, plastic frame.
  • Display: 6.6-inch HD+, 90Hz, 720 x 1600px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 24-bit.
  • SoC and Processor: Unisoc Tiger T606 (12nm): 4x 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A55, 4x 1.8 GHz ARM Cortex-A55, 8 Cores
  • Memory: 128GB + 8GB RAM; with dedicated slot: microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC.
  • OS/Software: Android 13 coupled with dido OS.
  • Rear camera: 50 MP (primary camera) + VGA AI Camera.
  • Front camera: 16 MP.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 1080p@30fps; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
  • Battery: 5,000mAh; 18W wired.
  • Connectivity: 4G; Dual SIM; Wi-Fi 5; Bluetooth 5; 3.5mm earphone jack.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); stereo speaker.

Build, Design, and Display

Like so many phones we have reviewed, and those we have seen on the market, when it comes to building, designing, and displaying, the difference is minimal — nothing really out of the ordinary. The phone is big and thick, that we have to admit. Looking at it from behind, it has this iPhone “look” finish — the color finish in black and the trio camera.

The Mione Joy 9 has a plastic finish on the frames and at the back (you won’t need to worry about smudges or fingerprints you will have to clean every single time) except for the front panel — it’s glass but not Gorilla Glass. Design-wise, you have the volume and power buttons on the right, the power button also acts as the fingerprint sensor which is convenient enough — it opens the phone print fast. On the left, is the card tray that houses the dual nano sim cards, and a microSD card for users that wish to expand their storage. At the bottom, a 3.5mm earphone port, a USB Type-C port, a microphone, and a single mono-speaker grille. The speaker isn’t that great considering if you’re a person that loves base, so you would opt to use the earphones that come with the phone which also don’t do much, but they still get the work done.

Mione Joy 9 bottom panel has the USB Type-C port, 3.5mm earphone port, a single mono speaker grille, and a microphone. PHOTO: PC Tech Magazine / Olupot Nathan Ernest
The Mione Joy 9 bottom panel has a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm earphone port, a single mono speaker grille, and a microphone. PHOTO: PC Tech Magazine / Olupot Nathan Ernest

At the back, you have a 50MP trio-rear (primary) + two VGA AI cameras with a LED flashlight, and at the front, you have a water-drop notch that houses the 16MP front camera.

The Joy 9 comes with a 6.6-inch display with a thinner but not that thin bezel. Comes with a 90Hz refresh rate which gives that swiftness and smoothness while using the phone. The display quality is okay — the picture quality is good enough for users to enjoy playing games and watching/streaming content.

The display has warm color tones, and the brightness is average. The brightness should be enough for well-lit or somewhat sunny environments, but you may struggle to use the phone in conditions where there’s very bright sunlight.

Software, performance, and battery

The Joy 9 comes with Android 13 coupled with dido OS — and the whole interface is built clean, the apps are arranged in alphabet even after installing a new app. Now this might not mean much but for someone like me who loves arranging apps in the alphabet, this is a great feature — the apps are arranged automatically. Great work done with the whole UI — no bloatware which is something that we can applaud.

When it comes to performance, the Joy 9 comes with a Unisoc Tiger T606 (12nm) chipset, octa-core processor, 4GB RAM that has been expanded to 8GB using memory fusion technology, and an onboard storage of 128GB that can be expanded with a microSD card of upto 512GB.

The chipset compared to the one in the Mione U1, is more for entry-level phones, and I think it is decent for the Joy 9. Pushing its limit, i.e. while playing games, you will be able to play basic games at high framerates and good quality, and as for heavy-duty games, it is vice-versa, you get low graphics with a medium framerate. This is the same thing we saw with the itel P55T last month. The delivery is okay, for users that won’t be doing much gaming, the performance will be very much okay — no lags or shutters to worry about.

As for the battery, the Mione Joy 9 comes with a non-removable 5,000mAh battery. Having tested it on three occasions, 1; a light user, we were able to use the phone for 4 days with battery saver turned on, and it nearly went for a week, 2; a minimal user, it lasted 2 days and with battery saver on, it did push half a day, and lastly as heavy users, the phone did last for a day even with battery saver turned on — and all these occasions was on a single charge. With the phone running on a not-so-demanding Unisoc Tiger T606 chipset, you get more power to push you throughout the day. That is very impressive!

As for charging, the Joy 9 supports 18W fast charging. The device seems to be on par with the competition or even outpaces some of its direct rivals. In the first 47 minutes, the phone got half of its battery charged, while a full charging cycle took 2 hours and 11 minutes. While you can’t compare to handsets that charge fully in less than an hour, this is a respectable charging speed for the Joy 9.

Cameras

The Joy 9 comes with a trio camera setup at the back with a 50MP main sensor and two VGA AI cameras for depth. The front camera is a 16MP shooter. Both these cameras can record videos in 1080p at 30 frames per second and the audio is clear if there’s no noise in your surroundings. There’s no stabilizer so the footage might be shaky.

Mione Joy 9, rear cameras. The trio has 50 MP (primary/main camera) + 2 VGA AI cameras. The cameras are able to produce decent photos and videos. PHOTO: PC Tech Magazine / Olupot Nathan Ernest
Mione Joy 9, rear cameras. The trio has 50 MP (primary/main camera) + 2 VGA AI cameras. The cameras are able to produce decent photos and videos. PHOTO: PC Tech Magazine / Olupot Nathan Ernest

The cameras produce pretty decent photos with sufficient sharpness and a respectable amount of detail. The color temperature is a bit warmer, but color reproduction is mostly accurate or a bit punchy at times.

The low-light photos appear average with some noise of course being visible and some highlights are clipped, but the shadows reveal plenty of detail, and the sharpness is somewhat decent. There are even some hints of fine detail with the dedicated super night mode. The contrast is good and the colors are life-like.

Overall, the videos and photos are decent enough for the Joy 9 — a little bit of editing if you want and you’re good to go.

Verdict

The Mione Joy 9 is a decent phone, the UI is clean with no bloatware, the performance is good, the photos and videos are decent, and the battery on a single charge at least it is able to take you throughout the day. So, the Joy 9 has its position on the list of entry-level handsets you can consider getting.

Being assembled here in Uganda is a great initiative for a country. The Minister of ICT and National Guidance; Hon. Chris Baryomunsi expressed his delight at the impact that this milestone is making on the Ugandan digital growth picture by global standards — emphasizing the government’s eagerness to continue supporting such innovations.

The State Minister for Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives; Hon. David Bahati also praised the work done by Mione as well as for choosing Uganda as their country of choice to showcase creative and strong transformations in the world of science. He urged Ugandans to embrace Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) and Buy Africa Build Africa (BABA) by buying the Mione smartphones.

So, the Mione Joy 9 is a decent device, and for UGX399,000 you can have one and support BUBU and BABA.

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