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Xiaomi Mi 9T Review: The Midrange King Contender

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2019 is a perfect year to buy a midrange smartphone. Not just these smartphones have great cameras, design, battery, and internals have gone much, much better. With this, choosing or recommending the best midrange smartphone today has become very hard.

And here’s another great midranger, the Xiaomi Mi 9T. It aims to compete with the likes of Vivo V15, Samsung Galaxy A50, Huawei P30 Lite, OPPO F11, and the Realme 3 Pro. What does it offer to stand out? Let’s find out!

Xiaomi Mi 9T specs:

  • Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor
  • Adreno 618 graphics
  • 6GB/64GB internal memory
  • 6GB/128GB internal memory
  • 6.39-inch Full HD AMOLED display (2340 x 1080 pixels)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Triple Rear Cameras
    • 48MP Sony IMX582 f/1.8
    • 13MP f.2.4 ultrawide
    • 8MP f/2.4 telephoto with 2x optical zoom
  • 20MP f/2.0 motorized pop-up camera
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 4G/LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC
  • Fingerprint Scanner (under display), USB Type C
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
  • 4,000 mAh battery with 18W fast charge
  • Android 9.0 Pie with MIUI 10
  • Price: Php 15,990 (6GB/64GB) and Php 17,990 (6GB/128GB)

Related article – Xiaomi Mi 9T Unboxing and First Impressions

HARDWARE AND DESIGN

Just like the midrangers we reviewed, the Xiaomi Mi 9T has a motorized pop-up selfie camera. Our stand with any moving parts in a smartphone remains to be a concern, specially for long term use. Only time can tell on its wear and tear but Xiaomi has already guaranteed its durability.

As for its overall design, Xiaomi remains to be faithful of its basic and usual design language. But the red accents on the rear camera and red LED accent on the front adds some unique character to the phone and we like it. We are also happy Xiaomi has managed to squeeze an audio jack here.

One stand out feature is the choice of an AMOLED panel for the display. As expected, you get saturated colors and very usable under direct sunlight although, it is not as bright as you can get with a Samsung phone. Auto-brightness has been very on point which we like. It can get very dim in a dark environment and it gets very bright outdoors.

SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE

We admit that MIUI is not our favorite user interface on top of Android 9.0 Pie. That’s the reason why we downloaded Poco Launcher which is also Xiaomi’s own UI for the Pocophone F1. Compared with MIUI, Poco Launcher has an app drawer which can be customized to your liking such as changing the background color or transparency of your app drawer. Other than that, MIUI and Poco Launcher are basically the same.

Performance-wise, we have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 730 which is our first time to review. Basically, it is faster and more efficient than the Snapdragon 710 on the Realme 3 Pro or Helio P70 on the OPPO F11 Pro. And that’s very evident on gaming and battery life.

CAMERA

The Xiaomi Mi 9T has a triple camera set up at the back – a 48MP main sensor, 13MP ultrawide lens, and an 8MP telephoto lens. The 48MP lens shoots 12MP by default but there is a tab at the camera UI in which you can shoot a raw 48MP photo. The auto HDR is turned off by default and we recommend to set it on auto for best photo results. There is also night mode and AI tab. Turning on the AI tab improved photo quality as well.

Check out some of our sample photos

Normal vs Wide Angle vs 2X Zoom

Night mode

Random Photos

Selfies

BATTERY AND CONNECTIVITY

4G/LTE has always been consistent. We never encountered any unnecessary internet slowdowns or signal drops using our Smart SIM. Call quality has been very excellent as well.

Battery life is excellent! We were able to achieve 5 hours of screen on time just watching Netflix and iWant and still have 57% left in the tank. We did another video loop test that we achieved around 7 hours of screen on time with 38% battery left which is still very, very impressive. This is a mixed-use of WiFi and 4G/LTE usage.

VERDICT

The Xiaomi Mi 9T truly stands out from its competitors with very fast, very power efficient Snapdragon 730 underneath. This chipset is good for gaming and the AMOLED screen is perfect for media consumption. Although there are better camera systems out there, the Xiaomi Mi 9T is a pretty good shooter and selfie camera. The durability of the motorized pop-up selfie camera remains a concern but only time can tell.

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