Should you buy the Mi 9T?
Xiaomi’s objective when releasing a new product is always the same: offer a compelling set of features and tech at a price that’s hard to ignore. That’s been the case for their current crop of mid-range devices, and that stays true for their new Mi 9T (AKA Redmi K20).
Armed with a powerful mid-range processor, flagship-level features and a display that’s free from a notch thanks to a pop-up camera module, Xiaomi’s Mi 9T may not be perfect, but it’s one of the best (if not the best) phone you can buy in its price range.
Funky gradient sets it apart
Phones with gradient finishes are a dime a dozen nowadays, which is probably the reason why Xiaomi went for an unconventional finish on the Mi 9T. Most of the swirling, gradient color is relegated to the phone’s side, while the middle of the glass back stays relatively gradient-free.
It’s a stunning new take on the done-to-death design, and while not everyone will love it, it certainly looks quite different from the other phones in the market.
The phone’s triple cameras are arranged vertically, near the top, with an LED flash located right below it.
The phone retains a 3.5mm jack which is usually shed in similar mid-range phones in the Mi 9T’s price range. It’s joined by the pop-up camera module right beside it. Interestingly, the pop-up camera module has a small pulsating LED.
Power and volume buttons are located on the right side, with the USB Type-C port, speaker grille, and SIM tray all located on the bottom of the phone.
The phone’s overall design look and feel great, though the device is a little bit slippery because of its glass back. Xiaomi includes a hard case to keep the phone protected, but it’s completely opaque and covers the funky gradient finish on the back entirely.
Full-view display looks great and is easy on the eyes
The Mi 9T sports a 6.39-inch AMOLED display that’s unmolested by a notch on the top.
This is made possible via the pop-up camera module that we mentioned earlier that holds the phone’s 20-megapixel, f/2.2 aperture selfie camera.
As for the display itself, it looks good. Colors and nice and vibrant, with good saturation thanks to the panel technology. Xiaomi included an under-display fingerprint scanner on the Mi 9T as well, which is fast becoming the unlocking option of choice for many high-end phones nowadays.
We did find that the fingerprint scanner wonky at times. Sometimes it’ll unlock quickly as soon as we put our finger on it, other times it’ll take its time and not even unlock.
New processor is a beast
The Mi 9T is one of the first phones in the world to sport Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 730 chipset, which is a direct successor to the company’s Snapdragon 710.
The 8-core Snapdragon 730 uses Kryo 470 cores at up to 2.2GHz and is built on an 8nm process. Additionally, it sports the new 618 GPU, a Hexagon 688 processor with a tensor accelerator, a Spectra 350 “computer vision” image signal processor, an X15 LTE modem, and support for Wi-Fi 6.
What does this all mean? Well, for one thing, the Mi 9T scores higher than even the Snapdragon 712 chipset, and its GPU make it a great choice for people looking to game on the go on high settings.
We did notice that the phone gets a little warm with extended gaming sessions, especially on PUBG Mobile. The chipset also has compatibility issues with Mobile Legends, specifically with high frame rate mode. To be fair there’s supposedly a patch that will be issued to make the phone compatible with the mode.
The phone felt smooth and fluid in day to day use, and we never really had any major issues with it at all. Software-wise you’re looking MIUI 10.3 put on top of Android 9 Pie and everything that comes with it.
Triple cameras perform great
The Mi 9T comes with a triple camera arrangement that gives you most of the tools you’ll ever need for general photography. The main imaging sensor is a 48-megapixel Sony IMX582 with an f/1.8 aperture lens. There’s also an 8-megapixel f/2.4 2x optical zoom sensor as well, along with a 13-megapixel f/2.4 ultra-wide sensor for taking landscape photos.
Xiaomi has managed to coax quite a bit of performance from Sony’s 48-megapixel IMX582 sensor, producing really great photos in bright light. Colors look good and accurate, and white balance doesn’t look too shabby either. Dynamic range is also pleasantly wide as well.
The low-light performance of the phone is pretty good as well, and the dedicated night mode really does add a little bit more light when you’re shooting challenging scenes at the expense of additional detail.
Wide-angle photos are pretty good too, though they suffer more under low light than photos taken by the main camera.
2x optical zoom is useful when you’re shooting at slightly distant subjects, though at that zoom it’s probably better if you just use the main camera and crop the image.
Really long battery life
Most mid-range smartphones nowadays have pretty large batteries compared to a few years ago, and the Mi 9T is no exception to that. Thanks to 4000mAh battery, the Mi 9T managed a synthetic PCMark Benchmark of 12 hours and 26 minutes. That translates to more than a day’s worth of battery life, with plenty left over for the next day with moderate use.
Verdict: Probably the best pop-up mid-ranger in its price range
Xiaomi has consistently released excellent mid-range phones in the under 20K category and the Mi 9T is no exception to this. It has all you’ll ever need in a phone: a powerful processor, full-screen display, flagship features like an under-display fingerprint scanner and an awesome set of cameras in a package that starts at just Php Php 15,990 for the 6GB/64GB variant and Php 17,990 for the 6GB/128GB variant.
Xiaomi Mi 9T specs
- AI-Powered Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 octa-core processor
- Adreno 618 GPU
- 6GB RAM
- 6.39-inch Full HD+ OLED display, 18:7.9 aspect ratio, support for DCI-P3, 60000:1 Contrast Ratio, Gorilla Glass 6 protection
- 64GB/128GB of non-expandable storage
- Triple rear camera setup: 48-megapixel Sony IMX582 main camera with 6P lens; 13-megapixel f/2.4 ultra-wide-angle camera with 6P lens, 4cm macro mode; 8-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens with 2X zoom; Dual Pixel and Laser Autofocus, dual-tone flash, AI scene detection, and AI portrait
- 20-megapixel f/2.0 pop-up front camera with 1.8um pixels, AI Portrait, AI Beauty
- Dual SIM, with 4G LTE, LTE-A
- Dual Frequency GPS, GLONASS
- WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
- In-display Fingerprint scanner, USB-C, Reading Mode 2.0, Game Turbo, P2i coating
- 4000mAh battery with 18W Quick Wired Charging
- Android Pie with MIUI 10