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Xiaomi Mi 9T review: the full package without a hefty price

Xiaomi Mi 9T review: the full package without a hefty price

The Xiaomi Mi 9T has a clear goal: to be among the best mid-range smartphones on the market. Thanks to its competitive price tag, features and specs, it achieves this goal and has won me over. Here's my full review.

Rating

Good

  • Value for the price
  • Good OLED display
  • Battery life
  • Camera experience

Bad

  • No microSD support
  • No IP67/8

A well-made and full-package smartphone

As soon as I pulled the Xiaomi Mi 9T out of the box, I immediately noticed the similarities with the OPPO Find X: the style of the body is practically identical. Beautiful and well-finished : that's the Mi 9T in two words. It has glass on the front and on the back, and the camera module only slightly protrudes.

androidpit xiaomi mi 9t side buttons
The power button is distinguished by its coloring. / © AndroidPIT

I'm not going to go into the appearance of the Mi 9T in too much detail because, apart from the pop-up camera, it offers nothing particularly unique from what we've already seen. You can admire it in the photos, just to give you an idea. I'll tell you, however, that it offers a headphone jack along the top edge, integrates a mono speaker on the bottom right, allows you to use two SIM cards (but not a microSD), and that it packs a USB Type-C 2.0 port.

The weight of the Xiaomi Mi 9T is manageable with one hand, but is not a very lightweight smartphone

Although it's easy to handle with one hand, when I first picked it up, I thought, "Wow, that's heavy!" (191 grams to be exact). The Mi 9T also offers a notification LED placed in the camera pop-up, so it's not always easy to locate.

androidpit xiaomi mi 9t full front
Xiaomi Mi 9T integrates a notch-free OLED panel. / © AndroidPIT

The Mi 9T can be unlocked via the fingerprint reader integrated beneath the screen and by 2D face unlock. The latter calls into question the pop-up camera's speed. Both unlocking methods are effective, but personally I have used mainly the fingerprint reader. The reason is that to activate face unlock, you need an upward swipe to activate the camera, which is just one step too many for me.

androidpit xiaomi mi 9t top ports
Headphone jack present, but no support for microSD / © AndroidPIT

Thanks to the implementation of the pop-up camera, the Mi 9T avoids the notch and offers a full screen display of 6.39 inches. This is an OLED panel, with a ratio of 19.5:9 and Full HD+ resolution: great for this price range. Bright and easily readable in sunlight, it supports DRM Widevine L1 for videos, thus lending itself well to the Netflix content that many of us are now slaves to.

The Mi 9T offers a good 6.39-inch OLED panel

The dedicated display settings allow you to customize the contrast by choosing between three modes (default, warm, cool), as well as offering a reading mode, Ambient display and dark mode, which is perfect for taking advantage of the potential of the OLED panel. Be careful, however, that not all apps support this mode.

androidpit xiaomi mi 9t full back Xiaomi 9T measures 156.7 x 74.3 x 8.8 mm and weighs 191 grams. / © AndroidPIT

Good performance and features for all tastes

The Mi 9T comes with  Android Pie and MIUI 10 . The security patches of the device I tested are updated to May, so they are not the latest. The experience with the device is fluid but, as with other highly customized interfaces, it can get a bit carried away. Visually, MIUI is not one of my favorites, but for the rest, it offers many possibilities.

With the Mi 9T, you will find a series of features which other brands, primarily Chinese, have become accustomed to: you can duplicate some apps such as Facebook, create a completely private area where you can hide apps and photos, customize the device with themes of all kinds, use special gestures, and monitor and optimize the system with the Security app from the manufacturer. Xiaomi does not give up its proprietary bloatware, such as Mi Video or Music, which unfortunately cannot be uninstalled. FM radio is also present.

AndroidPIT android pie 0090
MIUI 10 offers a lot of customization possibilities! / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

The Mi 9T, unlike the Xiaomi Mi 9, does not integrate the Snapdragon 855 but relies on the Snapdragon 730, the usual driving horse among the mid-range devices. The CPU consists of eight cores (4 Cortex-A76 and 4 Cortex-A55 cores) while the GPU is an Adreno 618. All supported by 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM memory. Too bad the internal memory isn't expandable: Xiaomi offers the Mi 9T in two variants, 64 or 128GB.

Good performance is guaranteed by the Snapdragon 730

On the performance side, you can rest assured, because the Mi 9T is very good at managing anything you throw at it. The mono speaker gets the job done, but you'll find yourself covering it with your hand during gaming sessions in landscape mode.

Xiaomi Mi 9T in benchmark tests

  3DMark Sling Shot Extreme 3DMark Sling Shot Vulkan 3DMark Sling Shot 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme Geekbench 4 (Single/Multi) PassMark Memory PassMark Disk
Xiaomi Mi 9T 2193 2062 3199 not supported 2539 / 6918 26235 62802
Honor 20 1870 1951 2261 39019 2907 / 5483 27843 73412
Xiaomi Mi 9 5659 4762 7028 66907 3479 / 10921 28043 74126

The Mi 9T offers LTE up to 400Mbps, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi and NFC. Of course, check for carrier compatibility before buying.

Three cameras on the back plus one pop-up camera

The Mi 9T offers three sensors on the body , but the configuration is not the same as on the Mi 9:

  • 48MP and f/1.75 aperture, standard lens
  • 13MP, f/2.4 aperture, wide angle lens
  • 8MP, f/2.4 aperture with 2X optical zoom
androidpit xiaomi mi 9t
The pop-up camera in action! / © AndroidPIT

Photos taken during the day are crisp, detailed and colorful. In some shots, I found the colors all too bright with yellow tones that tended more toward orange. When the lighting conditions are good then, the Mi 9T offers very well-done shots. Artificial intelligence and automatic HDR come into play when you take 12MP photos, but if you want to take 48MP shots, you'll have to give up these features. Portraits are isolated without any problems, and with the Pro mode, you can tweak all the parameters to your liking.

Artificial intelligence is not available when shooting at 48MP, and it's best to rely only on the standard lens for night shots

When the lighting conditions worsen, the standard lens gives the best results, as the other two immediately show their limits. The night mode helps to better illuminate the scene and to avoid or reduce noise, but you will have to stand still for a few seconds.

With the Mi 9T, you can shoot videos in 4K at 30fps. For selfies, on the other hand, the front pop-up camera was designed with a 20MP sensor and f/2.2 aperture. Again, the Mi 9T struggles when the lighting conditions deteriorate. The portrait mode also defines the subject in the frame well, and the AI can be activated with a tap.

Take a look for yourself:

4,000 mAh battery and fast charging

Xiaomi Mi 9T incorporates a 4,000mAh battery that benefits from fast charging using the supplied 18W charger. Wireless charging is not supported. Even on the when it comes to battery life, the Mi 9T didn't disappoint me: it always managed to stay alive for a whole day, even when I used the device more intensively.

4,000mAh that guarantees a day of battery life even under intensive use

During the weekend, when I was mainly using the device for Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Gmail, reading online content, some video calls, Flappy Royale and a few short videos, the Mi 9T went all the way to the next day. In our benchmark test, PC Battery reported a result of 16 hours and 57 minutes.

Xiaomi Mi 9T technical specifications

Dimensions: 156.7 x 74.3 x 8.8 mm
Weight: 191 g
Battery size: 4000 mAh
Screen size: 6.39 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 2340 x 1080 pixels (403 ppi)
Front camera: 20 megapixels
Rear camera: 48 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 9 - Pie
User interface: MIUI
RAM: 6 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
128 GB
Removable storage: Not available
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.2 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0

Final verdict

Is the Xiaomi Mi 9T worth buying? Yes, it is undoubtedly a good device if you are looking for a total-package smartphone that is not an expensive flagship. It has a modern design, a good display, and performance and battery life are no problem. The camera offers a good overall experience; obviously it can not compete with devices such as Huawei P30 Pro and OPPO Reno X10, especially with regard to zoom and night photos, but this is not the goal of the device anyway. The 329 euro price for the 64GB model puts it firmly in another price bracket than those smartphones.

The Mi 9T isn't the most exciting smartphone on the market, but that's not the point. Its features and technologies have already been seen in high-end smartphones, but what makes it special is how Xiaomi has managed to integrate these aspects in such a pleasant way in a mid-range device. 

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  • Xiomi lovers will love this phone. Still, the fear of breaking pop-up camera will stay. I haven't used Xiomi phones yet. But would love to.

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