With what seems to be like a plethora of budget android options around, the market is getting saturated. But of course, no one is really going to complain about there being too many options when it comes to cheap phones, i mean.. the more the merrier, right? The Xiaomi Mi 9T may just be the best of the bunch, but lets not get ahead of ourselves just yet. We had a month to play around with the phone and here’s what we think.
Design wise, the phone is a stunner. Xiaomi released the Mi 9T in 3 colours and all 3 are, as they say these days, “fire”. We received “glacier blue” and I really like the holographic effects on the back of the device that is evident when it catches light in just the right angle. The best part about the back of the phone is that it’s not that much of a fingerprint magnet, but perhaps it’s just the colour we got.
One thing I really like is the cover the phone comes with. None of that transparent plastic crap. It comes with a nice looking matte black cover thats hard not to love. If the snazziness of the blue colorway isn’t for you, just snap the classy matte black cover on and you’re good to go.
Compared to it’s rivals in this price range, the Mi 9T is arguably the best looking phone. Its sibling, the Redmi K20, and the Realme X dont look as good, though VIVO’s recently launched S1 might give the Mi 9T a run for its money in the design department.
Given that it comes with a pop up camera, the uninterrupted 6.4 inch OLED display looks good and the in display fingerprint scanner is a nice touch but I had a love/hate relationship with the pop up camera itself. I just don’t like how there’s both light and a sound when the pop up camera pops up. In fact, I think I just don’t like pop up cameras in general but to each his own, right?
Saving the best for last, the phone comes with a 3.55mm audio jack, which some might say is backwards but I vehemently believe, is the way forward.
In terms of hardware and performance, the Mi 9T offers a lot at this price point. It is the first device to run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 730 – an upgrade over the Snapdragon 712 found in the Mi 9 SE, and the 710 found in the Realme X. Of course though, it’s a sizeable step down from Mi 9’s top of the line Snapdragon 855. Given the price of the Mi 9T though, who’s complaining? The Snapdragon 730 processor is a very capable mid-tier chipset.
In fact, I would argue that its the Mi 9T’s processor that sets it apart from the rest of it’s mid-range rivals. The differences between the Snapdragon 710 and the 730 may be minimal, but with the 730 offering better bokeh images and smoother quality videos, a little does indeed count for a lot.
The battery life is probably something you won’t ever be complaining about as the Mi 9T comes equipped with a 4000maH battery, which to be honest is pretty standard in phones nowadays. Regardless, the battery actually packs more of a punch than the flagship Mi 9, so that’s saying something. The phone easily lasted a full day under heavy usage.
Storage on this thing is pretty standard, with the phone coming in two variants- 6GB RAM + 64GB storage and 6GB RAM + 128GB storage. The device itself supports dual-nano SIM but unfortunately, it doesn’t offer any microSD card expansion, which might be a bummer for some you out there.
What about the camera? Well the phone, as do most these days, comes with a triple rear camera setup consisting of a 48MP f/1.75 main camera, a 13MP f/2.4 ultra-wide angle lens and a 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens that allows for the 2X optical zoom. On the front you’ve got a 20MP AI-assisted pop up camera.
The front camera itself holds its own and as ive mentioned previously my only issue with it is that it’s a pop up. For the price you’re paying, don’t expect GREAT photos. As is the norm with most Android devices, expect your face to be heavily beautified, even with the settings off.
The Mi 9T comes equipped with Xiaomi’s MIUI 10 skin and I hate it. Everyone seems to like the skin, talking about how much its improved and what not but this is merely a personal preference. I’ve never been a fan of any of Xiaomi’s Android skins as i’ve always found the icons to be rather dull, generally contributing to a very 2D looking layout but I will admit that Xiaomi have most definitely improved their software to the point where it is tolerable. As is trendy these days, there’s a dark mode as well as multiple navigation styles to choose from.
All in all, the Xiaomi Mi 9T brings nothing new to the table but that honestly doesn’t matter. The phone offers exceptional value for money. RM 1199 for flagship features? Okay maybe not flagship features, but you’re not going to get what the Mi 9T has to offer at this price from anywhere else.
The icing on the cake? The Mi 9T is priced cheaper in Malaysia than anywhere else in the world. Yup. Need we say anything else?
Xiaomi Mi 9T
While you won't be getting anything new, you can be rest assured that the Xiaomi Mi 9T will give you the most bang for your buck. The Snapdragon 730 is a welcome addition and makes the phone run a whole lot smoother. Probably the best mid range phone in the market right now.