A little over a month has passed since the official launch in India of the Xiaomi Mi 9T, a smartphone that has shattered the market thanks to a very attractive price. Xiaomi’s first full-screen smartphone with a pop-up camera has sold a lot in recent weeks, and with the Mi 9 now at the end of its life, the Chinese company has therefore decided to release a new top-of-the-range camera in Europe. The Mi 9T Pro is an upgraded Mi 9T equipped to compete on all fronts.
As is already the case with its little brother, this Mi 9T Pro is the European equivalent of a product marketed in China for some time: the Chinese smartphone Redmi K20 Pro. Details aside, the real news is that for the first time since arriving on the old continent, Xiaomi is launching a smartphone simultaneously in all European markets with an official presence. This is an important step for a company that wants to position itself as a market leader, not just locally.
The Exterior Of The Mi 9T Pro
From the outside, it is impossible to recognize it when placed next to a Mi 9T. The dimensions are identical, the design is the same, and there is no difference, even in weight. Even the colors will remain the same, and we will find the black version with a carbon-like finish and the blue and red versions with the colored inserts in the rear cover. In short, minimum effort and maximum return.
The front and back are covered with Gorilla Glass 5 glass, and the frame is steel. A good assembly, with perfectly matched junctions, no squeaking when twisting, and a front glass with rounded ends to improve ergonomics. Ergonomics are also favored by the excellent grip and the fact that, despite the large screen, the size remains such that you can hold your smartphone with one hand without too many problems.
The screen bezels are particularly thin on the long sides. The weight of the Mi 9T pro is not so low, with 191 grams on the scale, but they are well distributed and, therefore, not at all bothersome in use. In the packaging, we discover a hard plastic cover with a pleasant finish to the touch, allowing you to protect your smartphone against accidental drops immediately.
The frame houses a USB type C 2.0 port at the base, the loudspeaker, the microphone for calls, and the slot to insert the dual SIM card in Nano format but no microSD. Memory is not expandable. In the upper part, we find the 3.5 mm jack, the microphone for noise cancellation, and the pop-up camera, characterized by a small luminous circle on the cover that also acts as a notification LED.
The back cover is characterized by the three cameras placed in the center, one above the other. We appreciate the two aesthetic accents given by the small circle around the main module and the on/off button, both colored in red. They are combined with a red LED that lights up when we operate the camera’s lifting mechanism. There is no IPXX certification on the Mi 9T Pro, so we strongly advise against soaking it in water or getting it wet. A few drops of rain won’t hurt it but don’t swim in the pool with it.
Performance: Make Way For The Snapdragon 855
Even if aesthetically nothing changes compared to the Xiaomi Mi 9T, how is this Pro different? The only great novelty of this product is hidden in its heart, but not negligible. Inside the Mi 9T Pro is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, the US manufacturer’s top-end offering and the platform on which all of the competition’s top-end smartphones are based.
It is, among other things, the same processor that also powers the Mi 9, Xiaomi’s top-of-the-range to date. There is 6 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128 GB of UFS 2.1 storage memory to accompany the CPU and the GPU. It can reach 800 MB/s in reading and around 200 MB/s in writing. More than good equipment leads to a performance in line with the top of the range.
Xiaomi MI 9T Pro Spec Sheet
- Operating System: Android 9 Pie with MUI 10.3
- Display: 6.39″ FHD+ AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, Reading Mode 2.0, Sunlight Mode 2.0
- SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- GPU: Adreno 640
- 6GB LPDDR4x RAM
- 128 GB of UFS 2.1 internal memory
- Network: 4G VoLTE, NFC, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, GPS
- Triple rear cam 48 + 13 + 8 megapixels
- 20-megapixel front camera
- Battery: 4000mAh with fast charge
- Dimensions: 156.7 x 74.3 x 8.8 millimeters
- Weight: 191 grams
Not that the standard Snapdragon 730 of the Mi 9T gives bad results, but it must be said that this Mi 9T Pro gives exactly the experience that one can expect from a high-end product. During this hands-on, we never experienced any slowdown, loading failure, or crash. The system still works perfectly; applications open quickly, and navigation is smooth, even on the heaviest pages.
You can enjoy multitasking by opening two applications simultaneously without the smartphone becoming unusable. This is also valid for games, whatever title you download from the Play Store. Changing the SoC, compared to the Mi 9T, also changes the modem and the performance of the X24, which is here at the “highest level.” There is 4G+, dual-band WiFi; we have very good reception and performance in both cases. The signal hooks up quickly and rarely gets lost except in extreme situations.
The audio part is also very good in all aspects. The smartphone reproduces a faithful timbre, and the microphones work well, ensuring good output quality. Despite the single speaker present, the volume offered is high, and the quality is satisfactory. There is little bass, but given the size of the elements, you can only ask for a little.
The full-screen panel of the Mi 9T Pro is undoubtedly one of the strong points of this product, as it was for its little brother. It’s a 6.4-inch diagonal AMOLED panel with an aspect ratio 19.5:9 and FullHD+ resolution. We were also very satisfied with an identical solution in terms of characteristics and performance to that of the Mi 9T. As we said above, having no on-screen interruptions leads to a very high user experience. This is the most important element, beyond the excellent quality of the panel. Peak brightness is good, although AMOLEDs tend to be less bright than IPS.
Here, however, we measured over 420 cd/m² across the screen, and it’s over 700 cd/m² if you consider the peaks in small portions. With the technology with which the screen is made, this smartphone offers absolute blacks and an infinite contrast ratio, even in direct sunlight and if we wear polarized sunglasses. But this AMOLED panel does not stop there, and by measuring it with the colorimeter, we find that the factory calibration is also very good. The sRGB coverage is around 95%, and the Delta E for gray and color is less than 3.
In both cases, we are, therefore, below the threshold, considered the tolerance within which the human eye perceives no difference from the reference. We can vary the mode of use and the color temperature in the settings according to our preferences. If all this is not enough, it is an HDR screen that is correctly recognized and automatically on YouTube and Netflix. And, of course, there is also Widevine Level 1 DRM, which allows us to enjoy all the content these streaming platforms offer.
Cameras And Cameras
In the rear part of the hull, we find in the center the main camera, which is made up of three different photo modules. The configuration of these three modules is the same as that of the Mi 9T. On this Mi 9T Pro a 48-megapixel sensor ( Sony IMX 586 ) with a standard lens ( 26 mm ) and an aperture of f / 1.75. The second lens is a 13-megapixel sensor and a wide-angle lens. Finally, we bring up the rear with an 8-megapixel lens with a 2X optical zoom ( these last two with an aperture of f/2.4 ).
Photos taken during the day or when the lighting is good are very good in all three cases. Whatever the lens used, we have sharp and well-contrasted images, with good backlight management and bright colors, sometimes even a little too much. The focus speed is satisfactory, and even in portrait mode, we have an algorithm capable of correctly contouring subjects and blurring the background naturally. Very pretty.
Problems occur in the evening or in low light. In these cases, the performance of the wide-angle camera and zoom lens degrades significantly. Perceptible background noise takes over, and details are smeared in an anything-but-pleasing watercolor effect. Conversely, we can achieve good shots with the main camera even in adverse conditions. This is due to the Night mode, reserved for the standard sensor, the only one of the three that can benefit from it.
The front camera is inserted into the pop-up mechanism, offering a 20-megapixel sensor and an aperture f/2.2. In most cases, it allows you to film yourself in a selfie, thanks to a particularly effective HDR, which allows you not to “burn” the background in the event of a strong backlight. It’s not the best front camera we’ve tried, but given the range on the market, it’s certainly a great compromise.
Compared to the Mi 9T, we can push the video resolution up to 4K 60fps, with very satisfying results. With the three cameras, you can shoot 4K video but can’t change the image while recording. Stabilization generally works well, as does focus and exposure compensation, which is fast and accurate.
Autonomy And Software
Even from a software point of view, there are no surprises in this Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro. The operating system is Android 9 Pie with July security patches. It is customized with the proprietary MIUI interface, updated for version 10.3.1. Nothing changes compared to the previous model. All the functions that Xiaomi has accustomed us to remain and work well. The possibility of splitting the applications to use them with two different accounts. We find the gestures to replace the classic function keys.
There is also the possibility of activating the “Second Space” function, which allows you to create a protected partition to store photos, documents, and sensitive data. This smartphone embeds NFC technology, possibly making contactless payments at points of sale. However, to use Google Pay, you must set the HCE Wallet under Security Element in the Settings menu. Note, given the previous Mi 9T ( resolved with an update ), Android Auto works without problems.
Two words, finally, also on the autonomy of the Mi 9T Pro. Exactly as in the Mi 9T, the battery of this Pro version offers a capacity of 4000 mAh. Superior to that of Mi 9, which, precisely from the point of view of autonomy, had not been enthusiastic. We have a marked improvement in the duration of the charge. There’s no wireless charging, which was the case on the Mi 9, but there is fast charging. The package has a classic wall charger that can provide up to 18W and fully charge the Mi 9T Pro in under two hours.
Mi 9T Pro Review And Price
To sum up this Mi 9T Pro, we enjoyed it in two ways. The first is undoubtedly the full-screen panel for its quality and feel. And then, of course, it’s impossible not to mention the Snapdragon 855 SoC and the high-end user experience that comes with it. We may not be at the level of the champions in this area, like the One Plus 7 and One 7 Pro, but the responsiveness and fluidity in daily operations are excellent.
So what is missing from this Mi 9T Pro? Of real importance, the tightness is likely only. Expandable memory takes a back seat when you already have 128GB of memory as standard and wireless charging is not lacking. So let’s come to the price. This Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro is 449.90 euros when it comes out.
If we look at the competition from Xiaomi, it is an interesting figure, undoubtedly placing this Mi 9T Pro among the best alternatives to the current top-of-the-range. The Mi 9T Pro is now often offered below 300 euros, and the Xiaomi Mi 9 is permanently under 350 euros. The Mi 9 T Pro took little time to pass the bar for smartphones under 400 euros and is trading, at the time of writing, under 300 euros.