The Xiaomi Mi 9T is a newcomer to the market. This is indeed the international version of the Redmi K20 which was presented in China earlier in the year.
Contrary to what its number and letter seem to indicate, this is not a new version of the Xiaomi Mi 9. We will see it later, but the device has a slightly less powerful processor.
On the other hand, its design is much more successful and more in tune with the times.
In this test, we will of course evoke this famous design, but we will also talk about the more technical part and we will therefore evoke the screen, the processor or the autonomy of the phone. To then bounce back on the photo, the video and the sound… and finish with the platform.
Design & Ergonomics
If you expect the Xiaomi Mi 9T to be just a copy of the Mi 9 then you might be very surprised. It goes much further than the latter.
In general, the recipe does not change. The Xiaomi Mi 9T still has a glass case and it is also entitled to a screen with contained borders.
The comparison ends there, however.
The case in question does not look the same to begin with. Xiaomi left out the iridescent aspect. On the black model, we therefore find a glass plate on the back with patterns imitating carbon fiber. The whole is very convincing. Stylish, even.
It should also be noted that the back plate is less messy than that of most terminals on the market. It will therefore have less tendency to attract fingerprints.
We will particularly appreciate the small touch of color induced by the red circling around the main lens and by the hue of the power button.
The screen also goes much further than that of the Mi9. No more notch in sight, the slab has no cutouts and its borders do not exceed two millimeters on the sides and three millimeters at the bottom. On the other hand, Xiaomi did not opt for a curved panel like on the OnePlus 7 Pro.
Which is not necessarily a bad thing. This flat panel indeed limits the risk of handling errors when using the phone with one hand.
The front camera has not disappeared of course. It is in fact located in a moving part located at the level of the upper edge. It will therefore suffice to launch the camera and switch to selfie mode to see it appear, or to request it through another application.
This pop up camera works well, but it's not a lightning strike either and it will need a second or two to fully deploy. This will at the same time slow down the process of facial recognition.
In this area, the Xiaomi Mi 9 will therefore be much more responsive.
Another important detail. When the front camera comes out of the shell, two red LEDs light up on each side of the optics. These do not act as notification LEDs. In reality, they turn red when the front camera is inaccessible and therefore when it is in the process of deploying or folding. When the light goes out, the Mi 9T is therefore ready to shoot.
However, in addition, there is also an LED on the cover of the front camera and it is the latter that will act as notification LED.
No big surprises at the buttons. They are all grouped together on the right edge. The fingerprint reader is for its part directly placed under the screen of the phone and it is quite responsive on a daily basis. On the other hand, it will be essential to be as precise as possible to facilitate – and speed up – the identification process.
The connection is generous. In addition to the USB Type-C connector placed at the lower edge, the terminal has a nice jack plug at its upper edge and it can therefore accept headphones or wired headphones. It must be admitted, it is very surprising to find such a connector on a 2019 phone since it tends more and more to disappear.
The photo module is placed in the middle at the back, on a vertical axis. We will come back to this a little later, but know that Xiaomi has some nice things to do on this side.
More generally, the phone holds well in the hand and it is not too slippery. Despite the beautiful diagonal of its screen, it is quite easy to operate with one hand. And the borderless side, frankly, is just awesome.
It's completely crazy to find such a design on a phone offered at this price and once again we can say that Xiaomi has done very, very hard.
Screen, Processor & Autonomy
And the time has come to tackle the more technical part, and therefore to look at the screen, the processor and the autonomy of the Xiaomi Mi 9T.
Xiaomi has been very generous in terms of the display. The Mi 9T indeed embeds a 6.39-inch panel and the brand has also opted for AMOLED. The definition is the most correct and it reaches FHD +, or 2340 x 1080.
On its site, Xiaomi announces a contrast of 60,000: 1 and a coverage of 103.8% of the NTSC color gamut, but also compatibility with HDR.
On paper, the Mi 9T therefore has everything it takes to seduce. And this is also the case in practice.
You just have to start playing a movie or series on Netflix to see it. The image is very qualitative, with good contrasts and colorimetry that hits the mark. Not to mention blacks who are really black.
But beyond the very quality of the display, it is also the borderless side of the panel that reinforces the immersion. We go straight into the videos and we even end up completely forgetting the phone.
As I said a little earlier, the Xiaomi Mi 9T does not compete with the Mi 9 in terms of power.
Unlike the latter, it does in fact ignore the Snapdragon 855 and it ships a Snapdragon 730 instead.
This chip is a little less well known than its big sister, but it still has strong arguments to make.
Based on the Kryo 470 architecture, it brings together no less than eight cores clocked at a maximum of 2.2 GHz. And if AnTuTu is to be believed, then there is no shortage of respondents since it obtained no less than 207,000 points.
In fact, I did not notice the slightest latency during these few weeks of testing. The platform remained fluid under all circumstances, even on the most complex tasks. It will thus be quite possible to play gourmet titles on the phone.
PUBG Mobile will be very successful, with all the details. Once again, no latency will spoil your fun, even in the busiest scenes.
Now, if you prefer big chips, then know that the Redmi K20 was presented alongside a Redmi K20 Pro when it was made official.
A Redmi K20 Pro which is powered by a Snapdragon 855.
As of this writing, Xiaomi has not announced an international version for this device, but several certifications have been spotted online so it wouldn't be surprising to see a Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro pop up in the future. more or less close.
On the autonomy side, Xiaomi has seen wide too and the Mi 9T is therefore equipped with a 4000 mAh battery, a battery compatible with fast charging at 18 W.
For mixed use, without too many games, the terminal easily takes the day. By being careful, we can hope to last a day and a half or even a little longer. And indeed, if fast charging is not the fastest on the market, it will still allow us to quickly restore color to the battery.
In order to be as representative as possible, I ran PC Mark on the terminal and the benchmark devoted to the evaluation of its autonomy reached 12:34.
It now remains to evaluate the modem of the device. As always, I relied on Nperf to complete this task.
The Xiaomi Mi 9T reached 136 mbps in reception and 10 mbps in transmission, with a latency of 29 ms. Score level, we reach 96% in video and 80% in web with a total score of 104,508 points.
Photo, Video & Sound
We talked about design and technical sheet. Now is the time to tackle everything related to photography, video and sound!
Here again, the Xiaomi Mi 9T has strong arguments to make. It indeed embeds a rear module composed of three cameras.
The main sensor reaches a definition of 48 million pixels and it is crowned with a beautiful optics opening at f / 1.75. To support it, Xiaomi has brought on board its phone a second 8 million pixel sensor accompanied by a telephoto lens opening at f / 2.4 and offering a 2x optical zoom. Finally, as a third camera, there is a 13 million pixel sensor crowned with an ultra wide angle lens opening at f / 2.4.
To avoid spoiling anything, the Xiaomi Mi 9T also has a dual phase and contrast detection focusing system and a monochrome flash.
You will have understood that the key word here is flexibility. Thanks to these three focal lengths, the Mi 9T will be able to adapt to your expectations. A logic that can now be found in a lot of manufacturers, such as Huawei, Samsung or even OnePlus.
In theory it's not bad, but you are probably wondering what the Mi 9T's camera is worth in the field.
When the light is there, everything is fine. The Mi 9T is indeed able to output very good quality shots with a nice feeling of sharpness and a colorimetry that falls fairly tight overall, even in the most difficult scenes.
The dynamics are as always quite perfectible, but it will be enough to activate the HDR to benefit from a slightly wider dynamic range and to recover details in the shadows. The AI also falls fairly tight and it will not tend to over-saturate the colors in our photos.
I was obviously very worried that the quality would drop drastically indoors or after dark. And indeed, we lose a bit in detail.
In absolute terms, however, this is not surprising. All smartphones encounter the same weaknesses in this area and you really have to look at the very high end to find phones capable of shooting after dark without too much loss.
Now the Mi 9T didn't completely disappoint me either and it even surprised me quite a bit about white balance and noise.
The AI makes it possible not to end up with photos drawing on the brown and it also limits the appearance of artefacts in the shadows. I really didn't expect that from a phone positioned in this price segment.
I mentioned it a little earlier, but the main feature of the Mi 9T is that it has a photo module made up of three sensors and three different focal lengths. It is therefore possible to switch from wide angle to ultra wide angle or telephoto in just a few seconds.
First observation, in all three cases, the colors remain the same. Regardless of the focal length used, photos will always be calibrated the same way.
More surprisingly, I did not notice a big drop in sharpness from one focal length to another, even in the most difficult light conditions. If the photos taken with the ultra wide angle and the telephoto lens are a bit more noisy than those taken with the wide angle, the difference is not obvious either, despite the difference in aperture between these three focal lengths. Again, I expected very different results… and much worse.
Now is the time to talk about video. In this regard, the Xiaomi Mi 9T offers four different recording modes. It can shoot in 4K at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 60 or 30 frames per second, and 720p at 30 frames per second.
Unsurprisingly, the Snapdragon 730 does not allow it to reach 60 frames per second in 4K. Rest assured, however, because it will always be possible to achieve slow motion in post production through a dedicated software such as Final Cut or Premiere Pro.
On the other hand, what pleasantly surprised me is the quality of the sequences captured through it. The videos are sharp, with a beautiful colorimetry and a dynamic of the most correct. And then, above all, stabilization really works miracles and you can even film while walking without fear of untimely tremors.
It's really impressive and the only small flaw that I noticed is a slight pumping effect in the focus on some scenes. But you really have to have an eye to spot it.
So far, it's almost flawless, but there is still one point on which the Xiaomi Mi 9T left me a little bit off my hunger: the sound.
On this ground, the Mi 9T does not particularly shine. It is indeed equipped with a single speaker and it will therefore not be able to reproduce sound in three dimensions, which will of course be detrimental to the immersion.
To make matters worse, the one and only speaker is placed on the lower edge and it is not unforgettable. The bass is not very present and the mids are a little too garish for my taste. I don't think music lovers will find it profitable.
Fortunately, they will be able to switch to a helmet to improve the situation. Here, they can also opt for wireless or a wired connection, which is pretty cool. And of course, the sound will be of much better quality, especially if you use good headphones behind. Personally, with the QC35, my ears really enjoyed it.
Platform & Functions
For the final chapter of this test, the time has come to take a serious look at the platform and functions of the Xiaomi Mi 9T.
If you've had a brand-name phone in your hands recently, then you won't be caught off guard. The Mi 9T is delivered under MIUI 10 and therefore with the same version as the one on board the Mi 9 or even the Redmi Note 7.
This version is of course based on Android 9.0 Pie, but it is ultimately closer to iOS in terms of its interface. It does in fact ignore the application drawer and it includes very stripped down and very minimalist visuals.
Just like the Apple platform, there is also a screen on the left, a screen that lists several widgets such as recommended applications, contacts to call or even news to read.
Overall, this interface is pretty straightforward to learn, but it will no doubt disappoint purists who swear by Android.
This is not, however, its main problem. For me, the real problem with MIUI is all the bloat wares that are installed by default and which considerably burden its interface. Even more in the absence of a drawer. I really would have liked Xiaomi to have a little less weight in this area.
Nothing to say about the functions, we find all the usual odds and ends and in particular a navigation system by gestures that will save us a little space on the screen.
Still in the good news department, we can also mention the integration of a night mode which will allow us to extend the autonomy of the phone a little more thanks to its AMOLED screen.
Afterwards, more generally, it should also be noted that the options of the platform are quite dense and this does not facilitate their reading.
In reality, there are a multitude of options spread over an incredible number of menus and it will therefore be necessary to start by opening each of them in order to take its marks.
Now, despite these few flaws, we can still commend MIUI for its performance. In two weeks of testing, I did not notice any latency.
We therefore come to the conclusion of this test. As I said at the outset, the Xaomi Mi 9T was a real crush for me. I actually didn't expect to find such a complete phone for such a price. A price currently hovering around € 290 in the 64 GB version or around € 320 in the 128 GB version .
On the design side, nothing to say, it looks great and its beautiful borderless screen is clearly one of its best assets. No notch in sight, you can enjoy your multimedia content in the best possible conditions.
The spec sheet is solid for its part, and the Snapdragon 730 will be more than enough for most people. The others will be able to turn to the future Mi 9T Pro anyway.
I expected to be disappointed with the photo, but it isn't. Without equaling a P30 Pro, the Mi 9T will be able to take great photos. The same goes for video, where it will also benefit from the most convincing stabilization.
MIUI, for its part, is a bit dated, it's true, but the interface at least has the merit of being very accessible and anyone should therefore be able to find their marks … on condition of course to do so. the impasse on the bloat wares which spoil the view a little.