Review of the Xiaomi Mi 9T smartphone: flagships are under threat

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Mechanical sliders, large “monobrows like Apple”, “droplet” cutouts – Xiaomi has tried many methods to make a conditionally frameless smartphone, and finally, it came to the next, most now, perhaps, fashionable option (OPPO Find X / Reno, Vivo V15 Pro, OnePlus 7 Pro, ASUS Zenfone 6 — and this is not the whole list of devices using this method) — a front camera on a retractable module that works with an electric drive.

But far from only this — interesting, but already quite banal — reception is notable for Xiaomi Mi 9T. First of all, it attracts with a combination of qualities that can make it the main hit of the company outside the Redmi sub-brand. 6.39-inch AMOLED display, like on Mi 9, triple camera (with 2x zoom and extended viewing angles), fresh Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 hardware platform, 6 + 64 or 6 + 128 GB of memory. In general, everything is as we are used to in the case of Xiaomi — to the maximum for your money. In this case — for $ 25-200, depending on the capacity of the drive.

In China, this smartphone is called Redmi K20 and is considered the flagship of the sub-brand, while in our country they decided to attribute it to a more status series — and rightly so. Still, “inexpensive version of Mi 9” sounds much better than “expensive Redmi”. A change of point of view, damn well justified in terms of marketing.

⇡#Specifications

Xiaomi Mi 9T Xiaomi Mi 9 Honor 20 OnePlus 6T Oppo Reno
Display 6.39″ AMOLED
2340 × 1080 dots, 403 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
6.39″ AMOLED
2340 × 1080 dots, 403 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
6.26″ IPS
2340 × 1080 dots, 412 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
6.41″ AMOLED
2340 × 1080 dots, 402 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
6.4″ AMOLED
2340 × 1080 dots, 402 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
Protective glass Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Corning Gorilla Glass 6 No information Corning Gorilla Glass 6 Corning Gorilla Glass 6
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 730: two Kryo 470 Gold cores, 2.2 GHz + six Kryo 470 Silver cores, 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: One Kryo 485 Gold core 2.85GHz + three Kryo 485 Gold cores 2.42GHz + four Kryo 485 Silver cores 1.8GHz HiSilicon Kirin 980: eight cores (2 x ARM Cortex A76 @ 2.6GHz + 2 x ARM Cortex A76 @ 1.92GHz + 4 x ARM Cortex A55 @ 1.8GHz); HiAI architecture Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Quad-core Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.8GHz + Quad-core Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 710: two Kryo 360 Gold cores, 2.2 GHz + six Kryo 360 Silver cores, 1.7 GHz
Graphics controller Adreno 618, 825 MHz Adreno 640, 585 MHz ARM Mali-G76 MP10, 720 MHz Adreno 630, 710 MHz Adreno 616, 750 MHz
RAM 6 GB 6/8/12 GB 6 GB 6/8/10 GB 6 GB
Flash memory 64/128 GB 128/256 GB 128 GB 128/256 GB 256 GB
Memory card support Not Not Not Not Not
Connectors USB Type-C, mini-jack 3.5 mm USB Type-C USB Type-C USB Type-C USB Type-C, mini-jack 3.5 mm
SIM cards Two nano-SIMs Two nano-SIMs Two nano-SIMs Two nano-SIMs Two nano-SIMs
Cellular 2G GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
CDMA 800
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
CDMA 800
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
CDMA 800/1900
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
Cellular 3G HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz WCDMA 850 / 900 / 2100 MHz
Cellular 4G LTE: bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40 LTE: bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 20, 28, 38, 39, 40 LTE Cat. 4 (up to 150 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20 LTE Cat.16 (up to 1024 Mbps): bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32 , 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 66, 71 LTE: bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40, 41
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0
NFC There is There is There is There is There is
Navigation GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo GPS (dual band), A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS GPS (dual band), A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
Sensors Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), IR sensor Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)
The fingerprint scanner Yes, on screen Yes, on screen There is Yes, on screen Yes, on screen
Main camera Triple module: 48 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + 8 MP, ƒ / 2.4 + 13 MP, ƒ / 2.4, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash Triple module: 48 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + 16 MP, ƒ / 2.2 + 12 MP, ƒ / 2.2, hybrid autofocus, dual LED flash Quadruple module, 40 + 16 + 16 + 2 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + ƒ / 2.2 + ƒ / 2.4 + ƒ / 2.4, phase detection autofocus, LED flash Dual module, 16 + 20 MP, ƒ / 1.7 + ƒ / 1.7, hybrid autofocus, dual LED flash Dual module, 48 + 5 MP, ƒ / 1.7 + ƒ / 2.4, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash
Front-camera 20 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash 20 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash 32 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash 16 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash 16 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash
Nutrition Non-removable battery: 15.2 Wh (4000 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 12.54 Wh (3300 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 14.25 Wh (3750 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 14.06 Wh (3700 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 14.31 Wh (3765 mAh, 3.8 V)
The size 156.7×74.3×8.8mm 157.5×74.7×7.6mm 154.3×74×7.9mm 157.5×74.8×8.2mm 156.6×74.3×9mm
Weight 191 grams 173 grams 174 grams 185 grams 185 grams
Hull protection Not Not Not Not Not
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie, MIUI shell Android 9.0 Pie, MIUI shell Android 9.0 Pie, Magic UI skin Android 9.0 Pie, OxygenOS shell Android 9.0 Pie, ColorOS shell
Current price $220 for 6/64 GB version, $220 for 6/128 GB version $220 for 6/64 GB version, $220 for 6/128 GB version 220$ $320 for 6/128 GB version, $320 for 8/128 GB version, $420 for 8/256 GB version 320$

Xiaomi Mi 9T — information about the filling according to the CPU-Z application

⇡#Design, ergonomics and software

What should a smartphone look like from the front now? Like a large piece of glass, which, when turned on, lights up almost entirely, with the exception of thin frames around the perimeter, and better without them at all. So Xiaomi Mi 9T looks like. You can sort through the numbers like a rosary — the percentage of the front panel occupied by the display, but in fact all modern smartphones tend to the same point. Getting rid of the notch (most likely the final one — we are waiting for smartphones with a front camera hidden right in the screen) is almost the last step. Further — only games with curved edges and folding displays. Here, after all, the device is simpler, without bends at the edges.

  Xiaomi Mi 9T in blue and red

Xiaomi Mi 9T in blue and red

The back of the Mi 9T is also covered with glass, but still curved. And this leads to two consequences. Pleasant — the smartphone is better anatomically adapted to hold it in the palm of your hand. And unpleasant — and so slippery, he strives to crawl away from any more or less uneven surface. We talk about this feature of «glass» all the time, but things are still there. The glass here, of course, is tempered, but it’s Gorilla Glass 5, not 6, as in Mi 9 — it will provide good resistance to damage when dropped, but very soft, it easily collects all kinds of scratches. The problem can be solved by putting the Mi 9T in a case — some special or simple complete, made of dark plastic.

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, front panel: display and earpiece cutout only;  under the screen is a fingerprint scanner

Xiaomi Mi 9T, front panel: display and earpiece cutout only; under the screen is a fingerprint scanner

But the smartphone looks great without a case, of course. Even the black version pleases with the unusual texture of the glass hidden under the top cover, the pleasant symmetry of the cameras that fit nicely into the back of the device, and color accents. In our case, a red rim around the main camera and a red key for locking / turning on the device.

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, rear panel: three camera lenses, dual LED flash

Xiaomi Mi 9T, rear panel: three camera lenses, dual LED flash

The other two color options look even better — both the “blue glacier” and the “red flame” received a back with a very characteristic pattern that distinguishes the Mi 9T from the general background. That in modern times, universal unification is already a good achievement.

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, the left side is free from functional elements

Xiaomi Mi 9T: the left side is free from functional elements

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, right side: power / lock and volume / camera shutter keys

Xiaomi Mi 9T, right side: power / lock and volume / camera shutter keys

The front camera hidden in the case did not lead to excessive swelling of the case, although, of course, the Mi 9T is thicker than the Mi 9 — 8.8 mm versus 7.6 mm. But everything is within reason, using a smartphone is comfortable.

The retractable mechanism of the selfie camera itself is implemented in the same way as, for example, in the Vivo V15 Pro — a small block on which, in addition to the camera itself, there is only an LED indicator of its operation. The drive is electric, that is, the front camera extends only when the user needs it, when the corresponding programs are launched, be it the camera application or the same Instagram*. It takes her about half a second. The process is voiced, and the sound that the smartphone makes when the mechanism is raised can be selected in the settings or completely turned off. In the event of a fall of the gadget, the accelerometer sends a command to the mechanism — and the camera hides back. Whether it succeeds or not depends on your luck, but if you fall from about a meter and a half height, the drive must cope. It is designed, by the way, for 300,000 operations. Enough for the life of a smartphone. Any term.

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, upper face: a retractable front camera unit with a status indicator built into its end face, a microphone, an audio jack for headphones / headset

Xiaomi Mi 9T, upper face: a retractable front camera unit with a status indicator built into its end face, a microphone, an audio jack for headphones / headset

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, bottom side: USB Type-C port, main speaker, microphone, slot for two nano-SIM operator cards

Xiaomi Mi 9T, bottom side: USB Type-C port, main speaker, microphone, slot for two nano-SIM operator cards

A pleasant surprise from Xiaomi is a mini-jack on the top. Another stray element, along with the IR sensor. It will disappear for unknown reasons (for a long time no one believes in excuses in the style of “due to moisture protection requirements”), then it will return. Soon, its appearance on a smartphone will be separately emphasized in promotional materials as an important advantage, as is done with a memory card slot — not so long ago mandatory, but now appearing in smartphones by no means always. Here, by the way, there is none, as well as an IR sensor. A very rare smartphone now does without such unreasonable sacrifices, and this does not depend on either the price category or the status.

The fingerprint scanner in Xiaomi Mi 9T is located under the screen — and this is an optical, not an ultrasonic sensor, it does not react to wet fingers, nor does it work even with the smallest, drizzling rain. In a normal situation, everything is fine — the sensor is of normal sensitivity, the percentage of successful operations is high. There is no great need to connect a face recognition system to the process, although the smartphone can do this too.

The smartphone runs on Android 9.0 Pie with the MIUI 10 shell. We have already written in detail about the operating system and the latest version of MIUI. Nothing new can be said about them: if Android has been progressing from year to year, competing on equal terms with iOS for a long time, then MIUI seems to have somewhat stopped in development, no longer leaving the impression of being the best on the market. The shell still has a lot of fans — and they can be understood. Here is the force of habit, and still a unique set of functions like automatic reconnection to the Moscow metro Wi-Fi network without viewing ads (albeit not always working) or “second space”. But some drawbacks — like the «frames» for some of the icons built right into the operating system of advertising, the portal to hell, which comes off when you swipe the desktop from the bottom up (recommendation service based on Yandex) or the lack of a sane application search — is hard to endure. MIUI works quickly, the strange firmware problems seen in Mi 9 have disappeared — hieroglyphs no longer slip where you don’t expect them. But the shell does not differ in high stability — after a week and a half of testing, it began to freeze at certain points. This is treated with a reboot, but also only for a while.

⇡#Display and sound

AMOLED display with a diagonal of 6.39 inches and a resolution of Full HD + (2340 × 1080 pixels) we see already on the third Xiaomi smartphone — it used to appear on Mi MIX 3 and Mi 9. This is a very decent panel, with a resolution acceptable for this diagonal ( pixel density — 403 ppi), excellent viewing angles and so far not noticed problems with burn-in.

Unlike the Mi 9, the Mi 9T has no serious issues with the oleophobic coating. The smartphone does not come with a case or a protective film — and at least the latter does not create serious problems. From time to time, you can wipe the screen with a cloth or improvised means (for example, a T-shirt) — and everything will be fine. The touch coating responds to 10 simultaneous touches, but I had complaints about its sensitivity — some subtle actions, like choosing a focal length in the camera application, had to be repeated several times to confirm. Neither a reboot nor a firmware update helped to cope with the problem.

The maximum measured brightness of the Xiaomi Mi 9T display was 474 cd / m2 — in numbers, there is a serious progress relative to Mi 9 and Mi MIX 3, but in fact the displays of these smartphones behave approximately the same. Xiaomi does not emphasize HDR support in promotional materials, but it is here. In the sun (or in appropriate scenes when playing video), brightness can jump up to 600 cd/m2. Be that as it may, using a smartphone is comfortable in any conditions.

In the settings, you can adjust the color tone (from cold to warm), but only when the automatic “contrast” setting is activated. We repeat once again that Xiaomi and some other manufacturers repeat this mistake again and again: we are not talking about any contrast parameters here, only the color rendering changes. When choosing auto-tuning, you can set the general direction in which the smartphone will adjust the color reproduction, when choosing fixed modes (increased contrast and standard) — no longer. I tested the Xiaomi Mi 9T screen with these two presets — in automatic mode, the result is highly dependent on the testing conditions. Of the other available display settings, I will highlight the ability to choose between light and dark interface themes.

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, gamma in

Xiaomi Mi 9T, gamma in «high contrast» mode. The yellow line is the Mi 9T performance, the dotted line is the reference gamma

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, color temperature in

Xiaomi Mi 9T, color temperature in «high contrast» mode. The blue line is the Mi 9T performance, the dotted line is the reference temperature

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, color gamut in

Xiaomi Mi 9T, color gamut in «increased contrast» mode. Gray triangle — sRGB coverage, white triangle — Mi 9T coverage

In the mode of increased «contrast», the cold tone of colors is the first thing that catches your eye — approximately the same, it should be noted, is offered by default with automatic color rendering (unlike Apple’s TrueTone, which this mode focuses on). The temperature fluctuates between 7,500 and 8,000 K, which, in principle, is far from extreme values, but it also does not look like the reference 6,500 K. The average gamma value is 2.27. The color gamut is close to the DCI-P3 standard. The average deviation of DeltaE on the Color Checker scale, which includes both a wide range of colors and shades of gray, was 5.53 at a rate of 3.00 — an expected mediocre level with such a cold spectrum.

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, gamma in

Xiaomi Mi 9T, gamma in standard mode. The yellow line is the Mi 9T performance, the dotted line is the reference gamma

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, color temperature in

Xiaomi Mi 9T, color temperature in standard mode. The blue line is the Mi 9T performance, the dotted line is the reference temperature

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, color gamut in

Xiaomi Mi 9T, color gamut in standard mode. Gray triangle — sRGB coverage, white triangle — Mi 9T coverage

When “standard contrast” is activated, the color space narrows, but it still does not fit within sRGB, slightly out of the “shores”. The average gamma is exactly the same, but the curves behave a little calmer. The color temperature drops — on average to the level of 7,000-7,100 K. The average DeltaE deviation on the Color Checker scale is already 3.60. In general, Xiaomi tried to achieve accurate color reproduction, but fell a little short. In this regard, Mi 9T loses to older models that are set up better.

Xiaomi Mi 9T received an analog audio jack. First of all, this affects the convenience of using a smartphone: you don’t have to suffer with adapters or choose between listening to music or charging your phone. All owners of wired headphones can breathe easy. But the Mi 9T does not have any supernatural abilities in terms of music playback: the power reserve is average, in the subway without headphones with active noise reduction you already have to turn the volume up to the maximum — and still endure background noise, and the smartphone does not stand out with particularly detailed sound. There are no problems with wireless data transfer, you can even count on a good level: aptX and aptX HD profiles are supported, even LDAC is announced — fans of Sony wireless headphones can dance. The external mono speaker is located on the bottom edge. It is quite loud, I did not miss calls.

* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations in respect of which the court has made a decision that has entered into legal force to liquidate or ban activities on the grounds provided for by Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25, 2002 “On countering extremist activity”.

⇡#Hardware and performance

Xiaomi Mi 9T is one of the first in general and definitely the first smartphone on the Russian market with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 hardware platform. This SoC, presented in April, should replace the Snapdragon 710 and become the main one in the segment in which Mi claims leadership. 9T.

This system-on-a-chip is equipped with eight cores, of which two are the high-performance Kryo 470 Gold clocked at 2.2 GHz, and six more are the more economical Kryo 470 Silver clocked at 1.8 GHz. These cores are designed specifically for the Snapdragon 730. The graphics subsystem is also new — Adreno 618 with a clock speed of 825 MHz and support for Vulcan 1.1. Technological process — 8 nm. The manufacturer is Samsung. There is also a Snapdragon 730G platform with improved graphics performance, but it did not make it to the Xiaomi Mi 9T.

However, in order to enjoy using a smartphone, the usual version of a single-chip system is enough: applications open quickly, a large number of tabs do not interfere with working with the browser, games are launched all — and without serious restrictions on settings. The results of synthetic tests confirm all this — Xiaomi Mi 9T is just between the last generation of “middle peasants” and flagships, still inferior to Honor 20 with its Kirin 980.

Of the important advantages of the Snapdragon 730 over the Snapdragon 710, Qualcomm primarily notes hardware support for 4K HDR video encoding and progress in working with neural network computing — in particular, it is claimed that the new platform can encode 4K HDR video with software background blur on the fly. , which previously only the older platforms of all three major manufacturers were able to do. In Xiaomi Mi 9T, this feature is not used, and in general, the results of the synthetic AI test (Ludashi AI Mark) are rather disappointing. There is no progress in relation to the Snapdragon 710 — rather, on the contrary. However, any benchmarks that measure the neural network capabilities of a processor should be taken with a serious degree of skepticism — widely used frameworks are constantly changing, tests keep up with these changes with difficulty. But some problems in this regard are also visible “by eye” — the smartphone does not process images quickly, especially with AI turned on.

But you can quite confidently test the cooling system. Two parameters are important here. The first is the general subjective feeling of the body heating, with this Xiaomi Mi 9T is doing well. The second is the CPU Throttling Test benchmark, which loads the platform to the maximum and measures the frequency at which its cores work in a 15-minute interval. Here, Xiaomi Mi 9T did not shine, but it did not fail either — the processor frequency dropped to 75% of the maximum, and the average performance was 133 GIPS. However, on the graph you can see that the problems arose not “at a distance”, but at the beginning of the test — then the smartphone was rebuilt and was able to maintain performance at the proper level, and this is a consistently reproducible result. Apparently, the Game Turbo 2.0 software add-on is working, optimally distributing the load for serious tasks (the unnecessary is thrown out of memory, all resources are rushed to the current task). In games, Mi 9T shows itself well done.

Another software add-on that Xiaomi claims is Mi Turbo, which should regularly optimize memory performance and ensure long-term smartphone service without a drop in performance. Unfortunately, it is impossible to check whether Mi Turbo copes with this during the standard two-week testing period.

Xiaomi Mi 9T is presented in two versions in terms of memory. RAM is always 6 GB, but for drives you can choose a version of both 64 GB and 128 GB. The first, in my opinion, does not make sense — given the lack of a slot for a memory card. This volume will fill up very quickly — you won’t even have time to say “4K video”. Yes, this is an option to save a hundred dollars, but it’s not worth it.

⇡#Communications and wireless communications

The modem built into the Snapdragon 730 can, in theory, work with LTE category 15 (data transfer rate up to 800 Mbps), but Xiaomi does not confirm whether the Mi 9T holds this level. The company has lately, for unknown reasons, hidden the data transfer speed over 4G networks, which its smartphones are able to handle. But at least it does not hide the list of supported bands — and here the Mi 9T is all right. Everything necessary for Russia is in place, customers of all operators will not have problems.

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, slot for two nano-SIM cards

Xiaomi Mi 9T, slot for two nano-SIM cards

The Snapdragon 730 also provides for the ability to work with Wi-Fi 6, but the modem is already being installed by the manufacturer itself — and here it logically did not turn out, you should not expect such miracles in a middle-class smartphone yet. As a result, the list of wireless modules is standard: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC (with Google Pay). The navigation module works with both GPS (A-GPS), GLONASS and BeiDou, as well as with Galileo. GPS here is ordinary, not dual-band, as in Xiaomi Mi 9 — only athletes and amateurs will feel the difference with perfect accuracy to record the history of all their movements.

⇡#Camera

Another highlight of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 is that it is the first mid-range platform to support triple rear cameras. In Xiaomi Mi 9T, this is used to the fullest — this is another three-camera smartphone. I wanted to write that it is also the first in its class, but in fact, Honor 20 with four (!) Cameras is already waiting for it. You have to take the quality.

  Xiaomi Mi 9T, slot for two nano-SIM cards

Xiaomi Mi 9T, triple camera module

One could guess about the main camera in advance — this is a 48-megapixel Quad Bayer module … but not the usual Sony IMX 586, but the Sony IMX582. However, the differences between them are minimal: the physical dimensions are 1/2», the size of an individual pixel is 0.8 microns; formally, the difference is only in the Sony IMX586’s support for shooting video in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, while the IMX582 can only shoot at 30 frames. The sensor is equipped with an aperture lens ƒ/1.75, which provides 26mm focal length shots in 35mm equivalent. By default, the camera shoots with a resolution of 12 megapixels, the 48-megapixel mode must be activated separately. There is no optical stabilization, basic autofocus — there was no additional «laser» assistant.

On the left is a 12-megapixel image, on the right is a 48-megapixel image

The second camera is equipped with an 8-megapixel 1/4» sensor (pixel size — 1.12 microns) with a lens aperture ƒ/2.4, which has an equivalent focal length of 52 mm. There is also a phase autofocus, there is also no stabilizer — and in the case of a telephoto module, this is especially critical. The third camera is 13-megapixel, 1/3» in size (the pixel size is the same — 1.12 microns), lens aperture ƒ/2.4, focal length — 12 mm in 35 mm equivalent. Without stabilizer and autofocus. As you can easily calculate, the total available “zoom” for the Xiaomi Mi 9T camera is approximately 4.3x – in this regard, the smartphone is identical to the Mi 9.

All three cameras are quite good for shooting in soft natural light, the main module remains working even in low light — the lack of a stabilizer, of course, imposes its limitations, but they are not too harsh, it is not difficult to get a sharp picture on the Mi 9T at night, especially when using a special mode that sticks together pictures during a multi-frame exposure. The smartphone does this, however, somewhat rudely — the picture may seem unnatural.

The telephoto module is much more demanding on lighting: it is difficult to shoot on it at night — the night mode is available only for the main camera. The optics are too sensitive to backlight, resulting in noticeable flare and flare when shooting in these conditions. The wide-angle camera is also not very adapted to shooting in the dark, but during the day it produces shots that are acceptable in terms of detail, albeit with a strong softening of the edge zones. The latter is corrected when optical distortion correction is turned off — the other side of the coin, I think, is clear.

«Artificial Intelligence» is enabled by default. The smartphone detects various scenes and tries not only to find the optimal settings for them, but also to work with color saturation, color temperature, and dynamic range. In most cases, he does it carefully — the processing looks appropriate, the picture does not roll into a frank «cartoon». If desired, the neural network module can be disabled by touching the icon on the shooting screen.

The software background blur mode, enabled by default on the telephoto module, is logical from the point of view of optics (shooting a model without optical distortion), but it greatly limits if you want to take a portrait in low light. In the upper left corner there is an icon that switches to shooting in full growth, which is already being done on the main camera. Distortions will be noticeable, but you can shoot in the evening. The blur itself is quite high quality, there are several lighting effects that put the subject against a black background. They are purely amateur. I’m not one of those.

The camera interface in Mi 9T is minimally different from what we have seen before. The general logic is the same as in Mi 9, again, by default, a watermark is placed that tells which smartphone you took pictures with (it’s terribly annoying — it turns off in the settings). It has become easier to get to the 48-megapixel shooting mode — it is now available, among others, by swiping the screen. But the complaints about the Mi 9T camera app are not limited to putting a stupid watermark — it is unusually slow for a smartphone of this level. It opens quite quickly, but it takes a really long time to process pictures, especially when artificial intelligence is turned on. Yes, you can shoot during processing, but if you want to look at the result immediately after shooting, then you will be disappointed. The smartphone is very thoughtful.

In general, the quality of shooting Xiaomi Mi 9T fits well into the modern context. An excellent range of focal lengths, high-quality color reproduction with and without “artificial intelligence” turned on, the ability to shoot on the main camera in the dark (not on the other two). In fact, in this price range, Mi 9T is clearly inferior to only one smartphone — Honor 20. With the rest, it is at least equal (Xiaomi Mi 9SE) or surpasses them (Vivo V15 Pro, Nokia 8.1, OPPO Reno).

Video recording is nothing special. I already wrote above that the smartphone can shoot video in 4K at up to 30 frames per second — and with stabilization (it is not available only at frame rates above 30 frames / s), but without any gloss. I note the possibility of shooting slow motion video: up to 240 fps at 1080p and up to 960 fps at 720p.

The front camera is the same as in Xiaomi Mi 9: 20 megapixels, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus.

There is software background blur and the ability to apply various optical distortions and color filters. The beautifier is very powerful, but can be disabled. For selfie lovers, the Mi 9T is quite suitable — especially since it can please with a retractable camera, this is always an extra chic.

⇡#Offline work

Xiaomi Mi 9T has a battery with a capacity of 15.52 Wh (4000 mAh, 3.8 V). Here it is, the beauty of «non-flagships» — it is in this segment that we are much more likely to wait for batteries of sane capacity, although there are, of course, happy exceptions like ASUS Zenfone 6. Xiaomi Mi 9T honestly works its working day, and with a not very serious load — and day. In principle, despite the OLED display and energy-efficient 8nm platform, Mi 9T still belongs to the most common breed of smartphones today — it also needs to be charged strictly every day. But he certainly will not let you down during the day.

In our traditional test with HD video playback at maximum brightness, with the wireless connection turned on, with the current updates, Xiaomi Mi 9T did not shine, apparently having some kind of process behind its soul that consumed a significant part of the energy. But still the level is very decent — almost 15 hours.

Xiaomi Mi 9T supports moderately fast wired charging (18 watts), but it cannot charge without wires. Mi 9, let me remind you, supports both wireless charging and ultra-fast (27 W), but adapters in both cases must be purchased separately. The 18-watt Quick Charge 3 charger, which is already in the box, will take approximately two hours to fully charge the Mi 9T.

⇡#Conclusion

Xiaomi Mi 9T is a legitimate candidate for the title of the best mid-range smartphone in 2019 — along with Honor 20. The product of the company bending, but not yet broken under sanctions, surpasses Mi 9T in quality of shooting (both video and photo; including this true for the front camera) and in terms of the power of the hardware platform, but inferior to the “sub-flagship” in a number of other parameters: the Mi 9T has an AMOLED screen instead of an LCD, there is a mini-jack and an on-screen fingerprint scanner, and better autonomy. There is also a design issue: personally, the Honor 20 looks prettier to me, but this is already a matter of taste. Other direct competitors — Samsung Galaxy A70, Nokia 8.1, OPPO Reno Z, Vivo V15 Pro, colleague Xiaomi Mi 9SE — are inferior already more significantly.

Xiaomi Mi 9T (Redmi K20) is designed to be a hit in the under $300 category. It will not be the most popular Xiaomi smartphone — it simply has no chance against twice the cheaper models, but it is able to return the company to positions in the older segment that it had begun to lose. The smartphone deserves our 3DNews Recommended award — but this only applies to the 6/128 GB version, while I do not recommend taking the 64 GB version due to the lack of a memory expansion slot.

Advantages:

  • high-quality cameras — both rear and front;
  • excellent AMOLED display;
  • good autonomy;
  • decent performance;
  • The in-display fingerprint scanner works really well.

Disadvantages:

  • no moisture protection;
  • no slot for a memory card;
  • no optical stabilization in the camera;
  • some touch screen issues;
  • advertising directly in the shell of the operating system.

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