Xiaomi has made a name for itself for offering really great smartphones at almost unbelievable prices. It's able to do this, because it does not take more than five-percent profit on every smartphone it sells. Meanwhile, the profit margin from other companies like Samsung and Apple are much higher – over 50-percent.
The Mi 9T Pro appears to be more of the same for Xiaomi. A flagship-level smartphone that comes in at under €450. It's not quite on the same level as the Pocophone F1 that it announced last year, but close. But did Xiaomi cut any corners to get to this price? Let's find out in the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro Review.
Stunning, 2019-esque design
Another thing Xiaomi has started to become known for in the past two or three years is its design. And the Mi 9T Pro is no different.
It has a lot of the design elements that you would expect from a device releasing in 2019. That includes a pop-up selfie camera, virtually no bezels and a colorful backside.
The design on the back is perhaps my favorite part of this design actually. It's a swirling glass design that looks really cool in blue or red – we have the blue one here. In the center it's a darker blue or almost black. It's a gradient that becomes a light blue at the edges.
And of course, we can't forget that colored power button. Which is orange/red, and it really looks pretty cool. We're definitely a fan of colored power buttons on smartphones here at AndroidHeadlines.
There is still a camera bump on the Mi 9T Pro, but Xiaomi has managed to keep it pretty small, so it doesn't stick out like the iPhone 11 Pro. It also doesn't affect typing on the phone when it's on a flat surface like a desk or table.
Xiaomi has also stuck to its guns when it comes to smartphone displays. Sticking with 1080p panels, instead of using Quad HD or 4K panels. Xiaomi's co-founder Lei Jun believes that the trade-offs of going to a Quad HD display are simply not worth it. With the big one being the battery life.
The Mi 9T Pro still sports a 1080p display, though its a 2340×1080 resolution. However, it is an OLED display. And that's a recipe for a pretty incredible battery performance. And given that there is a 4000mAh capacity battery inside, it's going to last a while.
The display is actually really good, we haven't noticed any real issues going between this and the Galaxy Note 10 and Pixel 3 XL. While a Quad HD display would have definitely been better, full HD means better battery life. That's something we can all appreciate.
Incredible battery life
There isn't a massive battery inside the Mi 9T Pro (pretty funny to say that about a 4000mAh capacity battery though), but it does offer some really great battery life.
I was able to continuously get six hours or more of on-screen time, and still have around 20-percent charge left at the end of the day. Meaning that I could probably get closer to eight hours on a charge. That is pretty impressive. Something we haven't seen on a smartphone in 2019.
Now if you are a power user, and do deplete the battery faster than I did with my usage, you'll be happy to know that there is fast charging available. In the box, there is a 18W charger, but it does also support up to 27W. Allowing you to full charge this 4000mAh capacity battery in a little over two hours.
MIUI 10 still has some pretty significant bugs
MIUI has come a long way in the past few years. Going from an Android skin that looked a whole lot like a copy of iOS, to actually being a really useful skin that allows for a ton of customization. There's also a ton of great features within MIUI now.
But there's still quite a few significant bugs that are present in MIUI 10. This is something that we had thought Xiaomi would have fixed. After all, we noted these in our Mi 9 review almost six months ago.
The first one that we really noticed was with Dark Mode. Some notifications – particularly when it comes to Gmail notifications, you cannot read the subject line. The subject line is in black, on a black background. It's literally invisible. The rest of the notification is in a dark gray color, which is also somewhat tough to read but not impossible.
Then there's the case with Recents, where it can be pretty slow sometimes, especially when using gestures. It's slow to actually show the preview of the other apps that are open. That does sound like a RAM problem, but it shouldn't be. There's 6GB of RAM here, and MIUI 10 is a pretty lightweight skin.
Though, these are somewhat minor bugs, but and can be fixed easily, we think. The rest of the MIUI experience is actually pretty good. And Xiaomi has pre-installed Nova Launcher on the Mi 9T Pro, so that if you aren't a fan of its launcher, you have a choice without even needing to go into Google Play to download one.
These cameras are underrated
Xiaomi isn't known as a smartphone maker that makes some great cameras. But they should be.
The cameras on the Mi 9T Pro are pretty impressive, and it's not the first time I've said this about a Xiaomi smartphone – and won't be the last.
Xiaomi has a triple-camera setup here on the Mi 9T Pro. That includes a 48-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture main sensor with phase detection autofocus and laser autofocus. There's a 8-megapixel, f/2.4 aperture telephoto lens that also has phase detection and laser autofocus. Then there is a 13-megapixel, f/2.4 aperture ultrawide lens on the back.
These three lenses work well together to provide a really great experience. Now the main lens does not output a 48-megapixel image all the time. It will down-sample it to 12-megapixel. Essentially taking four 12-megapixel images at once. That is how you get a much better looking picture, without it being a large photo. There is a 48-megapixel mode, however, if you are looking for a larger image.
Portrait Mode is really good on the Mi 9T Pro. After using the Galaxy Note 10+ for over a month, it's great to use a phone that has a portrait mode that works on more than just humans. Xiaomi's works on animals, trees, flowers and much more. And it also takes some really impressive photos.
Though another feature of portrait mode that I really like is the ability to adjust the aperture after you take the shot, and even adjust the focus point. I took a few photos of my dog with this phone, and of course she couldn't hold still. So the photos came out a little bit blurry. But in adjusting the focus after taking the photo and the aperture, the pictures came out much better, with her in-focus and not blurry.
It's a small feature, but one that can be very useful. The Mi 9T Pro can bring the aperture up to f/1.0. Now since it does f/1.8 on the main lens that means that the rest of that is done with software, and it seems to work really well.
As always, you can see images taken with the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro on Flickr, here. These are not edited, but are taken with different modes on the camera.
With a Snapdragon 855 chipset and 6GB of RAM, you'd expect the performance on the Mi 9T Pro to be pretty top-notch (no pun intended). And that is absolutely the case here.
We've been using the Mi 9T Pro for over two weeks and never noticed it slowing down at all. We've never noticed it needing to redraw apps that were already open, or it aggressively closing apps. That is something a lot of Chinese phones will do to preserve battery life.
The Snapdragon 855 is pretty powerful, and while you could do plenty of gaming on the Mi 9T Pro, it is not a "gaming phone". But that doesn't mean you can't treat it as one. We played Asphalt 9, and a few other games on this phone, quite a bit. And we didn't have any issues with it slowing down or getting hot. It did get a tad bit hot, as expected. But not so hot that you couldn't touch the phone.
We continue to be impressed by Xiaomi's smartphones, especially when you see the price that they are selling for. This is a sub €450 smartphone, that should cost closer to €800 (or $900 in the US). It's really incredible what Xiaomi is able to do with its smartphones at these different price points. This does not look like a "budget" smartphone, or perform like one, but it is priced like one.
If you are in a market where the Mi 9T Pro is being sold, it's definitely worth the buy.