It has been said innumerable times that good things don’t come cheap and the saying generally holds true for the vast majority of smartphones available out there in the market. Xiaomi, being the unconventional outfit that they are, aims to upend the concept entirely of a high performing, premium looking smartphone costing a bomb. Since their inception, they’ve offered a range of powerful yet surprisingly affordable phones but their most recent addition to their line-up, the Xiaomi Mi 9T aims to top them all as possibly the best smartphone in its price range. How so? Read on, and we’ll tell you why.
Right out of the starting gate, Xiaomi has packed in a veritable cornucopia of high-end hardware that you’d usually see on a flagship-class phone but at less than half the price tag that you’d expect. For a price tag just RM1,199, you’re getting a large AMOLED display, a newly minted upper-midrange Snapdragon 730 processor, a rear triple camera array and the list of wonders doesn’t quite end there. Here’s seven stunning reasons why the Xiaomi Mi 9T takes pole position as the best phone that money can buy in its price range and then some.
#1 Flagship-class build quality and design
There’s a unique tactility that you can only get if you’re using premium materials like metal and glass when building a phone. The problem is that they cost a pretty penny and every dime counts when you’re building a phone as it impacts on the bottom line.
Whereas most phones in its price range end up with polycarbonate facsimiles that somewhat mimic the look of a polished gradient glass finish but alas not the heft and feel with a plasticky, almost hollow feel, the Mi 9T goes all the way with the real deal.
The backplate of the Mi 9T is sheathed in glass and embellished with your choice of three different colour schemes – a gradient Glacier Blue finish, a bright Flame Red paint job or a Carbon Black finish with red trim. This glass and metal build gives Xiaomi’s latest phone an extremely posh feel and a very reassuring heft when held.
While other smartphone manufacturers who aim to cut corners tend to use plastic buttons, the Mi 9T goes all the way and uses metal ones instead for its power button and volume rocker.
Flip it up front and you’ll notice that the entirety of the phone is almost all display with nary a notch in sight which adds quite a bit of class to the Mi 9T.
#2 Seriously beefy specifications under the hood
The Mi 9T comes with the new upper-midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor that is built on an 8nm process and which offers a finely tuned blend of performance balanced with endurance for longer battery life compared to its predecessor the Snapdragon 710. The Snapdragon 730 processor also brings to the table a host of enhancements that you’d usually expect in a flagship-class phone including a 4th generation AI engine that improves processor efficiency by up to 2.6 times compared to the older Snapdragon 710 for a variety of tasks including gaming.
This is paired with 6GB RAM and 64GB of non-expandable storage though you can chunk out for a version of the Mi 9T with 128GB of storage if you so wish. This array of hardware allows the Mi 9T to handle some of the most demanding games available on a phone at high settings including the ubiquitous PUBG and Asphalt 9 too.The phone also has a novel Game Turbo 2.0 mode that optimises performance, increases touchscreen response time,
Other handy features usually found on flagship-class phones include Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, NFC support for compatible hardware and cashless payments, an under-display fingerprint reader and HiRes Audio support too for good measure. All this is well and good but what really takes the cake on the Mi 9T though is its huge display.
#3 Lusciously large AMOLED display
The size and the quality of a smartphone’s touchscreen display is often commensurate with how much you pay for said phone. The Xiaomi Mi 9T handily upends that law as it sports a flagship-grade 6.39-inch AMOLED display upfront which offers vibrant hues and beautifully deep blacks, better viewing angles and much better readability under daylight on account of its brighter display compared to the more mainstream IPS LCD panels that appear in many midrange smartphones.
If you gaze at the Mi 9T, you’ll also appreciate the fact that you’re getting a lot of screen real estate for what you pay for as almost the entirety of the front of the phone is taken up the luscious touchscreen; in effect, you’re getting a vibrant, 2,340 x 1080 pixels up front with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio which makes it ideal for gaming and especially movies on Netflix. Whereas many other competing phones are relegated to watching Netflix in standard definition, Netflix on the Mi 9T is streamed in glorious HD resolution.
This large aspect ratio and screen size versus its physical dimensions is on account of its breathtakingly slim 3.8mm bezels and the fact that they’ve relocated the selfie camera into a motorised pop-up module so that a punch hole does not besmirch the Mi 9T’s display.
They’ve even plonked in an under-display fingerprint reader to ensure that the whole front of the Mi 9T is almost entirely a touchscreen and turning it on for gaming and, especially watching movies makes for a special treat. More so for the fact that the Mi 9T is also one of the few phones that integrate WideVine digital rights management support and, by extension, Netflix viewing so you can quite literally enjoy the latest season of Stranger Things. Add in the fact that the Mi 9T still has a 3.5mm audio jack and you have a party on the go waiting to happen. Popcorn, anyone?
#4 Mi 9T Triple Rear camera and Pop-Up Selfie Camera
The Xiaomi Mi 9T has an impressive rear triple camera array that has a bevy of features that were once the exclusive province of flagship-grade class phones. Emplaced in the middle of the rear backplate, the rear triple camera array consists of a 48-MP camera with an F/1.75 aperture, a secondary 8-MP camera with a 2x telephoto lens and a 13-MP ultrawide angle camera that offers a wide field of view.
While wide angle lenses on secondary cameras are currently in vogue and are relatively common in phones across different price ranges with varying degrees of effectiveness, it’s a rare phone indeed at this price range that has optical zoom lenses like the Mi 9T. The provision of 2x optical zoom in the Mi 9T allows for lossless shots at slightly closer range from a distance rather than having to rely on digital zoom which ends up with some degree of pixelation.
Up front, the Mi 9T packs a 20-MP selfie camera that rises up on a motorised mount on demand if you need to capture selfies. When it rises up, it gives off a glow that matches your Mi 9T’s paint finish – either blue or red – and a cute chime. If you’re having doubts as to the robustness of the pop-up camera mechanism, fret not Xiaomi has tested the mechanism and have rated it to work over 300,000 times which is way more times than what the average user would ever use.
Better yet, both the front and rear cameras also have AI to help out, ensuring crisper, better looking shots every time you press the virtual shutter release button. Combined, this potent front and rear setup enables users to capture fantastic snaps across a vast array of subjects, 4K video and even 960fps slow-motion videos too off the rear cameras.
#5 Awesome battery life
The Mi 9T packs a large 4,000mAh battery in a casing that’s just 8.8mm thin and has Quick Charge 3.0 18W fast charging via a USB Type-C port. Combined with the power efficiency of the Snapdragon 730 processor, the Mi 9T is capable of easily offering all-day battery life in the field and once you’re done, rapidly charge it to full capacity when plugged into the mains.
#6 That sweet 3.5mm audio jack
As much as the chaps over at Cupertino say that it requires courage to eschew it, the 3.5mm audio jack remains a mainstay that is widely accepted and quite simply works. It’s nigh on bungleproof and the moment you jack in your headphones it’s ready to rock and roll with nary all onerous pairing you’d expect from a wireless pair of cans though if that floats your boat, the Mi 9T also has Bluetooth 5.0 too. Add in HiRes audio support and you have quite a capable portable jukebox on your hands.
#7 That low RM1,199 price tag
The Xiaomi Mi 9T clocks in at a modest RM1,199 for the 6GB RAM/64GB storage variant which is available on Xiaomi’s online store on Lazada. A 6GB RAM/128GB storage variant is also available at Mi Stores nationwide for a slightly higher RM1,399. More importantly, you’re getting a flagship-grade under-display fingerprint reader which is a rarity, if not unheard of at this price range but which the Mi 9T integrates in its large AMOLED display in all its glory.
Not only is this price tag surprisingly affordable for what the Mi 9T brings to the table, it’s also an official retail unit too which means you needn’t have to rely on dodgy imported sets which can possibly have murky warranty issues. If you’re looking for a premium phone that not only looks good but which also has respectable specifications that can give phones twice its price tag a run for its money, the Mi 9T is rather hard to beat. For more details and to acquire the Xiaomi Mi 9T on Lazada, swing by their official page here.