Geek

I Dropped The Xiaomi Mi 9T Headfirst 6ft From The Ground With The Pop-Up Camera Out

  • Priced at just RM1,200 / SGD 449, it comes with a 4,000mAh battery, a Qualcomm 730 processor, and a triple rear camera setup with a 20MP pop-up front camera.
  • It also goes by the name of Redmi K20 in India and comes in a few versions: Mi 9T, Mi 9T Pro, Mi 9 SE.

The Mi 9T has all the bells and whistles of a flagship device—except it’s priced at RM 1,200. Remember last year when the POCOPHONE F1 was released and it was roughly the same price?

The POCOPHONE F1 was a remarkable device and it still is a dang good phone. Anyway, back to the Mi 9T.

It seems Xiaomi can add flagship-like specs to devices with budget prices. I’m not going to complain because I get a powerful device while saving money. That’s a win-win baby!

Superb Pricing

Flagship devices nowadays are priced around RM3,000 and above. Take the recently announced Note10+ for example, it is priced at RM4,799 for the 512GB variant.

You can get four Mi 9Ts for that (and I’m not saying the Note10+ is a terrible device.) I’m also not saying the Mi 9T is a flagship beater; it’s merely a powerful mid-tier device, as that is what Xiaomi targets it to be.

(At the point of writing, the Mi 9T Pro hasn’t arrived in Malaysia yet.)

Specifications
Display6.39-inch AMOLED Full HD / 2340 x 1080 FHD+ 403 PPI 
Dimensions156.7 x 74.3 x 8.8 mm, 191 grams
CameraTriple Rear Camera: 48MP wide camera, 13MP ultra-wide
camera, 8MP telephoto

Front camera: 20MP pop-up camera
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 730
Memory6GB
Storage64GB / 128GB
Battery4,000 mAh

The Snapdragon 730+ processor is fairly powerful and would have close to no issues tackling the latest game.

But of course, it is no Snapdragon 855. So, if you’re looking for a device purely for gaming, there are other options out there.

Because of the price, features such as Wireless Charging is unavailable on the phone. But, it still has a headphone jack, so there’s that. And speaking of the headphone jack, let’s talk about the build of the device.

Elegantly Built

When I first laid my hands on the device, it didn’t feel like a mid-range device. While I often associate budget devices with plastic, the same can not be said to this phone.

The build quality of mid-tier devices has gotten significantly better over the years. The phone’s back is wrapped in blue with varying hues and it is wonderful to gaze at.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Depending on the lighting, you can see the different shades of blue of the phone. It would be a shame to wrap it in a casing. The red power button stands out as well, but too bad it doesn’t have a different feel to it. 

All the physical buttons of the phone are placed on the right side, with the left side of the phone laid bare. The speaker and the charging port can be found on the bottom of the phone.

Sadly, the phone only has one speaker which can be easily blocked when you are gaming, but a headphone jack on the top of the phone solves that issue.

The inclusion of a pop-up selfie camera also makes way for a full-screen display with no notches.

For those unfamiliar, the notch was a solution to increase the size of a phone’s display, but it wasn’t exactly a nice design.

Take the Pixel 3XL for example. The chin (bottom of the phone) coupled with the notch makes it unappealing to me.

Cameras Galore

As mentioned, the phone has a 20-megapixel front camera that hides away when not in use, a godsend for those like me who rarely take selfies. It also has a 48-megapixel, triple-camera setup on the back of the phone.

It does capture some pretty good images and I do quite like the colour of the pictures. But that is subjective because some prefer the reds on a Samsung device, and some prefer the colour tones of iPhones.

Nevertheless, the pictures taken are quite nice, but the AI feature does tend to smoothen edges a little too much.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It also falters slightly when taking low-light photos and while the option of Night Mode does help that slightly, you still get plenty of noise in pictures taken using night mode.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When taking pictures, you have the option of shooting it in 0.6X, 1X or 2X zoom. It can zoom up to a whopping 10X.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The 0.6X option is wide-angle and the pictures you take will have a little fish-eye effect. In the options, you can enable a setting that corrects distortion in the ultra-wide shot and that reduces the fish-eye effect.

A Little Experiment

Xiaomi claims the Mi 9T has emergency drop detection for the pop-up camera which will retract when the phone is dropped while the camera function is in use. Naturally, I had to test out that claim.

To go about it, I had a colleague drop the phone from head level. The test brought about a few conclusions:

  1. It retracts 3/5 times when dropped front camera first.
  2. It doesn’t retract when dropped the other way around (chin first) even at head level.
  3. When dropped above head level, it retracts 4/5 times no matter the direction.
  4. When the phone is held in hand and dropped, it retracts 4/5 times.

In terms of real-world application, it means that it will only work if you were taking a wefie. Wefies are usually taken above face level with your hands outstretched to fit everyone, so it does make sense.

During the test, I even tried to record a selfie video while dropping the phone. Checking back on the footage, the video stopped as soon as the phone is dropped.

In the GIF above, you can see the camera app closing mid-drop and the front camera retracting before it hit the ground.

Performance

I’ve used the phone over the past week as my daily phone and I’ve gotta say, coming from a Note8 user, the phone holds up exceptionally well. Switching between apps and gaming on the phone is pretty much lag-free.

However, because of the full-screen display, not all apps are displayed properly. This has been a problem ever since full-screen displays were added to phones.

Stardew Valley’s menu borders are slightly cut-out

Take Stardew Valley as an example: the borders of the game are cut-out. But this usually only happens to games and it doesn’t affect the gameplay.

Other than that, MIUI is still the UI of choice for Xiaomi and it’s not one that everyone prefers. When I loaded up the phone, Facebook, AliExpress and Booking.com were pre-installed on the phone and that did irk me a little.

As for the battery life, it does hold up to a day’s worth of use and some light gaming.

I fully charge the device before I go to sleep and it only needs topping up at about 11 PM. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on a few things.

If you are using it as a gaming phone, then you might need to top it up during the middle of the day. If you are using it for some social media, light browsing and gaming then it will last you a day.

The screen is perfect for watching all your favourite shows

You can also watch Netflix in HDR, so that’s a definite plus for me.

Verdict

In my opinion, the Mi 9T as a mid-tier device destroys its competition when it comes to other devices with the same specs in terms of pricing. But if you were to compare it with other flagships, then it might fall short in some departments.

The camera is capable of snapping some lovely shots in decent lighting and the battery life does hold up fairly well for how I use the phone.

As for what it offers, I would say the phone doesn’t ace in a particular feature—it’s simply a jack of all trades.

If you gave me the choice of having either the POCOPHONE F1 or the Mi 9T, I would choose the latter as I am not a massive fan of the notch on the POCOPHONE F1.

However, if you’re willing to wait for a little while, the rumour mill is saying the Mi 9T Pro should arrive soon and be reasonably priced as well.

By that, I mean that you would only have to fork out an extra RM500 or so for the Pro version, which will have a better processor and a better cooling system for the gamers out there.

ProsCons
PriceNo wireless charging
Display & BuildOnly a single speaker
Headphone jackNo microSD slot
Netflix in HDR
  • You can find out more about the Mi 9T here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.

 

Subscribe to Vulcan Post Newsletter

Stay updated with our weekly curated news and updates.
 
Read more about our privacy policy here.