Summer bomb? Smartphone review Xiaomi Mi 9T with a retractable camera

Every month, Xiaomi releases hundreds of miles of smartphone models. Naturally, to understand their positioning and names is becoming more difficult. So, today’s guest Mi 9T, contrary to the first associations, has nothing to do with Mi 9, but is a complete copy of Redmi K20. All because this is the international version of the latter. In the new model, the manufacturer tried out several new solutions, including a fresh processor, a retractable camera and an unusual design. Let’s see what happened.

More color

Ugh, well, well! This is such a reaction to the design of the cover. It is very similar and as ambiguous as in the case of the Honor View 20 . A matter of taste. For some, all these patterned gasoline overflows are a powerful blow to the perception of beauty. Others, on the contrary, like this motley.

In any case, this applies to the blue version of the Mi 9T. Black looks more classic, which is also both a plus and a minus. In general, this is exactly the case when it is better to hold all color options in your hands before buying. Screaming gasoline-blue will not scare away someone, and someone needs nothing but the traditionally boring black.

Here on the back panel we see a block of two cameras. Another, with the rim iridescent with all the colors of the rainbow, is located higher, separately from a couple of “colleagues”. Under all this good is a dual LED flash.

The phone turned out to be quite large and unexpectedly heavy. This is because of the large display and glass that protects the front and rear panels. The frame is metal (probably aluminum), with a glossy blue coating.

On the right is a design accent in the form of a power button in red. We saw a similar solution with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro . The tray for two nanoSIM cards moved down, there is also a USB-C port and a monaural speaker. All because the top end was left for the most interesting – a retractable front camera. We will talk about it separately, because this is one of the alleged “killer features.”

It’s a “ffm” for a reason

Many manufacturers are haunted by “monobrow”, “droplets”, “bangs” and other “defects” of the display. As soon as you try to solve the problem with “holey” screens … Here is an option when both the frames are thin and the matrix is ​​solid from edge to edge, without cutouts and holes. Leaving camera!

For the first time, it looks like a carnival has arrived in the city. Perky melody, blue LEDs on the sides, except that the orchestra is missing. Cool! But a couple of times. It’s good that the sound and illumination that accompany the camera’s appearance “on stage” can be turned off. Then there remains only a modest and very quiet “ff”.

Now about how it works. Need to take a selfie? Start the camera, turn on the front sensor – the block with the peephole leaves. However, many will use the camera not so much for shooting themselves as for unlocking. And run into a problem. To unlock the phone in the face, you need to press the power button (or tap on the screen a couple of times – the settings are at your service), swipe up and wait until this unit comes out.

No, he leaves smartly (less than a second), with a selfie there are no problems at all. But still, these are extra fractions of a second, which are especially acute when you need “generally quick.” For example, I could not get used to this unlocking – unusually slowly. In the dark, by the way, like with other smartphones without the possibility of creating a “face card”, coupled with an infrared emitter, it rarely works.
As for reliability. If you drop the device with an open frontal, it may suffer, but the camera will remain intact – at the time of the fall, it will be drawn into the bowels. Checked by dropping the Mi 9T on a soft chair-bag. If something prevents the camera from sliding out, it will not argue and gently slide back. The motor, by the way, is quite strong and significantly tries to push the finger with which we experimentally covered the mechanism.

Time will tell what will happen with longer use and the active impact of ubiquitous dust. At least the first impression is about reliability is very good. But how generally is this decision justified? We believe that the future is still for the front-end cameras, which are located behind the display. The same Xiaomi is successfully experimenting with a similar format. If you are not confused by the familiar “holey” screens, then you will not see the point in the retractable camera.

Not a single hole!

Actually, this is what the whole garden was fenced for. A huge display without a single “flaw” in the form of a hole or a cutout.

The 6.4-inch AMOLED-matrix with a resolution of 2340 × 1080 pixels is only as good as originally expected. You won’t complain about the clarity of the picture, black is endless, white slightly upsets with greenish tints. That is, everything is standard for technology that is used in much more expensive devices.

Another nuance that is worth mentioning is fingerprint unlocking. The sensor is integrated under the screen, as in the top-end smartphones Samsung and Huawei. Surprisingly, in the Mi 9T it works more accurately! If in the case of the Galaxy S10 and P30 Pro we were faced with the fact that the system did not always recognize the fingerprint, then in the model in question it reads it correctly always.

But here is the speed … Alas, no improvements have occurred here. The sub-screen fingerprint sensor still works noticeably slower than the classic solutions on the phone cover or on the side button.

Recall the slow unlocking in the face, and it turns out that neither the first nor the second method in the Mi 9T can provide the fastest and most comfortable unlocking process. Someone will refuse from it at all, and someone will be forced to get used to it.

New processor

The device is based on the latest Snapdragon 730 processor. Before us is one of the first smartphones built on this chip. This is a mid-range solution designed to provide sufficient speed for any tasks, but without record “parrots” in benchmarks.

And it’s true that now it’s not so easy to determine which processor is in the device — flagship or not. Both one and the other can feel great even in games, even in 4K video. There remain synthetic benchmarks that allow phone owners to measure with each other.

The Snapdragon 730 processor easily copes with both video and heavy games. But in the benchmarks, the 8-core and 8-nanometer process technology chip is located somewhere at the level of Exynos 8895 (Galaxy S8) and Huawei Kirin 970 (Honor 10). About one and a half to two times behind current top brothers.

The processor supports 6 GB of RAM. As a drive, 64 or 128 GB are available. We tested had a younger version with 64 GB. We advise you to take a closer look at the older one, because expanding the memory with the help of microSD does not work – there is no slot for these needs.

There is also a 4000 mAh battery. One charge lasts for one and a half to two days, although during a particularly active test operation this period is reduced to a day.

Chamber trinity

All manufacturers today believe that the status and price of a smartphone, among other things, determines the number of cameras. The Mi 9T has three of them – not a record, but very worthy. And again, this model was one of the first to receive the main 48-megapixel Sony IMX582 sensor – a slightly simplified version of IMX586 (installed in Honor 20 and View 20, Xiaomi Mi 9, as well as many other camera phones).

The 13-megapixel “shirik” is acceptable for shooting in good light and is of little use at dusk, not to mention the night. But an 8-megapixel telephoto lens under favorable conditions is ready to provide a double optical zoom. If the conditions are unsuitable, the main 48-megapixel sensor comes into play, which sprinkles the image to a double zoom.
There is no optical stabilization, but digital is doing pretty well. Video can be shot in 4K at 30 frames per second.

From personal observations

I still consider MIUI one of the most convenient shells for Android. In terms of software, the Mi 9T pleases with simplicity and convenience. I also liked the speaker – it is terribly loud. I would like to add a couple to him, so that the stereo works.

For a week of hard work with the smartphone, we did not encounter any software bugs or communication problems. Of the not very comfortable nuances, we note once again the large weight of the device. This is no longer “pleasantly heavy hand”, but simply “heavy”.

Both the lid and the display get dirty quickly. Just like the rest of the glass smartphones. As a result, I decided to put on a black complete case. It’s more practical, and in this case it’s prettier for me.

After the first tests, I did not use the front camera, nor did I use the sub-screen sensor – I left the phone without blocking.



In Minsk, you can already buy Xiaomi Mi 9T. A model with 128 GB of memory (we recommend this version, because in the age of modern traffic and multi-camera sensors, 64 GB can evaporate extremely quickly) for 16.99 United States Dollar. Let’s see what for about the same money you can pick up from competitors.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro. The flagship from Huawei, released last fall, has noticeably lost in price and has become very attractive in terms of price and offered features. For nothing – the Mate 20 Pro wins the Xiaomi Mi 9T everywhere. It has better performance, a better camera, decent unlocking in the face, stereo speakers, plus various small “chips” like reverse charging. But there is a “bang”, and the price is 1.62 United States Dollar higher.

Xiaomi Mi 9. This is not the first time we have seen how in the Xiaomi lineup devices compete with each other. The flagship Mi 9 today can be bought at the price of Mi 9T. Again, the usual “nine” in terms of performance surpasses the novelty. On the side of the latter, perhaps a noticeably more capacious battery and a solid display.
Honor 20. So far this model is not in , but judging by the latest news, it is about to be delivered, and the price, based on the price tags in neighboring countries, will be on the same level as the cost of Xiaomi Mi 9T. In this case, again, a difficult choice remains. On the side of the Honor 20 are more advanced and high-quality photos, higher performance and a more versatile cover design. The Mi 9T has a slightly more capacious battery and, again, a display without a hole.


Gone are the days when you could say “cheap and cheerful” about Xiaomi smartphones. The company raised the brand value, but after that, prices did not slow down. Today, the Chinese manufacturer produces good modern devices, but they have enough competitors.

Xiaomi Mi 9T is a great smartphone. Nevertheless, the “killer feature” in the form of a retractable camera is only good at first as a “wow factor”. Alas, the practicality of such a solution tends to zero. A one-piece screen is great, but we’re sure that in the end the industry will go a different way of implementing displays without holes.

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