The name “Xiaomi” sounds more like the name of a 20 years old black sister with nappy hair right? It’s not though. If you are a westerner you probably have never heard of the phone brand Xiaomi. That’s because it is still relatively unknown to our side of the world. It’s kinda like an underdog. However, they are rapidly gaining popularity because they are releasing some surprisingly good cell phones out there at a very affordable price.
I don’t want to make this review too long, so I will try to spare you details you can Google by yourself. I know you have other important stuff to do, so let me get down to the nitty gritty about this phone right away.
I am not going to tell you that Xiaomi cellphones are produced by Xiaomi Corporaton which is a Chinese manufacturer headquartered in Beijing. I am also not going to tell you that they have been around for almost a decade now, and they are growing and becoming more and more popular at a very fast pace. I am going to spare you those details. Okay?
What I am going to inform you is that for the first quarter of 2019, Samsung was still at the top, holding a little bit more than 20% of the Global Market Share. Samsung is followed by the tech Giant Huawaei who lost a small percentage of the market in the 2nd quarter of 2019 thanks to the bans set by the Trump Administration on the company. Apple is at the third place, and at the fourth place you will find Xiaomi with a little below 10% of the market share.
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I am sure you have heard of flagship phones by Samsung and Apple. Those are the super duper expensive phones that are called “flagship” for being considered the best phone released by the company. Those Samsung Galaxy line phones and basically all Apple phones are all really expensive flagship phones. People who buy these phones usually get the latest technology but at a very high price point. Flagship phones became more of a status symbol than an actual cell phone. I know the vast majority of people who own them don’t even know what specifications are packed in the phone. They probably bought it because it looks nice, is trendy, and perhaps they want people to know they can afford expensive products. Hence, thanks to Samsung, Apple and a few other brands, “Flagship” and “Affordable” became two words impossible to be seen together in the same sentence.
However, Xiaomi have been a game changer. They have been consistently releasing what they call “Flagship killer” phones, showcasing phones with all the latest key specs but at a MUCH lower price. How do they do it? The answer is, it’s possible. Most brands release highly expensive phones just because they know they can convince you to buy them. That’s it.
You would think they make lesser quality, crappy phones to keep the price low right? Naw dawg. The phones by Xiaomi are actually incredibly good.
I got my hands on the Xiaomi Mi 9T. They come in three cool colors, respectively carbon black, glacier blue and flaming red. (You can buy all of them on Amazon.) Now, there are a few versions of the phone, depending on which side of the world you are, you may hear of the K20, the K20 Pro, the Mi 9T and the Mi 9T pro. They all differ slightly, but they are basically the same phone.
A flagship phone goes by the price of 1100 dollars right? Well the Xiaomi Mi 9T has everything a flagship level phone carries, only that it costs less around 300 dollars. That’s CRAZY right?
Okay, let me tone my excitement down a little bit, otherwise I am going to fail to keep this short again.
What makes it so special?
So, as I mentioned the Xiaomi Mi 9T is packed with everything you would expect in a flagship phone. I am not joking about this.
This phone has a full screen display, thin bezels top to bottom, motorized selfie camera, under display fingerprint reader, AMOLED display, headphone jack, 4000 mAh battery, Triple Camera in the back, Android 9.0 with the MIUI 10 user interface, Snapdragon chipset, USB type C port, NFC, fast charging—I mean what else do you want?
Of course, it’s still a 300 dollars phone, so not everything is of the latest technology or of the best quality, but 90% of the phone users won’t even notice it.
Okay, let’s keep the review short and let’s get to it. I’ve had this phone for about two months now, so I can definitely tell you what I like and don’t like about the phone.
What I like:
Most affordable phones have a plastic exterior to keep it at a low cost. Some people prefer hard plastic over glass. I don’t. I like when a phone feels solid in my hand. The Mi 9T is made out of pure metal and glass, and feels pretty sturdy in my hand. This phone actually survived several durability tests, that to me are just painful to watch. You can check this one out if you want to.
Top of the line 6.4 inch, 1080 x 2340px AMOLED display. It’s very bright even in bright sunlight. Since it has a motorized popup selfie camera, no notch can be seen in the display. The touch screen is responsive, no signs of lagging, so I have no complaints.
3) Under display Fingerprint Reader
You know what it means to have a budget phone with the latest fashion of fingerprint reader? Some of y’all are still walking around with 800 dollars phone with rear mounted fingerprint readers, which is just old fashioned. The fingerprint reader is not the fastest, but again, 90% of y’all, won’t even notice.
4) Motorized Pop-up Selfie Camera
I am not a fan of taking selfies, but I am a fan of this cool feature. The camera pops up in a very cool fashion, with some LED lights flashing that makes it look very cool. You can also use it for face unlock. The phone probably has a sensor which makes the camera auto-retract when it detects a fall to avoid damage to the camera. Now, the quality of the pictures this camera takes is debatable. Some people say it takes trashy photos, but I think it’s decent. It’s definitely better than the previous phone I had (HTC X9). The things is, even if the selfie camera is not the greatest, the cameras in the back makes up for everything.
5) Rear Cameras
The triple rear cameras are surprisingly and incredibly good. The phone has three cameras in the back with Sony sensors which creates a Triple X badass experience you are just going to love. It has a 48MP f1.8, 26mm wide camera, a 8MP f2.4, 53 mm telephoto camera and a 13MP f2.4 12mm ultra wide camera. Pictures taken with all these three cameras look very great, and videos look even better. (Yes, unlike other phones with three cameras, you can do videos with all three cameras in the back.) It also has a crazy good Image Stabilization technology which makes your videos look quite professional (if you know how to use it of course.) Night photos could be better, and if you have to use flash, you will see why the phone is a budget phone. I haven’t used it much in low light since I have a real camera for that, but during bright daylight, the quality of the cameras are simple fantastic. I’d actually rather make videos with this phone than with my Canon camera.
The phone carries a whopping 4000 mAh battery, which is the least you would expect on flagship phones. The battery can put other expensive phones to shame. With normal use, the phone can last up to 24 hours. If I am not on my phone all day, it can go 48 hours easily on one full charge.
It supports 18W fast charging, however, no wireless charging. I’ve never owned a phone with wireless charging, so I don’t miss that either.
This is my first phone with NFC technology, so I am so ready the future where payments are possible with just your phone. Also there are a lot of other things you can do with NFC, but I bet you don’t even know what NFC is, am I right? Just know you can share Wifi passwords a whole lot easier with NFC technology, and you can do tons of other cool stuff with it.
8) MIUI 10
The MIUI (MI User Interface) is Xiaomi’s proprietary user interface for it’s devices. I can’t say I dislike it like some people say. I think most people are just not used to it, because they have used stock Android for so long. The lack of an app drawer did bother me A LOT, but after installing the Poco launcher to create an app drawer, it’s all fixed. All I can say now is that I love the MIUI interface. There isn’t a thing I cannot do with this phone (so far), unlike other brands who limits you to install or uninstall things, unless you jailbreak the phone.
9) Headphone Jack
In an era where the majority of phone brands are omitting the 3.5 headphone jack from their phones—allegedly in order to stack bigger batteries—Xiaomi is doing both. They are gradually making their batteries bigger while maintaining the headphone jack. How do they do it when Apple and Samsung say they can’t? Hmm
10) The price
Of course I liked the price, I paid 340 dollars for this phone on Amazon, and I got all the specs that other people pay more than 1000 dollars to get.
Now you can get it here for only 300 dollars.
What I don’t like
1) The speaker
My HTC X9 had an amazing dual speaker which was hard to beat by any phone. The Mi 9T has a mono speaker at the bottom, which is loud enough, but after using a phone with stereo speaker for three years, this one feels like a downgrade. It is also pretty easy to unintentionally cover up the speaker with your hand which is annoying.
2) No Memory Card slot
The phone has dual SIM card tray, but no memory card slot. I mean, they could have gone for the hybrid SIM card slot. I am just saying. I have never used memory cards on a phone, but still, it feels good to have it. My version comes with 64 GB of ROM which is the minimum memory I expect nowadays. I could have gone for the 128GB version but was too expensive for me, and I probably won’t need that much space. I should delete stuff from phone, not saving them. (Luckily for you, you can buy the 128GB version at a much lower price now on Amazon. Check it out here)
The phone comes with only Gboard (Google Keyboard), which I never liked. This is not Xiaomi’s fault, but I do wonder why they don’t have their own keyboard within the MIUI.
I should mention that my version of the phone came with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 which is not up to par with current flagship phones. However, the Mi 9T Pro and the K20 Pro comes with the Snapdragon 855. The 730 was cheaper, so I bought that one. I don’t have deep pockets like you, and also I wouldn’t know the difference. You probably won’t know it either, especially if you don’t even know what a snapdragon chipset is or what it does. To be honest, I don’t know what it does either. I just know the name Snapdragon sounds pretty cool. It makes me believe that my phone rumbles. Grrr…
I think I covered everything. That wasn’t that long right?
For the price, this phone is incredibly good. Go ahead and spend 1000+ dollars on flagship phones if you want. Just know that you can get all the latest specs in a good quality phone for a much cheaper price.
Okay, I am going to shut up now!
Wait, one more thing
Before I bought the Mi 9T phone on Amazon, I previously had my eyes on the Redmi Note 6 and 7 which are pretty good phones below 200 dollars. However, Xiaomi will soon release the Redmi Note 8 Pro, and this phone is checking ALL the boxes like a Pro. I am not joking. The phone has all the latest specs in it (except Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset. It comes with a Mediatek Helio chipset instead which I haven’t heard of yet.) But the Redmi Note 8 Pro will have everything else and even some more. I mean 1080p, 6.5″ LCD screen (Yeah, it’s not OLED, I know), FOUR cameras in the back with the main one being 64 MP, headphone jack, fingerprint reader (although rear mounted) a crazy 4500 mAh battery and also Infrared and NFC. All of this at the ridiculous starting price of 180 Euros. Are you bullshitting me?
Anyway, I still have to validate the quality and durability of the Redmi Note 8, but it hasn’t come out yet.