Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T REVIEW - Big bang for buck
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T REVIEW – Big bang for buck
We don’t bother reviewing bog-standard budget phones at Witchdoctor, but PAT PILCHER finds a cheapie that gets the coveted 10/10 badge.
With Spark’s unveiling of 5G, affordable 5G handsets are becoming an increasingly attractive and available option for consumers. This hasn’t escaped Xiaomi’s attention. Their Redmi Note 9T offers 5G at a super sharp $399 sticker price. With the recently reviewed $799 Oppo Find X3 Lite and a host of other affordable 5G devices starting to hit the market, we at Witchdoctor were curious to see how the Note 9T stacked up against the competition.
Out of the box, it’s got all the trimmings. These take the form of a large 6.53-inch FHD+ screen and a triple camera setup consisting of a 48MP main shooter as well as depth and macro cameras. It comes with 128GB of storage, which is (unlike the Find X3), expandable. It also sports 4GB of RAM and dual 5G SIMs.
Considering its $399 price tag, 128GB of storage and 5G connectivity, the Redmi Note 9T is very competitively priced. For this super-low price, you’d be forgiven for wondering just what is missing. When it comes to the design, it’s not half bad. Its screen has the thin bezels you’d expect on a flagship device, and the rear camera array is done out in a nifty circular arrangement.
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One giveaway that the Redmi Note 9T is an affordable rather than flagship device is its plastic body. That said, it feels solid and weighs in at a hefty 199g. This is largely due to its sizeable screen and whopping 5,000mAh battery. Around the front, the screen is covered with Gorilla Glass 5. One downside is that the 9T lacks water resistance.
An in-display fingerprint sensor is also MIA. Instead, the 9T has its fingerprint reader in the power button. This handily means that powering up and unlocking can be done in a single slick step. NFC connectivity (which is often lacking at this price point) is also featured, and as a double bonus, so is a 3.5mm headphone jack. Rounding things out, there’s also dual-SIM slots (5G capable), and storage is expandible thanks to a microSD card slot (up to 512GB).
While OLED’s contrast, colour and low form factor makes it a popular display choice, Xiaomi has instead opted for LCD, most probably to keep the price down. The Redmi Note 9T uses an FHD+ IPS panel with a pixel density of 395ppi and a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz. The screen did a decent job, being both bright and vivid.
One crucial point of difference between the Note 9T and other similarly priced devices is its CPU. Where anaemic, cheap CPUs are part and parcel of phones at the 9T’s price point, Xiaomi decided to equip the 9T with MediaTek’s Dimensity 800U silicon. This is an octa-core beast made with a 7nm fabrication process that sports an integrated 5G modem. It also clocks in at a zippy 2.4GHz.
Benchmarks conducted by other reviewers have shown the 9T besting more expensive phones, including Google’s Pixel 4a. It felt very snappy and responsive. Most chores I threw at it were handled with no noticeable lag whatsoever. Then there’s the huge 5,000mAh battery, which delivered around 18hrs of use, and saw the 9T running for an entire day and some before crying for the wall socket.
Last (but by no means least) are the cameras. There’s three of ’em around the back. The main shooter has a 48MP f/1.8 sensor. There’s also a 2MP f/2.4 macro shooter and a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor. I found the main camera did an excellent job. While it isn’t up to the same level of excellence as Huawei’s P40 Pro, it costs a fraction of the P40 Pro’s price. In low-light conditions, the 9T did an okay job. While there was some image noise, the level of detail captured was not too shabby at all. The AI-based night mode also did a great job of brightening up the image without blowing out light sources. On the video front, it also did a solid job, recording 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps. Oddly, image stabilisation is only available at 1080p, 30fps.
Considering its sub-$400 sticker price, the Redmi Note 9T offers compelling value for money. Its performance is on par with far more expensive phones. It offers a decent amount of storage, good cameras and 5G, which pretty much places it at the top of the bang per buck value list for smartphones.