The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T is the latest and hopefully the last smartphone in the popular Redmi Note 9 series. We may be eagerly awaiting the Redmi Note 10, but Xiaomi has instead made us happy with the cheapest 5G smartphone on the market. The Mediatek Dimensity 800U processor, which also makes 5G reception possible in a smartphone for under BDT 18000, is BDT 18000 particularly exciting. Unfortunately, the remaining specifications for a Xiaomi smartphone around don’t read very well. At least on paper, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T looks out of place compared to the other Note smartphones. In this Review, we’ll take a look together to see whether the inexpensive 5G smartphone can still convince in practice.
Since Xiaomi is known to roll the names of new smartphones, here is a brief overview of the Redmi Note 9 series, which is now complete with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T.
As so often, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T has a Chinese counterpart called the Redmi Note 9 5G. That would somehow be a bit more appropriate, because apart from the 5G reception, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T disappoints in the test, at least when you consider that a Redmi Note 9S and Redmi Note 9 Pro are on the market in Europe. In China, these two devices do not even exist.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T has a very well-made unibody plastic case. The only colors you can choose from are black or purple. The back has a rough texture, but the frame is still smooth. The structuring on the back ensures a good grip and is largely resistant to scratches. The Redmi Note 9T measures 162 x 77.25 x 9.1 millimeters and weighs 202 grams. This puts the device pretty much on average for mid-range smartphones in terms of size and weight. The Redmi Note 9T’s camera module protrudes just a millimeter from the back and that’s really nothing these days. With the supplied protective cover, the device lies perfectly flat on the table.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T is unlocked either via the fingerprint sensor in the power button or with face recognition via the front camera. Both worked without any problems in the practical test. The fingerprint sensor is remarkably accurate and fast for a mid-range smartphone. The position on the far right of the power button is also ideal in practice. Above the power button is the volume control, which is also made of plastic. Just like the rest of the cases of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T. The SIM card holder is located on the left outside of the frame, which accommodates two nano-SIM cards and one micro SD at the same time (triple slot).
When it comes to design, Xiaomi opts for a punch hole in the top left of the display. The edges all around are small at 3mm left and right, 4mm above, and 6mm below the display. The back is striking in white with the Redmi logo, model name, CE mark, 5G, and trash can. You can also attach it more discreetly. Otherwise, I really like the camera module. Of course, the “AI SUPER CAMERA” and “48 MEGAPIXEL” lettering should not be missing ?.
Unfortunately, Xiaomi does not have a notification LED and does not provide an alternative due to the missing always-on function (not possible with IPS). On the underside of the Redmi Note, 9T is the USB-C port, the 3.5mm headphone jack, the microphone, and a speaker. Stereo sound is now also available from Xiaomi in the middle class and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T is no exception. Usable stereo sound is generated via the auricle, which is still audibly inferior in quality to a flagship. One should therefore speak of “hybrid stereo” here since the ear cup is simply much quieter than the main speaker. Xiaomi’s speaker cleaning mode should also be mentioned again at this point. On the top, next to the opening for cleaning, there is a second microphone and an infrared transmitter.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T convinces a very good plastic unibody case. The camera hardly protrudes from the back, the back is noticeably roughened and the cell phone looks like it was made of one piece. The missing notification LED may be bothersome, but otherwise, there is absolutely nothing to complain about in terms of design and workmanship. The scope of delivery includes a protective cover, and already attached screen protector, a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, a 22.5-watt charging adapter, and a SIM needle.
The 6.53-inch IPS display of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T has a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. This brings the smartphone to a sharp pixel density of 395 pixels per inch. You have to do without additional features compared to the 9S or 9 Pro because Xiaomi uses a refresh rate of only 60 Hertz in the Redmi Note 9T. The standard brightness is a maximum of 500 lux and is increased to 600 lux in automatic mode (in direct sunlight). Readability outdoors is therefore good. The contrast of the IPS panel, the viewing angle stability, and the color representation is also good. The latter can be easily configured by Xiaomi. The typical IPS shadows at the edges are also visible on the Redmi Note 9T on white surfaces.
The touchscreen registers up to 10 touches at the same time and all inputs are implemented precisely and without delay. The display is protected from scratches by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and of course, the TÜV Rheinland certification should not be missing (there will soon be an extra article on this certification, which manufacturers have been throwing around since 2020). The Xiaomi Redmi offers additional settings for Note 9T, as usual, a terminable dark mode (black/white reversal), a terminable reading mode, and settings for contrast and colors.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T will offer a standard display at the beginning of 2021. You can’t really criticize anything, but absolutely nothing has changed compared to the older Redmi Note 9 Pro and Redmi Note 9S. At least a 90Hz display would have been appropriate. Apart from that, you get a typical Xiaomi IPS display without fault and blame.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T is powered by a Mediatek Dimensity 800U and the chip is the perfect mid-range choice. In terms of CPU and graphics performance, the chipset is in no way inferior to a Snapdragon 765G, 750G, or 690, but is significantly cheaper. The chip also enables 5G and ensures that the Redmi Note 9T is currently the cheapest 5G smartphone on the market. The Dimensity 800U relies on 2 “older” Cortex A-76 cores with a high clock of 2.4 GHz. This is supported by a further 6 Cortex-A55 cores with a 2GHz clock in the energy-saving cluster. The integrated Mali-G57 MC3 GPU can easily keep up with the mid-range competition from Qualcomm. You can see all this impressively in the benchmarks and you can also feel it in practice. During demanding games, the device sometimes warms up to 38-39°, which is noticeable but within limits. In the system, you only feel a bit slowed down by the 60Hz display, although the Mediatek chip never stumbles. The production using the 7nm process is also cutting-edge and you can feel that with the battery life.
When it comes to storage, you have the choice between 4/64GB and 4/128GB, although only the 128GB variant has UFS 2.2. In practice, this shouldn’t matter much and the memory of our 128GB test version delivers top values with a read/write rate of 948/481 MB/s. The RAM is also hard to stop at 26 GB/s. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T runs through the system without restrictions and even one or the other 3D game is played without any problems.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T runs with MIUI 12 on an Android 10 basis. Even if updates are usually a matter of course at Xiaomi, you can be skeptical here. If the device doesn’t sell too well, Xiaomi will also hold back with the updates. MIUI 13 and an Android 11 base should definitely still be in there. The MIUI system also shines in the middle class with a wide range of functions and many additional features. But the advertising that Xiaomi discreetly integrates into the system should also be mentioned at this point. With these instructions, you can easily deactivate all advertisements. There is also some bloatware (pre-installed apps) on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T after delivery and you can get rid of that with these instructions. What remains is a fast, stable, and smooth system, as you are used to from other mid-range devices from Xiaomi. The Widevine L1 certification for streaming on Netflix and Disney+ in HD is also included.
The triple camera of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T is extremely boring and already inferior to a Redmi Note 9S and Redmi Note 9 Pro on paper. The comparison to the Poco X3 ends even worse. A Samsung GM1 48 megapixel sensor with an f/1.7 lens opening is used as the main camera. This is supported by two stupid 2-megapixel sensors. One for portrait and bokeh (which at least works great) and a macro sensor with which you can’t take nice pictures, even with the best will in the world. A usable 13-megapixel Samsung sensor (s5k3l6) with an f/2.25 lens opening is available for selfies.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T supports all 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G frequencies required in Bangladesh and India.
This means that everything that is needed in the company for Bangladesh and India is really included here. The 5G DSS frequencies are also fully covered. Xiaomi spoke of the idea that 4 antennas on all sides (4 x 4 MIMO 5G) of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T ensure excellent reception. In practice, there are neither positive nor negative abnormalities and the SAR value is 0.59 W/kg head and 0.94 W/kg body. The call quality is normal so far. The Redmi Note 9T is a dual SIM smartphone and even supports two 5G SIM cards + one micro SD (for memory expansion). While we had a lot of smartphones last year that deactivated the second SIM slot when using 5G, this is now running smoothly. So you can use a 5G and a 4G SIM in the smartphone at the same time. Excellent!
The Redmi Note 9T transmits via WiFi 5, but only delivers average data throughput and range. Bluetooth 5.1 does what it should and the audio codecs AAC/LDAC/LHDC/aptX are included. NFC is also supported and mobile payment is possible without any problems. The GPS reception is a bit hesitant, but here, too, there are hardly any abnormalities in practical use. Navigation in the car and as a pedestrian worked without any problems, but the search for satellites takes a little longer than usual. Nevertheless, Galileo is supported here and the number of connected satellites is also good after a short time. In terms of sensors, there is the wishless happy package with acceleration, proximity, and brightness sensors. Xiaomi didn’t skimp on the gyroscope, infrared transmitter, and FM radio reception either. A connected 3.5mm headphone is required for FM radio.
A highlight on the data-sheet is the stereo speakers, which we already know from Poco. Since there are now real dual loudspeakers, we are talking about hybrid stereo. Hybrid stereo means the earcup supports the main speaker. That’s quite good, but still no comparison to a Mi 10 or Mi 11 with two real speakers.
With the Redmi Note 9T, the economical Mediatek chipset and the very well dimensioned 5000 mAh battery ensure excellent battery life. In practice, 2 full days of use with 3-4 hours of DOT (time with the display on) was not a problem. An hour of YouTube at 200 lux brightness only costs 6% of the battery and in the PCMark battery test, the Redmi Note 9T lasted a very good 15 hours at a time.
A full charge from 0 to 100% takes almost 2 hours (1 hour and 50 minutes). So with a maximum of 18 watts is charged and that’s not the end of the world, but a Redmi Note 9 Pro or Poco X3 already does it much better.