Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro review: both style and substance in this flagship rival

Top-end features for a low-end price – the rise of Xiaomi continues

T3 Platinum Award
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro review
(Image credit: Xiaomi)

T3 Verdict

The Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro has a lot to recommend it, and shows Xiaomi really getting into its stride. It's not the best phone out there, but it's close.

Reasons to buy

  • +

    Excellent price point

  • +

    Impressive camera

  • +

    Very nicely designed

Reasons to avoid

  • -

    No waterproofing

  • -

    Screen sticks to 1080p

  • -

    Xiaomi's version of Android has its flaws

At this point we're well used to Chinese giant Xiaomi pushing out well-specced, stylishly designed handsets, and the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro continues that trend: it wraps just about everything you could want in a flagship smartphone at a more affordable price point.

In other words, take note Apple, Samsung and Google – while Huawei might be tied up in red tape at the moment, Xiaomi continues to make a strong impression. The Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro is now available to buy in the UK, though as yet it's not clear if it'll head to the US.

At the time of writing the phone hasn't popped up in any contract details – check the widgets on this page for any latest offers – but you can pick it up SIM-free for £399 in the UK (maybe a little less if you shop around). That's not much money for a lot of phone.

With the iPhone 11 Pro starting at £1,049, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 starting at £869, you can see the sort of disparity in price. Does the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro do enough to make you switch from the big names, or does it cut too many corners? Let's find out.

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro review: design and screen

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro review

(Image credit: Future)

Xiaomi has been in the phone-making game for long enough now that we always expect a stylish and sleek phone from the company, and that is again the case with the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro. It's a really lovely looking bit of glass and metal – especially in the "Glacier Blue" colour we reviewed ("Carbon Black and "Red Flame" are also available).

The spacious 6.39-inch Super AMOLED screen runs at a resolution of 1,080 x 2,340 pixels, and really pops. It banishes bezels right to the edge of the screen, achieving a screen-to-body ratio of 86.1 percent – that's not the best in the business, but it's very good nevertheless.

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro review

(Image credit: Future)

Part of the appeal of the design lies in the way that Xiaomi has banished the notch from the front display, putting the fingerprint scanner inside the screen, and sticking the 20MP selfie camera inside a motorised pop-up unit that springs into action when the forward-facing camera is active. As on the OnePlus 7 Pro, the mechanism is quick and smooth, and not quite as gimmicky as you might imagine.

It's light and comfortable to hold, it has curves and colour gradients in all the right places, and we really like the colour accent on the power button too – it's a definite thumbs up from us when it comes to the design of the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro.

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro review: specs and features

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro review

(Image credit: Future)

With a Snapdragon 855 chipset running the show – the CPU of choice for high-end Android flagships this year – and up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage available inside the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro, there won't be many faster or more powerful phones in 2019, even if this isn't quite in the number one spot.

In our time with the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro, we put it through its paces editing video files and playing a variety of games, and it coped with everything we asked of it very comfortably indeed. We didn't notice any lag or glitches, and it's clear that this is a handset that's going to do you proud for years to come.

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Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro camera sample

The triple-lens rear camera on the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro is capable of some great shots.
(Image credit: Future)
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Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro camera sample

Colours are usually bright and objects are sharp.
(Image credit: Future)
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Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro camera sample

The built-in night mode helps you get some great shots in the dark.
(Image credit: Future)

The camera is an important part of any phone and the triple-lens (48MP+13MP+8MP) camera around the back of the phone really impresses. It might not have the software smarts of something like a Pixel, but it's fast and accurate – colours are well represented, pictures are sharp and crisp, and low light performance is respectable. The special night mode gets some very good results too, but you do need to keep the camera still for longer.

As for battery life, newer phones always do better in this respect, but the 4,000mAh battery in the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro is easily enough to get you through a day – you should have around a quarter of the charge left by the evening, unless you're doing something particularly demanding with your phone. You don't get waterproofing or wireless charging, but there is a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro review: price and verdict

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro review

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Without looking at the price, you'd weigh up the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro and say it's one of the best phones of the year – the design is top-notch, the specs are all pleasingly powerful, and the camera delivers the goods too. Add in that affordable price point, and the phone becomes a very tempting proposal indeed.

Admittedly there are some areas where the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro is lacking – it's not waterproof or dustproof, you don't get any wireless charging, and there are higher resolution screens out there. You could also argue that Apple and Samsung still have the edge when it comes to the polish and aesthetic appeal of the hardware.

Taken as a whole though, we really like what Xiaomi has managed to do here. It's the latest in a line of really attention-grabbing phones from the Chinese giant, and it seems to be getting better with every device.

While you might still have to pay top dollar to get the very best in smartphone technology from Apple, Samsung and Google, at less than half the price of the premium flagships, the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro is an excellent proposition at the moment. Perhaps its biggest worry will be the number of companies, like Huawei and OnePlus, trying the exact same approach.