Redmi Note 9T 5G is a smartphone that combines many strong components and good solutions with deficiencies that are hard to forgive. Will they be compensated by the price? However, this price, for the Redmi brand, is not the lowest.
The Redmi Note 9 series includes more and more models. In addition to the basic Note 9, it also includes Redmi Note 9 Pro, Note 9 Pro Max, Note 9S (plus 4G and 5G versions). Its latest "acquisition" is the reviewed Redmi Note 9T 5G smartphone, which debuted with the Redmi 9T model - these are the first smartphone premieres of the brand in 2021. In addition, the reviewed Note is probably the first Redmi smartphone that offers support for the 5G network.
Note 9T 5G is available in two variants. The version with 128 GB of internal memory sells for 269 euros, while the version with 64 GB for slightly less - 229 euros. With such a difference, I really see no reason to regret the money for the weaker version and give up twice as much space for applications and data.
Table of Contents
- Packaging and accessories. Construction and screen
- System and applications
- Sound. Photos and video
- Communication. Voice calls. Performance (benchmarks)
- Battery. Summary. Pros and cons
Packaging and accessories
In the colourful packaging, the manufacturer has placed a 22.5 W charger, a USB cable, a pin for opening the SIM/microSD card tray and a transparent, silicone cover. The charger has high charging parameters and generally its presence in the sales set is quite surprising - the smartphone supports charging up to 18 W. The cover is flexible, easy to install and protects the device well. An additional element securing the smartphone is the factory-glued foil on the display. It is a pity that there are no, even the simplest, headphones - but there is nothing to complain about the contents of the package.
Construction and screen
Redmi Note 9T is a model with a glass front and all the rest based on plastic. This smartphone is a large device, but it is comfortable in the hand. It has a fair but not exaggerated weight of 199 grams. Although there are no official water resistance standards, the manufacturer claims that the Redmi Note 9T 5G housing is splashproof. The smartphone is sold in two housing colours. In addition to the dark grey version (Nightfall Black), the one I am reviewing, the manufacturer has also prepared a purple casing (Daybreak Purple).
The smartphone has a 6.53-inch IPS LCD screen with an aspect ratio of 19.5: 9. It offers a decent Full HD+ resolution, i.e. 2340x1080 pixels, which gives a satisfactory 395 pixels per inch by all means. The display gives the correct colours (maybe slightly shifted towards cold colours), the appropriate brightness levels to use the smartphone in different conditions, sufficient contrast and viewing angles. It can be used with polarized glasses on the nose - the image is visible in both the horizontal and vertical orientation of the device. One thing is missing - a higher screen refresh rate. Of course, this is not something that would prevent you from using the device - it's just a pity that it was missing. It is worth adding that the panel is certified by TÜV Rheinland in terms of low blue light emission.
The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, and the screen is factory-glued with foil. There is no notification LED here, and the display surface is disturbed by only one element - the eye of the selfies camera lens. The bezels around the display are moderately thick, with rounded corners and asymmetrical - the lower bezel under the screen is slightly thicker (6mm), while the others are 4mm thick. At the edge of the top bezel and top edge you can see the slot for the talk speaker, which is also part of the stereo system.
I like the back of the device - mainly due to the matte texture. Thanks to this, dirt or fingerprints do not catch your eye so much. In addition, it prevents the phone from slipping and increases its durability. The rear panel is made of plastic, which is generally no longer an appeal in the world of smartphones. It seems that after their romance with glass and metal, manufacturers are returning to good old plastic - and this even applies to devices from a much higher price point. There are printed markings in the lower part of the casing, but the most interesting thing is a nice, round photo module, slightly protruding above the casing (which should not be disturbing after the case is put on). It houses a triple camera and a LED flash, and is additionally embellished with inscriptions indicating the presence of artificial intelligence and a 48-megapixel camera.
Due to the fact that the manufacturer decided to use an LCD screen, we will not find a fingerprint reader built into the display. There is a scanner on the side edge, integrated with the power/lock screen button. It works, in my opinion, quickly and practically flawlessly. Apart from the reader, there is a volume control bar on the right edge. On the top and bottom edges, the manufacturer has placed microphones, speakers and ports (infrared, USB-C, mini-jack 3.5 mm). On the left side there is a tray for SIM and microSD cards - it has three separate slots for individual carriers.
System and applications
Despite the fact that Android 11 debuted a few months ago, I was basically not surprised that the smartphone is still running Android 10. It is hidden under the MIUI 12.0.1 overlay. Although there were some noticeable slowdowns, most of the time everything works quickly and smoothly (basically on a level adequate to a lower-middle-shelf smartphone), and the software did not generate any errors requiring closing the application or restarting the phone. The smartphone works with safety patches dated November 1, 2020.
The overlay is nice, comfortable and friendly. The interface can only be used from the home screen or with the application drawer. Navigation can be done using traditional system buttons or gestures. The smartphone does not have an AMOLED screen, so we will not experience the Always on Display function here. Instead, we find the eye protection mode, the ability to adjust the color saturation, the reading mode and the dark version of the interface. What is bothering - first of all, the number of pre-installed games and applications, visible on the screen after the first start of the phone. A dozen or so Google applications, 6 games, 8 partner applications, 11 company applications in the "Tools" tab - it gets crowded. Secondly, ads appearing in system applications may be irritating.
In terms of sound facilities, Redmi Note 9T will not disappoint. It offers stereo speakers with good volume and quite rich sound (for smartphone speakers). It works well when watching series on Netflix or listening to podcasts, you can also listen to music with them - although here it is better to use the universal headphone jack and connect your favorite headphones. There is also a proprietary player and FM radio with the possibility of recording broadcasts to MP3 format.
Photos and video
The main camera has 48 megapixels, phase detection autofocus and a lens with a brightness of f/1.79. It is accompanied by two additional modules of lackluster usefulness - a 2-megapixel macro camera and a 2-mgapixel depth measurement camera. Therefore, let us ignore them and focus on what is really important. The main camera has a high resolution, but uses (like most cameras with 48-, 64- or 108-megapixel cameras) pixel stitching technology to achieve a better, brighter photo. Here, by default, photos with a resolution of 12 MP will be taken, but you can choose a mode that will allow you to use the full power of the matrix. With the help of the main camera, you can record video in a maximum quality of 4K 30 fps.
What is the quality of the photos, considering that photography is not a priority in this model? In a word - good. Both in daylight, in artificial light, and at night (but it's better not to look too closely at the details). In places the photos seem too processed, especially when HDR is activated. The colours are sometimes too pale, and sometimes too saturated - in general, the camera's work is quite uneven, but the simplest graphics editor or Instagram filter will help with this type of imperfection. Here are the shooting results:
The camera in Redmi Note 9T 5G offers decent photos in its price shelf - they look satisfactory when taken in daylight, there are also no worst photos after sunset and with artificial light. However, I do not understand the manufacturer's decision to deprive this device of a camera with an ultra-wide angle lens. I suspect that any user would rather snap shots using a wide angle than have a questionable macro camera and a completely unnecessary depth detection camera.
The camera application provides a number of modes related to photos and video recording, including night mode, Pro mode, panorama, slow motion and time-lapse mode.
At the front there is a 13 MP camera with f/2.25 brightness, which can record in the maximum FullHD resolution. It gives photos that are correct, sharp enough, with natural colours, with correctly applied blur - I have no comments.
The set of communication modules will satisfy most smartphone users. There is NFC, an infrared port, a dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi module, navigation using GPS, GLONASS and Beidou, as well as Bluetooth 5.1. From the physical ports, Redmi Note 9T has USB-C (with OTG support) and a 3.5 mm mini-jack. There is also support for two nano-sized SIM cards and a separate memory card slot.
Redmi Note 9T is targeting the lower-middle price range and will be positioned as one of the cheaper smartphones that support 5G. A 5G modem integrated with the processor offers wide band coverage: n1, n3, n5, n7, n8, n20, n28, n38, n41, n77 and n78. So it can connect to 5G transmitters of any network, as long as the user is within their range. What's more, it offers access to the 5G network simultaneously on two SIM cards installed in the smartphone. And the quality of the connections itself? I have some comments here. The sound was loud and clear enough, but the sound itself was a bit muffled, like talking in a tunnel.
Memory and performance
The reviewed smartphone is equipped with 128 GB of UFS 2.2 internal memory. There is also a slightly cheaper version of Note 9T, with 64 GB of memory - you need to add that it is a bit of UFS 2.1 memory. How are the two types of memory different? UFS 2.2 is an improvement on UFS 2.1 - the most important change is the presence of the WriteBooster function, which effectively increases the write speed, which in turn affects, among others the process of installing applications, running, caching files, reading and writing large files - generally improves the responsiveness of the device. Therefore, if you decide to use Redmi Note 9T, let it be the version with 128 GB of memory. But let's not forget that the smartphone also has a separate microSD memory card slot.
The smartphone drives MediaTek Dimensity 800U with 5G support in dual SIM mode. It is a 7nm processor with two Cortex-A76 cores and six Cortex-A55 cores, supported by the Mali-G57 graphics chip. Added to this is 4 GB of RAM. Why only this amount and why didn’t we get an alternative? At 6 GB, the smartphone would be a worthy rival among similarly priced models, and even better if the manufacturer also offered a stronger version with 8 GB of RAM. 4 GB is currently the absolute minimum for the mid-range - but for phones at a price not exceeding 200 euros.
The benchmark results show that the device will not run out of power for everyday tasks, or for more complex applications or demanding games. It will be perfect as a device for social media, watching Netflix or using multimedia. With multitasking, you can discuss for a while, because the smartphone often closes applications in the background - but this is not the fault of the processor, but RAM, which is simply not enough. Playing shouldn't be a problem (or at least it wasn't for titles like Asphalt 9 and Real Racing 3), though you have to realize that the Redmi Note 9T is not a gaming smartphone. If this type of entertainment is a priority, it is better to look for a more powerful smartphone. Here are the results achieved in each test application (excluding 3DMark and GFXBench, which failed to launch):
The energy is provided by a 5000 mAh battery. And it can work for a relatively long time away from the charger - in typical use, I easily achieved two days of work. Here are the results of battery benchmarks and own measurements:
- working time with the screen on (YouTube, 1 SIM card, active Wi-Fi module, 50% screen brightness, minimum sound level) - over 17 hours,
- PC Mark battery test result - 17 hours and 14 minutes,
- Geekbench result (full discharge, dim screen) - 12020 points, discharge after 20 hours and 2 minutes,
- an hour of video streaming (Chrome, 1 SIM card, active Wi-Fi module, 50% screen brightness) - 9% less battery,
- an hour of playing videos from the phone's memory (airplane mode, pre-installed video player, 50% screen brightness) - 8% less battery,
- half an hour of using online navigation - 5%,
- half an hour of playing Real Racing 3 - 7% battery less,
- 8 hours in standby mode - 2% battery less.
The smartphone supports charging up to 18 W, so it will not use the full potential of the charger added in the set. So what is the point of its presence in the sales kit? But let's abandon this topic, you can finally charge other devices with it. So how long will it take to charge the cell with the included accessories? After 30 minutes it is 28%, after an hour - 66%, and after 90 minutes - 90%. The entire process of charging a flat battery to 100% takes about 2 hours. The smartphone does not support wireless charging.
Redmi Note 9T is a decent model, but it doesn't get too much excitement. First of all, RAM - models costing less than 200 euros are equipped with 4 GB of RAM, after exceeding this price threshold, I would expect 6 gigabytes. Secondly, the cameras - the 48-megapixel main camera will not disappoint, but the lack of an ultra-wide angle lens is a big disappointment for me. Third, charging that takes a long time. Fourth, the price. The reviewed model costs 269 euros and it is not the most profitable model in its segment. And the competition is awake - I mean, first of all, the Realme brand and the recently reviewed Realme 7 5G model, which offers more RAM, a screen with high refresh rate and a half-shorter loading time - and is much cheaper. Moreover, you can consider other models from the Xiaomi offer here, as well as models from the Moto G series.
Pros and cons
- matte housing
- Gorilla Glass on the front of the device
- 5G support on two SIM cards
- standalone slots for SIM cards and memory cards
- fast and accurate fingerprint scanner
- transparent case included
- good quality of photos from the main camera 48 MP
- universal headphone jack
- stereo speakers
- working times
- support for memory cards
- number of gigabytes of RAM
- redundant macro and depth measuring cameras
- no ultra-wide angle camera
- the price is not the lowest, and there are more cost effective alternatives
- the purchase of the 64 GB version is completely unprofitable
- no higher screen refresh rate
- lack of proven dust and water resistance
- a lot of unnecessary, pre-installed applications
- advertisements in factory applications
- battery charging relatively slow