Xiaomi is off to a good start in January when it launched the budget-friendly Redmi 9T. But they’re not going to stop there as they have also released the Redmi Note 9T 5G, armed with a MediaTek Dimensity 800U chipset, 5G connectivity, and a 5,000mAh battery. Is this the next best contender in the world of budget-friendly 5G smartphones? Find out in our review.
Table of Contents
Design and Construction
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T 5G looks just like your typical smartphone. It’s got a large 6.53-inch screen on the front with a hole-punch for the 13MP selfie camera.
On the left, we have the triple card tray for two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card.
On the right is the flat power/lock button that also doubles as a fingerprint scanner. It’s highly responsive and unlocks almost instantaneously. It’s also positioned near the middle of the frame, where it can be easily reached. The volume buttons are also found on this side but positioned above the power/lock button, so it can be a bit of a reach.
Placed above the screen is the earpiece. And at the top, the loudspeaker, the IR Blaster, and the secondary microphone.
We have the 3.5mm headphone jack, main microphone, USB-C port, and loudspeaker down at the bottom.
Flip it on its back, and you will see the protruding triple-rear camera module and LED flash. The model that we have is the Daybreak Purple, which is easy in the eyes. The body is plastic, but the finish is metallic, so it shimmers depending on the angle. To combat fingerprints and smudges, the back panel is textured, making it less slippery in the hands.
At 9.05mm at its thickest point, the Redmi Note 9T 5G might be a bit chunky, which is attributed to the large battery. However, the curved sides make it comfortable to hold and feels thinner than it actually is. At 199g, it has a decent heft. And even though it’s mostly plastic, it feels solid and has a premium appeal.
Display and Multimedia
The Redmi Note 9T looks like a good device for watching videos and gaming, thanks to the 6.53-inch screen with an IPS LCD and Full HD+ resolution for a good pixel density of 395ppi. The screen is sharp, has good viewing angles and accurate colors. You can also adjust the color scheme between Auto, Saturated, and Standard. There’s also an option to adjust the color temperature. At 450nits, it is vibrant enough for outdoor use. For protection, there’s Gorilla Glass 5.
Also, to clarify, the Redmi Note 9T doesn’t have a 90Hz refresh rate. We checked in the Settings, and there’s no option to adjust refresh rates, while UFO Test and AnTuTu also show 60Hz, and the Xiaomi global website doesn’t show 90Hz in the spec sheet. Still, the lack of a high refresh rate is not a big downer, although it could have been a killer feature for a smartphone of this class.
For audio quality, the Redmi Note 9T features dual-speakers. They’re loud, clear, and crisp. Like most smartphones, though, it has weak bass, but immersive enough when watching videos on Netflix and YouTube or playing games. You can still use your favorite wired headphones via the 3.5mm jack or wireless speaker via Bluetooth.
The Redmi Note 9T packs three rear cameras consisting of a 48MP F1.79 main, 2MP F2.4 depth, and 2MP F2.4 macro. We’re a bit disappointed to see the lack of an ultra-wide camera, as we find it more useful than the macro. For selfies, it is handled by the 13MP F2.25 camera. For features, it has Portrait mode, 48MP hi-res, Slow-motion, HDR, AI scene recognition, and Beautify.
When it comes to quality, we’re impressed with the images produced. In bright conditions, the photos were packed with details, high dynamic range, and natural colors. In dim conditions, the details were retained, although contrast and color vibrancy suffer. Selfies, on the other hand, have natural colors with decent sharpness. The bokeh effect also looks nice. However, it could use a bit of boost in contrast. Check out the samples below.
For videos, you can shoot up to 4K resolution at 30 fps. Like with photos, the quality is sharp with a good dynamic range and colors. There’s no stabilization, though, so it’s prone to shakes. Watch the sample below.
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the software part is the MIUI 12.0.4 based on Android 10. It’s an improved yet familiar user interface that features custom icons and wallpapers, as well as baked-in features like Cleaner, Security scan, Game Turbo, App lock, Dual apps, Privacy protection, Floating Window, Split screen, Nearby Share, Digital Wellbeing & parental controls, and Lite mode. If you’re into Dark mode, you can easily activate it inside Settings.
Pre-installed apps include Amazon Shopping, Facebook, iQIYI, LinkedIn, and Booking.com. The rests are Google apps and Xiaomi’s default apps. Storage-wise, we’re getting 128GB of total storage space with 107GB as usable. If you want to expand the storage, you can take advantage of the dedicated microSD card slot.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the Redmi Note 9T is the relatively new MediaTek Dimensity 800U 5G with Mali-G57 MC3 GPU and 4GB of RAM. Performance is great for ordinary tasks like running social media apps, taking photos and videos, and streaming content. It can also run games like Genshin Impact and Call of Duty: Mobile as long as we put the graphics settings at low. Warming can be felt at the back but not too much to cause any problems. Check out the benchmark scores below:
• AnTuTu v8 – 292,593
• PCMark – 8,848 (Work 2.0)
• Geekbench 5 – 597 (Single-Core), 1,625 (Multi_core), 1,932 (OpenCL)
• AndroBench – 983.91 MB/s (Seq. Read), 483.29 MB/s (Seq. Write)
Author’s note: For some reason, 3D Mark is not working on the Redmi Note 9T and cannot connect to UL servers. The app says that some devices can block online connections for certain benchmarking apps.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Redmi Note 9T got everything covered. It has true Dual-SIM, 5G connectivity, WIFi 5, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, and GPS. If your area has 5G, you can start enjoying fast internet speeds. Complementing the fast connectivity is a large 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging. It got us almost two days when using it for social media, photography, and heavy streaming on Netflix. On the other hand, our video loop test got us over 19 hours of playback, which is decent.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T 5G has the makings of a good mid-range smartphone — a large hi-res screen, new and capable chipset, 5G connectivity, good cameras, and a large battery. We don’t have the local SRP, though, but we expect it to be priced competitively like the older Redmi 9 series models. If you’re looking for a solid daily driver with light gaming power, this phone should be on your list.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T 5G specs:
6.53-inch FHD+ Dot IPS LCD, 450nits
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
TUV Rheinland Certification
MediaTek Dimensity 800U CPU
Mali-G57 MC3 GPU
4GB LPDDR4X RAM
64GB, 128GB storage
microSD card (dedicated slot)
• 48MP F1.79 (main)
• 2MP F2.4 (depth)
• 2MP F2.4 (macro)
13MP F2.25 selfie camera
5G, 4G LTE
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS
5,000mAh battery w/ 18W fast charging
161.96mm × 77.25mm × 9.05mm
Nightfall Black, Daybreak Purple