Xiaomi‘s line of flagship phones for 2019 has been in the market for a few months now. The Mi 9 is indeed a smartphone that offers a great specs-to-price ratio; however, some users find high-end phones nowadays to be larger than usual. That includes the Mi 9 and the newly announced OnePlus 7 Pro.
We certainly miss the Compact models of the Xperia line, but it seems like Sony isn’t announcing anything new soon. Good thing Xiaomi made its upper-midrange offering pocket-friendly — not just in price, but also in size.
This is the Mi 9 SE and it’s not as expensive as Xiaomi’s flagship models, but it’s also not that cheap. Aside from specs, the phone’s highlighted feature is its pocketable size.
It has a 5.97-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display
There’s a tiny notch for the front camera
The dual nano-SIM card tray is on the left
The physical buttons are all on the right
The top has the IR blaster and secondary mic
The bottom houses the loudspeaker and USB-C port
The back is a flat slab of shiny glass
The camera layout is similar to the Mi 9’s
A pocketable all-display phone
The Mi 9 SE doesn’t look any different from its more expensive cousin. It also has an edge-to-edge display with a small notch on top to house a front-facing camera. The display measures just below six inches and it’s a Super AMOLED panel from Samsung. The screen’s resolution is at Full HD+ which is pretty sharp.
Since its an AMOLED, the color reproduction is top-notch and the blacks are indeed black. Beneath the display is a fingerprint scanner that lights up when needed. It takes less than a second to read, but it’s not the fastest I’ve tried. Thankfully, a smooth slab of Gorilla Glass 5 protects the display from unwanted scratches.
In the sea of sizable Android phones, the Mi 9 SE’s pocketable dimensions are welcoming. The phone’s display doesn’t look small and limiting because of its thin bezels. Once you get a hold of the phone, you’ll appreciate its size. It’s not as petite as former Xperia Compact models from Sony, although it’s fairly small by today’s standards.
The overall design of the Mi 9 SE isn’t special, but it doesn’t look and feel cheap either. The use of glass in the front and back elevates the phone’s premium touch, but I’m not a fan of its chrome-like side frame. Still, the Mi 9 SE is an attractive piece of hardware that can also act as a mirror with its uber-reflective rear glass.
Flagship-like performance in a smaller package
Powering the Mi 9 SE is the Snapdragon 712, a brand-new flagship-grade processor from Qualcomm. While the Snapdragon 712 is a new chip, it’s not that different from its predecessor which powers last year’s Mi 8 SE. The new processor is just slightly faster on paper, so the real-world difference is hardly noticeable. That means Mi 8 SE users can skip the Mi 9 SE if they are after a performance upgrade.
The phone runs MIUI 10 out of the box and it’s based on the latest Android 9 Pie. Xiaomi is good at keeping their devices updated, which is one of their strengths. With 6GB of memory to work with, the Mi 9 SE can handle multiple apps at the same time. So far, I haven’t encountered any lag during my time with the phone.
Moreover, MIUI 10 is one of the nicest skins for Android. The changes aren’t just cosmetic, they are also functional. The extra features from Xiaomi surely come in handy, especially the built-in system-wide dark mode.
When it comes to gaming, the Mi 9 SE can deliver high-quality graphics anytime. By default, most games are already set to high settings which means this phone is ready for mobile gamers. The screen does feel a bit small when compared to my previous devices, especially to my daily driver –the Huawei P30 Pro. My go-to games like Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG Mobile run smoothly on the device.
Triple the sensors, triple the fun
The biggest upgrade of the Mi 9 SE is found in the camera department. From two cameras, the new model now has three: a regular, a telephoto, and an ultra wide-angle.
The primary shooter is a 48-megapixel camera with an f/1.8 aperture designed for everyday shooting. Paired with AI scene recognition, the Mi 9 SE’s main camera can take great stills in various lighting conditions.
The second one is an 8-megapixel telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom. I personally don’t feel the need for a telephoto lens on a mobile phone, but it’s available for situations when you need to get closer to your subject. Take this ground signage as an example:
What I enjoy using is the ultra wide-angle lens. The phone’s third camera, which has a 13-megapixel sensor, can take a different prospective. When taking a photo of landscape or any open space, the phone’s AI will suggest to also take a photo using the ultra wide-angle camera. The quality doesn’t match the main shooter, but it’s highly usable.
As for selfies, there’s a 20-megapixel camera inside the display’s notch. Like with most front-facing cameras, it comes with beauty filers and artificial bokeh effects to mimic a high-quality portrait shot. For a front camera, it’s one of the sharpest and most detailed selfie shooters I’ve tried.
With a total of four cameras, there are a lot of ways you can take photos (and also videos) with the Mi 9 SE. Having both an ultra wide-angle and telephoto lens is the perfect setup for a modern camera phone, especially within the phone’s price point.
Fast charging battery
Despite the relatively pocketable dimensions of the Mi 9 SE, it still has a respectable battery capacity at 3070mAh. The efficiency of the new Snapdragon processor and the battery-saving features of Android Pie-based MIUI 10 help the Mi 9 SE last long on the road.
The phone was able to last a full day with heavy use which includes consistent internet connection over Wi-Fi or LTE, push notifications, and some gaming on the side. On lighter days, I am able to get almost two days of battery life. My average screen-on-time is around three to five per charge.
When it’s time to charge the battery, the bundled fast charger fills up the Mi 9 SE from zero to 47 percent in just 30 minutes. A full charge takes an hour and a half.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Mi 9 SE unit I have for review retails for PhP 15,990 (6GB+64GB) at Authorized Mi Stores in the Philippines, which is roughly US$ 310 when converted. For that price, the phone already offers a lot. I can’t think of any new phone that matches the Mi 9 SE in terms of price and features, making it an easy recommendation for those looking to buy a new phone.
The phone doesn’t have any flaws (nothing major, at least) that’ll turn off potential buyers, including myself. Is the Mi 9 SE the perfect midrange phone existing today? I can’t say for sure, but it’s clearly the best you can get in its range.
Xiaomi 12T Pro review: Potential flagship killer
With the variety of banger smartphones being released, it’s been somewhat difficult for brands to make a statement with just pure specs.
But when Xiaomi unveiled their prices during their 12T Series launch, the cheer and applause from the crowd just brought me back in time. The time when Xiaomi ruled the scene of bang-for-the-buck devices as they offered top class specs at very affordable prices.
Yes my friends, the Xiaomi 12T Pro could just be among those devices.
Let me explain why I think that might be the case.
Specs and performance
Let’s not beat around the bush — the specs of the Xiaomi 12T Pro is confidently top notch. This runs on the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal Storage. Which means, there’s not much more you could ask for when it comes to its hardware specifications.
This is already packing one of the fastest chipsets that’s currently available in the market. And with our experience, it truly does bring about just as what we expect from it.
I’ve made a ton of video reels on this doing heavy video editing for social media. Not once did I feel that the phone slowed me down. It simply breezed through most of what I did like it was nothing.
And with specs like these, I’m sure there are already a lot of people who have their eyes set on this for gaming.
For that, I’d say this also doesn’t disappoint. Maxed graphics and FPS settings on Call of Duty: Mobile wasn’t a problem for the 12T Pro. In fact you can probably max most games on this and still get decently fast frame rates.
This did feel a bit warmer on the hands than I expected but nothing that I think would cause an issue unless you’re really pushing the phone to the limit.
200MP Main Camera
We’re still pretty new to seeing phones with over a hundred megapixels in camera resolution and here’s Xiaomi giving us double that number. 200MP for its main camera, 8MP for its ultrawide and a 2MP macro on its rear plus a 20MP camera on its front.
That’s looking really impressive if you are judging it on paper. But how does it actually hold up in real world use?
With the main camera, it’s easily recognizable that this is a decent performer. The new ISOCELL MP1 sensor on this was actually able to capture a night event where I was struggling to get decent lighting.
It’s able to get awesome results under challenging scenarios and even better in well lit environments.
But if you were to ask me if the huge amount of megapixels actually make a difference, my answer to that is yes but it’s not as significant as I hoped it would be.
This would probably win over others in terms of resolution but overall, if I were pixel peeping, I would still slightly prefer the quality of images coming from something like the Sony IMX sensor.
However, the margin does get bigger if we compare the zooming capabilities from a phone that has a dedicated telephoto camera. The digital zoom from the 12T Pro, despite looking respectable, still would not match images coming from a true telephoto camera.
Ultrawide shots from the 8MP sensor also do get decent photos but obviously, there is a sizable difference between this and the main camera.
The 20MP selfie camera does also perform okay but nothing really outstanding. Just like most phones, in poor lighting, shots also look grainy and won’t look very good.
Design and build quality
Interestingly, as most recent smartphone releases have been looking similar, Xiaomi still goes on in pursuing their own design.
The Xiaomi 12T Pro has a very smooth and curved back panel with a square cut out for the main camera and two round ones for the ultrawide and the macro. Some might think this looks kind of bland but I prefer calling it looking professional.
If you’re used to holding high-end phones, having this on your hands, you’ll right away notice that this doesn’t quite have the same feel. You’ll feel a mixture of glass and some parts of the frame that feels plastic. As a whole I think most people won’t really notice this as it still feels substantially solid.
I did immediately notice that it feels a bit thicker compared to the Xiaomi 12 Pro measuring 8.2mm thick while the 12T Pro being 8.6mm.
But this does have an IP53 dust and water resistance this time so that’s a big plus for added peace of mind.
Display and Speakers
Xiaomi went with a flat display panel on the 12T Pro which, to be honest, is something that I prefer more when it comes to usability.
It may not look as sophisticated as curved displays but at least it feels easier to navigate with less chances of input error.
Measuring 6.67 inches, it doesn’t require much effort to reach each side. Given that I don’t have very large hands, I think most people would find this screen size to be ideal.
This is an AMOLED panel with Dolby Vision and HDR10+ certifications plus a 120Hz refresh rate so this display also looks vibrant and feels really fluid to use.
Combine the display with its stereo speaker setup and we have ourselves a well rounded media consumption device.
This pair of speakers are tuned by Harman Kardon and they sound pretty great as well. They have enough thickness to make the dialogue from the movie you’re watching cut through the mixture of sound effects.
Battery and Charging Performance
Flagship phones often run on smaller batteries with fast charging capabilities. This is a bit different on the 12T Pro which ships out with a large 5000mAh battery and a fast 120W charger.
In my charging test, I was able to get the 12T Pro from 10 percent to full in about 42 minutes. This may not be the fastest charging speed around right now, but it’s still incredibly fast. We’re still able to get fully juiced up even if we’ve just plugged it in before heading out for the day.
And for a phone of this calibre, battery performance is observably good. The 12T Pro averaged me a day and a half on normal use on mostly cellular data connection. Quite different from the usual single day battery life of most flagships.
Is the Xiaomi 12T Pro your GadgetMatch?
With so many phones to choose from, the Xiaomi 12T Pro might not be the best in the market.
But for the relatively impressive set of hardware this packs combined with its price, this easily climbs to the top of the list when choosing a smartphone that truly resonates ‘bang for the buck’.
Offered at PhP 37,999, you’re already getting serious performance, an excellent display, highly capable cameras and hyperfast charging.
In my opinion, these are qualities it requires for people to consider this as another flagship killer.
You can get the Xiaomi 12T Pro in Silver, Blue and Black from Lazada, Shopee, official Xiaomi stories and authorized resellers.
Why you should upgrade to the Dyson V15
Smart and powerful
Are you someone who gets excited over vacuum cleaners? Why hello there and welcome to adulthood. Vacuuming is definitely one of the most satisfying chores at home. The results are instant and seeing all the gunk you were able to remove from your floors and furniture is always so rewarding. This is why I can be quite particular about my vacuums. I need one that makes the task easier and a lot more interesting — like the new Dyson V15 Detect Absolute.
Dyson’s latest release in the floor care department is arguably the most intelligent and powerful cordless vacuum in the market today. The suction has improved and is now at 240 Air Watts. Thanks to a Piezo Sensor, the V15’s screen will also tell you the kind of particles it’s picking up in your home grouped by size. This is something that people will allergies will definitely be thankful for. However, the numbers aren’t just there as a party trick or merely for information. There’s a practical use for it. As the V15 detects – pun intended – the particles, it also adjusts the suction accordingly. Detection is done up to 15,000 times per second. This allows for the adjustment of the suction power on Auto Mode to be quick and intuitive. Now that’s nifty.
The right accessories and attachments for your Dyson V15
The V15 Detect also comes with a whole slew of attachments and accessories. Admittedly, seeing the range of tools and thinking of all the things you can do with them are two of the things that really get me excited when getting a new vacuum. I love how you get multi-use pieces as well as task-specific ones.
The Digital Motorbar or the V15’s main cleaning head now comes with an anti-tangle comb that clears hair from the brush bar. This is something I longed for vacuums to have as detangling hair from brushes and rollers isn’t something to look forward to. It’s no gimmick either. My hair’s been getting longer and I shed almost as much as our corgi. We tested it here at home and it actually works.
The V15 — both models — come with the Laser Slim Fluffy Cleaner Head which is perfect for seeing microdust and things you may just miss on hard floors. The Hair Screw Tool is the upgrade of the Mini Motorized Tool. It has the power of its predecessor and the anti-tangle technology of the Digital Motorbar. It’s perfect for cleaning upholstery, mattresses, and even in your car.
You also get attachments that were available in previous models like the Crevice Tool for those narrow, hard to reach places, Combination Tool, Mini Soft Dusting Brush, and the Stubborn Dirt Brush. The vacuum still comes with a wall mount where your charger can go through, ensuring tidier storage.
The HEPA model comes with a built-in dusting and crevice tool that hides inside the wand when not in use. It seems like a minor addition but makes it much easier to switch from full vacuum to handheld. Extra attachments like the Low-Reach Adaptor makes cleaning under beds and sofas a breeze and the Fabric and Mattress tool for your in-home cleaning. This frees up your Hair Screw Tool for your car.
But what I’m really looking forward to is the launch of the Dyson Pet Groom tool here in the Philippines. Set to arrive in early 2023, this piece is a game changer for pet owners. Living with a corgi means having to deal with shedding all year round. We also have to hoover every single day or else we’ll be dealing with fur tumbleweeds throughout our flat which gather more dust and allergens. The new Pet Groom Tool is a brush that you can attach to the main body of your V15. With 364 bristles angled at 35°, you’re able to remove loose fur and dander from your pet. Without hurting them, of course.
Filtering microdust with the Dyson V15
Dyson vacuums have always been pretty idiot-proof. It’s a piece of technology that marries form and substance — looking great while packing a lot of power for a cordless vacuum. I’ve always loved how Dyson vacuums don’t use bags. Clearing the bin is easy — hold it over the bin and pull the side handle down. Less waste makes it kinder to the environment.
The V15 also comes with 5-stages of advanced filtration, capturing 99.99% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. You’re not only cleaning your home but the air around you as well. There’s no need to keep buying filters and produce more waste because all you have to do is regularly take off the filter, place it under running water to clean, let it dry overnight and put it back. This works for both the regular and HEPA filters.
Sure, the V15 is a tad heavier if you compare it to the Omniglide and the V12 slim. However, it’s is a more powerful machine and runs longer. At 60 minutes, I’m able to deep clean most of our two-bedroom home. I’ve owned the V11 Absolute Extra Pro (a bigger V11 released in Germany) since 2019 and I’d say there’s not much difference in weight. I’ve enjoyed the power I got from V11 and always regarded it as my favorite vacuum, thinking that it’s hard to top its suction power as far as cordless vacuums go without making it too heavy. I was actually surprised that the V15 was able to achieve just that.
What’s left to improve?
While I’m absolutely smitten by the V15, here’s what I would love to see in the next upgrades. A laser on the Digital Motorbar would be great so that we can also see microdust and hair that tends to blend with the color of our carpets.
Some people online have complained about the lack of a trigger lock. This means you have to keep your finger on the trigger to keep the vacuum running. I think this is more of a question of preference. I don’t mind having a trigger lock as an option but I rarely used it in my older vacuums. For those who really think it can be an issue for them, the V12 does come with a start and stop button instead of a trigger.
The V15 Detect Absolute comes in two variants — V15 Detect Absolute and V15 Detect Absolute HEPA. The main difference is the filter and the colors. The former is in sprayed yellow and nickel and the latter is in a combination of sprayed gold and iron with the HEPA filter coming in a lovely shade of aqua.
The V15 Detect Absolute HEPA variant retails for PhP54,900 and comes with two extra tools (Fabric and Mattress tool and Low-Reach Adaptor) as well as its hidden dusting and crevice tool inside the wand.
The V15 Detect Absolute, meanwhile, is slightly cheaper at PhP50,900. Both models are now available at Dyson stores in the Philippines as well as their official online stores on Lazada and Shopee.
realme 10 review: It’s a 10!
For what it’s aiming to be
The realme number series has been a fantastic sales performer for good reason. The company has remained consistent in offering an entry-to-mid level smartphone that meets the needs of most people. The realme 10 is no different.
Let’s get a few things out of the way.
Here are the specs:
|Display||Screen Type: Super AMOLED
Screen-to-Body Ratio: 90.80%
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
Touch Sampling Rate: 180Hz
Brightness: 600 nits
Glass Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Audio Ports: 3.5mm Headset Jack
Audio Certification: N/A
|System||Operating System: realme UI 3.0, Android 12
Voice Assistant: Google AssistantProcessor: MediaTek Helio G99 Processor
|Cameras||Rear: 50MP Color AI + 2MP Black & White Lens
|Connectivity||WiFi: 2.4GHz, 5GHz
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.3
Frequency Bands: 2G / 3G / 4G
|Dimensions||Dimensions (LxWxH): 159.9 mm x 73.3 mm x 7.95 mm
|Power Supply||Charging Wattage: 33W SUPERVOOC Charge|
|RAM Memory GB||8GB+128GB / 8GB+256GB|
And here’s everything inside the box:
That’ll be the realme 10, a 33W SUPERVOOC Adapter, Type A to Type C USB Cable, Warranty Card, Quick Guide. SIM Ejector Pin, and a Jelly Case.
We understand the urge to use the Jelly Case to protect your precious purchase. But we mostly rocked the realme 10 bare and never felt like it was in any form of danger. Plus it just looks better. The accompanying case completely ruins the effect of the Clash White back panel that we have right here. The phone, by the way, is also available in Rush Black.
Design, ports, buttons, and feel on the hand
Perhaps the most striking thing about the realme 10 is its back panel. Especially the Clash White version, hence our insistence on not using a case with it. If you’re the flashy type, you’ll have a ball taking mirror selfies with this one.
It sparkles and reflects in quite a gorgeous manner. It almost makes you think that it has a different coat of paint depending on which angle you’re looking at it from. The realme 10 is pretty to look at and that’s a “feature” that smartphones in this price segment are starting to really understand.
On the left, you’ll find the SIM tray which houses three slots: two nano SIM cards and one microSD card slot up to 1TB to really expand your storage.
Going down to the bottom, you’ll see a 3.5mm headphone jack, the USB-C port, and the single downward firing speaker. The company’s marketing materials amusingly calls the latter “200% UltraBoom Speaker” which isn’t doing it any favors. It’s not bad. In fact, it’s pretty good for a single down firing speaker, but the marketing was really pushing it here.
Now that we’re on the subject, might as well talk about taking in entertainment on this phone.
Display and media consumption
You can take a quick glance at the specs above for the numbers, but know that in practice, the display is pretty much as advertised. Nothing too crazy here. The colors look good and watching videos are pretty satisfactory.
Curiously, when watching fancams by LE SSERAFIM Kazuha on YouTube, we could only get a maximum of 720p for the resolution. This wasn’t the case when viewing the same fancam on a much more premium phone. It looks fine, especially for a display of this size, but it’s something worth mentioning.
Also, don’t mind the accompanying photo. We had crappy internet while taking it.
Video viewing is enjoyable to the eyes as the colors still pop when you expect them too. The speakers, while serviceable, aren’t the most ideal way of watching. If you have headphones you can use, suggest you do that versus relying on the single speaker.
Performance and gaming
The realme 10 performs just about as expected especially when accessing the usual social and work apps. Jumping from TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and what-have-you was seamless with no hiccups whatsoever. And sure, you can pretty much say that with most phones these days but to have a really smooth performance at an entry-to-mid level price point is still fascinating.
We typically don’t do any heavy work things on our phone. The occasional emails, checking presentations, drafts, and opening a few PDF files here and there all ran smoothly.
Gaming is boosted by both the extended RAM capability as well as the realme’s Game Mode that lets you throttle performance to push all resources to gaming. It also filters out notifications so you can focus on winning.
Overall, it works as expected. Which is a great thing.
There’s also been plenty of smartphones in this price segment equipped with a 50MP main shooter. And we can say performance is consistent all throughout.
We took these samples during a gloomy, cloudy day. What your eyes see is literally what you get when taking landscape shots.
It also does a good job even when there are things in motion.
On the default camera app, you can easily get to 2X zoom which is a good way to “get closer” to your subject.
The 50MP shines the brightest when taking up close photos in well-lit spaces. Spot the coffee cup photo above. This was just the default camera and not portrait mode. But there’s a significant separation between the subject and background. The lights on the trees in the background also made for some really nice bokeh.
The same is true for shots taken at a similar distance. You can create a nice separation by putting more attention to your subject.
We took a photo of the bread at a different angle and you can see that it also is able to capture it in good detail.
But like most phones, when the light setting is poor, food shots aren’t as appetizing.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The realme 10 is solid. It’s certainly a 10 given the price to performance ratio. Oh, right. The price. The phone comes in two variants with the following pricing:
- 8GB+128GB – PhP 12,999
- 8GB+256GB – PhP 14,999
So, given all of that, you’re getting a package that may not be stacked, but is undeniably solid. The realme 10 is a head turner, a good performer, and a decent moment capturer. It’ll take care of your needs with no problems whatsoever.
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