Philippines

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro Review: Twice the power, still affordable

But is it worth the hype?

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The year is far from over and neither are phone manufacturers from releasing smartphones. Although Mi 9T Pro isn’t the newest smartphone release from Xiaomi, it’s one of the most talked about smartphones around and is still the flagship killer to, well, kill.

If you previously read our Xiaomi Mi 9T review, you’d know by now that I’m exactly an Android user. I loved the Mi 9T Pro’s smaller sibling however because of its camera prowess and seamless experience despite its cheap price tag.

Now that I have the more powerful Mi 9T Pro on hand, I took it out on adventures the past few weeks to see whether it can actually live up to its flagship killer title.

Same design, different vibe

If you compare the Mi 9T and Mi 9T Pro side-by-side, it’ll be difficult to tell them apart. The symmetry is there. I like the Carbon Black option for its stealth while the Glacier Blue option is striking, in a good way. Although I’m not a fan of flashy design and colors, I love how there are subtle gradations flowing from both sides.

The red power button is still there, giving it a touch of contrast against its blue metallic body.

Speaker grilles, microphone, USB-C port, and SIM card slot below.

The Mi 9T Pro has a Gorilla Glass 5 back. It’s not the newest generation of Corning’s technology but it’s good enough to protect the phone from accidental scratches. The Mi 9T had none, which was a drawback for a smartphone with a glass back. I loved flaunting its back that I decided not to use the included black case. It’s still good as new and has not acquired any scratches. It feels right in my hand and doesn’t slip easily.

Same screen size, different display

Even Suzy looks confused with the differences in AMOLED and Super AMOLED

Xiaomi’s Mi 9T wowed me before because of its 6.4-inch AMOLED display. It’s an excellent panel, for such a cheap phone, with great viewing angles and contrast.

The Mi 9T Pro still packs a similar 6.4-inch display, but with a Super AMOLED display technology. Watching videos even outdoors is a great experience because it’s brighter and overall a better panel.

The Super AMOLED display is drop-dead gorgeous, so is Yoohyeon

I love its fullscreen display. Not having a notch or punch-hole camera makes a difference for me especially when watching videos. Color calibration is accurate and vibrant, making visuals pop.

Watching TWICE’s Feel Special in 4K made me miss Mina more #GetWellSoonMina

There are only a handful of smartphones with 4K resolution — and it’s not the basis of having a great display. It may not be the best display on a smartphone, but the Mi 9T Pro still delivers excellent entertainment experience even with its Full HD+ display. It’s also more power efficient than the AMOLED display found on the Mi 9T.

Flagship performance at half the price

The Mi 9T was already a great smartphone with the Snapdragon 730, but Xiaomi made the Mi 9T Pro even better. This phone is  equipped with a flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset — something you can only find on more expensive smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and OnePlus 7 Pro.

The Mi 9T Pro feels snappier than the Mi 9T — something I noticed immediately. Opening apps, the animation — they all feel faster. The experience is oh-so fluid and smooth. I can now play my favorite Asphalt 9 game at the highest settings that I couldn’t do (or even install) on the Mi 9T before.

Just like the Mi 9T, it also has 6GB of memory, so switching between apps is seamless.

Having a 3.5mm audio jack feels special (pun intended)

A lot of “Pro” products don’t seem like they meet expectations of actual pro users. If you’re the type of person who prefers the traditional way of listening to music, this phone has a 3.5mm jack — something you don’t see in many smartphones these days.

While I can always connect a wireless pair of headphones, the good ol’ audio jack is still very handy in a lot of scenarios. I find it useful when playing music in parties that don’t have wireless speakers. Some people still use wired microphones for audio recording as it’s more reliable. Some monopods require wired cables for you to control shutter releases.

Battery life is outstanding

I’m not proud of it but I’m *that* power user. I fiddle around with my phone and browse my social media feed every five to ten minutes. When I’m bored, I watch videos on YouTube or at least two episodes of a series I’m following on Netflix at around 75% brightness. I also play graphics-intensive games every now and then. Despite all of this, the Mi 9T Pro’s battery lasts me my entire day.

Fast charging just got faster

The Mi 9T already has a USB-C port and an 18W fast charger right out of the box — but the Mi 9T Pro ships with a faster 27W charger with Quick Charge 4+ technology.

It takes around 35 minutes to charge the phone from 0% to 50%. It reached 100% after around an hour and 30 minutes. That’s fast for a smartphone with a 4000 mAh battery.

Modern problems require modern solutions, except for these two

The Mi 9T Pro still features an in-display fingerprint scanner and it works most of the time. Not that I’m complaining, but it will never be as fast as a traditional scanner. A side-mounted scanner is always my alternative pick over this type of reader.

I thought there will be at least a difference when it comes to Face Unlock but it still performs sluggish. I would rather use the fingerprint scanner instead of the inconvenience of swiping and waiting for the camera to pop-up. Face unlock isn’t even as secure as it just relies on camera recognition.

The pop-up camera itself performs well

Don’t get me wrong, the pop-up camera is not bad, well at least in taking selfies. It captures decent selfies even when beauty mode is completely turned off.

I like how the selfies don’t look as saturated as other selfie shooters, which gives it a nice touch in persuading your crush to give you a chance to date you.

People who have shorter arms wouldn’t have a problem as the selfie camera is wide enough to accommodate four (or more) people in the frame — just like how a lot of you accommodate people that will never be a part of your life.

Same triple camera setup, but now snappier

You get the same triple camera setup as the Mi 9T that I loved: 48MP f/1.8 wide, 8MP f/2.4 telephoto, and 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide.

There’s a small difference though: the Mi 9T Pro has laser autofocus. This might not sound like much but taking photos with the Mi 9T Pro felt snappier and photos turn out sharper. It’s an understated but very important improvement.

Unlike with the Mi 9T, I didn’t experience errors while using the Mi 9T Pro’s camera

The camera does well with food subjects

But it’s honestly even better with the telephoto lens

Night Mode works really well

But sometimes, it doesn’t do photos justice

The highlights in the neon signs were dimmed after turning on the Night Mode, which made the shots worse.

Using Night Mode on the telephoto lens is great, too

I really love how it captured the filament in these two light bulbs and produced the right amount of shadows and blur in the background.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The maxed-out 128GB/6GB configuration of the Mi 9T Pro is priced at PhP 20,490, while the 64GB/6GB configuration currently retails at PhP 18,990 — which is just a PhP 1,500 difference from Mi 9T’s 128GB/6GB.

A lot of people have been calling the Mi 9T Pro as 2019’s true flagship killer, not just because of its top of the line specs but also because of its affordable price tag.

If you want to have a powerful smartphone with a bright display, snappy cameras, and unparalleled software experience without spending that much, the Mi 9T Pro is for you. If you don’t need the faster chipset and just want an overall great device, then go for the Mi 9T.

Accessories

OPPO Enco W31 now official

With ‘Environment Noise Cancellation’

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OPPO just announced the pricing and availability of one more TWS headphones option — the OPPO Enco W31.

It has dual microphones that enables the Environment Noise Cancellation feature. OPPO says it shuts out the noise enough so you can focus on whatever you need to focus on, free from any noise distractions.

For sound quality, it has a bass and balance mode for what they say is “high-definition sound quality and rhythmic bass for lifelike audio.” It has tap and touch controls and supports a voice assistant.

It promises up to 15 hours of music playback and up to 12 hours of call time with the charging case. Fully charging the earphones will take only 2.5 hours. It also has an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance.

The OPPO Enco W31 retails for PhP 2990 (US$ 61) and is available for purchase on all open OPPO concept and online stores, official dealers, as well as Shopee and Lazada.

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News

HP P22H rotating monitor now official in the Philippines

It can rotate to 90-degrees

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HP is bringing its P22H monitor to the Philippines. It’s targeted towards business professionals and has features some noteworthy specs that are worth looking at, especially for those buying a secondary monitor for their remote work setup.

The HP P22H monitor has a 21.5-inch display with 1920×1080 resolution. Colors and details pop out more, allowing for a comfortable viewing experience. Plus, it has a three-sided micro-edge bezel to ensure that documents and contents stand out.

There’s also a plethora of ports available on the monitor. It comes with the standard HDMI and DisplayPort connector. Professionals who need to connect older devices may also do so with a VGA connector.

The stand out feature for this monitor though is its viewing configuration. HP P22H allows up to 100mm of adjustable height for optimal viewing. It can also swivel and tilt up to various degrees. Finally, professionals can pivot the whole monitor to 90 degrees — perfect for viewing long documents and spreadsheets.

HP’s newest business monitor is now available on Lazada for PhP 8,440 (US$ 170). All monitor purchases come with a standard three-year warranty for the buyers’ peace of mind.

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News

realme X3 SuperZoom, realme Watch arrive in PH

At really competitive prices

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realme truly is shaking things up with the launch of two new devices to add to its ever expanding portfolio. The realme X3 SuperZoom and the realme Watch are now officially in the Philippines.

realme X3 SuperZoom: First flagship smartphone in PH

The company is referring to The realme X3 SuperZoom is the first flagship smartphone that they are bringing over to the Philippines.

Inside, it’s powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor with 12GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. It has a 6.6-inch IPS LCD display with support for 120Hz screen refresh rate.

It has a quad-camera setup. The main 64MP ultra-high resolution wide angle camera is flanked by the 8MP ultra-wide angle lens, an 8MP periscope lens, and a 4MP macro lens.

The 64MP lens is the Samsung ISOCELL GW1 — the same sensor realme has used for their 64MP phones. The periscope lens is capable of up to 60X hybrid zoom which is great as long as you don’t do creepy things with it.

realme has also been proud of the work they have done on their phone’s Night Mode, taking it even a step further with Starry Mode. This is essentially an astrophotography feature that should come in handy when we’re finally allowed to actually stay outdoors.

In front it has a 32MP camera and it shares some video shooting features with the rear camera like UIS Video Stabilization, and in-software bokeh effect.

realme Watch

The realme Watch, meanwhile, is a fitness band that doesn’t look like most fitness bands. It foregoes the slimmer design and instead gives us a 3.5cm (1.4”) display.

It has 14 different workout and sports modes, has a camera shutter, water reminder, and meditation features. The watch can also track your heart rate, sleep, and monitor your blood-oxygen levels.

Price and availability

The realme X3 SuperZoom will retail for PhP 24,990 (US$506). Pre-order starts on July 9 to July 17 in realme concept stores, kiosks and select stores nationwide.

During the pre-order period, customers will also get to claim exclusive realme Buds Air Black worth PhP 3,990 (US$ 81).

The realme Watch will retail for PhP 3,990 (US$ 81) and will be available alongside the X3 SuperZoom. Customers may avail the device at PhP 1,000.00 off during Lazada’s 7.15 mid-year sale.

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