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Huawei Nova 5T vs Xiaomi Mi 9 Comparo: Does Huawei’s New Mid-ranger Unseat The King?

Did Huawei steal the crown from Xiaomi this time?

Up until yesterday, Xiaomi’s Mi 9 was one of the best affordable flagships you could buy officially in the Philippines. Packed with stand-out features such as a Snapdragon 855 processor, triple rear cameras, and an AMOLED display, it had flagship hardware that was more than half the cost of a typical flagship phone from Samsung or even rival Huawei.

But the Mi 9’s happy days might be over, thanks to Huawei’s new mid-range champion, the Nova 5T. The Nova 5T delivers many of the same flagship features that the Mi 9 gives you but at a drastically reduced price of Php 18,990. How do both phones stack up against each other?

Xiaomi Mi 9 specs

  • AI-Powered Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 640 GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 6.39-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display, 18:7.9 aspect ratio, support for DCI-P3, 60000:1 Contrast Ratio, Gorilla Glass 6 protection
  • 64GB/128GB of non-expandable storage
  • Triple rear camera setup: 48-megapixel f/1.75 Sony IMX586 main camera with 6P lens; 16-megapixel f/2.2 Sony IMX481 ultra-wide-angle camera with 6P lens, 4cm macro mode; 12-megapixel f/2.2 Samsung S5K3M5 telephoto lens with 2X zoom, Dual Pixel and Laser Autofocus, dual-tone flash, AI scene detection, and AI portrait
  • 20-megapixel f/2.0 front camera with 1.8um pixels, AI Portrait, AI Beauty
  • Dual SIM
  • 4G, LTE
  • Dual Frequency GPS, GLONASS
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
  • In-display Fingerprint scanner, USB-C, Reading Mode 2.0, Game Turbo
  • 3300mAh battery with 27W Quick Wired Charging and 20W Fast Wireless Charging
  • Android Pie with MIUI 10

 

Huawei Nova 5T specs

  • Kirin 980 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 6.26-inch Full HD+ IPS display with hole punch notch, 1080 x 2340 resolution
  • 128GB of storage
  • Quad rear cameras: 48-megapixel f/1.8 Sony IMX 586 rear camera; 16-megapixel f/2.2 wide-angle camera; 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro lens; 2-megapixel depth camera; PDAF, LED flash
  • 32-megapixel f/2.0 front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 4G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C
  • 3750mAh battery with 22.5W SuperCharge
  • Android 9 Pie with EMUI 9.1

Flagship internals to boot

Without a doubt, both the Mi 9 and Nova 5T are rocking the best processors to date with the Snapdragon 855 and Kirin 980 respectively. While the Snapdragon 855 trumps over the Kirin 980 in benchmark tests, both processors are capable of running the most demanding mobile games in the market.

As for RAM and internal storage options, the Nova 5T offers more RAM at 8GB along with expandable storage compared to the base version — the most affordable variant of the Mi 9T only offers a measly 64GB of storage, compared to the 128GB variant of the Nova 5T.

Premium build for both phones

Both phones don’t scrimp when it comes to overall build, as both have glass backs with gorgeous color options and a premium aluminum frame to boot.

Their gorgeous designs come at a price though, since both phones don’t come with a headphone jack. You’ll have to deal with a 3.5mm Type-C dongle if you want to listen to your tunes via a wired connection.

AMOLED still has an edge over IPS

While both phones have gorgeous Full HD+ displays, the Mi 9’s AMOLED panel renders better colors and deeper blacks than the Nova 5T’s IPS panel. The Mi 9 implements a waterdrop notch to house its front camera, while the Nova 5T goes for a punch-hole solution. Between the two, we prefer the Nova 5T’s approach, as its small punch hole is less obstructive compared to the Mi 9’s waterdrop notch since it’s out of the way and disappears in your peripheral vision as you’re using the phone.

Another advantage of the Mi 9’s AMOLED display is that it uses an in-display fingerprint scanner—the Nova 5T settles for a rather unconventional side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

 

More cameras aren’t always better

Both phones come with a 48-megapixel Sony IMX 586 main camera and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, though the Nova 5T has more cameras than the Mi 9. However, more cameras aren’t always better: the Mi 9’s 12-megapixel telephoto camera is more useful than the Nova 5T’s 2-megapixel depth sensor and 2-megapixel macro cameras.

As far as camera performance is concerned, both the Nova 5T and Mi 9 performed very well especially in low light thanks to OIS and several AI tricks.

While the Nova 5T has a higher-resolution front camera than the Mi 9, both phones produced flattering selfies that don’t look overprocessed.

Bigger battery on the Nova 5T, but Mi 9 has better quick-charging solutions

Both phones can last you at least a day, though the Nova 5T gives you longer mileage because of its larger 3750mAh battery. However, the Mi 9 has better charging options than the Nova 5T with its 27W quick wired charging and 20W quick wireless charging.

Nova 5T steals the scene with its price

The Nova 5T one-ups the Mi 9 with its pricing: at Php 18,990 for the 8GB/128GB model, the Nova 5T steals the flagship killer crown from the Mi 9T as it is Php 3k cheaper and comes with more RAM, more storage, and expandable memory compared to the base variant.

That does that mean that Xiaomi is waving the white flag: with the Mi 9T Pro arriving on our shores on September 4, there’s a good chance that Xiaomi will be announcing a price cut for the Mi 9 to make it more competitive against the Nova 5T.

Don’t forget to read our full reviews on both phones:

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Insanely Good Value

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Insanely Good Value

 

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3 Comments

  1. the design for both is excellent. though I disagree that having a glass back is excellent. it is slippery and may break even tho u may say that is gorilla glass 5. some nokia phones dont have glass back yet it is very comfortable in the hands and well built as well. I like the punch hole screen more in the nova 5t.
    What I dont like about huawei phones is they are mediocore when it comes to audio — both in headset and speaker! Many reviewer miss about the audiophiles’ side.
    I am using the Mi 9 SE btw.

  2. I doubt that the 5T will last longer than the Mi9 in terms of battery, because of 2 things; Amoled is more efficient than LCD, and Processors having almost the same power shows that Snapdragons to be the most energy efficient than it’s competitors

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