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Huawei Nova 5T VS Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: Which One Rules The Mid-range?

Which one should you buy?

Huawei’s Nova 5T is one of the best mid-range phones that the company has ever released, though it’s not without its competitors. Xiaomi has stepped up to the challenge of the Nova 5T by delivering yet another bang-for-the-buck phone in the form of the Mi 9T Pro.

The Mi 9T Pro has, on paper, a lot of things that you’d want in a flagship device, never mind a mid-range phone but does it really stand up against the Nova 5T on paper? Let’s take a look:

Mi 9T Pro specs

  • AI-Powered Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 640 GPU
  • 6GB/8GB 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/256GB of non-expandable storage
  • Triple rear camera setup: 48-megapixel f/1.75 Sony IMX586 main camera with 6P lens; 13-megapixel f/2.4 ultra-wide-angle camera with 6P lens, 4cm macro mode; 8-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens with 2X zoom, Dual Pixel and Laser Autofocus, dual-tone flash, AI scene detection, and AI portrait
  • 20-megapixel f/2.0 pop-up front camera with 1.8um pixels, AI Portrait, AI Beauty
  • Dual SIM, with 4G LTE, LTE-A
  • Dual Frequency GPS, GLONASS
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
  • In-display Fingerprint scanner, USB-C, Reading Mode 2.0, Game Turbo
  • 4000mAh battery with 27W Quick Wired 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

Both look pretty (and boring in black) but the Nova 5T is something else

Gradient finishes are out of vogue now, and companies like Huawei and Xiaomi have turned to new, unique colorations to make their phones stand out.

The Mi 9T Pro has the same colorway as the regular Mi 9T, though users have the option to get the Pearl White color variant that’s only available for the Mi 9T Pro.

As pretty as Xiaomi’s new phone is though, we’d have to give the crown for the prettiest phone to Huawei. The 3D Holographic pattern on the back makes the blue variant stand out.

The Midsummer Purple variant takes things to another level, thanks to the Nova iconography embedded in the back, as well as the really gorgeous purple coloration present.

AMOLED VS LCD, pop-up VS punch hole

If there’s one part of this comparo that Xiaomi holds a lead over Huawei, it’s in the display. While the Nova 5T’s 6.26-inch display looks gorgeous, nothing really beats AMOLED when it comes to color vibrancy, contrast, and saturation.

Another major point of contention between the two phones would be the punch hole camera. The Mi 9T Pro has a full display courtesy of that motorized selfie unit and doesn’t have to deal with a notch, punch hole or otherwise.

The Nova 5T meanwhile, still has a punch hole notch on its panel. Now there are some people who like having a display without a notch or punch hole, and some people want a phone that doesn’t have an additional motorized component that may or may not break – that all boils down to user preference.

The Mi 9T Pro uses an under-display fingerprint scanner just like the Mi 9T, and just like the lower-priced version the unlock speed left a lot to be desired. The Nova 5T, on the other hand, uses a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that unlocked the phone quickly every time, though left-handed users may not like the placement.

Flagship processors on both, but RAM and storage differ

Both phones have flagship processors in them – the Nova 5T uses Huawei’s Kirin 980 chipset, while the Mi 9T Pro uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor.

Both are capable phones when it comes to gaming, but if you’re looking at raw benchmark numbers Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 leads over the Kirin 980.

That being said, the Nova 5T is the clear winner when you take a look at the amount of RAM and storage – the only variant that Huawei is selling in the Philippines comes packing 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage inside.

The similarly-priced Mi 9T Pro variant comes with at just 6GB of RAM and more importantly, 64GB of non-expandable storage. That’s a big deal – if you’re a heavy gamer, that’s not going to be enough storage for your needs. The next variant up still has 6GB of RAM and double the storage at 128GB, though the price is higher – at Php 20,490.

More cameras on the Nova 5T, but sensors are the same on the one that counts

On paper Huawei’s Nova 5T has more cameras than the Mi 9T Pro: it has a 48-megapixel main shooter, a 16-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a 2-megapixel macro camera.

The Mi 9T Pro, on the other hand, has to make do with just three cameras on the rear: a 48-megapixel main camera, 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens.

We didn’t really find the macro camera on the Nova 5T useful, so that’s one camera off of the list that you should be looking at.

While we don’t have photos from the Mi 9T pro VS the Nova 5T yet (hold on for that), the phones do have the same Sony IMX586 48-megapixel sensor on their main cameras.

But having similar sensors don’t necessarily mean similar results when it comes to image quality, as software for the hardware makes a big difference in regards to the final images produced.

We’ll have to see if the phones really have the same performance when it comes to shooting photos.

Mi 9T Pro has more battery, faster charging

Moving right along to the battery, the Mi 9T Pro holds the lead in this particular metric, thanks to its large 4000mAh battery, and faster 27W fast charging speed.

The Nova 5T isn’t a slouch though since it has a 3750mAh battery plus 22.5W fast charging thanks to Huawei’s SuperCharge tech.

Both phones have their own strengths and weaknesses

At the end of the day, both phones have their own strengths and weaknesses, and neither phone holds a clear lead over each other.

The Nova 5T is a better-looking phone overall and offers more RAM and storage compared to the base model of the Mi 9T Pro.

The Mi 9T Pro, on the other hand, has a better performing processor and bigger battery along with with a faster-charging speed, and better display.

The Nova 5T retails for Php 18,990, the same price as the 6GB/64GB version of the Mi 9T Pro. The higher tier 6GB/128GB variant retails for Php 20,490.

Pre-orders are now ongoing for the Nova 5T and will run until the 13th. The Mi 9T Pro, on the other hand, is available for pre-order on September 6 in Lazada and September 7 in Mi Authorized Stores. It will be available starting September 9 in Lazada and September 14 in Mi Authorized stores.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Insanely Good Value

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Insanely Good Value

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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4 Comments

  1. black is not boring, better say plain. Black will always be classy. Some people like me will not always prefer too vibrant, catchy colors. But honestly the design for nova 5t is really good.
    Btw, I doubt the audio qualities of huawei phones. they hardly compete with other brands.

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