With the barely noticeable Mi Mix Alpha and its display that dominated attention last week, you could be sorry you didn't notice the other phone announced by Xiaomi at its event, the Mi 9 Pro 5G. Xiaomi has released many phones that look and look very similar this year, and to be honest it becomes difficult to maintain.
Another Xiaomi phone I've been using in recent weeks, the Mi 9T Pro, falls into this category a lot. Nothing in its specification stands out especially in the Xiaomi range, let alone the Chinese landscape of smartphones in general. What I am only writing about this week comes down to the weirdness of Xiaomi's meandering naming schemes and global release schedules. But I still think it's one of the most notable phones of the year.
To put the Mi 9T Pro in context, let me briefly explain the line of the Mi 9. First, the flagship Mi 9 and the mid-range Mi 9 SE were announced in February. As is typical of the Xiaomi, the Mi 9 has dual-class high-end specs (Snapdragon 855, etc.) at an affordable price (£ 499 / € 449). I reviewed the Mi 9 when it came to Europe in April; it was good. Then in June, a cheaper € 329 variant called the Mi 9T was launched in mainland Europe.
However, the Mi 9T was a completely different phone. It had a slower Snapdragon 730 processor, an unobtrusive display, a pop-up selfie, and a completely new design. Brand new, that is, if you didn't pay attention to the launch of Indian Phones last month when the Redmi K20 and K20 Pro were announced. The Mi 9T is simply a rebranded Redmi K20.
Now here we are in the fall with a £ 399 Mi 9T Pro, which is a rebranded Redmi K20 Pro. Why Xiaomi didn't release this phone earlier this year is beyond me, but Europeans should not sleep on it. It's even bigger than the flagship Mi 9, at an even lower price.
The Mi 9T Pro spec sheet seems pretty standard if you are used to following Chinese phones, but drop this thing in the AT&T store and it will be as high-end as anything else. You have the Snapdragon 855 processor, a flawless 6.4-inch OLED screen, a fingerprint sensor on the display, a pop-up selfie camera, a 4,000 mAh battery and triple rear cameras, including a 48-megapixel base unit, complete with telephones and ultra-wide lenses. Basically, it's a OnePlus 7 Pro without a high-speed refresh screen, except it starts at £ 399 instead of £ 699. (Conversions are what they are, US residents should think of it as $ 399.)  What makes the Mi 9T Pro different from other Xiaomi endeavors at the most specific and lowest cost – get last year's sub- $ 300 Pocophone F1, which stuffs the fastest parts available in the cheapest body possible – well, that it doesn't compromise on design. There are many neat colors here, from the small circle in the popup camera module that lights up when the phone is charging to the way the holographic back panel glows in response to its surroundings.
Now, the Mi 9 remains an elegant device in several ways. It has several leading touches such as wireless charging and a better haptic motor. It is also noticeably thinner, though it has a smaller battery and drops the headphone jack. Design is certainly more understated if that's your thing. Overall, however, the 9T Pro feels like a more balanced, capable phone for most people – not to mention cheaper.
However, the price of the phone actually caused some controversy in India when it was released as the K20 Pro. Many followers of Indian technology, who are often very familiar with the specifications of the phone and want to get the best value possible, were disappointed with the price of the K20 Pro at Rs 27,999 ($ 395) after expecting something more in line with the Pocophone F1. (The $ 7,000 gold version didn't help.)
Xiaomi had to justify the price in an open letter to Indian fans, pointing out that its features were not cheap. But given the precedent of Pocophone, those who prioritize pricing over everything else will not be satisfied.
However, in Europe it is probably the best flagship phone of the best value – and I call it the flagship. -class phone. It would probably be a big deal in the less competitive US market as well, if Xiaomi had ever figured out how to sell phones there. If you are looking to buy a phone at about this price point, I can't think of a better option.
Xiaomi launches phones at such an intense pace and in seemingly random locations that it's easy to ignore individual models and just think of the lineup as a hive's collective mind to be pretty good, no matter the cost. However, sometimes the company goes beyond the sweet spot and delivers something of truly incredible value. The Mi 9T Pro, or K20 Pro, is one of those times.