A comparative review of Honor 20 vs Xiaomi Mi 9T. Battle budget flagships
If you need a powerful, modern and inexpensive smartphone with a good camera, then there are quite a few options in 2019. But the most obvious to many will be the Honor 20 and Xiaomi Mi 9T (which is sold in China under the name Redmi K20), exemplary in terms of price and quality devices. Appeared at about the same time and about the same price, around $396 USD. But which one is objectively better?
On paper, the Xiaomi Mi 9T (also known as the Redmi K20) and the Honor 20 is very similar – the flagship glass design, good hardware, and promising cameras. They are even positioned about the same way – slightly simplified modifications of the flagship models, which at the expense of a couple of compromises managed to achieve a very attractive price tag – about $396 in the official retail (from China and the other will turn out even more profitable, but why do we need Honor without Google services? or Xiaomi without NFC and with a curve firmware).
But if you look closely, the difference between them is huge – Honor and Xiaomi showed a very different approach to the compromises they had to make. In many ways, this comparison was much more interesting than comparing the “adult” flagships, stuffed with the same flagship chips. But let’s order.
Xiaomi is heavier – but more “frameless”
Both participants in the comparison are presented in the standard version, while the Mi 9T Pro and Honor 20 Pro are expected to be on sale only after some time. It is important!
The regular and advanced versions of the Mi 9T (also known as the K20) are completely different in appearance, while the Honor 20 doesn’t confuse the trained eye. The pro version will be a bit thicker, heavier and with a different set of cameras in the quad-core module. And they are of different colors.
The first thing you notice is a completely frameless screen in the Xiaomi Mi 9T and a cutout for the camera in Honor 20. The round cutout in the upper left corner of the screen does not look as practical as the retractable camera, but perhaps the reliability of the latter will be lower in theory.
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Xiaomi is noticeably harder and more monolithically assembled, it makes a more solid impression. Pleases attention to detail: the keys on the sides are a tighter and pronounced click, the power button and the bezel of one of the cameras are stylishly highlighted in a different color. The rear panel uses curved glass on all four sides, while the Honor 20 developers used plain, flat. Perhaps it is because of this that the case of the Honor 20 bends slightly, if you squeeze it hard with your fingers, while the Mi 9T has a more rigid structure.
The Honor 20 fingerprint scanner is made in the style of Xperia 1 or Galaxy S10e – combined with the power key on the side. It works instantly even from touching without pressing. Xiaomi Mi 9T is equipped with a more fashionable and futuristic, but less practical optical scanner under the screen. On the one hand, it’s cool, but it works slower and is easier to deceive.
On the side of the Honor 20 are more compact dimensions (though it has a smaller screen), but the difference in width is only 0.3 mm. A weight of 191 g (versus 174 g for Honor) makes the Mi 9T a bit more cumbersome, but it comes with an excellent clip-case made of durable matte plastic, while the standard transparent silicone is attached to the Honor 20.
It is also worth mentioning that Xiaomi was able to place a full-fledged 3.5 mm Jack on the upper end, while the competitor does not have a port for wired headphones. The slot for microSD memory cards, stereo speakers, reliable infrared unlocking on the face is neither here nor there. Both have NFC, and Honor also has infrared.
IPS vs. AMOLED
When comparing screens, it is important to realize one thing – both “budget flagships” are equipped with quite good, but not the best screens. They should not expect advanced HDR, Quad HD resolution, increased frequency of 90 Hz or crystal clear color reproduction. For such a luxury, if you please put the amount in two or even three times more.
Before us are two Full HD + matrices with a resolution of 1080×2340 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5: 9. The Mi 9T has a slightly larger diagonal, 6.39 inches, against 6.24 “for Honor 20. Honor wins slightly in PPI (dots per inch) – 412 versus 403, but due to a slightly thicker frame, it loses in terms of screen area ratio to the surface – 84.1% versus 86.1% in Xiaomi.
Both are decently calibrated out of the box, in the settings you can manually adjust the color temperature and white balance. At a strong angle from the Xiaomi, a rainbow effect appears on the screen, and Honor begins to “pink”. So there is parity.
But here is the infinite contrast, greater brightness and the function of notifications on the off-screen, which provides AMOLED-display Mi 9T, nothing to kill.
Honor 20 significantly more powerful – the real flagship
Both smartphones are equipped with fresh 8nm and 7nm processors, but this is where, perhaps, the main difference lies in the approach of Honor and Xiaomi to “compromises”. Honor 20 boasts a powerful flagship HiSilicon Kirin 980, while the Xiaomi Mi 9T is based on the “stone” of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 middle segment. Android flagships.
In the interface, browser, and clients of social networks, both devices work quickly, smoothly and without delays, they open applications and heavy files at about the same speed. They even have the same RAM, 6 GB each.
If you are interested in the possibility of editing video in a mobile editor like Adobe Premiere Rush or “hard” games like the same Fortnite, then Honor 20 is significantly superior to the opponent.
Please note that for Honor 20 each test contains 2 values. This is due to the fact that the proprietary shell Magic UI based on Android 9.0 Pie provides 2 modes of operation, standard, and high-performance. In the second, the battery charge is consumed faster, and the processor frequencies are accelerated to the maximum. In everyday tasks, such power is not needed, so the system limits the work of the most productive cores in order to save battery power.
Xiaomi and Honor 20 in the standard mode live about the same. The volume of the non-removable battery in the Xiaomi is 4000 mAh, and the Honor is a little smaller, 3,750 mAh. By the way, both Pro versions will have 4000 mAh each. With a medium-high daily load, both smartphones confidently withstand a full day without a hint of “refueling.” At the same time, they can be safely put in charge in the morning – you only have time to wash, get dressed, eat porridge from a bag, and the smartphone already shows more than 75%, it’s time to leave the house. Xiaomi comes with an 18 W adapter, and Honor 20 comes with 22.5 W, the latter is able to charge the device from 0 to 50% in 30-35 minutes.
Comparing cameras is a difficult choice.
At the flagship level, few would argue with the fact that year after year, Huawei provides some of the best photo solutions on the market. Incredible light sensitivity, incomparable zoom, AI image processing, and Leica optics earned the company’s devices a place in the pantheon of the best camera phones.
But no one promised that these innovations will find a place in more accessible devices. The first thing that Huawei / Honor engineers let under the knife when creating “cheaper” flagships is the camera. Because the 4 lenses on the back panel of the Honor 20 are not the same ones, the gorgeous pictures from which the manufacturer proudly shared during the presentation.
Let me remind you that Honor 20 Pro claims 4 main camera lenses: a leading 48 megapixel module with an excellent f / 1.4 aperture, laser autofocus, and optical stabilization, a 3x 8 megapixel optical lens with optical stabilization, 16 megapixel ultra-shear and a separate macro Lens 2 MP. Normal Honor 20 unchanged inherited only the last two. The zoom at the Honor 20 is only digital – instead of the 3X telephoto, there is a primitive depth sensor. Although the main module retained the resolution of 48 megapixels but lost its stabilization, fast laser autofocus and photosensitivity here is a very inexpressive f / 1.8.
On the other hand, the Xiaomi Mi 9T cameras are exactly the same as the Pro-version. There is also no optical stabilization, laser autofocus and super-sensitive matrix for night shooting, but at least there is a 2X telephoto. However, as we learned from the review, he also makes an increase in the normal shooting as a commonplace 48-megapixel f / 1.8 module and uses telephoto only for portraits. Shirik is worse here, at 13 megapixels and with f / 2.4 aperture.
To summarize, the main modules of the Honor 20 and Xiaomi 9T are the same, the principle of 2X zoom, too, the ultra-wide-angle lens is better at the Honor. Also, for some reason, Honor has a macro lens on the side of the main triple module, but its usefulness is highly questionable.
Two smartphones take off very well, but in different ways, the differences in the software effect. For example, Honor 20 is prone to “whiten” shadows and dark places, simulating a more sensitive “big brother” sensor. At the same time, however, some parts are lost. The AI mode traditionally for Honor / Huawei unscrews the saturation of colors and artificially turns up the sharpness so that the frames look “juicier” – they can be easily spread directly to Instagram without thinking about processing.
As for Xiaomi, artificial intelligence works much more carefully, only slightly correcting the exposure. More noise can be seen on frames at any time of day, but the details are much better distinguishable – for example, the fonts on the metro pointer and the details of the quadriga on the Bolshoi Theater are better conveyed. However, Xiaomi sometimes has a hitch with focusing – sometimes the frames are blurred and blurred simply because the camera had a hard time quickly understanding what to focus on (seen in the photo with the owl).
Both cameras are good, but they are worth choosing for different tasks. Honor 20 is good for filling social networks with bright photos without any extra movements, and Mi 9T will suit more sophisticated amateur photographers who are not too lazy to process and search for a good Google Camera port.
The result – to each his own
In the overall standings for a number of indicators Xiaomi Mi 9T wins. On its side, there is a more modern and technological design (thanks to the traveling camera, rounded glass), a more capacious battery, coupled with the AMOLED screen. And it is a bit cheaper ($412 USD) and much cheaper when ordering from China.
But Honor 20 has a not very secret, but effective weapon – it is much more powerful. As a bonus – gifts for the purchase in the company store (up to a fitness bracelet or an external battery) and a more convenient, fast and reliable fingerprint scanner. And also, he has a better selfie camera, which is always in its place and starts instantly, faster charging and AI in the camera, which makes many scenes more beautiful.
Write in the comments, what is more, important for you – pure performance or commonality of other characteristics?
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