I can't spend $1,000 on a smartphone. I just can't. I've walked into countless phone stores, credit card in hand, with every intention of buying the latest flagship. I walk up to the demo area, wake the handset I've already decided to buy and spend a few moments swiping through the app drawer, willing myself to follow through on the purchase. My throat tightens and a few minutes later my legs are moving involuntarily out the door and down the street. It's been this way for years. I love high-end smartphones but can't stomach the price-tag when I think about the rent, bills and unpaid student loans waiting for me at home. Instead, I've veered toward OnePlus and similar brands that offer flagship performance at two-thirds, or sometimes even half the price of phones from likes of Samsung, Google and Apple. And now, Chinese giant Xiaomi has finally entered Europe, including the UK . That makes its latest flagship, the glossy Mi 9, a tantalizing prospect for people like me, who want the best, or close enough, on a tighter budget.