Xiaomi Mi 9 evaluation: Two steps ahead, one step again

Xiaomi Mi 9 review

At this level, you do not want me to let you know that Xiaomi makes merchandise that provide nice worth for cash. The Chinese language producer confirmed again and again during the last 5 years that it will possibly completely dominate on this regard, and although we have seen different manufacturers attempt to emulate Xiaomi’s technique, none have been as profitable.

With the Mi 9, Xiaomi is providing a number of key upgrades that make it a fantastic reasonably priced flagship whereas nonetheless sustaining a low worth. We have seen gadgets on this class inch previous the $550 mark, and the Mi 9 is ready to be accessible shortly in Western markets for €449 ($500), successfully undercutting OnePlus and Honor.

The Mi 9 has a variety of new options to supply. It’s the first Xiaomi telephone with three rear cameras, and there is 20W wi-fi charging. Additionally it is the primary Xiaomi machine to run on Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 855 chipset. The truth that you get the identical {hardware} because the Galaxy S10+ at half the associated fee makes the Mi 9 an thrilling proposition for these trying to avoid wasting money whereas getting the newest specs.


Xiaomi Mi 9








The quickest $500 telephone in 2019

For those who’re trying to get the newest options with out spending some huge cash, the Mi 9 is the telephone to get. It’s powered by the beastly new Snapdragon 855, and there is a 48MP digital camera on the again that takes implausible pictures. Couple that with 20W wi-fi charging, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and a glossy design with attention-grabbing colour choices, and also you get probably the greatest reasonably priced flagships of 2019.

The Good

  • Glorious worth
  • Beautiful design
  • 20W wi-fi charging
  • Nice 48MP digital camera

The Dangerous

  • No 3.5mm jack
  • MIUI slowed down with adverts
  • No IP ranking

Xiaomi Mi 9 {Hardware}

Xiaomi Mi 9 review

Xiaomi switched to a metal-and-glass design for the Mi sequence back in 2016, and the Mi 9 is an evolution of that design language. There are clean flowing curves and rounded corners, and the telephone feels nice to carry in-hand. The again curves to fulfill the mid-frame, and whereas the design itself is not all that new, Xiaomi is betting on new colour choices to distinguish the Mi 9.

Xiaomi is providing attention-grabbing gradient patterns with the Mi 9. The Ocean Blue and Lavender Violet colour choices have a gradient impact that switches between varied hues based mostly on mild reflecting off the glass, however in the event you’re not into that, there’s the usual Piano Black mannequin. Just like the Mi 8 Pro final yr, Xiaomi is promoting a variant of the Mi 9 with a clear again that reveals off a PCB. It does not present the precise structure of the elements, however is as an alternative a plate that is inserted beneath the see-through glass. However, it’s nonetheless a really cool impact.

Whatever the colour choice you decide up, you may get a digital camera sensor with a multi-colored accent ring round it. The digital camera array itself is attention-grabbing because the Mi 9 is the primary Xiaomi telephone to characteristic three sensors on the again. The draw back of that is that the digital camera protrudes considerably from the chassis, resulting in a wobble everytime you use the telephone on a flat floor.

The Mi 9 can be the primary of many gadgets to launch this yr with a devoted Google Assistant button, situated on the left facet. The ability and quantity buttons are to the left, and all of the buttons have respectable tactile suggestions. There is a single speaker on the backside (with the second grille purely for aesthetics) and an IR blaster on the high.

General, the Mi 9 feels each bit as premium as latest Samsung telephones, and the construct high quality is correct up there with $1,000 flagships. The gradient patterns give the machine an added flourish, and the curves on the again make it simpler to carry and use. The one draw back of the glass again is that it picks up smudges fairly simply, so if you need your telephone trying pristine, you are higher off utilizing it with the clear case that is bundled within the field.

The Mi 9 feels each bit as premium as $1,000 flagships whereas costing half as a lot.

A key design change up entrance is the tiny dewdrop notch and the minimal bezels on the backside. Consequently, the Mi 9 is barely marginally taller than the Mi Eight whereas providing a bigger 6.39-inch show. The Tremendous AMOLED display is protected by Gorilla Glass 6, and the skinny bezels give the machine a 90% screen-to-body ratio. The panel itself is likely one of the finest you may discover on this class, with wonderful distinction and colour accuracy. The FHD+ decision is greater than sufficient, and whereas the panel is not fairly as vibrant or high-res as latest Galaxy gadgets, it’s a implausible providing within the $500 house.

The display will get vibrant sufficient to make use of open air below harsh daylight, and you’ve got the flexibility to tailor the colour temperature. You may select from default, heat, or cool, or choose an Elevated distinction mode that reinforces the distinction of the panel. There’s additionally a blue mild filter — dubbed Studying mode — that bumps up the heat to cut back eye pressure at night time. You get the choice to double faucet to wake the display, and there is additionally a raise-to-wake toggle.

With Xiaomi making the change to AMOLED panels, you get an ambient show mode that reveals time and notification icons on the lock display when the show is off. You can choose from varied clock faces, and set a schedule for AOD so it’s disabled at night time.

This is likely one of the finest shows you may discover within the reasonably priced flagship house.

Xiaomi determined to eliminate the headphone jack from its Mi line two years in the past, stating on the time that it did so to extend battery capability. That specific machine had a 3350mAh battery, and final yr’s Mi Eight got here with a 3400mAh unit. You get a smaller 3300mAh battery on the Mi 9 although the telephone has the identical 7.6mm thickness because the Mi 8.

The speaker scenario hasn’t modified from final yr. You continue to get a single speaker on the backside of the telephone, and whereas it’s satisfactory for listening to podcasts or streaming the occasional YouTube video, it does not come near the stereo audio system on the Pixel 3 or the Galaxy S10.

What’s additionally annoying is the truth that the Mi 9 does not include an IP ranking, notably when you think about that there is not any headphone jack on the machine. I nonetheless do not perceive why most reasonably priced flagships do not have the characteristic, however in the event you care about water resistance, you may must shell out the massive bucks and get a “true” flagship.

One other characteristic that is lacking from the Mi 9 is face unlock. The Mi Eight relied on an IR sensor subsequent to the entrance digital camera to supply safe face unlock, however with the Mi 9 that includes a waterdrop cutout, there’s not sufficient room to accommodate two sensors. It is potential we’ll see a software-based face unlock make its solution to the machine, however for now, you may must depend on the fingerprint sensor as the first technique of authentication.

Xiaomi Mi 9 review

With reference to biometrics, the Mi 9 has an optical in-display fingerprint sensor as normal. Xiaomi says it’s quicker than the one on final yr’s Mi Eight Professional, and whereas that declare was true, the sensor wasn’t very dependable in day-to-day utilization. It failed to acknowledge my fingerprints far too typically, and whereas it wasn’t the slowest optical in-display sensor I used, reliability is an space the place it loses out.

The Mi 9 is the primary telephone I’ve used that is powered by the Snapdragon 855 (Samsung sells the Exynos variations of the Galaxy S10 right here), and the efficiency on supply is simply as fluid as that of final yr’s Snapdragon 845. We do not typically see big year-on-year variations within the Snapdragon 8xx sequence, however Qualcomm has in some way eked out an enormous 40% efficiency uptick for the CPU and a 20% uptick for the GPU.

Qualcomm switched to a 1+3+Four design with the Snapdragon 855, with a single 2.84GHz Kryo 485 Gold core backed by three 2.42GHz Kryo 485 Gold. The Kryo 485 Gold platform is predicated on ARM’s new Cortex A76 design, and the chipset additionally has 4 energy-efficient 1.8GHz Kryo 485 Silver cores which can be based mostly on the Cortex A55.

The Mi 9 is the quickest Android telephone accessible at this time, beating out the Pixel Three and Galaxy S10.

The change to the 7nm node has additionally made issues extra energy-efficient, and the result’s that the Snapdragon 855 is the quickest chipset accessible on Android by some margin. It simply beats HiSilicon’s Kirin 980 in most artificial benchmarks, and the truth that you are getting this chipset in a tool that prices $500 is staggering.

I by no means observed any slowdown or lag within the month I used the Mi 9, and the telephone was simply one of many quickest I’ve ever used. MIUI 10 has its share of points, however the sheer efficiency on supply made issues buttery clean. Gaming, particularly, was a delight on the Mi 9 because of the Adreno 640, and I did not see any jitter whereas enjoying PUBG for hours on finish. The telephone has a Recreation Turbo characteristic out of the field, with the overlay giving you quick access to recording choices whilst you’re in the course of a recreation.

Xiaomi Mi 9 review

The Mi 9 comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as normal, and you may additionally be capable of decide up a mannequin with 128GB or 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. There is a model that provides 12GB of RAM, however that is unique to the Chinese language market. Like earlier Mi flagships, the Mi 9 misses out on a MicroSD slot, however you do get a twin SIM card tray.

20W wi-fi charging is a game-changer for Xiaomi.

The Mi 9 has a smaller battery than its predecessor, however I simply bought a day’s price of utilization out of it constantly. Display screen-on-time averaged simply over 4.5 hours over the course of 16 hours, and that is according to what I often get on different gadgets with the same battery. Issues get attention-grabbing, nonetheless, once we discuss how the Mi 9 costs.

Xiaomi bought on the wi-fi charging bandwagon final yr, and it’s already beginning to pull forward on this class. The Mi 9 is the primary telephone to supply 20W wi-fi charging, facilitated by a charging mat Xiaomi launched alongside the telephone. The charging mat supplies a 40% cost from flat in 30 minutes, with a full cost taking slightly below 90 minutes. After years of utilizing 5W and 10W wi-fi chargers, it is nice to make use of a charging mat that gives comparable speeds as wired fast chargers.

Apparently, the wall plug offered for the charging mat additionally doubles as a 27W wired charger by itself, with the characteristic dubbed Cost Turbo. In wired mode you may get a 70% cost in simply over 30 minutes, and it’ll cost from flat to 100% in simply 70 minutes. The telephone did not get uncommonly scorching whereas charging wirelessly — if something, the wired 27W charging mode made it warmth up rather more.

The charging mat will go on sale within the U.S. — although the telephone will not make its solution to the nation — and the perfect half is that it prices $20.

Xiaomi Mi 9 Digital camera

Xiaomi Mi 9 review

The marquee characteristic on the Mi 9 is the digital camera array on the again — it’s the first telephone from Xiaomi to characteristic three rear cameras. The first 48MP f/1.75 digital camera is joined by a 16MP ultra-wide lens and a 12MP telephoto sensor that provides 2x optical zoom.

The Mi 9 depends on pixel binning to ship 12MP pictures from the first digital camera, permitting the sensor to pack in additional element and scale back noise. Up entrance, you get a 20MP module. Xiaomi debuted 4-axis stabilization on the Mi 5 three years in the past, and whereas it was a mainstay on a number of flagships since, it’s lacking on the Mi 9. The Mi 9 does not have optical picture stabilization on any of its three digital camera modules, and that impacts the ultimate picture high quality.

The Mi 9 lacks OIS, however the 48MP digital camera does a fantastic job in most eventualities.

Xiaomi has closely invested in computational pictures in recent times, and the Mi 9 has an AI toggle within the viewfinder. The AI mechanically enhances colours based mostly on the scene, and there’s a noticeable distinction within the remaining output.

The digital camera interface itself hasn’t modified a lot in MIUI 10: you may must swipe left and proper to modify between taking pictures modes, and there are toggles for HDR, flash, AI, filters, magnificence results, and wide-angle mode. Not like different telephones which have a wide-angle sensor, you’ll be able to’t go from 1x/2x zoom to the wide-angle lens from the identical toggle. There is a devoted button for the mode that is to the left of the zoom toggle, and that makes issues simply that little bit tougher to modify to the wide-angle lens.

It’s also possible to change to a 48MP mode, and there is a devoted night time mode for low-light taking pictures circumstances. There’s additionally a professional mode that allows you to manually modify white steadiness and publicity settings.

The Mi 9 takes unimaginable pictures in daylight circumstances, with correct colours and many element. Dynamic vary is nice, and pictures by no means look oversaturated even with the AI mode enabled. You get some noise when switching to the 2x zoom lens, however there’s nonetheless loads of element. The wide-angle shooter is a superb new addition, and whereas the general high quality is probably not fairly nearly as good as the first lens, it produces respectable photographs.

I bought just a few implausible pictures with the first digital camera in low-light eventualities, however the zoom and wide-angle lenses endure with the shortage of OIS. The devoted night time mode does a fantastic job bringing out element in extraordinarily restricted lighting conditions, and whereas it is not nearly as good as Evening Sight on the Pixels, it’s fairly good for a tool on this class.

If I needed to describe the Mi 9’s digital camera in a single phrase, it might be succesful. It is not fairly on the identical stage because the Galaxy S10 or the P30 Professional, nevertheless it additionally prices half as a lot as these gadgets.

Xiaomi Mi 9 Software program

Xiaomi Mi 9 review

MIUI was Xiaomi’s first product within the sense that the ROM was the primary consumer-facing providing. Though it made its debut all the best way again in 2010, it wasn’t till 2013 that MIUI began gaining momentum globally. MIUI 5 had a ton of options that made it stand out from different Android ROMs on the time, together with lock display media controls, built-in spam filtering, app permissions, and rather more.

MIUI has picked up much more options and a number of other design adjustments during the last 5 years, and the result’s that MIUI 10 is essentially the most polished and trendy interface Xiaomi has produced thus far. Customizability continues to be the core tenet of MIUI 10, and you will find a seemingly countless bevy of choices to tailor the telephone to your preferences.

The sheer quantity of options was what drew me to MIUI all these years in the past, and Xiaomi has achieved a outstanding job ensuring the interface does not really feel bloated. MIUI 10 on the Mi 9 is predicated on Android 9.zero Pie, however you would not know that by trying on the interface. The ROM continues to be closely skinned, and whereas MIUI now has over 300 million customers across the globe, it’s nonetheless predominantly catered to the Chinese language viewers.

You are by no means wanting customization choices in MIUI 10.

As such, there’s nonetheless no app drawer, and platform updates do not come round typically. To Xiaomi’s credit score, there have been just a few significant tweaks over time which can be geared toward a world viewers, together with the notification pane. The notification pane on MIUI 10 is comparable in performance to what you’d discover on pure Android, with a brightness slider, in-line notification replies, and fast toggles. It is a refreshing change from earlier MIUI iterations, and there are different welcome additions elsewhere as effectively.

There is a system-wide darkish mode that switches the colours of the notification pane and first-party apps, gesture-driven navigation that is akin to what you’d discover on iOS, one-handed mode, capability to run two cases of the identical app, an unimaginable theming engine, and a lot extra.

With the Mi 9, there’s additionally a devoted {hardware} button for Google Assistant, which is likely one of the best methods to invoke the digital assistant. Customers in China will be capable of name upon Xiaomi’s personal Xiao AI assistant, however in international markets, it defaults to Assistant. As a result of that is Xiaomi, you get customizable choices for the button, letting you select double-press and press-and-hold actions. The actions fluctuate from launching the entrance or rear digital camera, toggling the flashlight, enabling the blue mild filter, opening the earlier app, or pulling up Google search.

MIUI will get loads proper, however you are always bombarded with adverts.

The place MIUI will get annoying is adverts. Xiaomi turned to adverts as a income driver final yr, and consequently, all the interface is inundated with adverts. Innocuous actions like putting in an app will set off a safety scan that checks the information for any points, and within the course of ship an advert. It bought so dangerous whereas establishing the telephone that I needed to put it apart whereas apps have been putting in within the background.

You do have the choice to disable the safety scan characteristic, however the truth that it is there within the first place is irritating. Xiaomi may have simply gotten rid of the characteristic within the international ROM as Google already affords the same characteristic in Play Shield. The characteristic is sensible in China — the place there is not a centralized app retailer and Xiaomi successfully acts as a gatekeeper — however there is not any want for it within the international construct.

I perceive that Xiaomi must earn cash in some way, however there needs to be a greater manner than bombarding customers with adverts. There ought to be an choice the place customers will be capable of pay to disable adverts, like Amazon used to do with its Amazon Unique program just a few years in the past. I might be the primary to enroll in that.

Xiaomi Mi 9 Backside line

Xiaomi Mi 9 review

The Mi 9 as soon as once more reveals that Xiaomi is aware of tips on how to ship on worth. It is likely one of the most reasonably priced gadgets powered by the Snapdragon 855, and that alone ought to be sufficient incentive to choose up the machine. You additionally get a stunning AMOLED panel, a 48MP digital camera that will get the job achieved in most eventualities, and a battery that simply lasts a day.

For those who reside in a rustic the place the Mi 9 will formally go on sale, purchase it with out a second thought.

The design of earlier Mi flagships was understated, however that is not the case with the Mi 9. With a number of daring and flashy colour choice on supply, it is certain to seize eyeballs. The clear version, particularly, is wonderful and makes the telephone stand out. General, the Mi 9 is a superb contender within the reasonably priced flagship house, and it will be attention-grabbing to see what different corporations provide you with on this class this yr.

It is a disgrace that Xiaomi will not carry the Mi 9 to India, however the telephone will go on sale within the UK and different European markets. It will likely be accessible for simply €449 ($500), making it an absolute discount. There will not be any $500 gadgets that provide this stage of efficiency, and though the OnePlus 7 is on the horizon, it will find yourself costing nearer to $600.

To sum up, the Mi 9 is the quickest $500 telephone out there at this time, and that is unlikely to vary anytime quickly.

4.5
out of 5






The Snapdragon 855 makes the Mi 9 one of many quickest telephones cash should buy at this time, and it is unimaginable that you could decide it up for simply $500. Positive, MIUI 10 has its set of drawbacks, however the annoyances are overshadowed by the worth on supply right here. The show is implausible, you may get all-day battery life, a fantastic digital camera, and a design that will not look misplaced on a $1,000 telephone.

For those who’re eyeing the Mi 9 and reside in a market the place the telephone will go on sale, I might suggest getting the clear version. It might not present the precise structure of the interior elements, nevertheless it seems to be depraved cool and is not like every other telephone at this time. The lavender and blue variants are additionally evocative in their very own manner, with the gradient patterns differentiating the design.


Xiaomi Mi 9








The quickest $500 telephone in 2019

For those who’re trying to get the newest options with out spending some huge cash, the Mi 9 is the telephone to get. It’s powered by the beastly new Snapdragon 855, and there is a 48MP digital camera on the again that takes implausible pictures. Couple that with 20W wi-fi charging, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and a glossy design with attention-grabbing colour choices, and also you get probably the greatest reasonably priced flagships of 2019.

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