The Mi series has established its own design language at this point, and this continues with the Mi 9.
The Mi 9 looks like a fantastic jack-of-all-trades device; it has a powerful processor, impressive camera setup, and supports up to 20W fast charging, and on top of that it’s a whole load cheaper than phones with a similar spec.
Design and display
The Xiaomi Mi 9 has a slightly curved glass back, giving it a distinct look and a comfortable feel. Xiaomi says this creates an appealing holographic effect; we didn’t notice this with the Piano Black handset we tested, but it’s possible the Ocean Blue or Lavender Violet colors create this effect a little better.
The Mi 9 has a 6.39-inch AMOLED display, with a 2340 x 1080 Full HD+ resolution, which delivers vibrant colors with a great brightness range – it was a treat to watch movies on and complemented the fantastic camera array. This screen is broken by a small top bezel housing the front-facing camera, but other than that is unbroken, with no top bezel to speak of and minimal chin.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 measures 157.5 x 74.67 x 7.61mm, so it’s a medium-sized device, but at 173g it does feel a touch on the heavy side. On the bottom of the device you’ll find a USB-C port. Though no 3.5mm headphone jack – while the volume rocker and power button are on the right side, and there’s a Google assistant button to the left.
On the rear of the phone the tri-lens camera array, which we’ll look at in detail later, also juts out a fair way – we often found ourselves scraping our finger on it when moving the device in our hand.
The marquee feature on the Mi 9 is the camera array at the back. It is the first phone from Xiaomi to feature three rear cameras. The primary 48MP f/1.75 camera is joined by a 16MP ultra-wide lens and a 12MP telephoto sensor that offers 2x optical zoom.
The Mi 9 relies on pixel binning to deliver 12MP photos from the primary camera, allowing the sensor to pack in more detail and reduce noise. Up front, you get a 20MP module. Xiaomi debuted 4-axis stabilization on the Mi 5 three years ago, and while it was a mainstay on several flagships since, it is missing on the Mi 9. The Mi 9 doesn’t have optical image stabilization on any of its three camera modules, and that affects the final image quality.
Xiaomi’s MIUI interface is a heavy-handed skin set atop Android, but the global version of MIUI 10 as it appears on the Android 9.0 Pie experience running on the Mi 9 feels decidedly approachable – even for newcomers to the operating system.
Storage, RAM and Processor
This device is equipped with a storage capacity of 128 GB. It has 6GB RAM, which means more processing speed. The Mi 9 is one of the first smartphones to use the Snapdragon 855, and its performance here makes us very excited about 2019’s flagship devices all round.
Xiaomi claims the Mi 9 has the fastest wireless charging yet seen in a smartphone. It uses a proprietary technology built into a special wireless charger to pump 20 watts of power into the phone’s 3,300mAh battery.
The claim was an hour and 40 minutes to full on the special wireless charging puck, but this is conservative, and it rockets to full in about 90 minutes. Very impressive for wireless charging.
Beautiful styling and colors
Long battery life
Fast wireless and cable charging
Reliable in-display fingerprint sensor
No water resistance
Capable camera could be better
The Mi 9 once again shows that Xiaomi knows how to deliver on value. It is one of the most affordable devices powered by the Snapdragon 855, and that alone should be enough incentive to pick up the device. You also get a gorgeous AMOLED panel, a 48MP camera that gets the job done in most scenarios, and a battery that easily