The Mi 9 is Xiaomi’s latest iteration of their flagships devices. The phone comes equipped with some top of the line features and specs, but for a comparatively reasonable price. The Mi 9 is Xiaomi’s latest flagship and is meant to be quite the performer with Qualcomm SDM855 Snapdragon 855. But the main focus seems to be the triple rear camera. It might seem a bit too ambitious, but honestly they might have pulled it off. So sit back, relax, and check out our review of the Mi 9.
Design; A slightly, refreshing take
The phone looks good. It’s nothing unique about it, but I honestly prefer this look of a device in comparison to the others popping up right now. They all follow a certain hue, gradient, and overall glossy back. If you’re like me, and care about aesthetics of the phone, you’ll probably like the black on this device. However, something smartphone manufacturers still haven’t been able to figure is how to stop fingerprints appearing on the phone. The Mi 9 is a fingerprint super magnet. Like, there’s no point in even wiping the back of the device. It will literally smudge as soon as you hold it. However, if you use cases, it should be fine. Plus Xiaomi ever so generously provides a simple, TPU case in the box, and that’s nice.The front comes with a ‘teardrop’ display, or whatever Xiaomi have decided to name the form factor.
The screen is Super AMOLED at 6.39 inches with an 85.2% screen-to-body ratio, and it looks pretty good. Not the best display I’ve seen, but for the money it’s good enough. Colours appear bright, and using it outdoors isn’t so bad too. The screen has a respectable 1080 x 2340 resolution, so for the price, I think it’s a fair trade.
The one thing I find quite disappointing about the design, is the missing headphone jack. Yes yes, I know. Many phones are doing it now, but there’s still something satisfying about connecting your phone to your headphones, and never have to worry about charging. They do however, provide a USB C dongle, so that’s something I guess. Another thing of note, is that the Mi 9 actually features 3 buttons. The volume rocker, power button, and what Xiaomi call, the AI button. This button is set by default to wake up Google Assistant, but it can be customised to opening the camera, flashlight, or even nothing if you pleased.
The camera on the Mi 9 is honestly better than I could have ever imagined. The phone features a 48+12+16 MP shooters on the rear, and a 20 MP camera in the front. The camera actually scores better than an iPhone XS Max on the DXO marks, with 207 in comparison to the XS’s 205. While numbers don’t mean everything, these numbers were substantiated with the pictures quality I took using the phone. And let me tell you, I was quite impressed with how it performed. The rear camera setup took some pretty stunning photos, which I didn’t really expect out of it. The quality was sharp, low light photos were lit enough, and overall a reliable shooter.
The one thing I didn’t like is how not user friendly the experience is with the camera. Maybe there is a thing as too many features. There’s literally I think 10 different modes that you can use to take videos/pictures, but for the professional, they’d probably like it.
I think for normal, Instagram posts and stuff, it’s more than enough. The ultra wide feature, really means Ultra Wide. It’s probably because of the f/1.75 aperture on the main 48MP camera, but even normal pictures look a little wider than most. Dependant on your preferences, it might a good thing, or might cause you not to want the phone. So that’s something to keep in mind as well. Overall, the camera is definitely the main thing about this phone. It really is a good camera, and I definitely would recommend the phone to someone looking for a cheaper alternative to the S10s and Pixels of the world.
Performance: A strong performer for the average consumer
There really isn’t much to say about the performance of the phone, except that it was solid. The phone performed multi tasking well, gaming was also fine, and heat management seems to be in place here. The battery life however, is only 3300mAh which is actually quite a small battery in terms of today’s market. But I didn’t have much issues on that side of things. The phone does have battery management, savers, and limiting apps to access. Therefore, it does make it usable throughout the day. On average, the phone would last the whole day with low-moderate usage. Even with days when I used it more heavily, it still lasted, and that’s honestly good enough for the average consumer. The phone doesn’t have it’s focus on it’s battery power.
The phone features MIUI 10’s interface which is a basically a skin of Android 9.0 Pie. There are slight differences in terms of the UI in comparison to Stock Android, but I didn’t mind it as much. It isn’t as aggressive as other brands, and I appreciate that part. Overall the UI is clean, and if you didn’t like it, you could always use Nova Launcher and just set it as you please.
The phone has some pretty impressive bench marks that even I didn’t think it would have. On Antutu, it beat 99% of users. Making it one of the top performers in terms of CPU, GPU, UX, and MEM. Check out the scores yourself, if you don’t believe me. The Geekbench scores also basically said the same thing, and performed admirably. The single and multi core scores better than a Pixel 2 even, so that’s something. But considering the price gap between both devices, that’s a pretty impressive score.
Single Core- 3445
Multi Core – 10431
To conclude this review, I’m going to say this phone is definitely worth the money. It ticks all the right check-marks in features, value, performance, and most of all the camera. Considering the price, and what you get for it, the phone is definitely in consideration to be one of the better mid-range smartphones of 2019.
Price – Mi 9 6GB RAM + 64GB storage – RM1,699 / Mi 9 6GB RAM + 128GB storage – RM1,999
Display –6.39 inches (16.23 cm) bezel-less display with waterdrop notch
Performance –Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Octa core Processor
Camera – 48 + 12 + 16 MP Triple Rear Cameras / 20 MP Front Camera
Battery– 3300 mAh battery with Quick Charging v4.0 and Wireless Charging
Misc features – On-screen Fingerprint Sensor, Face Unlock, No 3.5 mm headphone jack present
Xiaomi Mi 9
Considering the price, and what you get for it, the phone is definitely in consideration to be one of the better mid-range smartphones of 2019.