Xiaomi Mi 9 Review: Hands-on

As expected, Xiaomi has introduced its new Mi 9 smartphone at MWC 2019 with some seriously impressive specs and an outrageous price. Here’s our Mi 9 hands-on review.

The firm might not have announced a folding phone to rival the Samsung Galaxy Fold device and Huawei Mate X, but Xiaomi continues to impress with its flagship smartphones.

The Mi 9 is like a Galaxy S10 at half the price.


We don’t have a UK price yet but the Mi 9 will start at just 449 Euros. We imagine the cost in pounds will be similar.

That base level will get you a 64GB model but you can double that to 128GB and still only spend 499 Euro.

This means the Mi 9 is off to a great start and could be one of the best value handsets this year. It rivals the OnePlus 6T and Honor View 20 at the top end of the mid-range price bracket.

Xiaomi Mi 9

Design & Build

The Mi 9 is a very striking phone when you look at the back thanks to its snazzy colours.

A holographic layer, or something of the sort, makes a pearlescent effect. For example, the Ocean Blue model we looked at displays yellow, green and purple colours as you move it around.

There’s also a Lavender Violet option or if you don’t like the shimmery effect so much you can punt for Piano Black.

Xiaomi Mi 9 design

Despite having a large screen, the Mi 9 doesn’t feel like a particularly huge phone in the hand. It’s improved screen-to-body-ratio of around 85 percent helps this, as does the curved shape of the back.

The chin at the bottom is a fair bit smaller compared to the Mi 8, too. The phone is 7.6mm and 173g so it’s the same thickness and actually a couple of grams lighter than its predecessor. See also Mi 9 vs Mi 8

Everything else is pretty much as you’d expect from a modern smartphone. The main thing to note compared to some rivals is that there’s no waterproofing here.

Probably the only thing we’re not so keen on design wise, apart from the lack of waterproofing, is the camera bump which is fairly sizeable.

Xiaomi Mi 9 camera bump

Specs & Features

There are a lot of great specs to talk about here, and if you’re new to Xiaomi then you’re getting flagship level kit at a mid-range price. As we said earlier, a lot of the Mi 9’s spec sheet is similar to the Galaxy S10.

Starting with the screen you get a large 6.39in AMOLED display with a waterdrop notch around the front camera (it doesn’t impact much at all). Even with a Full HD+ resolution across a 19.5:9 aspect ratio it looks pretty crisp.

What you can’t see is a fingerprint scanner embedded in the display. We haven’t tried it yet but its good to see this tech on affordable phones other than the OnePlus 6T.

Xiaomi Mi 9 screen

In the engine room is Qualcomm’s latest flagship Snapdragon 855 processor, backed up by 6GB of RAM. You’ll get 64GB of storage as standard but can double up to 128GB if you like.

Arguably the more impressive area is photography because the Mi 9 is Xiaomi’s first device with triple rear cameras.

There’s a nice halo ring around the top one although that’s not the main 48Mp camera. It is the 12Mp telephoto lens instead. At the bottom is a 16Mp wide-angle lens so you can fit more in the frame.

It’s great in theory and a quick play shows promise but we need more time to test the cameras properly. The selfie camera remains at 20Mp and looks like it can produce crisp images.

Xiaomi Mi 9 specs

On the video front, the Mi 9 can now record 960fps super slow motion in 1080p and 4K video in 60fps.

The battery might be slightly smaller than the Mi 8 but it’s still a decent enough size at 3300mAh and the Mi 9 now has wireless charging. Not only that, it’s a whopping 20W which is faster than some phones via a cable.

Xiaomi says the phone will charge to 100 percent wirelessly in just 90 minutes. Plug the Mi 9 in and you’ll get a whopping 27W. 

Early Verdict

There are still things to test out properly, but the Mi 9 is looking like an amazing flagship phone at a mid-range price.

Rivalling the OnePlus 6T and Honor View 20 is has a gorgeous design along with some stand-out specs including a Snapdragon 855 processor, triple rear cameras and 20W wireless charging.

There’s little to dislike here, especially that price.

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