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Xiaomi Mi 9 hands-on: hot and powerful (video)

By Anton D. Nagy February 20, 2019, 5:00 am
Xiaomi Mi 9

This is the Xiaomi Mi 9, a device that you should be looking forward to as much as we have. It’s been heavily teased over the last few days, and let’s just say that the end product lives up to all the hype.

If last year we had TechTober, I wonder if we can call this Phonebruary, as the closeness to MWC means lots and lots of phones to see, and we begin with one of the most interesting ones. I don’t know how Xiaomi does it. They launch awesome phones and then price them aggressively.

Visually the Mi 9 is simply gorgeous. We have what they call Full Curve glass made of Gorilla Glass 5 with this interesting Holographic Spectrum that shifts color depending on the variant you choose and angle you look at it. Sadly the lighting in this venue didn’t really help portray that, but we’ll have a full review soon to share more.


Xiaomi Mi 9 hands-on video

Like in the case of the Mi 8, there’s also a transparent edition that’s quite stunning. Obviously I can’t confirm if what you see are the true internals being shown, but what I do know is that this back is a co-marketing strategy with the movie Alita, with the codename shown in the back.

Xiaomi Mi 9

The front is actually Gorilla Glass 6, and there’s a 6.39-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display at 19.5:9 aspect ratio. It’s a good display, though not the brightest at 430 nits. There’s a teardrop notch at the top that houses a 20megapixel camera at the top. It enables AI portrait selfies, scene detection and also Face to Unlock, and there’s also an optical fingerprint scanner imbedded on the display with shortcuts if you use gestures while unlocking the phone.

Xiaomi Mi 9 details

There are three important characteristics to this phone.

The first being its internals. This is one of the world’s first devices to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. It’s matched by 6 gigs of RAM, and storage options are either 64- or 128GB. We have a 3,300mAh battery, and a fast 18W charger supplied in the box, though the phone is capable of up to 27 watts in a technology Xiaomi dubs Charge turbo.

Xiaomi Mi 9

That note segues into the second characteristic. This device does support Qi wireless charging, but at its fastest Qi usually tops up at 15 Watts, which is still kind of slow. Xiaomi has a new proprietary charging technology on this phone that can go up to 20 Watts, and charge the phone in an hour and 4 minutes. Best of all the special charger will only cost $30, and can charge other Qi phones at 10 watts.

Xiaomi is all about accessories as well. They showed us a Qi wireless charging power-bank, and also the coolest car mount I’ve ever seen. It detects when you want to attach the phone and opens the grips, and loosens them up when you want to remove the phone, all while charging the phone through Qi.

The third characteristic are these three cameras. The camera in the middle is a Sony IMX586 48 megapixel camera at f1.75 aperture that uses pixel binning to create larger 1.6 microns at 12 megapixels. At the top we have a 16 megapixel ultra-wide camera at f2.2 and 117 degrees of field of view. Bellow we have a 12 megapixel telephoto at f2.2. There’s AI portraits, scene detection, wide-angle distortion correction, steady night photography and more.

Xiaomi Mi 9

Powering the show is MiUI, which is not my favorite, but at least is powered by Android 9 Pie, and with lots of services mainly geared to the Asian market. Sadly it’s too early to provide a full opinion on what it’s like to use it.

Xiaomi Mi 9 conclusion

Overall the Xiaomi Mi 9 is a very beautiful phone, it’s powerful, and offers unique features that we really can’t wait to try once our review period begins. This is Xiaomi’s first time launching a product both in China and Globally at the same time, so there’s a lot to look forward to. Also keep in mind that 5G related announcements will happen until during their MWC press event which we’ll be covering as well.


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