Getting started with the Xiaomi Mi 9: a racing beast that will shade the competition


Xiaomi took advantage of the Mobile World Congress to formalize its Mi 9 in France, the smartphone had been presented in China a few days ago. So it's not a surprise … but we were finally able to get our hands on it to deliver our first impressions before testing and availability.
6.39 inches diagonally, this Mi 9 is great!
First thing you notice once the Mi 9 is in hand is the iridescent finish on the back, which changes color depending on how you look at it. This effect is particularly noticeable on the purple and blue model, although the Mi 9 is also available in a more classic black color. It is the latter that we could use a few hours to give you a first opinion.

No headphone port or microSD slot, but its button dedicated to voice assistants launches Google Assistant (or whatever you want). We are not forced to launch an unknown voice assistant to the battalion.

    
                
    

The Mi 9 features a 6.39-inch OLED display with Full HD + definition and a Gorilla Glass 6 anti-scratch treatment and DCI-P3 and HDR10 support. This is the same screen as the Mi Mix 3, but with the teardrop shaped notch for the camera. The display on the Mi 9 seems – at first glance – very good, it is up to its main competitors in terms of sharpness, brightness and reflectance.
             
Like the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro, there is an optical fingerprint scanner under the screen. This sensor is a camera (provided by Goodix as Huawei and Oppo-OnePlus) which requires to turn on the pixels to illuminate the finger when unlocking. It is fast and reliable, the circle is illuminated under the finger like a well of light very quickly when the finger comes into contact with the screen. We would have liked to find the new ultrasonic sensor Galaxy S10, but we must remember that we are on a much cheaper product.
The location of the fingerprint sensor is reported
Inside, the Mi 9 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, with 6 or 8 GB of RAM and a storage capacity up to 256 GB. Xiaomi joins the long list of manufacturers who have taken the the only solution available on the market, the Snapdragon 855, like Sony, Oppo, OnePlus, Nubia … finally, only Huawei-Honor, Apple and Samsung have different solutions for their premium smartphones.
The only benchmark we have launched (for the moment)
We performed AnTuTu 3D and the result is 369,276 points, which surpasses all other smartphones tested. We will perform more performance tests when we have the product in the editorial. Nevertheless, I can certify that the Mi 9 is a racing beast, the applications are launched very quickly, the camera shows no delay, and gesture animations are displayed very smoothly.
The three cameras that are prominent at the back, which does not allow to lay flat on a flat surface
Like the Galaxy S10, the three-camera triple-rear camera is the big novelty of the Mi 9, with wide-angle, telephoto and super-wide angle lenses (117-degree field of view). The main camera has a 48-megapixel (f / 1.75) Sony IMX586 (1/2 inch) sensor, similar to the Honor View 20, and produces 12-megapixel photos. The 12 megapixel Samsung S5K3M5 (1 / 3.4 inch) telephoto lens provides 2x zoom, while the Sony IMX481 (1/2 inch) ultra wide angle 16 megapixel (f / 2.2) camera lets you capture a field much wider vision.
In full brightness, the main module makes good shots, but it shows less fine details than those of competitors such as iPhone XS and Huawei Mate 20 Pro. In low light, the night mode saves the bet, but in these conditions where the trio of cameras is less powerful than smartphones to 1000 euros. Note that the Mi 9 got a very good score at DxOMark, including the best score in video.

The portrait mode is rather convincing at the back, we can change a postiori the opening of the lens to vary the bokeh in the background. The contours of the face are properly cut when good light conditions are met. In passing, thank you to Thomas Delozier (Digital) for his participation.
                  
Another new addition to the Mi 9 is the new "Charge Turbo" wireless charging mode, which allows a 20W wireless charge on the optional Xiaomi Charge Turbo Charging Stand. According to the company, this is the fastest wireless charging on the market – most other phones charge at 7.5 W or 10 W – and can charge the battery of 3,300 mAh Mi 9 of 0 100% in just one hour and 40 minutes. For comparison, that's what we got with the Galaxy S9 in wired load. If you place it on a standard Qi charger, the Mi 9 will return to classic speeds. The Mi 9 also comes with a 27W charge that requires one hour for a full charge.
                    
I also had the good surprise to rediscover MIUI through its tenth version (MIUI 10.2 more precisely) based on Android Pie. An interface that has gained sobriety with fluid and effective animations, and a convincing dark theme. Small flat: there may be advertisements that appear in some systems applications. Not very cool.
Disappointments to "justify its price"
Xiaomi has never launched a waterproof smartphone and if you expect the Mi 9 to have an IP rating, you will be disappointed. Note also the lack of 3.5 mm headphone port and stereo speakers. This last point is difficult to explain since even the Pocophone F1 had two speakers. The SD slot is also missing, so you will not be able to expand the storage space. As a reminder, the MI 9 exists with 128 and 256 GB of internal storage.
Regarding autonomy, it is difficult to say for the moment but the battery capacity is modest: 3300 mAh. Nevertheless, it is still necessary to relativize this point: the Mi 8 Pro and the Mi Mix 3 have obtained good results with very similar configurations.
                  
Finally, let's talk about design. The finishes are excellent, but it will be noticed that it is not quite borderless as suggested by the published visuals of the ad, one clearly distinguishes the borders especially above and below (the chin) of the screen. Nothing prohibitive, but the comparison with the competition like at Huawei, Apple and Samsung brings to this level of detail. Finally, note that his glass back is slippery. Watch out for falls.
Does it make us forget the Galaxy S10 and the Mate 20 Pro?
With the Mi 9, Xiaomi has set a goal to make us forget the Galaxy S10 and Mate 20 Pro, and I'm surprised that Xiaomi has not completely failed in this direction. The Mi 9 has a trio of versatile cameras, good finishes, excellent performance, fast wireless charging, fingerprint unlocking under the screen and, in my opinion, an excellent screen. What complicates things for Samsung and Huawei is obviously the price of Mi 9: 500 euros in France, with a rebate of 30 euros for the launch is … 470 euros.
The Mi 9 has a trio of versatile cameras, good finishes, excellent performance, fast wireless charging, fingerprint unlocking under the screen and, in my opinion, an excellent screen
Even if you do not quite agree with me that the Mi 9 is a viable competitor of the Galaxy S10 and the Mate 20 Pro, the fact remains that this Mi 9 is the alternative to consider facing Honor View 20 or OnePlus 6T. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is a good combination of Mi 8 Pro and Mi Mix 3 … Xiaomi is very aggressive on the market by announcing a new flagship every 3 to 4 months.
Xiaomi is very aggressive in the market by announcing a new flagship every 3 to 4 months
The Xiaomi Mi 9 is available from Monday at most e-merchants online, but also directly from Xiaomi in the Mi Store Paris and the online store. Its price and availability are available on this dedicated article.
Where to buy the Xiaomi Mi 9 at the best price?
    

    
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