Xiaomi Mi 9: So Much Smartphone Goodness for So Much Less

Xiaomi Mi 9: So Much Smartphone Goodness for So Much Less

When it comes to buying smartphones, it’s always tempting to go for the current flagship models, especially those coming from the Big Two, namely Apple and Samsung. After all, who doesn’t want to have a phone at the bleeding edge of mobile technology—right at one’s fingertips and accessible at all times? Unfortunately, that’s becoming more and more difficult and impractical these days, what with flagship phone prices quickly soaring past the USD 1,000—or PHP 50,000—mark? And the way things are going, we can expect the prices to approach numbers twice that in the near future. At this rate, it’s only going to be those with the deepest pockets who’ll be able to enjoy phones with the latest features and specs.

Thankfully, some smartphone manufacturers such as Xiaomi have dedicated themselves to delivering mobile devices with similarly awesome specs and features, but at prices that most of us can easily afford. Last month, they’ve done so again when they revealed their latest offering, the Xiaomi Mi 9.

In this Poundit review, we’re going to give this wonderful piece of hand candy the thorough-looking over, just to make sure that it truly does offer the most bang for our buck.

Xiaomi Mi 9 Specs:

  • 6GB of RAM and 128GB of ROM
  • Generously sized 6.39-inch FHD+ sAMOLED display
  • All-around protection with Corning Gorilla Glass 6
  • Crystal-clear visuals at 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution at 403 ppi density
  • Blazingly fast task processing with Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 2.86GHz octa-core processor
  • Stunning gaming and media visual output, thanks to a beefy Adreno 640 GPU
  • Flagship quality photo-taking capabilities through a Sony 48MP IMX586/12MP Samsung S5K3M5/16MP IMX 481 triple rear camera setup
  • Records stunning videos at 4K 60FPS or 30FPS, with 960 slow-motion recording capability
  • Allows you to take the hottest selfies with a 20MP AI front camera
  • Ironclad flagship security features with face unlock and in-display fingerprint scanner
  • Lasts the entire day, thanks to its hefty 3300mAH battery
  • 20W wireless fast charging

Flagship-exclusive specs and features at an affordable price

Let’s first talk about the things we’ve just listed above—the Xiaomi Mi 9 specs and features. Just look at what you’re getting for half the price of flagship phone: a wide screen, a gorgeous high-resolution Super AMOLED display, monstrous 2.86GHz octa-core processing power, a rear triple camera setup, and in-display fingerprint scanning. It even supports a face unlock feature and 4K 60FPS video recording!

If you’ve ever drooled over today’s most current (and most expensive) flagship devices, then you know that these tidbits are usually exclusive to those smartphones. Before the Xiaomi Mi 9, the only way you could experience them was to fork over a small fortune. Now, though, you can enjoy them at a price that’s most likely still within your means.

But do these specs and features actually work as advertised, or are they just part of the marketing campaign designed to entice you to buy it? We’re happy to say that they definitely do! Everything you see listed above delivers on their promise. In fact, Xiaomi has done such a great job here that it’s hard to look at our own expensive flagship smartphones and not wonder: if Xiaomi can provide more or less the same premium experience at a considerably lower price, then where did the rest of our hard-earned money go? Where is the value?

Of course, there are answers to that, which we’ll get to later. But if you’re looking at this review and want to desperately know if the Xiaomi Mi 9 is for real when it comes to offering the features and specs of a flagship phone at a dramatically lower price tag, then you can rest assured that it is.

Contemporary, no-nonsense design

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of what the phone offers. First of all, it’s worth noting that the Xiaomi Mi 9, at first glance, looks very similar to its predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi 8. However, there are key differences that you’ll quickly notice if you own the previous-generation phone. First, the huge, gouged-out notch has been drastically reduced to a small teardrop-shaped one to house the 20MP front-facing camera. The screen has also been made larger on the Xiaomi Mi 9—from 6.23 inches up to 6.39 inches. These may seem like marginal upgrades from afar, but on-hand and up-close, the phone appears significantly different.

The body of the new phone also feels reassuringly hefty and solid. Being a glass-and-metal sandwich handset, it feels very similar to some of the other new smartphones out there. The power and volume buttons are where you’d expect them, although it also has a dedicated Google Assistant button that annoyingly can’t be remapped to anything else. A minor quibble to be sure, but something to note of if you’re the type who wants full control over their phone’s functionality.

What is worth noting, however, is that the phone is encased in Corning Gorilla Glass 6, which is a nice upgrade to the Gorilla Glass 5 sported by its predecessor. This means that it’s going to be much more resistant to scratches that could result from you carrying it around your pocket or anywhere else without a screen protector.

The body’s design is also where we encounter one of the possibly negative points of the Xiaomi Mi 9, and that is its lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack. While we do accept the fact that this is becoming the norm these days, we believe that a headphone jack is still one of those old standby features that instantly adds a bit more audio functionality to a phone. So, if you were planning to use your favorite wired headphones with the Xiaomi Mi 9, then you’ll have to find some other way to do it.

There’s also the fact that the Xiaomi Mi 9 is not waterproof, nor is it splash-resistant. It has no IP rating, period. As such, you’ll have to take special care of your phone around liquids. Then again, who really willingly risks their smartphone getting wet anyway, IP rating or no?

One of the best displays in its class

The Xiaomi Mi 9 also delivers excellently when it comes to its display. As we said, the screen is larger this time around, with minimal bezels and a teardrop notch to give you as much screen real estate as possible. The Super AMOLED screen, a current flagship standard, gives some of the most vibrant and vivid colors around, as well as a very rich and deep black.

The display’s 18:9 aspect ratio, coupled with its 2340 x 1080p, 403ppi resolution also makes for some of the finest visual media playback experiences we’ve ever had in this class of smartphones. Whether you’re a gaming fiend or a video streaming junkie, the Xiaomi Mi 9 delivers a visual banquet that’s hard to resist or look away from.

The Xiaomi Mi 9’s display, like Samsung’s current flagships, also automatically kicks up the brightness when it senses that you’re standing in bright light so as to reduce glare and reflections. While this is clearly convenient, it also messes with the colors a bit, making them look a bit too vibrant. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a bit of fiddling with the settings, however.

Overall, the Xiaomi Mi 9 can rock it with the best of them when it comes to display.

Excellent and robust performance with average battery life

Now let’s delve deeper into the specs and how it affects the Xiaomi Mi 9’s performance. One of the best things about this phone is that it’s one of the first to sport the Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor, Qualcomm’s latest chip. With 6GB of RAM fueling this beast of a processor, the Xiaomi Mi 9 is more than capable of going head to head with Samsung and Apple’s flagships in terms of speed, power, and graphics. You can multitask to your heart’s content—or game at full settings—without having to experience annoying stutters or laggy sections.

This power comes at a price, however, in that the Xiaomi Mi 9’s battery life isn’t as long as you might like it to be. Granted, the Snapdragon 855 is a lot more power-efficient than the Xiaomi Mi 8’s Snapdragon 845, but you may find yourself needing to charge the phone every night to get the most out of it. This is due to the fact that the battery is only sporting 3300mAh capacity, which is a far cry from the flagship standard of upwards of 4000mAh.

Thankfully, this is somewhat balanced out by Qualcomm’s Quick Charge feature, which allows you to wirelessly charge the Xiaomi Mi 9 at 20W, or to charge it via an adaptor and wire setup at 27W. This should be more than enough to appease all impatient phone enthusiasts.

Triple-camera joy

When it comes to taking photos and videos, the Xiaomi Mi 9 excels as well. Its rear triple camera setup, headlined by a massive 48 megapixel Sony IMX586 quad sensor, can stand tall with the rest of them when it comes to photo and video quality. This is then supplemented by a 16 megapixel ultra-wide module camera, and a 12-megapixel telephoto camera. The end result of this triple-threat matchup is clear and detailed imagery that any photography aficionado would be happy to upload onto their social media profile.

That being said, there are still some slight issues. First, the Xiaomi Mi 9 shoots only at 12MP at default. If you really want to take pictures with the complete 48MP, you’ll have to toggle it yourself, and this unfortunately comes with the HDR being disabled. Still, even with this vital feature turned off, the image output is still quite remarkable, with very little noise and a very high amount of detail and color fidelity under bright conditions. The phone also fares well in low light conditions.

Things are much more positive with video, as not only does the Xiaomi Mi 9 record at a very clear 4K 60FPS, but you can also encode the video output to H.265 format, allowing you to share the footage you’ve captured much more easily without sacrificing quality. There’s also a Night Mode that allows you to capture video at low light conditions without too much visual noise.

Final verdict: One of the Best Phones You Can Buy Right Now

We never thought we’d see the day when a budget phone manufacturer would actually do the herculean task of offering a smartphone that has all the specs and features of a premium flagship device, but at the cost of a midline phone. However, Xiaomi has clearly done it with the Xiaomi Mi 9.

Certainly, we can point to how the phone has no headphone jack, or the fact that it has zero water resistance. We can even complain about the Google Assistant button if we really want to be nitpicky about it. However, it can’t be denied that Xiaomi has given us a smartphone that can go toe-to-toe with the Samsung Galaxies and the Apple iPhones of today, all while asking us to pay considerably less than what we’re getting. That alone makes the Xiaomi Mi 9 worthy of our praise, and your serious consideration when making your next smartphone purchase.

That said, if you are looking to cop the Xiaomi Mi 9, why not buy it online at Poundit.com? Not only do we offer the Xiaomi Mi 9 at the best possible prices, you’ll also be able to take advantage of our nationwide door-to-door shipping. More than that, everything we sell is guaranteed to be 100% brand new and authentic, as well as being covered by the manufacturer’s original warranty.

Finally, if you buy your Xiaomi Mi 9 within 30 days after the publishing of this review, then you’ll be eligible to use a time-exclusive voucher code that will knock off PHP500 off the Xiaomi Mi 9’s price! Simply type in REVIEW201914 upon checkout, and the discount will be applied, no matter if the reviewed product is marked down, on sale, on promotion, or bundled with other products. You have to hurry, though, as the code will only be active until the next 30 days!


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