After senior vice president Wang Xiang teased the new phone on his twitter feed earlier in February, Xiaomi fans finally got to get hands-on with the company’s latest offering at MWC2019 this week. As the smartphone industry’s biggest event, MWC2019 saw a host of groundbreaking technologies unveiled. From folding phones to 5G, the Barcelona-based event showcased more innovation than it has in years. At first glance, then, the new Xiaomi Mi 9 might look like only a modest improvement over its predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi 8. But as those who got to handle the phone in person will attest, Xiaomi have packed a whole lot more into their flagship model this time around.
Compared to the Mi 8, the Xiaomi Mi 9 generally follows the same design cues, with small improvements. A unique curved backplate gives the phone a distinctly premium feel, and reduced bezels allow Xiaomi to increase the AMOLED screen’s size fractionally, from the Mi 8’s 6.21 inches to 6.39 inches on the Mi 9. Flip the phone over, and the back reveals the first major improvement over the Mi 8: a seriously impressive triple camera setup, consisting of a stunning 48MP camera, backed-up by another 12MP camera and a 16MP super-wide lens. The 48MP lens takes superb super-high-resolution images that represent a significant improvement over the Mi 8’s dual 12MP offering.
Xiaomi has delivered another major innovation with the Mi 9: even faster wireless charging. The Mi 8 already had impressive wireless charging capabilities, able to go from 0% to 100% in 110 minutes. The Mi 9, Xiaomi claim, can fully charge in just 90 minutes – another significant step up.
Easily the most important improvement over the Xiaomi Mi 8, however, is the Mi 9’s impressive performance. The Mi 8’s already fast Snapdragon 845 processor has been replaced here by the octa-core Snapdragon 855, arguably the most powerful processor chip currently on the market. This cutting-edge technology enables the Mi 9 to breeze through even the most demanding tasks, and it also supports ultra-high frame rates for a smooth mobile gaming experience. Both phones, meanwhile, feature options for 6GB or 8GB RAM.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 features Xiaomi’s MIUI 10 system, based on Android 9.0. This is the same system previously seen on the Xiaomi Mi 8. Newly introduced to the Mi 9, however, is an independent AI button and a rear-mounted fingerprint identification button that can also enable NFC payments.
The Xiaomi Mi 8 earned a deserved reputation as a premium quality smartphone with an impressively low price tag. The Xiaomi Mi 9 continues in this tradition. Its 48MP camera, Snapdragon 855 processor and groundbreaking 25w wireless charging technology are all features we would expect to see at the very top end of the Android market, yet Xiaomi manages to deliver this technology in an extremely reasonably priced package. As Xiaomi begin to expand into the European market, the Mi 9 proves that this Chinese company is a serious force to be reckoned with.