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Home > New Gear > Xiaomi Mi 9 SE review: a budget smartphone with iridescent color and Snapdragon 712 chip
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE review: a budget smartphone with iridescent color and Snapdragon 712 chip

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE review: a budget smartphone with iridescent color and Snapdragon 712 chip

By  Linky Johnson 2019-03-13 4718 0

At the Xiaomi Mi 9 launch event, Xiaomi also released a cheaper Xiaomi Mi 9 SE edition. Xiaomi official call Xiaomi Mi 9 SE as the small screen flagship smartphone. How about the performance of Xiaomi Mi 9 SE? Will it bring us flagship level using experience? Let’s find out.


Xiaomi Mi 9 SE 4G Phablet - Blue

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE 4G Phablet - Blue
Arrival Notice    


Xiaomi Mi 9 4G Phablet 6GB RAM - Gray

Xiaomi Mi 9 4G Phablet 6GB RAM - Gray
$773.35 $689.99    


Comfortable grip feeling

Two years before, the 5.97-inch screen has absolutely nothing to do with the word "small screen". However, with the development of technology, our perception of screen size is constantly changing. Thanks to the Samsung AMOLED water drop screen on the front, the Xiaomi 9 SE still presents a good view when watching movies or games under the three-dimensional limit of 147.5mm x 70.5mm x 7.45mm.

Xiaomi 9 SE display 

The quality of this screen is very good. It's gorgeous and transparent. It's almost as good as Xiaomi 9. The corners of the screen are curved to correspond to the R angles around the body. However, it is a little crazy that the new firmware of Xiaomi 9SE forced the curvature of water droplets to slow down through occlusion, but the original shape can still be seen in strong light. It is not possible to turn off this "hiding" effect manually in the current version of the system. It is hoped that Xiaomi will provide this switch in subsequent versions.

At thee first glance, the front of Xiaomi 9 SE is almost the same as Xiaomi 9. In addition to the "droplets" mentioned above, the clearance area under the screen is also very narrow. Because of the new COF technology and smart antenna switching technology, the lower frame width of Xiaomi 9SE has been greatly reduced compared with the previous generation, and it no longer seems abrupt.

Unlike the front, the back of Xiaomi 9 SE is not designed with full-curved body as that of Xiaomi 9 SE. A flat 2.5D glass with nano-laser hologram technology makes it more beautiful in vision. Any light irradiation can make its back show wonderful colors. 

the back of Xiaomi 9 SE 

There are gains and losses, beautiful appearance often needs careful care. The back of Xiaomi 9 SE’s body is easy to be stained with fingerprints. It is necessary to wipe it regularly if you want to keep it as clean as new at all times. Or... Bring a water jacket is also a good choice.

Strictly speaking, although the Xiaomi 9 SE does not adopt a full-screen design, its smaller body with a rounded middle frame, plus only 155g weight, makes the hand feel more pleasant than Xiaomi 9. It has to be said that the small screen mobile phone does have its unique charm.

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is the first smartphone to be equipped with Snapdragon 712

The words “firstly released” is no longer strange to Xiaomi fans. At this time, Xiaomi 9 SE, is undoubtedly the first show of Qualcomm snapdragon 712.

From the name, we can see that the snapdragon 712 is actually a small modification of the snapdragon 710. As a quasi-flagship platform, the chip adopts an efficient architecture supporting AI, integrates multi-core AI engine, and has the processing ability of neural network. In terms of performance and power consumption, Adreno 616 GPU and Kryo 360 CPU architectures are also used to protect it. The overall performance is nearly 10% higher than that of snapdragon 710 according to the official statement. 

t the snapdragon 712 

However, from the actual experience, it is difficult for users to have an intuitive sense of this small increase. On the contrary, in terms of games, Xiaomi 9 SE performed fairly well, the average frame rate was maintained at a certain level, and there was no obvious warmth in the long-period game.

It is understood that Xiaomi 9 SE supports Game Turbo game acceleration function, that is, by calling processor performance, it can greatly improve the game frame rate and stability. At the same time, you can customize the screen sensitivity, follow-up performance, edge suppression range, and get a competitive touch experience. Officials said that the function will be upgraded though OTA at the end of March, when the site will update the experience for the first time.

In terms of endurance, the capacity of Xiaomi 9 SE battery is 3070 mAh, which is more than I expected compared with its volume, but it does not support the 27W cable fast charging of Xiaomi 9. Fortunately, the 18W fast charger is retained and marked with a wired 18W fast charger, which is much better than Apple’s phones.

5th generation fingerprint technology brings you fast screen unlock experience

Similar to Xiaomi 9, Xiaomi 9 SE carries the fifth generation screen fingerprint identification technology, and its speed and recognition rate have been fully certified in the previous Xiaomi 9’s evaluation. 

Again, it is emphasized that the fingerprint recognition of Xiaomi 9 SE screen does not need to be pressed hard. As long as you touch the screen with your finger, you can complete the process of recognition unlocking in a short time. It is worth mentioning that unless the hand is wet, the dry hand, low temperature or strong light will not affect the recognition effect. You can use it at ease in most scenarios.

the fingerprint recognition of Xiaomi 9 SE screen

In addition, Xiaomi binds five commonly used shortcuts with the depth of screen fingerprint recognition. After selecting the activation mode in the system, Xiaomi can realize: On the fingerprint icon, press the exhaled menu for a long time and then slide to the icon to start the application, or unlock and then slide directly to the corresponding direction to activate the application.

It sounds complicated, but in practice I personally feel that the second way is more convenient. It takes only one second to unlock and activate an application, which can be operated almost blindly after being used to it. Besides, WeChat / Alipay payment code, WeChat / Alipay scan are all functions of high frequency use in life. This quick start is quite convenient. The only pity is that there are only five preset functions, including Xiaoai. We hope that users can customize the application in the future version.

unlock and activate an application 

Excellent 48MP primary rear cameras

On the back of Xiaomi 9 SE's body, there are three-camera lenses arranged vertically as that of Xiaomi 9. Officials say the "small screen flagship" uses the same main camera lens as the contemporary digital flagship, the 48 million Sony IMX 586 flagship sensor, while the other two lenses are 13 million pixels ultra wide angle lens and 8 million pixels long focus lens.

Xiaomi 9 SE rear cameras

In terms of function, Xiaomi 9 SE is exactly the same as Xiaomi 9: Super Wide Angle Mode, AI Scene Recognition, Handheld Super Night Scene, 960 Frames Super Slow Action, etc. Of course, custom watermarking and 48 million super-clear modes are also available, so its image effect is quite expected.

From the samples, thanks to the support of AI scene camera in software aspect, Xiaomi 9 SE performs well in many scenarios, with few defects and excellent appearance. At the same time, the distortion correction is good at ultra-wide angle. However, there are occasional problems with slow focusing speed and slow shutter response speed, which in some cases somewhat affect the photographic experience.

Xiaomi 9 SE samples 

Bottom line

In fact, I am quite in favor of Xiaomi Mi 9 SE. After all, after getting used to the big screen mobile phone, the 155g weight and small volume are really pleasing, especially for the students with small hands. How happy it is to hold it easily with one hand!

Of course, the excellent hand feel is only one part of the many features of Xiaomi 9 SE. Its other features also bring you flagship level exoperience, such as iridescent color design, 48MP primary camera, NFC, fifth generation screen fingerprint technology, etc. As the Xiaomi’s official website says, "The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is almost a small screen version of Xiaomi Mi 9.



 You may also want to read:
 Xiaomi Mi 9 vs. Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: comparing this year's most exciting budget smartphones
 Xiaomi Mi 9 SE review: the world’s first smartphone to feature Snapdragon 712 chipset
 Xiaomi Mi 9 review: the world’s third best camera phone according to DxOMark


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