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Xiaomi Mi 9 Review: The Best VFM (Value for Money) High-end Smartphone of 2019

Xiaomi Mi 9 Review: The Best VFM (Value for Money) High-end Smartphone of 2019

Xiaomi did it again!!!

Several months ago, Xiaomi launched the Pocophone F1, and reviewers went crazy. People were buying it hands down and for good reasons.
Xiaomi Pocophone F1 was the most Value for Money smartphone ever made with lightning-fast CPU, Snapdragon 845 and offered at a low price.

Now Xiaomi wants to send us to another planet with the release of the Xiaomi Mi 9 at a very affordable price for a High-end smartphone including the most recent and state-of-the-art Snapdragon 855.


Let's not waste time and go straight ahead to analyze Xiaomi Mi 9.

Hardware

Xiaomi Mi 9 is equipped with the latest Snapdragon 855 as most High-End smartphones are.

Its cores are 1x2.84 GHz Kryo 485 + 3x2.4 GHz Kryo 485 + 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 485.

Tested with Antutu synthetic benchmark, Xiaomi Mi 9 got a score of 369659, which placed Xiaomi Mi 9 second to the OnePlus 7 Pro which is way more expensive than Xiaomi Mi 9. Isn't it impressive?


Snapdragon 855 Soc coupled with Qualcomm Adreno 640, a high-end GPU, allows you to play everything.

According to Qualcomm, Adreno 640 offers 20 % performance uplift over Adreno 630.


6GB Dual channel LPDDR4X RAM (which is the latest type of RAM) is more than enough even for the most demanding users.

It's worth mentioning that the RAM is set to the high frequency of 2133 MHz!!!

Let's go deeper by checking what kind of internal storage Xiaomi Mi 9 uses and of course its speeds.

According to Androbench, Sequential Read is 671.44 MB/s, and Sequential Write is 375.4 MB/s.

As most Xiaomi flagships, Xiaomi Mi 9 uses UFS 2.1 storage, a high-speed internal storage as most people already know.

UFS is intended to be a replacement for eMMC – older and still widely used storage. While eMMC is cheaper and easier to implement, it is considerably slower.

UFS is faster than eMMC because eMMC can only either read or write data at one time, while UFS can do both simultaneously.

Below is the comparison between eMMC (left) and UFS 2.1 of Xiaomi Mi 9(right).


Faster storage speed means faster data transfer, which translates to better performance.

Thus, Xiaomi Mi 9 allows you to launch big games quickly, also while recording high bitrate 4K videos or capturing high-resolution photos.

For me, its horsepower (CPU+GPU+RAM+Internal Storage) deserves 10 out of 10!!!


Screen

The screen of Xiaomi Mi 9 is a 6.4 inch AMOLED screen created by Samsung and covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 6. 

Its resolution is 1080x2340 (FHD), and the aspect ratio is 19.5:9.

Most people know that OLED screens feature a high contrast ratio. It's impressive that the contrast ratio of the screen is 60,000:1.

Here are more specs of this screen. HDR10, 24bit Color Depth, 403ppi (pixel per inch), and the super impressive brightness of 600 cd2/m which ensures excellent visibility even in sunlight!

The screen is bezel-less with a waterdrop notch design for the selfie camera.

The AMOLED screen of Xiaomi Mi 9 presents sharp details and vivid colors. I was amazed at the price when I knew about the screen.

Again, I rate the screen 10 out of 10!

Appearance

The frame of Xiaomi Mi 9 is made of aluminum alloy, and it feels solid in hand; the back is made of glass. The entire body looks shining and luxurious.

The fingerprint scanner is in-display. It's a fast optical fingerprint sensor that will not disappoint you at any time.

At the right side of the frame are the classic On/Off button and volume buttons; at the left side is an AI button dedicated to Google assistant but we can customize it according to our needs.

Face ID works very fast, but you may have to change the region because of GPDR Law. Moreover, at the left side, there is a SIM tray hole which can carry 2 Nano SIMs in Dual Standby mode but not an SD card.

On the bottom are the USB Type-C port, and the holes for the speaker and microphone.

The speaker is loud and clear, and I would rate it 9/10 to give you an impression of its abilities.

On the top is an IR blaster, which allows us to use Xiaomi Mi 9 as a remote control for a lot of appliances.

Unfortunately, there is no 3.5mm audio port, but Xiaomi provides an audio adapter dongle to connect it with the USB Type-C port.

Camera

For some people, they think highly of the camera when choosing a smartphone. 

Before we analyze the cameras of Xiaomi Mi 9, let's have a look at its performance by using DXO Mark. Mi 9 scored 107 points in general, 112 for photos, and 99 for videos. Xiaomi Mi 9 ranks at 8th while at the 1st is Huawei P30 Pro with a total score of 112. I don't think there is any difference in camera performance.

That alone proves the performance of its cameras.

Mi 9 applies a triple camera setup on its back. 


There is a 12MP telephoto camera (Samsung S5K3M5 sensor) at the top of the triple setup with f/2.2 aperture. The 48 MP primary camera (Sony IMX586 Exmor RS) in the middle with f/1.75, an impressive pixel size of 0.80 microns, and 100 - 3200 ISO.

Sony IMX586 sensor uses the Quad Bayer color filter to combine each 2x2 pixel segment into a single pixel. Thus, you can get photos with sufficient resolution of 12MP. This so-called 4-in-1-pixel binning can significantly improve the photosensitivity in poor lighting conditions.



The 3rd camera is 16MP ultra-wide-angle camera (Sony IMX 481 Exmor Rs) with f/2.2 aperture and 1μm pixels.

As these three cameras are higher than the back of Mi 9, protected by a sapphire crystal glass cover.

Thanks to the dual LEDs, the main camera offers excellent results in daylight. Look, the photos present a lot of details, and they feature high clarity, low noise, and high dynamic range. 


The telephoto lens also produces perfect images when zooming in. The colors are bright and vivid. I can barely find any noise in the pictures.
Finally, while testing the ultra-wide-angle camera, I got a little noise but not bad in my eyes. The results are not as good as the other two lenses but good enough, and the dynamic range just excellent.

Unfortunately, there is no OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) but only EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization). In my opinion, further improvements are necessary. 

The selfie camera of Mi 9 is 20MP with f/2.2 aperture. Because its focus can't be adjusted, if you want sharpness, hold the phone close to you. Like other geeks, I am not fond of selfies, whereas the front camera is more than satisfying.


Operating System

Xiaomi Mi 9 runs MIUI 10 over Android 9 Pie.

There is already an update package to fix issues of the lock screen, status bar, notification shade, camera, lower brightness in the dark, and a security patch.

I am always excited at these updates.


Network + GPS

2G: GSM 1800MHz, GSM 1900MHz, GSM 850MHz, GSM 900MHz

3G: WCDMA B1 2100MHz, WCDMA B2 1900MHz, WCDMA B4 1700MHz, WCDMA B5 850MHz, WCDMA B8 900MHz 

Network: CDMA, FDD-LTE, GSM, TD-SCDMA, TDD-LTE, WCDMA 

WiFi: 2.4G/5G WiFi,802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless internet 

Wireless Connectivity: 2.4GHz/5GHz WiFi,3G,4G, A-GPS, Bluetooth, CDMA, Dual Band Wi-Fi, GPS, GSM, Wi-Fi 

CDMA: CDMA: BC0 

TD-SCDMA: TD-SCDMA B34/B39 

4G LTE: FDD B1 2100MHz, FDD B12 700MHz, FDD B17 700MHz, FDD B2 1900MHz, FDD B20 800MHz, FDD B28 700MHz, FDD B3 1800MHz, FDD B4 1700MHz, FDD B5 850MHz, FDD B7 2600MHz, FDD B8 900MHz, TDD B38 2600MHz, TDD B39 1900MHz, TDD B40 2300MHz

As we can clearly see Mi 9 has great coverage of bands, which is good for traveling to other countries. 

If you're looking for a faster Internet speed of WiFi network, you need 802.11ac, and Xiaomi Mi 9 provides it to you!

For tracking/positioning, Xiaomi Mi 9 uses GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo.

The positioning accuracy is ±4m, although it tracked a lot of satellites, i.e., 27 out of 31, which is very good.


Battery 

Its battery is 3300mAh Li-Po (Lithium-Polymer), and the Mi 9 can be charged at up to 27W (20V/1.35A).

Sadly, Xiaomi provides an 18W charger (9V/2A), and we have to purchase another charger if we want to have 27W charging.

There is a wireless charger in the market from Xiaomi which can charge Mi 9 at 20W, which is pretty fast. 

In my opinion, Xiaomi Mi 9 should come with 27W charger, though the 18W charger satisfies me.

More sadly, the battery of Mi 9 drains a little faster than other smartphones. I believe this is due to an issue with the algorithm and I hope that Xiaomi can solve the problems soon.


Conclusion

The conclusion is one of the hardest parts of the review if the reviewer wants to be fair to its audience. What you want to know is whether Xiaomi Mi 9 is worth buying or not.

Well, Mi 9 only has minor issues. The EIS and the battery consumption won't hold you back since a future update can fix these issues.

For me, what Xiaomi Mi 9 offers is more than impressive because of its low price and high configuration. The smartphone has the latest Snapdragon 855 SoC, an AMOLED screen, and an excellent camera (9.5/10).

Smartphone with Snapdragon 855Price
Xiaomi Mi 9$359.99
Lenovo Z6 Pro$439.99
Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro$449.99
OnePlus 7$469.99
ASUS Zenfone 6$549.99
Nubia Red Magic 3$559.99
OnePlus 7 Pro$629.99
Samsung Galaxy S10e$719.99
Samsung Galaxy S10$889.99

The above are the smartphones powered by Snapdragon 855. As you can see, the price of Xiaomi Mi 9 is the lowest. 

There is no doubt that Xiaomi Mi 9 is the best VFM (value for money) High-End smartphone of 2019. These are the reasons why the latest flagship is so attractive!











Xiaomi Mi 9 4G Phablet Global Version 128GB ROM


$554.16


$378.99




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