- Top Tier Specification
- Good Camera
- Amazing Price Tag
- Solid Build Quality
- Battery Life could be better
The moment you read that title, I am sure you’d have been like “Wow, so long.” We took a rather different route with this particular phone. Normally, we spend an acceptable duration with a phone and get the review out. But this time, we really took our time with this one because of few reasons – which we will talk in a different article. But now, here’s our final verdict on the Mi 9.
Design and Build Quality
Mi, in short for Xiaomi has a very distinctive DNA for their Mi series and the Mi 9 follows the same DNA. Covered in glass both on the front and back, a metal frame for the device. But this time around, the color tone of the device is rather shiny. The Mi 9 has a gunmetal Black finish which is relatively sexy, if not sexier than the Piano Black which we have seen with the predecessors. The back glass is much curvier than it should be and it’s a good thing because holding it in one hand is much more easier as it fits in nice and snug. As it is glass, it sure is fragile. With that said, I’d definitely recommend using a case if you happen to be a butter finger.
In terms of Build Quality, the Mi 9 has a nice build quality that screams premium – of course. On the back you will notice that the camera now has a much more prominent bump and there is no fingerprint sensor to be seen on the back as well – as its now under the display. Other than that, there isn’t any compromises with the design and the build quality overall. No issues right there.
Specification and Performance
The Mi 9 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Processor with 6GB RAM and 128GB Internal Storage which cannot be expanded – which has been the case for the longest period of time. We used three tools to verify and benchmark the device – Antutu and Geekbench to test the full potential of the device and CPU-Z to verify the specification. Benchmark scores give an idea on how capable the device is but does not reflect on day-to-day usage.
With a flagship specification like this, the performance is without a doubt – impressive both in and out. Multitasking on this device is a breeze, thanks to the 6GB RAM, it has the capability to handle application in the background and lets you continue from where you left off – pretty good if you ask me. On top of that, using the phone for things like editing on the move is nice. As for games, we tested the phone with Asphalt: 9 and Need for Speed: No Rivals. The games has the potential to run at the highest settings and gives you the best experience possible. I even played one of my favorite title, Tekken on mobile and I have to say it was pretty fun. I personally don’t play games like PUBG Mobile but according to one of our mystery writer, the game was solid and he said that he had a good experience.
One thing that was getting in the way was how there was little to no space to hold the phone and play the game well.
On the front the Mi 9 has a 6.39” Full HD AMOLED Display in the 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The first thing you will notice is the fact that the Mi 9 no longer feature a huge notch up at the top – which a good and a bad thing. Now the phone has a smaller notch which is also known as the dewdrop notch which has the front facing camera. But the Face ID technology which we saw on the Mi 8 (which also happens to be my personal favorite security option) is gone. Personally I am bummed out about this but it’s a sacrifice they had to make to make room for more display.
The display on the Mi 9 is one of the best displays we have seen so far. Thanks for the AMOLED Display, it has the capability to produce true blacks and colors that side more towards the colder tone by default which you can of course calibrate it to your liking in the settings. The display gets extremely bright in outdoors and you wont have to worry about the display having any sort tilt issue. Watching content on this display is enjoyable but as there’s very minimal room to rest your thumbs to hold the phone, it tends to get rather tricky to use. It applies the same as you game on this device as well. If you are someone who is extremely bothered by the mini dewdrop notch, you can always turn on that extra bezel to make it all black.
Battery Life & Charging
Under the hood, the Mi 9 has a 3,300 mAh battery that powers the device up and gets it running. It may not be a lot of battery under the hood but the Mi 9 claims to offer an all-day battery life. With that said, we tested the Mi 9 battery life. During our first test, we managed to get about 14 hours 5 minutes of Active hours with a SoT of 4 Hours and 4 Minutes. During our second test, we got about 13 Hours 53 Minutes of Active Hours with s SoT of 5 hours 21 Minutes. Personally, that’s a battery life I can live with but as I am an active user, I definitely have to carry a battery pack at all cost. But if you aren’t a heavy user as I am, don’t think you will have any issues with the battery life. It’s a solid B+.
As for charging, the Mi 9 supports Super Fast Charging via Cable and a whopping 20W Wireless Fast Charge. You can get the phone charged via cable in an hour with no issue. We couldn’t test the 20W Wireless Fast Charge because our Belkin Juice Up Wireless Charger can only support upto 10W.
On the front, the device rocks a 20MP Selfie Shooter with an aperture of f/2.0. On the back, the Mi 9 joins the triple camera setup – with a primary 48MP Sensor with an aperture of f/1.7, followed by a secondary 12MP Telephoto Camera and a third 16MP Ultra Wide Camera with an aperture of f/2.2.
Starting off with the front facing camera, it takes pretty alright pictures under bright lighting with no abnormal exposure imbalance going on – which is without a doubt the best thing about the Mi 9 front facing camera. Under lowlight, the phone has a tendency to soften the subject which can be a bit of a bummer but the picture is very much usable. Definitely one of the decent front facing camera I’ve come across.
As for the rear facing camera, I got to say – Mi did a wonderful job in getting the camera right. The primary sensor takes well balanced tone pictures and capturing enough detail which is definitely a good thing. The ultra wide angle camera takes decent pictures but the telephoto camera is a hit and a miss – as it has some serious issue in getting the focus of the object right. When it comes to low light, all the cameras go through some serious challenge – the primary sensor capturing least compromising pictures whereas the telephoto and ultrawide suffering the most. The picture loses a lot of details by making the subject softer and details lacking at the same time.
As long as you don’t pixel peep, the pictures are just fine and usable.
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Speaker & Security
The Mi 9 has a bottom firing speaker which sounds loud and good. The details are alright and gets going. But take note, the speaker at the bottom is literally the only speaker. That means that it’s easy to block with your hand. As for security, as I mentioned earlier, the secure Face ID is no longer seen in the Mi 9. But they have moved the fingerprint sensor from the rear to a under glass fingerprint sensor – which is an interesting move. It does take a second or so to unlock but it’s fast enough to get you going.
UI & OS
The Mi 9 runs Android 9 on top of MIUI 10 which is Xiaomi’s very own Custom UI filled with tons of features. The UI is an acquired taste among users and reviewers like ourselves but personally, it’s one of the few UI that’s optimized and works well. The phone has some interesting animation that resembles the Cupertino brand and has extra secure features such as Second Space and so much more. As the Mi 9 features an IR Blaster up top, the phone also has the capability to be used as a remote – which is a sweet touch.
There you have it – the Mi 9 Review. The reason why we chose to release the review after 90 days is to show you how good a phone can be despite the fact that when you purchase it. The Mi 9, at the time of launch was in fact the best option you could go for and 90 days later, it’s still the best phone money can buy. With phones like the Mi 9T around, it’s up to you which is your personal preference.
We at The Adventures of Vesper recommend the Mi 9 to our Readers as one of the best phone money can buy.