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Xiaomi Mi 9 assembled on the day of the presentation 650 thousand orders. But is this smartphone really that good? What is it: the king of smartphones in 2019 or a well-publicized dummy on a wave of hype?

Let’s try to figure it out, because the answer is not as clear as it might seem.

Scarce among the first


Xiaomi Mi 9 presentation drowned after the announcement of the Galaxy S10 family

Oddly enough, Xiaomi faced the main problem of the new flagship at the start. For Mi 9 to become the first Snapdragon 855 flagship, the company had to hold a presentation almost immediately after the Chinese New Year.

The date turned out to be extremely unfortunate, as it coincided with 3 (!) presentations: meizu 16s (direct competitor), Samsung S10 and modifications, iqoo from Vivo.

The new generation of Samsung S10 categorically overshadowed all the impressions of the new Xiaomi in the eyes of the main buyers.


Compare: Xiaomi renderings and real Samsung samples

It is likely that they will choose Xiaomi because of low price, but with an eye on the unique innovations of Samsung. The results are unpredictable: last year, at the start of sales of the Samsung S9, you could catch discounts that equalized it with the Xiaomi flagship in price.

In addition, the shortage of processors limits Xiaomi’s ability to release new items. To ensure current pre-orders will take a significant amount of timeusers outside of China will face higher prices.

The start of delivery on March 1 for China will turn into April 1 for fans of “gray” technology, and international version and firmware will move to June-July.

This will not work in favor Mi. The choice is extremely wide, despite its quality.

The design is simple and familiar


Another iPhone clone with a touch of Sharp

One of the most important problems Xiaomi Mi 9lack of corporate identity. The company no longer hides copies, even if from several smartphones: the back is inspired by iPhonefront side – Oppo and Sharp.

Trying to stand out with a one-piece body made of a piece of glass without a traditional metal frame can play a cruel joke on users. It is one thing to change only the cover, and quite another fragile body as a whole.

In addition, the glass on the sides is not protected from impacts, even being in a soft bumper. Usually it is the frame that takes these blows.

Of course, the Samsung-made screen will make the Mi 9 more pleasing to the eye than the OnePlus 6T with the same waterdrop notch, or its progenitors from Oppo. But S10 offers standard display support HDR10and this cannot be ignored.


600 nits brightness is incredible, but the S10 outshines the Mi here too

Therefore, no matter how high-quality the matrix of the new Xiaomi is, it stands only in the middle. Like last year’s, later flagships.

Appearance is not the only problem: Mi 9 no eye-catching elements. On the one hand, this plays into the hands, on the other hand, direct competitors offer, for example, additional keys or scanners on the side.

Oh yes: Mi 9 has a dedicated key for Google Assistant. Seriously, for a voice assistant? And as practice shows, today you can create original designs.

First on the powerful Snapdragon 855


Composition Snapdragon 855

Xiaomi needed an early announcement a week before the start of real sales for the purpose of another self-promotion: “The first flagship on the new Qualcomm processor” sounds impressive.

The statement is not entirely true: long before the announcement, Lenovo announced its readiness to release a similar smartphone, Vivo was designated a little later, and rumors about OnePlus 7 are circulating with might and main.

Version Samsung Galaxy S10 on the Snapdragon for the US market, which is already ready to appear on the shelves, can also not be written off.

We also know that March 1 will be announced and will go on sale notorious meizu 16s on the same platform. By the way, Xiaomi could learn from this developer to create original smartphones.


Why is it necessary to take the iPhone as the standard when there is Meizu?

As a result of such a race, it is worth waiting for a serious shortage of processors, which will lead to delayed delivery dates, as previously observed with Snapdragon 845.

The chipset is based on processor cores Kryo 485divided into three clusters: productive with a frequency of 2.84 GHz, the second operates at 2.42 GHz, and the third is turned on for low-capacity tasks at 1.8 GHz.

The GPU is responsible for graphics processing and gaming capabilities of the model. Adreno 640.


Comparison test of Snapdragon processors

The platform promises greater performance and energy efficiency compared to its predecessor, but more expensive. Are there any fundamental differences, other than conditional 387 000 points in AnTuTu?

Unfortunately no. The promised 5G modem, as well as advanced AI, did not appear. In return, the user will receive the absence of a SIM card slot, the usual UFS 2.1 memory and 6 to 12 GB LPDDR4x.

Pulls only to update last year’s flagship.

This applies in particular to the gaming capabilities of the new Xiaomi device. A thin case still does not provide a high-quality heat dissipation, so for a long game you should look at something else.

Suddenly a very serious camera


Important: 3 modules – good, but terribly ugly

Perhaps, the most important achievement of Xiaomi Mi 9 call the camera. Immediately 3 modules in the main one are really ready to solve user tasks.

Not fictional, but real: a huge 48-megapixel main sensor Sony IMX586equipped with a coated lens at f/1.75collects one subpixel from 4 pixels (as in Redmi Note 7), which should guarantee a huge amount of light and incredible image quality.

Two remaining cameras, 12MP Samsung S5K3M5 and a 16-megapixel module provide, respectively, the combination of a telephoto (2X zoom, 1 micron, f / 2.4) and “width” (1 micron, f / 2.2, 117 degrees view), which is standard today.

The numbers are awesome. And then there’s the minimum shooting distance of 4 cm, and 900 fps video … A complete set of a mobile photographer!


Only reminds me of the P20 Pro?

That’s just, as practice shows, Xiaomi will be able to fully use the quality of optics somewhere in six months after the release.

Before that, everything will spoil the raw, unfinished software. And what then from the top place in DxO next to Huawei P20 Pro and iPhone Xs?

However, a bunch of 3 modules at the start seems real Xiaomi Mi 9 killer feature. It is for her sake that I will not only write a detailed review for you, but also conduct several detailed comparative tests.

Suddenly it turns out that in the main shooting modes Mi 9 shoots the same way as the old Mi 8 after the firmware update (with the Camera program from Mi Mix 3)?

What are the downsides?


The maximum version of Xiaomi Mi 9 Explorer Edition

And finally we got to the most interesting. In addition to the excellent camera and platform, the capabilities of which Xiaomi engineers have yet to reveal, the new smartphone has a lot of interesting features. And compromises.

Let’s start with the sad: since the developers could not bring face unlock to mind, Mi 9 lacks both infrared and 3D front cameras. Only selfie module (would buy a smartphone without it?).

So Xiaomi confirmed its failure to copy the iPhone. Maybe for the better. Although they could master not optical, but ultrasonic screen fingerprint scanner: this is exactly what the Samsung Galaxy S10 and new Oppo models will be equipped with.

Unlike them, the Mi 9 scanner will work only at a certain point. And not so fast, not so accurately. Another concession?


Autonomy is very good

Finally, for the sake of the minimum thickness, the developers once again reduced the volume of the battery. Thanks to the updated platform (Snap 855 should consume less than Snap 845), autonomy will not decrease.

But hasn’t Xiaomi itself beat the competition over and over again by offering thicker smartphones with a 4000 mAh battery instead of the current 3300 mAh of the Mi 9? This tradition should be broken.

Most likely, the emphasis is on 27W wired and 20W wireless charging. For which you will have to purchase additional accessories that will increase the cost to 50-100 dollars.

By the way, the presence of a wireless charging module has finally equalized the Mix and Mi families. That was what the basic flagships lacked.

instead of output. Should we wait for Mi 9 SE?


Xiaomi Mi 9 SE vs. iPhone XS

In a separate line, it is worth discussing the new Xiaomi Mi 9 SE. Unfortunately, Mi 8 SE never entered the international market, remaining exclusively a Chinese device (although there is a translated firmware for it).

Perhaps, like its predecessor, it will be released as a separate Lite version (the presence of useless NFC in China hints). But even without this, unofficial firmware will definitely be.

The module for wireless payment makes you show particular interest in this model: there are few compact smartphones with it, but on the new platform Snapdragon 712 and none at all.


Xiaomi Mi 9 and Mi 9 SE: price versus dimensions

So, the screen is AMOLED, but smaller, by 5.97 inches; the main camera module is the same, Sony IMX586 at 48 megapixels; memory – the same in the same volumes.

The differences between Mi 9 and Mi 9 SE are only in the absence of wireless charging, smaller dimensions and a simplified camera. Are they really necessary, strictly speaking? Not everyone.

Let’s remember the difference in price, which is $150 – we get an ideal device in the price range “up to 20 thousand rubles” ($300).

The perfect balance of price and quality


This time, Xiaomi has released an ugly device

Despite all the voiced problems of Xiaomi Mi 9, real and probable, this is a very promising smartphone. Processor, camera, screen – there are no complaints about them now.

At least taking into account the price of $450 for the entry-level 6/128 GB package. None of the competing brands offers analogues.

The new Xiaomi flagship is worth the wait and is considered as a very interesting purchase and an honest “flagship killer”. We’ll be sure to review soon!





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