Xiaomi Mi 9 transparent edition vs Xiaomi Mi 8 explorer edition close up

We’re deep into 2019’s flagship season and the new Xiaomi Mi 9 is next up for a spec dissection. The Mi series has always offered an interesting value proposition — not quite targeting the ultra-premium tier but still offering all the key specs. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is no different, with some compelling hardware on offer at a cutthroat price point.

Don’t miss: Xiaomi Mi 9 hands-on

To start, there’s a bleeding edge 7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor onboard. Heavy multitaskers and gamers won’t have any problem running their favorite apps on the Mi 9. In China, the phone comes in three memory configurations: 6GB/128GB, 8GB/128GB, and 12GB/256GB (Transparent Edition). The global version, however, will only be available with 6GB of RAM paired with either 64 or 128GB of storage.

The handset’s camera configuration is another highly compelling piece of kit. There are three cameras onboard: a 48MP main sensor, a wide-angle shooter, and a telephoto zoom lens. The 48MP Sony IMX586 is a top-end sensor, offering high-resolution shots in good lighting. In low light, the Quad Bayer pixel array can combine to produce larger 1.6μm pixels for less noisy 12MP images. Alongside the telephoto and wide-angle sensors, the Xiaomi Mi 9 looks to be one flexible shooter.

Xiaomi Mi 9
Xiaomi Mi 9:
6.39-inch AMOLED panel
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
19.5:9 aspect ratio
Xiaomi Mi 9:
7nm octa-core Snapdragon 855
Up to 2.84GHz clock speed
Adreno 640 GPU
Xiaomi Mi 9:
6GB/8GB/12GB (China)
6GB (global)
Xiaomi Mi 9:
128GB/256GB (China)
64GB/128GB (global)
Xiaomi Mi 9:
Xiaomi Mi 9:
48MP f/1.75, 0.8/1.6μm, PDAF, 4:1 pixel binning, Sony IMX586 +
16MP f/2.2, 1.0μm ultrawide +
12MP f/2.2, 1.0μm telephoto
20MP f/2.0, 0.9μm
Xiaomi Mi 9:
18W standard wired charging
27W wired charging with optional charger (bundled with 20W wireless charger)
Wireless charging
Xiaomi Mi 9:
20W wireless charging (with optional charger), 10W charging on Qi chargers
Water resistance
Xiaomi Mi 9:
No IP rating
Xiaomi Mi 9:
Bluetooth 5.0
Included USB-C to 3.5mm adapter
GSM: B2/3/5/8
WCDMA: B1/2/4/5/8
TD-SCDMA: B34/39
FDD LTE: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/20/28
TDD LTE: 38/39/40
Xiaomi Mi 9:
Dual-SIM (dual 4G)
Xiaomi Mi 9:
Android 9 Pie
Dimensions and weight
Xiaomi Mi 9:
157.5 x 74.67 x 7.61mm
Xiaomi Mi 9:
Piano Black, Lavender Violet, Ocean Blue, Transparent Edition

There are always compromises to be had at lower price points, and there are a few to observe with the Mi 9. There’s no microSD card expansion slot, for one, which could be disappointing for heavy media users. There’s also no IP rating for water and dust resistance, nor fancy Wi-Fi 6 support. A phone this size could probably also fit in a bigger battery than 3,300mAh.

A new-generation in-display fingerprint sensor on a Xiaomi phone.
Xiaomi's new in-display fingerprint sensor solves one big issue
Xiaomi Mi 9 three triple camera details

The display resolution is also a little behind the curve for such a big phone. Although this is normal for Xiaomi. At 6.39-inches, the 2,340 x 1,080 panel resolution produces a pixel density of 403ppi. That’s certainly not bad but flirts with the limits of a perceivable difference in sharpness compared to a QHD+ display. Still, AMOLED is a nice touch, complete with stylish rounded corners and Gorilla Glass 6 protection.

Despite the odd compromise, the Xiaomi Mi 9 has plenty of little tricks up its sleeve that add up to some serious extra value. The phone features an in-display fingerprint scanner, plenty of AI camera options, 27W USB-C fast charging (with an optional adapter), Bluetooth 5.0 support, and 20W wireless charging. Those are all specs that we’ve come to associate with much more expensive smartphones.

Overall, the Xiaomi Mi 9 is a continuation of the company’s successful flagship formula. The specifications are spot on in key areas, offering high-end performance, features, and photography options too. Although we’ll have to go hands-on before giving a definitive assessment of the phone’s camera.

The Mi 9’s ~$446 price point is well below new flagship handsets launched by Samsung and LG, offering serious value for money. What do you think about the hardware inside Xiaomi’s latest model?