Xiaomi Mi 9 Explorer
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About the Phone
- It features a big 6.39-inch AMOLED display that promises an excellent viewing experience.
- The slim body and gorgeous design impart a premium look to the phone.
- The rear triple-cam setup delivers impressive results.
- The processor promises a smooth and lag-free performance.
- Superb value for money.
- It has both fast charging and wireless charging support.
- It has no dedicated microSD card slot
- MIUI 10 isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – it is loaded with ads that can be very irritating.
- It does not come with an IP certification.
- The phone can get heated up with prolonged and extensive usage.
- The 3300mAh battery isn’t enough to power a phone of this size.
If you’re someone who’s looking for a powerful performer packed with all the latest features and good looks, Mi 9 is just what you need. Powered by the new Snapdragon 855, flaunting a triple cam setup on the rear, an in-display Fingerprint Sensor, a 20W wireless charging, and much more – the Mi9 is undoubtedly one of the best flagships of 2019.
Xiaomi launched the Mi 9 in February 2019. It flaunts a 6.39-inch AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 1080×2340 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. It uses an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor clocked at 2.84GHz. The phone offers 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage.
The Mi 9 runs on Xiaomi’s custom MIUI 10 based on Android v9.0 (Pie) and has a 3,300mAh battery. The dual-SIM phone supports both fast charging and wireless charging. As for the cameras, the phone features a triple-camera setup on the rear – a 48MP primary camera (f/1.75 aperture), a 12MP secondary camera (f/2.2 aperture), and a 16MP camera (f/2.2 aperture). At the front, there’s a 20MP selfie camera (f/2.0 aperture).
It has sensors like Ambient Light Sensor, Fingerprint Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Accelerometer, Compass, and Gyroscope. Also, it supports Face Unlock with 3D Face Recognition. There are three colour variants for the Mi 9 – Piano Black, Ocean Blue, and Lavender Violet.
In India, the price of Mi 9 is Rs. 31,790.
Flaunting a gorgeous metal-and-glass design, the Mi 9 feels like a premium flagship phone. The smooth rounded curves allow for a snug fit in hand. The rear panel curves seamlessly to meet the metal frame.
The most striking thing about the phone is its gradient colour design. Both the Ocean Blue and Lavender Violet feature a gradient effect to reflect captivating hues at certain angles. You also get a Piano Black and a transparent back model. One downside about the glossy back is that it is a fingerprint and smudge magnet.
On the back, you get a triple camera module aligned vertically on the top left corner. An LED flash lies just below it. The primary camera module is accentuated with a ‘halo-ring’ around it. The camera module protrudes slightly from the rear panel and has sapphire glass protection.
The phone has a dedicated Google Assistant button on the left side, along with the dual-SIM tray. The right side holds the power and volume buttons. At the bottom, you get a USB-C port and two speaker grilles located on either side of it. Sadly, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack, so you’ll have to solely rely on the 3.5mm adapter that’s bundled in the box.
The front display features a tear-drop notch. The phone is practically bezel-less, thereby making the visual experience more expansive and immersive. Overall, the Mi 9 looks and feels like a premium flagship device.
The Mi 9 boasts of a 6.39-inch Super AMOLED display with FHD+ resolution. The tear-drop notch and the minimalist bezels impart a 90% screen-to-body ratio. It gets a Gorilla Glass 6 to protect it from scratches and accidental damages.
The display is flat with no curves, thereby offering a larger viewing space. It has accurate colour reproduction, and the images/texts/icons look crisp and vibrant. Even in bright sunlight, the display adjusts accordingly to allow you to view the display content with ease. You can always tweak the colour temperature and contrast mode. Xiaomi incorporates a blue light filter, a.k.a., Reading Mode that reduces the blue light emission to minimize eye strain in dimly-lit settings. There’s also an Ambient Display that shows the time as well as pending notifications on the lock screen when the display is off.
The tear-drop notch houses the 20MP selfie camera. The speaker rests on the top edge of the frame. The screen has an in-display Fingerprint Sensor, which is, for the most part, very responsive.
The Mi 9 has one of the best displays in the said price segment.
In the Mi 9, Xiaomi incorporated a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 comprised of a single 2.84GHz Kryo 485 Gold core, three 2.42GHz Kryo 485 Gold cores (both based on Cortex A76 design), and four energy-efficient 1.8GHz Kryo 485 Silver cores (based on the Cortex A55 design). This combination not only makes the Snapdragon 855 energy-efficient but also one of the fastest SoC’s out there.
You will never notice any lag, either while performing routine tasks or while enjoying graphics-intensive games. The addition of the Adreno 640 makes gaming an enjoyable experience on the Mi 9. Even while playing heavyweight games like PUBG, Asphalt, and Tekken, there is no noticeable lag or frame rate drop. It also has a Game Turbo feature that allows you to access recording feature during a gaming session.
Coming to MIUI 10, it has its fair share of issues, especially the unappealing overlay look and the lack of an app drawer. However, you do get a host of useful features like the enhanced adaptive brightness and navigation options. Other than the minor setback, MIUI is good to go.
The camera is one of the biggest selling points of the Mi 9. It is Xiaomi’s first launch to sport three cameras on the rear – a 48MP primary camera paired with a 16MP ultra-wide lens and a 12MP telephoto with 2x optical zoom. At the front, there’s a 20MP selfie camera.
An LED flash accompanies the rear camera. You get several options such as HDR imaging, AI toggle, Beauty Mode, Pro Mode, Wide-angle Mode, and many filters. There’s also a dedicated button for the wide-angle mode on the left of the zoom toggle option. Plus, you get a Night Mode option for low-light settings.
In favourable light settings and daylight conditions, the phone can capture some stunning shots. The colour representation is accurate with lots of detail. The dynamic range of the camera is commendable. Images never look over-saturated or aggressively enhanced with the AI mode. Although the photos capture with 2x zoom lens depicts some noise, they have sufficient detail. As for the wide-angle shooter, it can deliver some good shots, provided you have a steady hand. Since the zoom and wide-angle lenses lack optical image stabilization on any of the rear cameras, the image quality gets affected. The Night Mode does an excellent job in capturing sufficient detail in tricky lighting conditions.
Coming to the 20MP selfie camera, it can deliver impressive results as well. You get plenty of beauty enhancement options such as skin smoothening, even skin tone, etc. The selfie camera is quick to lock focus and click images with decent colour representation. Although the results aren’t as great as the rear camera, it’s pretty impressive.
You can record 4k videos either at 30 or 60fps. You can also record FHD videos, slow-mo videos, and time-lapse videos. Thanks to the video stabilization feature, the videos come out looking great and focused.
While the camera certainly is no match to high-end Sony or Samsung phones, it is pretty impressive for a phone that costs under 35k.
Mi 9 comes with a 3,300mAh battery, which is very insufficient compared to the phone of such high-end specs. For normal to moderate usage, the battery drops pretty quickly. When it comes to gaming and video streaming, or browsing, the battery charge will drop even faster. So, in a real world scenario, the battery will not last an entire day on a single charge.
It has the essential connectivity options including Wi-Fi 802.11, a/ac/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Mobile Hotspot, Bluetooth v5.0, USB Type-C port, dual-SIM, GPS with A-GPS and Glonass, and 2G/3G/4G support.
In conclusion, it must be said that Mi 9 is loaded with specs to kill. It packs in powerful hardware, stunning display, and great cameras. The only letdown is the battery power and MIUI. But at just 32k, it feels like a steal deal. Mi 9 competes with the likes of OnePlus 6T, Huawei P20 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S10e.