Xiaomi is still a somewhat unknown brand in the Middle East– but it’s posing some serious competition to establish brands with the Xiaomi Mi 9, its newest flagship device.
The Mi 9 almost ticks all the right boxes; it has a powerful processor, impressive camera setup, and supports up to 20W fast charging – and on top of that it’s half the price of phones with similar specs.
It’s not without drawbacks – Xiaomi has clearly had to cut some corners to get a fantastic chipset and camera array into the handset at such a low price, and its attempt at designing its own UI for the Mi 9 likely won’t please everyone.
But generally the Mi 9 is an extremely impressive high-end device at a low price. The question- is Xiaomi Mi 9 and the brand in general, a serious threat to established mid-range Android players like Nokia, Honor and OnePlus?
Xiaomi Mi 9 price and availability
The Xiaomi Mi 9 should be landing very soon in the UAE.
At the moment, Xiaomi is only bring one configuration to the UAE which is with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Xiaomi has priced that AED 1849 which is a phenomenal price for the specs you're getting.
Design and display
The Xiaomi Mi 9 has a slightly curved glass back, giving it a distinct look and a comfortable feel. Xiaomi says this creates an appealing holographic effect; we didn’t notice this with the Piano Black handset we tested, but it’s possible the Ocean Blue or Lavender Violet colors create this effect a little better.
The Mi 9 has a Samsung made 6.39-inch AMOLED display, with a 2340 x 1080 Full HD+ resolution, which delivers vibrant colors with a great brightness range – it was a treat to watch movies on and complemented the fantastic camera array. This screen is broken by a small top notch housing the front-facing camera, but other than that is unbroken, with no top bezel to speak of and minimal chin.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 measures 157.5 x 74.67 x 7.61mm, so it’s a medium-sized device, and at 173g it feels good in your hands, though a tad bit weighty.
On the bottom of the device you’ll find a USB-C port while the volume rocker and power button are on the right side, and there’s a Google assistant button to the left. You won't find a 3.5mm jack on the Mi 9 - something we're used to now.
On the rear of the phone the tri-lens camera array, which we’ll look at in detail later.
Generally, the Mi 9 is a nice device to hold – the side buttons and in-screen fingerprint sensor are low enough to be easy to reach, the curved glass back feels comfortable in the hand for long periods, and the Google assistant button is out the way most of the time – although the large display does mean the top of the device can be hard to reach.
Included in the box is a plastic case which fits the handset snugly, and conveniently hides how hot the phone can get – more on that later. While this feels useful for protecting the device it does add some extra bulk, so it may not be for everyone.