Launched at MWC 2019, Xiaomi Mi 9 is like a regular dish on a sumptuous banquet table with Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone, Huawei Mate X to Nokia 9 PureView with 5 rear cameras. It may be a delicious dish, but people will only care when they have enjoyed all the "fine sago".
When Apple has not renewed, other Android firms are innovating before the market change with folding smartphones, 5G, "honeycomb" camera, Xiaomi chose for themselves a safe country with flagship Mi 9: do not change much about the design, upgrade the internal configuration to keep the price low.
This is not something new, all phone companies have done that. However, when all neighbors buy new cars at the same time, your new-but-not-nothing-new car will suddenly be "watched" the most.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 of VnReview in this article is a portable version, currently available for reference at MobileCity store is 11.45 million dong.
The design is not new, but it is "more"
My first impression of Mi 9 was that it gave me a good grip. Although still 7.6mm thin like the Mi 8 elder, but the two curved beveled back and the metal frame of Mi 9 has been improved better by Xiaomi, helping the machine to fit neatly and firmly in the hand.
Another highlight of Mi 9's design is color. The version I use is ocean blue, Gorilla Glass 5 glass back cover comes with the full name "holographic rainbow spectrum" (roughly translated: three-dimensional rainbow spectrum), allowing reflection of colors depending on the light or the viewing angle, looks quite unique and fancy.
The camera cluster protrudes even when used
However, the back is also the place that contains the biggest disadvantages of Mi 9's design. First of all, it is a three-convex camera "an excessive" way. Even when I use the case that Xiaomi has included in the box, this camera cluster is still convex. This not only makes the device "channeled" when placed on a plane, but also protects the camera lens glass.
In addition, Mi 9's dorsal surface was sweaty, and it was difficult to clean. Blue and holographic effects make sweat marks more noticeable. So whether you like it or not, you should also use the bundle with Xiaomi's back cover, especially when Mi 9 has just launched and there are not many other case options.
Mi 9 is equipped with a fingerprint sensor in the screen – an upgrade compared to Mi 8 with a fingerprint sensor placed on the back. This is a type of optical sensor, which is cheaper and in theory less secure than the ultrasonic sensor on Galaxy S10 and S10 +. In fact, I found the sensor to work quite quickly, getting fingerprints was mostly standard, but sometimes I had to press for the second time, the third time to receive fingerprints. VnReview.vn has a video comparing hand sensor speed under Mi 9's optical screen with fingerprint in the ultrasound screen of Galaxy S10, readers can refer to it.
Except for the screen, which I will cover below, the design of Mi 9 is basically no different from the seniors. The device still has nano sim tray supporting 2 sim but does not support microSD memory card, still no 3.5mm headphone jack. The left side of Mi 9 has a physical button for the virtual assistant Mi AI, but since this is a Chinese portable version, this feature … I can't use it.
The screen is still beautiful, the speaker is still "temporary"
The border below Mi 9 has been peeled thinner but still has not reached the balance with the upper border
Mi 9 is equipped with Super AMOLED screen 6.39 inch size with "water drop" design, Full HD + resolution (2340×1080 pixels), screen / body ratio reached 85.2%, protected by toughened glass Gorilla Glass 6. Xiaomi said that Mi 9 has a "chin" section of only about 3.6mm thick, 40% thinner than Mi 8 elder, plus a teardrop screen design so the area of Mi 9 is wide. significantly more.
During use, Mi 9's screen responds well to entertainment needs such as watching YouTube or playing games. Support HDR10 and DCI-P3 color space, along with Samsung's Super AMOLED panels help Mi 9 to show good and vivid colors.
Information about DRM standards that Xiaomi Mi 9 supports
However, I am a "believer" of Netflix movie service, and unfortunately Mi 9 is only Widevine L3, which is not able to watch HD resolution movies and HDR on this application. The good news is that this can be overcome by software updates (if Xiaomi really wants it) because Widevine L1 is completely free, but even so, this is still an unfortunate omission.
I have never appreciated the sound quality of Xiaomi even in any segment, and Mi 9 is no exception. The device has a single speaker, the volume is quite small, the sound quality and detail are not outstanding. Like Mi Mix 3, the mismatch between sound and screen significantly affects the entertainment experience.
Because of using Chinese domestic version, in this article, I have not evaluated MIUI MIUI 10.2 China Stable on Android Pie background. However, users should note that with new policies from Xiaomi, users have to wait for months to "unlock" Xiaomi portable.
Powerful performance, enough battery to use
Mi 9 is equipped with Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm's latest, most powerful chip at the present time, manufactured on a 7nm process. The device of VnReview.vn owns 6GB of RAM / 128GB of internal memory, I think it is comfortable for all needs to use. If you are not satisfied, you can choose the 8GB version of RAM, but the difference in use will be hard to see.
Actions such as opening, loading, converting applications are very fast, smooth on Mi 9, from everyday tasks like surfing Facebook, Youtube to playing heavy games like PUBG Mobile, ARK: Survival Evolved, even when at the highest graphic setting. In the familiar benchmark tests, Mi 9 also gave a very high score, which is currently the second best.
AnTuTu score measures overall performance
Score GeekBench measures CPU cores for single-core and multi-core processing
The Manhattan test in the GFX Bench application measures the GPU's graphics processing performance in standard Full-HD resolution (offscreen) and the real screen resolution (onscreen).
However, there is a big problem that Mi 9 heats up very fast when playing games, although I often use the machine in the air-conditioned room, which I didn't encounter on the Mi 8 or Mi Mix 3 before. The temperature radiates mainly in the upper half of the back of the machine, which holds the Snapdragon 855 chip. It is unclear whether this is Xiaomi's software error or because the heat dissipation ability of Mi 9 or Snapdragon 855 itself is at risk. "Second Snapdragon 810" due to overheating, it is difficult to confirm that not many smartphones running Snapdragon 855 are sold.
Another point worth noting is that it seems like Mi 9's multitasking ability is poor considering the device's 6GB RAM. Tested with two other devices, the Galaxy S10, which has 8GB of RAM and the Honor V20, has 6GB of RAM, the Mi 9 is inferior in multitasking, most applications have to reload when performing the test.
About the battery, Mi 9 is equipped with 3,300 mAh battery, a little lower than Mi 8, and is also quite low compared to the common level of the current flagship. However, with the demand not too large, mainly Facebook, Youtube and occasionally "throwing" a few mobile game boards or PUBG Mobile, Mi 9 is still enough to meet one of my working days.
When tracking with AccuBattery software, Mi 9's on-screen battery life reached nearly 7 hours 30 minutes, slightly higher than Mi Mix 3's 7 hours, but off-screen battery and mixed use time ( combined use is significantly lower. Always-on Display setting only turns on from 6am to 24h, 4G / Wi-Fi is always on for message checking and synchronization, Mi 9 consumes about 1.4% every hour when the screen is turned off.
Mi 9 is equipped with Xiaomi's Turbo Charge fast charging feature with a maximum capacity of 27W, equivalent to Qualcomm's QuickCharge 4.0+. It also supports wireless charging up to 20W, which is one of the most powerful wireless charging smartphones available today. Even so, Xiaomi does not offer wireless charging dock like Mi Mix 3, only the fast charging cord 27W. Because the battery capacity is not too high, Mi 9's full charging time is very fast, in less than an hour.
"Game" is called 48MP
Mi 9 is the first smartphone from Xiaomi equipped with three main camera cluster, so I also put a lot of expectations into their performance.
On the configuration, Mi 9's three-camera cluster includes:
– 48MP main camera, aperture f / 1.8, 1/2 "Sony IMX586 sensor, 26mm focal length, 0.8µm pixel.
– 12MP telephoto camera, f / 2.2 aperture, 50mm focal length, 1 / 3.4 "sensor Samsung S5K3M5, pixel 1.0µm.
– 16MP super wide-angle camera, f / 2.2 aperture, 16mm diaphragm, 1 / 3.0 "sensor, Sony IMX481, pixel 1.0µm.
All 3 cameras have either laser or phase focus, support for 60fps 4K recording and ultra-fast Full HD 960 fps. However, no camera supports optical image stabilization (OIS).
Mi 9's camera interface is basically no different than other Xiaomi phones, except for the icon that activates the super wide-angle camera and activates the 48MP image mode. The disadvantage is that Xiaomi does not allow users to use two-finger operation to quickly activate the super wide-angle camera, and the 48MP image option must also be activated in the settings instead of at the main interface.
In bright enough conditions, Mi 9's three-camera cluster met my expectations. Photos have good detail, bright colors, wide contrast range, showing good brightness. The device is still equipped with AI features to identify smart scenes, but most of the time, this feature basically only pushes the color saturation to make the image look smoother, so I often ignore.
12MP (upper) and 48MP (below), no crop, just resize to fit the frame. Read on the image to see the original size.
After crop of 12MP mode (left) and 48MP (right). Read on the image to see the original size.
By default, Mi 9 uses a telephoto camera to capture fonts, but users can activate the full body mode "Body mode" to switch to the main camera. However, it is unclear for the reason that the camera interface when activating Body mode becomes very jerky, laggy, and the machine takes 4-5 seconds to process images.
Photos delete fonts with a telephoto camera of better quality than I expected. The background is smooth, less prone to the subject, and the light and skin color – though slightly flattering – still meets the user's "virtual living" needs.
MiMP's 48MP photography feature and previously Redmi Note 7, I can confirm that it is just a "game" of advertising, no more and no less. With normal usage needs, there is no reason for you to take photos up to 48MP resolution. The difference between 12MP and 48MP images of Mi 9 is very difficult to recognize unless you enlarge the image 100% and carefully examine every little detail.
When taking 48MP photos, it takes 4-5 seconds to process images, during which time you cannot take pictures or switch to another mode. Also, when taking photos in this mode, the AI and HDR features are also disabled, so the trade-off is too big for the benefits it brings.
Mi 9's ultra wide-angle camera image still has a certain distortion, depending on the usage, which can create a unique perspective for the image or simply destroy it. In addition, Mi 9's ultra-wide angle is a bit narrower than that of other ultra-wide-angle camera smartphones I have experienced like Galaxy S10 or Galaxy A9 (2018). Color images when shooting with ultra-wide angle still retain freshness but the sharpness and details of this lens are slightly inferior to conventional cameras.
Top-down turn: Wide-angle snapshot – 12MP snapshot – Night Mode image – 2x optical zoom image
In low light conditions, Mi 9 also has certain improvements compared to the seniors like Mi Mix 3 or Mi 8. The image is less noise, showing good light colors, but the details are not high, high Medium definition, some cases the sky appears purple. Night Mode low-light shooting feature shows remarkable effect, when the dark light areas are well balanced, clearly separated, allowing more details to be displayed even though the speed is still limited, losing 2-3 seconds to shoot.
In the front, Mi 9 is equipped with 20MP selfie camera, f / 2.0 aperture, 0.9µm pixel size. There is no secondary camera that supports font removal, but Mi 9 still recognizes the subject quite well, is less susceptible to delays, and still allows users to customize the level of font removal after shooting.
Summary: Love, don't marry!
Through a short time of use, I felt that Mi 9 was like a lovely girl, enough to make others "enchanted" at first sight. However, the longer I stick, the more I see obvious weaknesses, such as the Chinese version of MIUI, which makes users miserable, new features are not really useful as 48MP cameras, virtual assistants or fashionists. The battery is not too impressive, the capacity for multitasking is poor, …
Still possessing good points like beautiful screens, great performance and competitive prices, Mi 9 portable to this point is not enough to make me "satisfied" and wants a long-term commitment. Especially when there are still many other "girls" out there that make me vibrate.