Xiaomi Mi 9, Mi 9 Explorer Edition, Mi 9 SE launched; features SD855, triple cameras

The biggest departure from previous Xiaomi flagships is the triple rear camera setup on the Mi 9.

Xiaomi's latest flagship smartphone, the Mi 9 has just been officially announced at an event held in China. As was expected, the Mi 9 wasn't the only smartphone launched at the event but was unveiled alongside the Mi 9 SE and the Mi 9 Explorer Edition.

Xiaomi Mi 9, Mi 9 Explorer Edition, Mi 9 SE launched; features SD855, triple cameras

The Mi 9 and its shiny glass back. Image: Sina Weibo/ Xiaomi

Mi 9 and Mi 9 Explorer Edition: Price and variants on offer

The Xiaomi Mi 9's price in China starts at CNY 2,999 (approximately Rs 31,748) for base variant with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage model. There's also a higher-specced variant with 8 GB RAM and the same 128 GB of storage, priced at CNY 3,299 (approximately Rs 34,905). The Mi 9 Explorer Edition, on the other hand, will cost CNY 3999 (approximately Rs 42,391) for the one variant which features 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage.

The phone will be available in three colours — Lavender Violet, Ocean Blue and Piano Black

Mi 9 and Mi 9 Explorer Edition: Design and key specifications

Xiaomi's Mi 9 looks quite different when it comes to design and overall look when compared to earlier Xiaomi flagships. The company settled for a sandwiched metal and glass design this time around with what Xiaomi likes to call a 'holographic' colour scheme. Xiaomi's CEO Lei Jun while on stage mentions that the company spray a "very fine mist" onto the glass before sandwiching it with glass, allowing light to refract off its surface.

The Mi 9 gets a 6.39-inch Samsung-made Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. There's no slider this time around and Xiaomi's taken a more conventional approach this time with a waterdrop notch. There's also an in-display fingerprint scanner in there, which has become a common feature on flagships over the past few days.

Xiaomi's also baked in long-press shortcuts into the in-display fingerprint scanner which cannot be customised yet but does add additional functionality into the scanner. The Mi 9 also features a hardware shortcut key to pull up an AI voice assistant of choice.

The Lavender Violet variant of the Mi 9. Image: Weibo/ Xiaomi

The Lavender Violet variant of the Mi 9. Image: Weibo/ Xiaomi

What can be claimed to one of the biggest upgrades to the Mi 9 is definitely the cameras on the phone. The Mi 9 features a triple-camera setup for the first time with a 48 MP primary camera, a 12 MP telephoto lens with 2X optical zoom and a 16 MP ultra-wide angle camera with a field-of-view of 117 degrees. Xiaomi says it’s also using “AI ultra-wide angle distortion correction” to fix the edges of those super-wide shots and effectively deal with barrel distortion.

On the front, we get a single 20 MP f/2.0 shooter along with a feature which has previously worked quite well on Xioami phones and that is the company's software-driven portrait mode. To boast a little, Xioami also had the Mi 9 benchmarked by DXOMark getting a score of 107 points. This total score puts it in third place, two points behind the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro.

Inside, we have the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC chugging things along which does make Xiaomi only one of the select few manufacturers to have a device running Qualcomm's more capable hardware. The Mi 9 also features the Snapdragon X50 modem which makes it capable for 5G networks when they arrive.

The Xiaomi Mi 9 also serves up a faster-charging solution, delivering 27 W wired charging via its ‘Charge Turbo’ solution (the recently announced Redmi Note 7 offers 18-watt charging). In fact, the company says it only takes one hour and four minutes to fully charge the device.

The Mi 9 will be launched globally soon. Image: Weibo/ Xiaomi

The Mi 9 will be launched globally soon. Image: Weibo/ Xiaomi

The improvements trickle down to the 3,300 mAh battery on the Mi 9. The phone comes with a 27 W charging brick which may not sound like a big deal compared to the likes of Huawei and OnePlus but Xioami claims it that the Mi 9 charges from 0-10 percent in only one hour and four minutes.

Faster charging extends to wireless charging too, as the phone offers 20 W wireless speeds. Xiaomi says it takes one hour and 40 minutes to fully juice up the device via Xiaomi's new 20 W charging pad. The biggest downside to all of this, however, is that the company is only including an 18-watt charging adapter in the box. That means you’ll want to splash out on the 20 W wireless charging pad, as it comes with a power adapter capable of 27-watt wired charging.

One more thing...

Wondering where's the Mi 9 SE? The Mi 9 SE is a bottled down version of the regular Mi 9 and as one would expect, also a little cheaper than the standard Mi 9. The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE starts at a price of CNY 1,999 (approximately Rs 21,146) for the 6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage model. The phone features a Snapdragon 712 chipset, a 5.97-inch OLED screen, an in-display fingerprint sensor, a smaller 3,070 mAh battery. The triple rear camera setup and the 20 MP front camera remains the same.

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