Xiaomi announced its latest flagship phone, the Mi 9, in February. A Chinese launch event on 20 February was followed by a Global launch on 24 February, and the new phone is now on sale in France, Spain and Italy. Weirdly it costs a little more in France, at €499, but elsewhere in Europe it's available from €449.
We are STILL waiting for UK pricing and a UK release date, though the Mi 9 will definitely be going on sale here. If, like us, you can't wait to get your hands on the phone we loved so much at MWC 2019 that we gave it one of our 'Best in Show' awards, there are other options such as importing the smartphone from GearBest, though we'd advise waiting for availability of the Global model.
The Mi 9 comes with 6GB of RAM and 64- or 128GB of storage, and is available in three colours - Piano Black, and gorgeous iridescent (Xiaomi calls it 'holographic') Ocean Blue or Lavender Violet.
In China there is also the Mi 9 Explorer and Mi 9 SE, neither of which got a mention during the Global launch event, leading us to think we may once again see these special editions replaced with Pro and Lite versions in the UK and Europe.
We've detailed the Mi 9 Explorer and Mi 9 SE below anyhow, since you can still import these from China. After the launch we have also learned that Xiaomi will soon be announcing an additional 8GB RAM, 256GB storage version of the Explorer, which will be a bit cheaper than the 12GB RAM Mi 9 Explorer announced in February.
Also see: Mi 9 vs Mi 8
The standard Mi 9, which starts at €449, has a 6.39in Samsung AMOLED screen with a waterdrop notch housing a 20Mp selfie camera. The display covers 90.7% of the front surface of the phone, with a reduced chin (now just 4.6mm) and tall 19:9 aspect ratio. A fingerprint sensor is built-in, and operates 25% faster than on the Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Explorer.
Protected with Gorilla Glass 6, the screen has a Full-HD+ resolution. It covers 103.8% of the NTSC colour gamut, and offers 60cd/m2 brightness and 60000:1 contrast. Extra features include a customisable Always-on display, a system-wide Dark mode that can reduce power usage by up to 83%, Sunlight mode 2.0 and Reading mode 2.0.
Despite its size, the Mi 9 is just 173g and 7.6mm thick. At the side you find a dedicated button for calling up the Google Assistant, and turn over the phone and you find more changes. There are three lenses here, with a staggeringly high megapixel count.
Swapping out the dual-lens camera of the Mi 8, the Mi 9's new triple-lens configuration is rated at 48Mp + 16Mp + 12Mp, all hidden behind tough Sapphire glass.
The first is a Sony IMX586 1/2" sensor that supports 0.8um pixels and has a f/1.75 aperture. This camera can also increase the pixel size to 1.6um at 12Mp, with its '4-in-1 Super Pixels' allowing in four times more light than a single pixel.
The 12Mp telephoto lens has a 2x optical zoom, while the 16Mp wide-angle supports a 117º field of view and 4cm macro photography. Both have 1.0um pixels and f/2.2 aperture. Super slow-mo at 960fps is also supported.
Inside is a brand-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, a 7nm chip that uses a Kryo 845 core. It's clocked at 2.8GHz and integrates the Adreno 640 GPU, offering a 45% improvement in processing speed and 20% in graphics over the Mi 8's 845. Xiaomi combines this chip with a minimum 6GB RAM and 64GB non-expandable storage, though the Mi 8 is also available with 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB storage.
For enhanced gaming Xiaomi also introduces Game Turbo, which is able to predict gaming scenes and intelligently allocate resources for complicated scenes to avoid lag. This new feature also provides an in-game toolbox to show CPU, GPU utilisation and frames.
There's also multi-functional NFC, dual-frequency GPS and an IR blaster, and HPUE and 4x4 MIMO. Smart antenna ensures you get the best reception at all times.
Xiaomi claims sound has also been improved with 'industry's best linear speaker', equivalent to 0.9cc large speaker box with deeper bass, Smart PA uses dynamic gain to amplify sound by 100%.
The battery is rated at 3,300mAh, which is 100mAh down on the Mi 8, but it has been upgraded to support super-fast 27W wired charging and 20W wireless charging.
A top-end version of the Mi 9, the Explorer Edition is a 5G-capable phone with a super-cool transparent design. It's not actually the genuine internals on show, but it looks pretty cool and the aluminium plate Xiaomi has used here doubles as a heat sink.
It houses a staggering 12Mp of RAM and 256GB storage, and swaps out the 6-piece 48Mp lens for a 7-piece lens with f/1.47 aperture. (A second version with 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage will be announced soon.)
For the first time outside the Mi Mix line we see the Mi 9 and Mi 9 Explorer Edition supporting fast wireless charging at 20W, and Xiaomi has also introduced a wireless power bank.
The Mi 9 Explorer Edition costs 3,999 CNY in China, which is around £456/US$595. You'll be able to import one from GearBest as soon as it is in stock.
At CNY 1,999 (around £228/US$297), the SE is a stripped-down version of the Mi 9. It has a smaller 5.97in screen, and a slower 2.3GHz Snapdragon 712 10nm processor with Adreno 616, but otherwise shares many of the same features including an in-display fingerprint sensor.
The Mi 9 SE also has a 48Mp lens at the rear, though rather than 16Mp and 12Mp lenses of the standard Mi 9 it pairs this with 8Mp and 13Mp lenses. Both phones have a 20Mp selfie camera.
At 7.45mm thick the Mi 9 SE weighs just 155g. It has a 3,070mAh battery that charges at a slower speed of 18W and does not support wireless charging.
The Mi 9 SE will also be available to import from GearBest when stocks arrive.
When is the Xiaomi Mi 9 release date?
The Mi 9 was officially confirmed in China on 20 February, and in Europe on 24 February. It is now on sale in France, Spain and Italy. We expect the UK launch to be imminent, though we are still waiting for news.
It's possible only the Mi 9 will go on sale in the UK, since we never saw the release of the Mi 8 SE and Mi 8 Explorer Edition, and they weren't mentioned during the global launch. However, in the UK the Mi 8 was sold alongside a Mi 8 Lite and Mi 8 Pro, so it's possible we could also see a Mi 9 Lite and Mi 9 Pro announced soon.
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