"In the coming months I will be posting a series of Newfoundland landscapes captured with a mobile phone. (yes, really!) Smartphones have always been lacking when it comes to their cameras, but this is about to change. 2019 has ushered in some much-needed and long-overdue improvements to higher-end mobile devices, and the newest kid on the block is Xiaomi's latest flagship device, the "Mi 9". After spending many hours researching online over the past couple of months, I have just purchased the much-anticipated Xiaomi Mi 9 handset.

With its four outstanding cameras... their quality high-resolution sensors/lenses manufactured by the likes of Sony and Samsung... Xiaomi has designed this new model with a truly stunning array of excellent optics and software, including AI, (artificial intelligence) capable of capturing images that come very close in quality to those taken with any of my Sony Alpha-series DSLR bodies and Minolta/Maxxum legacy glass.

Below is Digital Trends Magazine's in-depth review of the new Xiaomi Mi 9 smartphone, followed by a detailed description and full list of the phone's specs/features. For anyone considering the purchase of a new top-spec smartphone in 2019, I suggest that you read the following review in its entirety, and personally look into this amazing new device before buying any other phone."

Glen B.
April 22/2019


Want to see how powerful the newest Snapdragon 855 chip is? Just rev up the Xiaomi Mi 9.

When you get behind the wheel of a really fast car, there’s always a moment in the first few miles when it feels so responsive, so alive, that you say to yourself, “wow, this is quick.” That’s what happens when you start to use your favorite apps on the Xiaomi Mi 9, which has the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor inside. It’s an absolute monster, and for once, the marketing claim that it provides a 45-percent greater performance than its predecessor doesn’t feel like an empty promise. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is a superphone, in the same way a Ferrari 488 GTB is a supercar.

It’s not superphone or supercar expensive though, making it one of the most exciting and desirable phones of 2019. We were so impressed, we gave it our coveted "Best of Show" award at "Mobile World Congress 2019" in Barcelona, Spain in February.


Speed, in a smartphone at least, is relatively hard to measure. We’ve run some benchmarks for reference, but also want to describe the experience here. The speed comes across in smoothness — it’s just so damn silky, which is definitely what strikes you first when using the Mi 9. Next it’s the speed with which apps open, and then respond. There’s no slow-down, everything scrolls smoothly. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is so quick, it makes lightning bolts look sluggish and lazy!


- AnTuTu 3DBench: 361,283 (best in class)

- Geekbench 4 CPU: 3,536 single-core; 11,096 multi-core (best in class)

- 3DMark SlingShot Extreme: 4,918 (best in class)

The AnTuTu 3D score trounces everything before it, including the new Samsung Galaxy S10, and even the iPhone XS. The Mi 9 is the first smartphone to use the Snapdragon 855, and its performance here makes us very excited about 2019’s flagship devices all round. It’s joined by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage space.

Don’t wonder, don’t hesitate, and don’t think I’m exaggerating — the Xiaomi Mi 9 is a fabulous, high-performance monster of a smartphone.


The Xiaomi Mi 9 looks like a supercar as well. Sleek and curvy, the phone is made from glass, with Gorilla Glass 5 on the back, and Gorilla Glass 6 over the screen. The sides of the rear panel gently curve before meeting the aluminum chassis, making it immensely comfortable to hold. There are four different looks — a black version, along with a blue, a lavender, and a transparent finish too.

We’ll save you some decision-making time. The lavender or blue Mi 9's are utterly stunning, and the ones we’d choose to buy. That said, the transparent model is also very eye-catching, with some very cool details. We’re confident you want the Mi 9, it’s just a case of choosing between the colour.

Staying on the back, the triple-lens camera array is set inside a large camera bump. Xiaomi said it has used sapphire glass over the lenses, meaning scratches shouldn’t be a problem.

On the front, the 6.4-inch AMOLED screen has a small, unobtrusive teardrop notch, a 2,340 x 1,080 pixel full HD+ resolution, with absolute minimal bezels all around. It looks excellent, and there are many customizations to make sure it looks exactly to your liking. For example, you can adjust the brightness in standard view or night mode, choose contrast and color levels, and automatically set a reading mode.


This is the first time Xiaomi has used a triple-camera setup on the rear of one of its phones, and it has chosen the new Sony IMX586 sensor with an incredible 48-megapixels to headline the array. We’ve seen this already on the Huawei Honor View 20, and expect it to be one of the very best cameras out there over the coming year. It’s joined on the back side of the Mi 9 by an equally impressive 12-megapixel telephoto lens and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens with a 117-degree viewing angle.

Like the Huawei Honor, the 48-megapixel mode is not activated by default. You have to open the "Settings" menu and choose it from there. The reason Xiaomi has done this is the 48-megapixel mode is most suitable for scenes in good lighting. In its standard mode, the camera takes 12-megapixel shots as standard, and uses the latest "pixel binning" technology to draw in more light and increase performance, by combining four 12MP images into one image file, which creates super-sized pixel dimensions for greatly reduced noise and increased detail. So what’s it like? Excellent!

The artificially intelligent "Night Mode" is effective at exposing more detail in low-light shots without sacrificing any quality or detail, while not aggressively changing the image like the Pixel 3’s "Night Sight" mode does. In sunny conditions, the blue sky pops in photos taken with the Mi 9, and the "Bokeh Mode" is great at adding subtle amounts of depth to a photo without taking away realism. We also love the flexibility and creative opportunity of having an ultrawide-angle lens, a zoom, a night mode, various A.I. settings, and the huge 48-megapixel mode all rolled up into one outstanding camera kit.

A recent update has added a new "Moon Mode". This is specifically made to take photos of the moon, and is activated through the standard photo mode using artificial intelligence. Overall, there’s plenty to enjoy at the moment, and there is undoubtedly even more potential for improvement through future software updates too.


Xiaomi claims that the Mi 9 has the fastest wireless charging yet seen in a smartphone. It uses a proprietary technology built into a special wireless charger to pump 20 watts of power into the phone’s 3,300 mAh battery. The claim was one hour and 40 minutes to full on the special wireless charging puck, yet this is actually quite a conservative figure, as it in fact rockets to full in only 90 minutes! Very impressive for wireless charging. The Mi 9 indeed has the fastest wireless charging system ever seen in any smartphone to date.

You have to use the special Xiaomi wireless charger for this performance though, and it’s a serious piece of kit — about twice the thickness of a regular wireless charger, and it even has a cooling fan inside that churns away when it’s charging the phone. Ignore the fast wireless charging and plug in the cable alone, and things get even faster — expect a fully charged battery (0 to 100%) in less than 60 minutes, based on our tests.

Now you’re probably looking at the relatively small capacity on the battery and thinking that you’re going to need the fast-charging pretty often. The excellent news here is that you won’t, as the Snapdragon 855 is so highly power-efficient, and Xiaomi’s MIUI is so adept at managing its power effectively, as even after an 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. day of using the phone consistently, it still had more than 40% charge left. Even on very heavy days, we have not fallen below 15% after 15 hours of use. A 1,080p YouTube video played at maximum brightness for 10 hours and 15 minutes straight, before the battery was exhausted.

We’re also very pleased with the new in-display fingerprint sensor on the Mi 9. It’s an updated version over the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro, and it’s consistently more reliable than before. It’s more forgiving about finger placement, faster to unlock the phone than older versions, and works every bit as reliably as a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.


Yes, the Xiaomi Mi 9 uses the very latest Android 9.0 Pie, disguised underneath Xiaomi’s own MIUI 10 user interface, in its “Global” form and in version 10.2. The positives include the outright speed, the attractive animations and transitions, the minimalist and well-designed icons and menus, and the intuitive gesture control system.


A stunning, super-fast flagship smartphone that’s yours for a lower price than expected, the Mi 9 shows how quickly Xiaomi is maturing, and how much it’s working on creating the best smartphones that appeal to everyone. The Mi 9 is a compelling, high-performance device that is sure to become one of the year’s very best.


Ignoring the price for a second, let’s talk about other flagship smartphones with the Snapdragon 855 inside. The list is very short, with the only competitor being the new Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. The S10 Plus is a little more expensive... an excellent phone, but it’s questionable whether you need to spend that much more on a high-performance smartphone in 2019. Now let's put price back into the equation, and the Mi 9 stands world's above the competition, due to the Snapdragon 855, and its unbeatable camera system, front and back.


The hardware and technology inside is the very best you can get in 2019, so buy it with the knowledge that it will last you several years before you may ever feel a need to upgrade. The body is made of glass, and as the phone is quite slippery it would be wise to place it in a decent case.


Absolutely. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is 2019’s shrewdest smartphone purchase, particularly in terms of performance, and-features-per-dollar. The only other current smartphone with top-quality cameras that can even approach the outstanding quality of the Mi 9's optics is perhaps the upcoming Huawei Mate 20.

XIAOMI Mi 9 SPECS: (released April 10, 2019)


- Dimensions: 157.5mm x 74.7mm x 7.6mm

- Weight: 173 grams

- Frame: aluminum

- Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on back, and Gorilla Glass 6 on front

- dual SIM card trays

- on the Gorilla Glass back, "a mesmerizing reflective nano-laser engraved holographic pattern, and nano-coating, to produce a rainbowed halo effect"


- 6.4" Super AMOLED (Samsung) Full HD+

- bezel-less display (90.7% screen-to-body ratio)

- minimal and unobtrusive waterdrop notch

- Corning Gorilla Glass 6

- 600 nit brightness (very bright display, even in direct sunlight)


- OS: Android V9.0, (Pie)

- MIUI 10


- Processor: Qualcomm "Snapdragon 855" (newest, fastest chipset available as of April, 2019)

- CPU: Octa-core

- GPU: Adreno 640

- CPU: All-new Kyro 485 architecture with 7nm process

- Qualcomm's first trifecta design: 1 x 2.84GHz super large core + 3 x 2.42GHz large core + 4 x 1.80GHz small core

- Improved CPU performance: 45% improvement

- Improved efficacy: 40%

- Improved GPU performance: 20%

- Improved efficacy: 25%+

- The first smartphone GPU to support Vulkan 1.1 graphical driver and movie-level post processing 

- Increased bandwidth compression, shadow processing and true HDR rendering and display

- AIE edition performance: 7th generation AIE processor with 3 times more powerful AI


- 128 GB, 8 GB RAM

THE CAMERAS: (4 of them, for a total resolution of 96 MP)

CAMERA #1: 48MP f/1.75, 27mm wide-angle Sony Exmor-RS CMOS sensor (for an enormous 8,000 x 6,000 px image)

CAMERA #2: 16MP f/2.2, 13mm ultra-wide-angle Sony Exmor-RS CMOS sensor

CAMERA #3: 12MP f/2.2, 54mm telephoto Sony Exmor-RS CMOS sensor (2X optical zoom)

CAMERA #4: 20MP f/2.0, front facing camera with Samsung CMOS sensor

- Video: Full 4K@60fps, 2160p@30/60fps, 1080p@30/120/240fps, 1080p@960fps

- Image output: RAW, JPEG, RAW+JPEG

- AI (artificial intelligence)

- Exposure compensation

- ISO control

- Digital Zoom, plus 2x Optical Zoom

- Auto flash

- Face detection

- Touch to focus

- Phase detection autofocus

- Continuous autofocus

- Continuous shooting

- High dynamic range mode (HDR)

- Night Mode


- Fingerprint reader (under the display)

- Accelerometer

- Gyroscope

- Ultrasonic Proximity


- Electronic compass

- In-screen ambient light sensor

- Depth sensor

- Linear motor

- IR remote control

- Camera laser focusing sensor


- 3,300 mAh Lithium Ion

- 27 Watt wired Quick Charger 3+, charges from 0-100% in 60 minutes

- 20 Watt wireless Charging Cradle, charges from 0-100% in 90 minutes

- 100 Watts Lightning-Fast Charger, charges from 0-100% in 15 minutes (available May/2019)


With an overall DxOMark score of 107, the Xiaomi Mi 9 scores higher than both the Google Pixel 3 and Samsung's new flagship, the Galaxy S10 Plus. (a 107 score is the highest DxOMark performance rating of any smartphone so far in 2019)


Xiaomi Mi 9 has the world's first 20 watt ultra-fast wireless charging system.

The Snapdragon™ 855, Qualcomm's flagship processor of the year, is the world's fastest chipset available in a smartphone to date.


- 48MP HD

- Smart ultra-wide angle mode

- Ultra nightscape mode

- Portrait mode background blurring

- Panorama mode

- Pro mode

- Photo timer

- Level display

- Burst mode

- Face recognition


- Single-tone dual flash

- Dynamic photos

- AI Beautify

- Ultra wide-angle edge distortion correction

- Group photo face correction

- Custom watermark

- Full body portrait mode

- Portrait mode background blur adjustment

- Rear camera AI scene detection (30 recognizable tags)

- AI lens flare

- AI Studio lighting

- AI high resolution photos

- Moon mode


- Front camera HDR

- Front camera display brightness correction

- Selfie timer

- Face recognition

- Magic mirror

- Age recognition

- Eye light

- AI Beautify

- AI feature adjustment

- AI makeup

- AI portrait mode

- AI scene detection

- AI studio lighting

- AI lens flare