Xiaomi Mi 9 SE – Introduction
As the economic cell category continues to grow in the United States, the rest of the world is already offering a multitude of options for affordable, high-quality equipment. The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is another device of this type, excellent for its money but still does not have a total availability in North America. The worldwide release of Pixel 3a has been fantastic for the entire market, as its low prices and exceptional experience have proven that the fastest-growing products are low-cost mid-market products. At this point, in 2019, you can buy an extraordinary device at a price not exceeding 400 USD – and in many cases, with the remaining changes.
The Mi 9 SE is the most compact of the 9 and is almost 6 inches, next to the Mi 9 and 9T of 6.39 inches. It’s a Samsung SuperAMOLED like those of the other two. The ES is therefore not considered a low-end device in this respect, simply because it is the most affordable of the group.
It also has a triple camera and a good triple camera – standard/title/ultra-wide, like the big boys. It’s the same arrangement as on the Mi 9T, which means a few degradations compared to the high-end Mi 9, but it remains a respectable range of shooters.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE – Design
The phone is thin and lightweight (7.5mm), weighs only 155g – smaller and lighter than an iPhone XS despite a larger screen. Its polished metal frame has rounded corners and sides, which makes it stable and flexible at the same time. It has Gorilla Glass 5 at the both front and back side provides protection, and the Mi 9 SE also comes with a holster.
All the buttons are located on the right side of the phone, while the USB-C port and the mono single-trip speaker are located at the bottom. There is a dual SIM card slot on the right and at the top, an infrared (IR) blaster. At the back of the phone, you’ll find a bump containing three cameras and, below, a flash.
With its very bright finish, the Mi 9 SE quickly draws fingerprints, but that’s all we have to say against its design. It’s a pleasure to watch, and it’s a wonderfully easy-to-hold phone that could be perfect for any smartphone user who needs something more manageable.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE – Display
The display on the Mi 9 SE is one of the highlights of this phone. This panel almost wholly occupies the front of the Mi 9 SE, due to the reduction in the number of lenses offering a 90% high body-to-body ratio and a small drop-shaped notch. The Mi 9 SE has a 5.97-inch screen with an FHD + resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, which is more than enough. Also, it is an OLED panel manufactured by Samsung, synonymous with quality and Gorilla Glass 5 certified, which offers additional protection.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE – Camera
The Mi’s 20 mp front sensor has an f/2.0 aperture which allows for good quality selfies. The photos even seem well lit in increasingly dark conditions and have a stable dynamic thanks to HDR support. Xiaomi has also integrated a beauty mode based on AI that offers you an infinite number of options to refine the look of your selfies. The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE also has three rear-facing cameras, just like its big brother.
Xiaomi claims to have covered the camera case with a layer of sapphire crystal. The primary camera of the three cameras is a 48 MP Sony IMX586 sensor with a large aperture of f / 1.75. We’ve already seen this sensor in devices such as the Honor View 20 and were impressed by its ability to interpolate 4 pixels into one to create an image of 12-MP with higher photosensitivity than a 48 MP or traditional model of 12 MP. In short, this method should theoretically help you to take better pictures with a weak light compared to older sensors.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE – In-Display Fingerprint
I’m not a big fan of under-the-counter fingerprint readers, but I have to admit that the Mi 9 SE surprised me, both by its efficiency and its speed. On other phones I’ve reviewed, this sensor has put my patience to the test, and I miss a fingerprint reader in the back.
Recommendation: Even though the process is long and tedious, take your time to configure your fingerprints optimally, you will appreciate later. Also, this integrated fingerprint reader is not the only method of unlocking, and it is completed by the unlocking of the face, which works well, even if it is necessary to show a little patience.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE – Connectivity
The Mi 9 SE has a USB Type-C port, to which you can connect peripherals such as keyboards, mice or USB sticks, thanks to USB On-The-Go (OTG) support. The device also uses Miracast for wireless broadcast of its display on monitors and external TVs.
Disappointingly, the Chinese version of the Mi 9 SE only supports the DRM Widevine L3, which means that it can not broadcast DR-protected SD content from services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. However, Xiaomi has certified the global model with Widevine L1 and therefore does not have the same limits as its Chinese counterpart. Xiaomi has dropped the Mi 9’s notification light but keeps a permanent display to show notifications when the device is idle.
The mid-range smartphone also includes an infrared transmitter, an integrated fingerprint scanner, and a technology for unlocking the face. Xiaomi has also equipped the SE with a 3,070 mAh battery that can only be recharged via USB 2.0 Type-C.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE – Specification
- Display: 5.97″, Super AMOLED, 2340×1080 pixels, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 712, 8-core, Kryo 360 with a maximum frequency of 2.3 GHz
- Graphics accelerator: Adreno 616
- RAM: 6 GB
- Storage: 64/128 GB
- Camera: triple, main module 48 megapixel, f/1.8, 1/2 “, 0.8µm, PDAF; extra wide-angle module 13 megapixel, f/2.4, 1.12µm; telephoto 8 megapixels, f/2.4, 1.12µm, PDAF
- Front camera: 20 megapixel, f/2.0, 0.9µm
- Battery: 3070 mAh
- OS: Android 9.0 Pie with MIUI 10 Shell
- Wireless networks: Bluetooth 5.0 (A2DP, LE, aptX HD), Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS (A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO), NFC
- Dimensions: 147.5 × 70.5 × 7.5 mm
- Weight: 155 g
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE – Battery
Considering that the battery is relatively small compared to current standards, it manages to make you spend a day with a little free time. I do not know if this is due to some battery optimizations provided by MIUI or something different. You can make many adjustments to limit background processes and reduce battery consumption.
I had a full day of what I would call a normal use that left me about 20% of remaining energy. Sometimes I had to trust a little bit before going out. The Mi 9 SE comes with a USB-C 18W fast charger. This will take you from zero to 100% in less than an hour and 30 minutes.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE – Conclusion
For me, the mid-range is the essence of real innovation and value. All advanced technologies are found in devices such as the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE. That means you get the best of both worlds – superb design, reliable performance, and great value.
As I have said in several recent journals, the biggest problem is often the lack of official availability in the United States. For the rest of the world, this is not a problem because support networks are present and availability is generally reasonable. For those who want a smaller phone, the Mi 9 SE is a fantastic option that, like the Pixel 3a, makes compromises in the right places for a successful overall experience.