Xiaomi has announced the Mi 9 in Beijing today, going back to the smartphone line that started it all for the company. The Mi 9, despite not being its most exciting line any longer, still has some pretty interesting features included. This is the first time that Xiaomi has used a triple-camera setup, and it also brings the under-display fingerprint sensor back - and it's much faster now. That's just some of what's new with the Mi 9.
We spent a bit of time with the Mi 9, as well as the Mi 9 Pro, and it's not as surprising as you might think.
While other smartphones are rumored to come out with a Time of Flight sensor on their cameras, Xiaomi is sticking with a triple camera setup. This includes a wide-angle, regular main camera and then a telephoto sensor. This setup is perfectly fine. But a ToF sensor does also allow for some other features like better portrait mode. On the other hand, that has never been a problem for Xiaomi. And having the wide and telephoto lenses available is a bigger deal. Allowing you to get whatever shot you want.
The Mi 9 does support wireless charging, something Xiaomi has really dug into the last couple of years. But it has taken things up a notch. The Mi 9 can support wireless charging at up to 20W. This means that it can recharge the 3300mAh capacity battery in about 100 minutes (an hour and 40 minutes). This is about double the speed that Samsung offers on its "fast wireless charging" and it is a pretty big deal.
Xiaomi is coming out with some 20W compatible wireless charging products as well. Including a charging pad, a battery pack and a car mount. All of which we got the chance to check out - early prototypes so they weren't perfect. This new fast wireless charging, Xiaomi is calling ChargeTurbo. Not to be confused with TurboCharge that Motorola uses.
There is a button on the left side of the Mi 9 that will bring up the Google Assistant. It's Mi AI, a feature borrowed from the Mi MIX 3 released last year. On the Chinese ROM, it'll be the Chinese virtual assistant that has always been on its devices. But outside of China, it will use the Google Assistant. This is something we're starting to see more of, adding a dedicated Google Assistant button. And the only thing we can say is, it's better than a Bixby button.
Internally, Xiaomi is not holding back. Using the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 to power the Mi 9, and that is paired with either 6GB of RAM or 12GB of RAM on the Pro model. The regular Mi 9 comes with either 64GB or 128GB of storage, while the Mi 9 Pro has 256GB of storage. In our limited hands on time, the Mi 9 seemed to be very fluid, even with MIUI 10.2 on-board.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 is not coming to the US, and that's no surprise. It will be coming to all markets that Xiaomi is currently in. Only pricing and availability for China was announced today. Xiaomi is expected to announce global pricing and availability at Mobile World Congress in just a few days.