Xiaomi Mi 9 SE Review

Verdict

With a bit of tweaking, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE can deliver a premium feel, an incredibly versatile camera and exceptional performance, not to mention a Super AMOLED display.

Advantages

  • Excellent design
  • Beautiful camera
  • Bright performance

The inconvenients

  • The interface has some quirks
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Mono speaker

Key specifications

  • Price of the examination: $322
  • 19.5: 9 screen, 5.97 inches with Full HD resolution
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 processor
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • Super AMOLED screen
  • Fingerprint in the display
  • 48MP camera

What is Xiaomi Mi 9 SE?

The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is a glass and metal mobile phone that looks like a flagship product. Despite a suggested retail price of £ 349, you can buy it for under £ 300 if you shop. The phone has a 19.5: 9, 5.97-inch display that displays Full HD resolution, so sharper than the most expensive iPhone XR.

The Mi 9 SE’s 3070mAh battery is rather small, but on the paper, since the phone has average power, it could work both ways. There is also a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 processor that, combined with a built-in 6 GB RAM, is an impressive specification from a power point of view.

Although the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE does not have a wireless charge or stereo speakers, like the flagship products such as Pixel 3, it still provides a fingerprint scanner under display and a Super AMOLED screen. The phone’s 48 MPa camera also incorporates the sensor used in many flagship products from OnePlus 7 Pro.

Design – The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE looks like a flagship product

Resembling a flagship product of 2018, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is a beautiful slice of smartphone. It’s available in three colors – blue, purple and gray – and all look great with their ultra-shiny finishes. Although they attract fingerprints very easily, fortunately there is a case in the box. You can protect yours from the start and keep it burr free.

With its 19.5: 9 screen measuring less than 6 inches, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is long and thin, which makes it easy to use with one hand. Despite a larger screen than a iPhone XS, it still manages to be thinner and lighter than Apple’s flagship product. All buttons are on the right side of the device. Meanwhile, on the left is a dual SIM card slot.

With its sleek, rounded, elegant metal frame sandwiched between two sheets of Gorilla Glass, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is smooth. This can be a little slippery – but, in general, can be held comfortably and securely, especially when it’s in its holster, and is comfortable for large and small hands.

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

There is no headphone jack or microSD card slot and, at the bottom of the phone, a mono speaker, so it’s not quite a flagship product from the audio point of view. That said, the USB-C port of Mi 9 SE is nice to use, given the similar price Oppo RX17 Neo has a micro USB port (now obsolete).

Unlike flagship devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is not IP approved for its resistance to water and dust.

Screen – Xiaomi Mi 9 SE Has Awesome Super AMOLED Screen

The design is pretty close to the best in its class considering the prices charged by the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE, just like the screen. For starters, this panel is clean. A pixel density of 432 pixels per inch means it is sharper than the previous one OnePlus 7 and the Huawei P30 Pro.

Best of all, the Mi 9 SE uses a Super AMOLED display, with many options for customizing colors in settings. By default, the display is punchy, but it can be turned off for more natural tones and also produces deep blacks.

The brightness is very impressive, as are the viewing angles, with only a slight color shift at extreme angles – which is what most flagship OLEDs suffer from.

There is also a dark mode in the settings to take advantage of the black depth produced by the screen of Mi 9 SE. You can also hide the notch. Frustrating, rather than following the Huawei road by hiding the notch, still displaying the notifications and the time in the dark area on either side of the selfie camera, hiding it on the Mi 9 SE will simply lower the screen, notifications included, thus reducing the screen and completely miss a trick.

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

In fact, our only real problems with the screen are from a software point of view. When you play in full screen in particular, the Mi 9 SE cuts the notch, but without curve at both corners. This creates an ugly, asymmetrical appearance – two curved corners, two right-angled corners. Hopefully this will be corrected in a software update.

Software – The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE runs a scalable operating system with many customization options.

As the Redmi Note 7, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE uses Android 9.0 with MIUI 10, also available on the flagship product Xiaomi Mi 9.

With Android Pie, it’s great to see the latest widely available version of Google’s operating system here; at the same time, you protect the phone from the future and ensure support for applications.

The interface does not have an application drawer. Instead, he opts for an iOS-esque configuration. Shortcuts and widgets can be organized on your home screens. To the left of it, you’ll find a utility that gives you quick access to features that Xiaomi thinks users need. These include tools like a QR code reader and a note taker. There is also a drop-down menu of notifications / quick toggle menu at the top of the screen.

The phone offers many customization options in its interface. Navigation is controlled by gestures, but you can, for example, restore the navigation bar. In addition, a customizable activation / deactivation schedule is available, as well as a password-protected virtual “second space” for sensitive information.

There are also some annoying quirks. For example, every time you install an application, it is scanned for viruses. Although it sounds good, it does not just scan in the background, it takes you to another screen, loaded with ads that are hard to get around.

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

You can remove this feature and also restore an Applications pane with a custom launcher, two things we did – after which the experience has gone from 60% to 90%, but if you’re not ready to adapt the user interface to your convenience, some elements can be a little frustrating.

Performance – The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE claims impressive power for its price

With its Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 processor coupled with 6GB of RAM and 64 or 128GB storage, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is like a lovechild flagship / high end medium.

The interface went very well during the two weeks we spent on the phone, as did the third-party apps and the camera, which shot and watched up to 4K without sweating.

The benchmarks still impress for the phone under £ 300, with his multi-heart Geekbench scoring at 5968. The Mi 9 SE’s Antutu score was 181768, placing it roughly tied with a Pixel 2. This is reflected in the games, the phone handling 2D and 3D titles as a champion. There is no microSD card, which could put off, but with a storage capacity of up to 128 GB, there should be room for all but the most demanding users. In addition, there is also a dual SIM card slot.

The speaker mono speaker is as powerful as it should, but it is very easy to conceal during games. The lack of a headphone jack also means that you will need a pair of Bluetooth speakers to get the most out of it, even though it comes with a USB-C adapter headphone jack in the box.

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

Biometric security comes in the form of a facial recognition and a fingerprint scanner under display. In parallel, both work quickly, however, the fingerprint scanner is not as fast as traditional scanners.

Camera – The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is equipped with an incredibly versatile camera for a midrange phone

The triple camera of the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE has a configuration virtually identical to that of the Mi 9 flagship camera, a 48 megapixel (f / 1.8) main camera, an 8 megapixel (f / 2.4) telephoto camera and a 13 MP resolution 2.4) Ultra wide angle camera. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and Autofocus are both missing here, but that has impressed us all the same in our time.

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

The main sensor can have a resolution of 48 megapixels, but the images are rendered at 12 megapixels, unless you press the override switch in 48M mode. This low-resolution image takes advantage of binning pixels, a technique that combines information from multiple pixels to create a better image, albeit with lower resolution.

Under good lighting, the details captured by the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE are superb, even if they are a bit high in terms of contrast and saturation. That said, you can delete these default values ​​in the settings. Hang on to the pictures you’ve taken, and everything is fine, and this is especially true in the 48MP mode we recommend to shoot when the lighting conditions are not too difficult.

xiaomi mi 9's photo sample

The heavens are bright and colorful

xiaomi mi 9 SE photo sample

Colors can be very saturated

When HDR is enabled, even difficult scenes provide a satisfying dynamic range when capturing on the Mi 9 SE. That said, Auto HDR could be a bit more sensitive because it does not always fire when we need it. If you do not see the HDR indicator, be sure to replace it.

There are also many shooting options. These include Night, Panorama, AI, Portrait, and Pro modes. The new 48MP mode is missing from older Xiaomi phones. It takes advantage of the high number of pixels in the sensor and allows you to create images that can be pinched directly.

In low light, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is not doing so badly. In night mode, it captures atmospheric night shots with a slightly increased brightness, thereby enabling long-term exposure Huawei P30 series. Even in automatic mode, the low light performance is respectable from the main camera.

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE Review 1

Night mode activated

The telephoto lens and the wide camera both perform decent work in good lighting, also taking advantage of the automatic HDR function. That said, when the lights go out, we suggest you avoid both.

The 20-megapixel (f / 2.0) selfie camera also features Auto HDR mode, making it easier to handle backlit scenes than many midrangers. Beauty mode is not pervasive by default, flatter rather than just flattening subjects. It can also be composed from top to bottom, which is welcome.

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE Review 2

The beauty mode is not too strong

The details in the selfies are excellent in good lighting, but in low light, because the sound sinks into clarity. On the plus, the screen can double as a flashlight, which helps things well.

The video is recorded with a maximum resolution of 4K, which saves a superb level of detail for the price, especially under good lighting – provided you hold the phone still. Although in Full HD, the stabilization is excellent, despite the absence of OIS, in 4K, it does not seem to go off. What is also frustrating is that the video does not take advantage of wide angle or telephoto cameras, but only the main module.

Battery life – The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE has a small battery, but it lasts a full day

The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE’s 3070mAh battery may seem small, but given its screen size of less than 6 inches and the average power required, it’s not surprising that it lasts a whole day.

In our tests, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE handled very well an hour of streaming video, games and music playback with the screen off, leaving more than 60% of the remaining area. In the real world, we had about 20% tanks at 9 pm, with 6 o’clock starts and moderate use.

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

There is also a whole range of battery optimization options in the settings to further extend the battery life of the Mi 9 SE. If you do not do it before the end of the day, it supports a fast charge of 18 W, delivered with a compatible charger box.

Should I buy Xiaomi Mi 9 SE?

The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is a small high end smartphone with a very good camera and great power under the hood, considering its price. Although its recommended retail price is in the region of $322, you can get it for under $ 300 if you shop around.

This means that it directly competes with the likes of the Nokia 8.1, a phone considerably worse in almost every respect, despite the fact that it works with a cleaner interface.

Alternatively, the Huawei P30 Lite is an “affordable flagship product” that looks similar to the Mi 9 SE, but hardly comparable in terms of power.

You can even settle for the surplus and take the Google Pixel 3A for a stock, a full mid-range experience with a single star camera. That said, it does not have the versatility of a zoom or a very wide-angle camera, and the Mi 9 SE feels much more valuable in the hand.

In the end, while the Mi 9 SE may not be perfect in all respects, you probably will not get more for less, at a lower cost.

Verdict

With a bit of tweaking, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE can deliver a premium feel, an incredibly versatile camera and exceptional performance, not to mention a Super AMOLED display.

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