At present, it is difficult to find a compact smartphone that will have a screen smaller than 6 inches, but now Xiaomi has pleased us with another middle-class smartphone called the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE in our review.
This is a budget version of Xiaomi Mi 9, but the price tag on the Mi 9 SE still remains high, the official price will be $350. If you want to buy now, in Chinese stores prices start from $399.
In this full review, I want to share with you my opinion about the new version of the smartphone, talk about the pros and cons, and make a conclusion about whether to buy Mi 9 SE now.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE received a 5.97 inch Super AMOLED screen, the new Snapdragon 712 middle-class processor, a triple camera module on the rear panel and much more.
Let’s proceed to a detailed review of the Mi 9 SE, and as usual, I would like to begin the review with specs.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Specifications
|Xiaomi Mi 9 SE:||Specs|
|Display:||5.97 inches Super AMOLED with 2340 x 1080 pixels|
|CPU:||Snapdragon 712 Octa Core 2.3GHz|
|Memory extension:||Not Supported|
|Cameras:||48.0MP + 8.0MP + 13.0MP main and 20MP front camera|
|Connectivity:||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band,3G, 4G, Bluetooth 5.0, and GPS|
|OS:||Android 9.0 (MIUI 10)|
|Dimensions:||147.5 x 70.5 x 7.5 mm|
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Packaging and Unboxing
We received a small white box, on the front, there is the name of the model and the company. On the back side, there are technical characteristics. Everything is in Chinese since we do not have a global version of the smartphone.
Inside the box is the smartphone itself in protective films, front, and rear. Under it, there is an envelope box in which lies a transparent black case, a SIM needle, and various documentation.
Then you can see the Type-C charging cable, 18W fast charging adapter and headphone adapter.
The package for the new smartphone Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is no different from its predecessors. We have not seen anything new, everything is as standard. Let’s go to the look of the smartphone.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Design and Appearance
The new Xiaomi Mi 9 SE in the test has ambitions in its compact size and weight. The smartphone received the size of 147.5 x 70.5 x 7.5 mm and weight is 155 grams, it ideally lies in the hand. Manage your new Mi 9 SE smartphone is a real pleasure.
On the front panel is a small screen, compared with today’s trends, the size of 5.98 inches with the protection of Gorilla Glass 6. In the upper part of the screen, there is a water drop notch for the front camera and a conversational speaker.
To the right and left of the screen we see small frames, but from below the frame, the thickness is rather large. Is this good or bad? As for me, this is better because when using one hand with small edges, the palm will touch the screen and the control will be awkward.
On the reverse side, the manufacturer also uses glass with Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Its curved glass back, surrounded by an aluminum frame, looks quite pleasing to the eye.
Also here you can find a triple camera module and a LED flashlight. The fingerprint scanner is not here. It is located under the screen on the front panel.
At the bottom edge is a Type-C connector, which is used for fast charging. Since there is no 3.5 mm mini-jack port, an adapter is provided for connecting the headset – otherwise, you will need to use a wireless Bluetooth headset.
The control buttons are located on the right, and you can see the volume rocker and the power button. The buttons are made of metal and blend well with the side edges. The keystroke is pleasant and responsive.
On the left is a slot for dual nano-SIM cards.
Top IR port to control the TV and noise reduction holes.
The smartphone does not have any protection from water and dust, so you can not wet the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE. Also about the shortcomings, the rear camera bulges strongly, so the phone on a flat surface swings strongly. Over time, the rear camera sensors will wear out, so you should bear this in mind.
There are many videos on the Internet with the crash test of the smartphone, and the glass case is not the most reliable, even with Gorilla Glass. When falling from a height of 1 meter or higher, the glass will break. Therefore, I recommend immediately after buying the phone to buy an additional reliable case.
In general, the design and ergonomics of the smartphone Xiaomi Mi 9 SE in our analisis is very pleasant in the hands, and the control is very comfortable with one hand. The build quality is high, and the combination of glass and metal makes the smartphone premium, but not practical for everyday use.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Display
Xiaomi offers us a quality 5.97-inch Super AMOLED screen with a ratio of 19.5: 9 sides with a display of 1080 x 2340 pixels with good resolution (432 ppi).
Due to the water drop notch, the screen occupies 84.1% of the total area of the front panel.
For example, in the “Display” section, click “Contrast and colors” to go to three screens: “Auto Contrast”, “Enhanced Contrast” and “Default”. Choosing the latter allows you to get a better visualization of colors. With this setting, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE offers a very good average E delta (1.7), but a bit too high color temperature (7148K).
Please note that when selecting the “read” mode, you can calibrate to a temperature of 6500K. But, unfortunately, this is done to the detriment of the middle delta E which goes to 3.3. We decided to stay in the default profile.
The OLED panel in Mi 9 SE does not suffer from any brightness problems. Users under the summer sun will not suffer from readability problems since the screen rises to 594 cd/m² and has a low reflectivity (7%). In the night mode, users also do not have to worry about their retina, because the screen will only emit 2 cd/m².
Finally, in terms of performance, the screen has zero afterglows again, thanks to OLED technology, and the correct touch delay (72 ms).
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Hardware and Performance
Mi 9 SE is not inferior in performance to smartphones in the middle class in the test. This is the fastest SoC at the moment in the middle class, which works with the new Snapdragon 712 processor.
It has a 10 nm processor, which shows good performance, both in real life and in synthetic tests. In addition to this, Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is the first smartphone that works with Snapdragon 712.
The smartphone works in conjunction with 6GB of RAM and 64 or 128GB of internal memory.
When you start a video game chip Adreno 616 comes into control. Not surprisingly, Xiaomi Mi 9 SE can safely manage all the games in the Play Store without slowing down and with optimal or average graphics.
During our test, Xiaomi Mi 9 SE with the Chinese version of the firmware, we had some problems. This is not surprising since our smartphone was one of the first batches, and as usual, there will be a lot of flaws in the phone.
For example, when you play PUBG Mobile at the maximum allowable settings, the game gets a little delay. Yes, this is not critical, and most likely in the global version of these problems will not.
As for everything else? In real life, when using social networks and smartphone control modes, I did not find any problems.
Let’s compare the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE with last year’s flagship model Mi 8. The price for today is identical, that Mi 9 SE and Mi 8 cost about $400. But the performance is completely different since Mi 8 has a Snapdragon 845 flagship processor. Therefore, you should bear in mind when buying, whether you need to rush to buy a middle-class smartphone or buy last year’s flagship on a global version with better performance.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Software
As I mentioned above, we do not have a global version of the smartphone. Xiaomi Mi 9 SE in out analisis with Chinese firmware has only a few kinds of Chinese and English. Therefore, if you need any other languages you will need to wait for the official global version.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE runs Android 9.0 with the MIUI 10 user interface. All the available gestures or hotkeys functions work well. I did not notice any delays when switching the menu.
If you previously used smartphones from the company Xiaomi, then you will not have problems with this model. But again, you need to wait for the global version of the operating system.
114 GB of internal space is available in our 128GB version, and this is quite enough for modern games, music, and photos.
Some of the features in the settings are also quite pleasant, such as the “Always On” mode, like on Samsung models. The function displays the time, date and some notifications even when the screen is off. You can clone applications to use multiple accounts.
The work of the fingerprint scanner is desirable, because it does not always work clearly, and the response time is not very fast. Perhaps this is because of the sensor, which is not the latest version.
As for unlocking in the face, it works stable and much better than the fingerprint scanner under the display. Although in the dark time, unlocking has some delays, this is not surprising.
The smartphone Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is present NFC for wireless payment. Since this is the Chinese version, I could not connect my card to the smartphone. Perhaps this is only my problem with my device.
In general, the main problems of the custom Xiaomi Mi 9 SE are due to the Chinese version of the smartphone. In the global version of these problems will not be, this trend was with the previous generation Xiaomi Mi 8 SE.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Sound
The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE does not have a 3.5mm mini-jack port, just like any Mi. Therefore, the kit includes an adapter through the Type-C port located on the bottom edge of the smartphone. Fortunately, the included adapter is almost flawless. The distortion through the adapter is minimal, and its dynamic range is quite wide.
On the bottom of the smartphone is only one speaker and it is quite good, despite the slightly saturated sound. In general, for its class, the Mi 9 SE has typical sound quality.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Camera
On the back of the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is a triple module. The main sensor is 48 megapixels. It is exactly the same as the flagship model Xiaomi Mi 9 or Redmi Note 7 Pro.
Also, the main sensor is supported by an f/1.8 aperture lens. The second sensor is ultra-wide with a resolution of 13 megapixels and an f/2.4 aperture. The third telephoto sensor has a resolution of 8 megapixels with the same f/2.4 aperture.
The app in the smartphone in photo mode is pretty smooth. You can also set the manual ISO settings, activate HDR, self-timer, etc.
The photos in daylight with the main module performs a rather positive job. Despite the fact that the contrasts are a little imposed and the colors are a little pale, the end result is quite accurate.
On the other hand, and, as is often the case with Xiaomi, image processing significantly smoothes the image. That hide the irregularities of objects, but also harm the natural image.
Please note that Beauty and Beauty Pro modes can enhance this effect, especially on faces. These modes, maximized, turn photographed objects like statues in the Grevin Museum.
The pictures in low light Xiaomi Mi 9 SE do not surprise us in our test. The new middle-class Xiaomi does not make particularly high-quality photos at night. Although this should not be expected from this class. Detailing at night light is very weak and there is a lot of noise in the photos.
Below you can see examples of photos in comparison with Mi 8 and Redmi Note 7 with a Google camera. As you can see the results of Mi 8 and Mi 9 SE are much inferior to Redmi Note 7 with a G-cam.
The front of the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE has a single photo module with a 20-megapixel sensor and an f/2.0 aperture lens. It uses pixel combining technique. Combining four pixels to capture as much light as possible. This technology allows the Mi 9 SE to get bright self-portraits.
The portrait mode is also present on the front module and is just as successful as on the main camera. However, the eternal problem of smoothing arises again.
The rear main sensor Mi 9 SE is able to shoot at a speed of 2160 pixels and 30 frames per second. Its rendering is pretty clean, even with maximum resolution. However, there may be some changes in focus or brightness if the image has too many movements.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Battery
Mi 9 SE is equipped with a battery capacity of 3070 mAh. Not the best indicator on the mobile device market. Even if you compare with the previous version of the Mi 8 SE, which had a 3120 mAh. The main problem is the tendency of the minimum thickness of the device, so to put a capacious battery is problematic.
I test my smartphone using text messaging, video playback, web browsing, etc., our phone worked for about one day. Therefore, this is the average battery life. In the tests, the result was a little over 5 hours of the on screen.
The smartphone supports fast charging at 18 W and up to 100% charging takes about an hour and a half. A good indicator of Xiaomi!
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Conclusion and Reviews
At the moment, the Chinese version of Xiaomi Mi 9 SE offers us a high-quality smartphone, but with big problems in the user interface as for our review. Therefore, I recommend waiting for the release of a global version with refined problems of small parts.
All other aspects, such as performance, appearance, and camera quality, have good performance for their price. The new Snapdragon 712 processor ensures good and stable performance. The quality of the assembly and materials at the highest level.
But the smartphone Xiaomi Mi 9 SE has its drawbacks, such as a bulging camera, which will eventually wear out. The quality of pictures at night, even with a 48-megapixel camera, is inferior to many competitors. Also, the battery life wants to be the best, for this, you need a large battery capacity.
Currently, I would recommend looking at last year’s version of the flagship model with a global version of the Xiaomi Mi 8 firmware with an identical price tag than the Mi 9 SE.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Price and Where to buy cheaper?
Now in Chinese stores, the price of Xiaomi Mi 9 SE start at $399.99, but only the Chinese version can be bought now.
Therefore, if you are interested in this model Mi 9 SE, then I recommend waiting for the global version and in a few months, it is possible that the price will be closer to the official one for $350.