Xiaomi Mi 9 unveiled with 48MP triple camera, 20W wireless charging

Peter, 20 February 2019

The Xiaomi Mi 9 just went official with the company’s first triple camera and the fastest wireless charging of any phone yet.

The star of the camera is the 48MP module, a Sony IMX586 with a Quad Bayer filter. It’s a large 1/2” sensor with 0.8µm pixels, which can be combined into 1.6µm Super pixels. Note that the Redmi Note 7 from the sub-brand uses the Samsung 48MP sensor instead.

Anyway, the Mi 9 also offers a 16MP ultra-wide camera with 117° field of view. It has 1.0µm pixels and an f/2.2 lens with autofocus, which allows it to shoot macros from 4cm distance. The Mi 8 lacked an ultra-wide cam. It did have a 12MP 2x telephoto camera, but the Mi 9 trumps it with a brighter aperture (f/2.2).

The screen grew up to 6.39-inches but is still a Super AMOLED panel with 1080p+ resolution. Xiaomi claims 90.7% screen-to-body ratio, in part thanks to the smaller waterdrop notch. The screen’s High brightness mode can reach 600nits. Alternatively, Dark Mode can be used to reduce power usage by up to 83%. The Always-On Display now supports colorful patterns to spruce up the look of the phone.

The Mi 9 has a larger, higher resolution sensor compared to the Mi 8 Faster chipset too
The Mi 9 has a larger, higher resolution sensor compared to the Mi 9 • Faster chipset too

The smaller notch required modifications to the 20MP selfie camera (f/2.0, 0.9µm). In some regions, there will be AI-powered face unlock. AI is also used to reduce the distortion in the ultra-wide camera and will prompt you to switch between cameras when it thinks you can get a better shot.

The other biometric unlock option is the in-display fingerprint reader. It can be used with Google Pay thanks to the NFC connectivity. There’s also a dual-frequency GPS and an IR blaster.

Back to the screen for a moment, it’s guarded by Gorilla Glass 6. The back gets Gorilla Glass 5 and the triple camera has even more protection with a sapphire glass lens cover. If there’s one sort of protection the Mi 9 lacks, it is water resistance.

The Xiaomi Mi 9 brings a major improvement in fast charging. The company calls it Charge Turbo and it can deliver up to 27W over USB-C. However, the standard retail package comes with an 18W charger instead (matching the Mi 8).

There’s a fast wireless charger – up to 20W, the fastest we’ve seen yet – which comes bundled with a 27W wired charger. A 20W wireless car charger will also be available. Charge Turbo has been certified by TÜV, by the way, so it matches the Huawei's solutions in terms of safety. With all this, the battery capacity is essentially the same, 3,300mAh (that’s 100mAh down compared to the Mi 8).

Xiaomi picked the Snapdragon 855 chipset to power the Mi 9, no surprise here. It’s paired with 6GB of RAM and you can choose between 64GB and 128GB of storage. Game Turbo mode will tune the CPU and GPU to deliver a smoother gaming experience.

There will be a transparent version (you see decals rather than the real components). This model will pack 12GB of RAM and 256GB storage. This one will be available only in China at first. Also only in China, the phones will use Xiao AI instead of the Google Assistant.

The standard Xiaomi Mi 9 will be available in Lavender Violet, Ocean Blue and Piano Black. The pricing for the 6/128 GB variant is CNY2,999, which is about $455/€395. The 8/128 GB option is CNY3,299 ($490/€430), while the Transparent option with 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage will cost CNY3,999 ($595/€525).


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Reader comments

Nokia came with such cameras in their phones ages ago...it was like... Once upon a time there was a king...

It's hard to find one that's this dirt cheap. Maybe you guys should be sticking with midrangers, they have the most basic of features.

DXOMark is hardly reputable