xiaomi mi9
xiaomi mi9

This has been a very busy week for releasing smartphones. Samsung announced four new phones, this past week and now Xiaomi has announced their new flagship phone will be making its debut in Europe this week. The Mi9 will hit the shelves in Europe starting on February 28th. At a press conference in Barcelona, the company confirmed that the phone will be available with either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage for €449 (roughly $510) and €499 (roughly $566) respectively.  The prices seem quite reasonable when compared to a Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone, don’t they?

But let’s look at the specs for a moment:

  • MIUI 10.2 based on Android 9 Pie
  • 6.39-inch OLED display (19.5:9), 403ppi, FHD+, 90.7% screen-to-body ratio, Gorilla Glass 6, 103.8% NTSC wide color gamut, 600-nit brightness with High Brightness Mode
  • Reading Mode 2.0, Sunlight Mode 2.0
  • 6GB RAM LPDDR4X + 64GB storage UFS 2.1
    6GB RAM LPDDR4X + 128GB storage UFS 2.1No microSD card slot
  • Battery: 3,330mAh
  • Wireless charging: 20W non-Qi with proprietary charger OR 10W Qi
  • Wired charging: Rated for 27W wired charging (18W charger provided with the device)
  • Primary rear camera: 48MP 1/2-inch Sony IMX586 sensor, wide-angle lens, f/1.75 aperture, 6P lens, 0.8μm pixel size, 12MP shots with 4-in-1 pixel binning at 1.6μm
  • Secondary rear camera: 12MP telephoto Samsung S5K3M5 lens, f/2.2 aperture, 6P lens, 1.0μm pixel size, 2x optical zoom
  • Tertiary rear camera: 6MP 117° ultra wide-angle Sony IMX481 lens, f/2.2 aperture, 6P lens, 1.0μm pixel size, 4cm macro support
  • LED flash
  • Laser Autofocus (combination of PDAF and CDAF), Closed-loop Voice Coil Motor (VCM) for improved auto-focusing

The phone will be available in Piano Black, Ocean Blue, and Lavender Violet. There’s no word on whether the Mi 9 Explorer Edition, with its not-quite-genuine transparent back, will ever be sold outside of Europe. That said, the Mi 9 looks to be a high-value phone. Are there other phones that we could compare it to? The OnePlus 6T currently starts at €549 in Europe and the newly-announced Samsung Galaxy S10 will set you back ($899). If you’re looking for flagship quality on a budget, this is probably worth considering — provided you can cope with MIUI and the lack of OIS on the camera.

Like Samsung, Xiaomi is also teasing their 5G model in the Mi line. It includes a Snapdragon 855 processor with Snapdragon X50 modem for up to 2.3Gbps download speeds. Xiaomi’s 5G phone will be available in May in Europe.

While I love to see competition within the market, I wonder if there are too many phones? Especially since Apple and Samsung often release more than 2 versions of their flagship phones. You can get an Apple XR, XS, and XS Max. If you’re looking for a Samsung phone, you can get Galaxy S10, an S10 Plus, an S10e and an S10 5G (when it becomes available). While Xiaomi’s devices are currently only available in Europe, there is a good chance at least one of their models will be coming to North America soon, and that will leave us with many phones to choose from. As a consumer that’s a bit much for me. And now more companies are choosing to create and launch a foldable phone. It just seems like a bit too much from my perspective.

That said, this does look like a good alternative, so maybe that’s the main takeaway from all of this. More options means you as a consumer have more choice!

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