There is now a black pixel overlay to change the shape of the notch, which is pretty strange, to be honest. I apologize for the poor quality photo, but shining a light up close is the best way to show how the notch has changed in shape. You can see the black pixel overlay surrounding the notch, but the display definitely has a U-shaped cutout.
Like previous Xiaomi Mi smartphones, the Xiaomi Mi 9 lacks a 3. Thankfully the dongle works while wirelessly charging, so you can still plug in earphones and charge your phone at the same time.
Audio output sounds great and gets nice and loud, powering my Sennheiser Momentum 2. Call quality is also great, both receiving and sending. The microphone does a fine job of canceling out background noise and making your voice easy to distinguish. As for haptics, the Xiaomi Mi 9 has the best vibration in a Xiaomi smartphone yet. Finally, the Xiaomi Mi 9 features two signal antennae at the bottom: one at the top and one on the left side. Surprisingly, signal strength is actually excellent on this device. For me, having a consistent connection is more important than a fluctuating 4G connection.
The 6. Thanks to the contrast afforded by OLED technology, dark mode in apps look fantastic. There is also a Sunlight Mode here which increases the contrast when in sunlight, again to make certain UI elements pop out while using it in direct sunlight.
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It looks spectacular. My only complaint is that I feel that the auto-brightness defaults to very dim levels of brightness and could do with being increased a bit. It currently shows the time, date, and the icon of any new notifications that have come in since you last unlocked your device. The Always on Display shifts around the entire panel of the smartphone, so no one area is lit up for too long.
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Under the display is an optical fingerprint sensor. Optical fingerprint scanners have come a long way since their first iterations last year.
Once you open the notification shade they disappear, however. In my Reddit app of choice, reddit is fun , comments can sometimes have the first character cut-off at the bottom of the display because of the rounded corners. My problem with MIUI are the bugs and the inconsistent software issues.
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There are so many small problems here and there that makes this smartphone frustrating to use at times. When you hold the fingerprint sensor, you can leave your thumb on the display to access three gestures. I only wish they were programmable so that they could actually be customized. By default, holding it down will allow you to talk to the Google Assistant for however long you hold it down for. I kept that enabled, but I also set it so that a double press of the button toggles the torch.
For example, their AI pre-loading for applications does take into account when you launch applications and tries to keep them in memory for you to access them. An AI button though? Horrible naming aside, it really is a useful feature and I am an advocate for more programmable buttons on smartphones. MIUI has a large number of features on top of those, including the Always on Display as mentioned before and display color modes. You can tint the display any color you want on the color wheel, adjusting it from cool and warm.
There really is something for everyone here. A fan favorite may be the theme engine with a store. MIUI 10 is everything that stock Android is not. Sometimes I need to put that data SIM card into my portable hotspot as well. What this means is that if I forgot to disable mobile data on my phone before taking it out, my phone will typically just connect to a mobile network straight away on my SIM for calls and texts, which in turn will cost me money. This is great attention to detail and has already saved me money.
I really, really like it. Xiaomi has made a commitment to improving their smartphone cameras since mid It sports a very-capable triple camera setup. All three sensors can make use of PDAF for quick and accurate autofocus. All of that combines to make for excellent smartphone photography, which is exactly what the Xiaomi Mi 9 offers. OIS matters a lot when taking photos where the shutter time needs to be increased. I have shaky hands which, at times, can be difficult to control.
Taking photos with this phone has proven difficult in low-light situations. Group selfie is weird; it takes a bunch of photos of a group of people and then uses AI to determine which photo everyone looks their best in. Click the above image to see an album of uncompressed photos stored on Flickr. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S has been my primary camera for the past few months ever since I got one, and that has since been replaced by the Xiaomi Mi 9.
It improves in all of the right places, sans the exclusion of OIS, that I can no longer justify carrying the Mix 2S on me. For a period of time, I had two smartphones on me at any given moment—the OnePlus 6T and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S was a combination I had for a while, as I was reviewing the OnePlus at the time but wanted a decent camera as well. They look beautiful and bright, with clouds standing out immensely.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 handles bright light very well in general, with photos coming out punchy and well-saturated, but not too saturated. That can be a hard balance for a device manufacturer to hit.
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Much of the problem with poor photo quality is exacerbated by the lack of OIS, as unsteady hands will instantly ruin photo quality due to the lower shutter speeds required. Still, you can check out the photos above to make up your own mind. The Xiaomi Mi 9 can take excellent low-light shots, but other times it fails to create a remotely appealing image. Photos sometimes appear out of focus or grainy.
I like it and I already have found myself using it way more often than I ever used a telephoto lens. It will certainly do the job for large groups of people, landscape shots during the day, and more.
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The performance in low-light is a mixed bag, though there will be trade-offs with more specialized lenses. Xiaomi has done a great job here, and I have no complaints. In well-lit areas, the difference between the wide-angle lens and the primary shooter is barely noticeable. First, and this is across all scenes, I want to complain about the audio recording quality of the Xiaomi Mi 9. The audio itself is recorded alright and sounds okay, but the bitrate is pitiful.
In contrast to other flagships, the encoding bitrate is just not that good, and the lower audio bitrate is a big issue. I understand we are dealing with phone microphones, but they are certainly capable of more than the audio quality Xiaomi is restricting them to. I have included the above video as I feel it pretty much embodies everything about the video experience I have gotten from using the Xiaomi Mi 9.
There was a decent amount of ambient noise as I was walking, and there was a dramatic change in lighting around the middle of the video.