Xiaomi's new Mi 9 flagship: Three rear cameras, super-fast wireless charging

The Mi 9's sub-$500 starting price could appeal to Chinese consumers turned off by the $1,000-plus iPhone XS.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Xiaomi has unveiled its 2019 Mi 9 flagship smartphone with three rear cameras and a slightly cheaper sibling, the Mi 9 SE. 

The three-camera setup on the rear is one of the key differences between last year's Mi 8, which had two rear cameras. The Mi 9 also introduces a curved back and does not include a fingerprint sensor on the rear. 

The Mi 9 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and features a 6.39-inch Samsung AMOLED screen with an in-screen fingerprint reader and a small circular notch at the top. 

Another headline feature of the Mi 9 is that it's the world's first smartphone with 20W wireless charging. 

The rear cameras included a 48-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel camera with 2x optical zoom, and a 16-megapixel camera with wide-angle and macro lens. The front camera can take 20-megapixel images.

Xiaomi's Mi 9 is available with 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128GB of optional flash storage. A special transparent version with 'simulated' inner components has 12GB or RAM and 256GB onboard storage. 

Don't expect the Mi 9 to ship to the US, but after launching in China it should be available in other markets Xiaomi currently ships to. 

SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)

Pre-order sales of the Mi 9 kick off in China on February 25 with prices starting at RMB2,999 ($446) — a price that's sure to appeal to Chinese consumers turned off by the price of an iPhone XS.    

Even more appealing to budget-conscious buyers could be the cheaper Mi 9 SE, which starts at RMB1,999 ($297) and features the same front and rear camera setup as the Mi 9, but runs on a Snapdragon 712 processor. 

The Mi 9 SE features a 5.97-inch screen AMOLED screen with an in-screen fingerprint reader and the same notch.    

The Mi 9 SE is available with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage or it's available with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for RMB2,299 ($341). 

Despite Xiaomi's past success in China, last year the company's shipments to the world's biggest smartphone market took a hit, alongside Apple

Image: Lori Grunin/CNET

Previous and related coverage

Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 review: A modern-day slider phone with dual front cameras

The Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 is an impressive mid-range handset with a near-bezel-free screen thanks to its front camera slider.

Hands on with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite: Some superb features and a fabulous interface

The Mi 8 Lite from Xiaomi is aimed at consumers – but would be perfect for business use too.

Those Galaxy S10 prices: Why expensive smartphone upgrades without 5G are just plain dumb

So, you want to spend over $1,000 on a new Android or an iPhone with no next-generation wireless network? You're nuts.

TCL is working on a foldable phone that bends into a smartwatch (CNET)

It's one of a family of foldable devices in development with the Chinese company, best known for budget televisions.

Why Android Go still needs to evolve (TechRepublic)

After using the BLU Vivo Go device, Andy Wolber says he admires the intent of Google's Android Go and adds that it needs to evolve.

Editorial standards