Xiaomi, the world's fourth-largest smartphone vendor, launched its Mi 9 phone in Dubai on Wednesday focusing on the flagship's specs and competitive price – and rightly so!
At first look, the Mi 9's AI triple rear camera, which includes a primary 48-megapixel camera, along with a 6.39-inch screen, 6GB RAM + 128GB storage, and the world's first 20W wireless charging battery that safely charges to 100 percent in just 90 minutes, seems impressive. However, what really catches the eye is its affordable price point of AED 1,849, which is considerably lower than other flagships that have similar specs.
Although Xiaomi is not particularly well-known in the UAE market, the launch of an affordable smartphone with top-of-the-line offerings could not have come at a better time. The UAE smartphone market, which is one of the most highly penetrated markets globally, posted a decline of 2.4 percent in the fourth-quarter of 2018 echoing the first-ever global dip in overall smartphone sales. Xiaomi, however, along with its competitor Huawei, bucked that trend last year. Xiaomi announced a better-than-expected net profit of $276 million in the fourth-quarter of 2018 with more than 120 million shipments in a "difficult" year for smartphones globally.
Better than Apple, Samsung, and Huawei – you decide?
The Mi 9, when compared to other flagship phones introduced by the Top 4 smartphone companies in the world, holds its own.
For those who insist on holding only a good-looking phone, the Mi 9 comes with an all-curved design certified by the Gaudi Academia of Knowledge. The smartphone has a noticeable full HD+ resolution, at 2340 x 1080 pixels, and can also host HDR playback.
“Inspired by the works of Antoni Gaudi, Mi 9 beautifully combines the reflection of light, seamless curves, and the use of natural elements to create a masterpiece of art,” said Carlos Canals Roura, President of The Gaudi Academia of Knowledge.
The Mi 9 sports a 6.39-inch AMOLED display and comes with an in-screen fingerprint sensor that unlocks the phone 25 percent faster than the previous generation. Even though this is just a matter of milliseconds, you'll notice the difference. The protective layer of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6 minimizes scratches and protects against that occasional phone drop.
For those who are more functionality-oriented, the Mi 9 is powered by the best-in-industry Snapdragon 855 chipset and comes with 6GB RAM as well as 128 GB worth of storage. It features a fast-charging solution for both wired and wireless charging. The 3300 mAh battery lasts a whole day and can charge to 100 percent within 60 minutes when wired, and 90 minutes wirelessly, which is much faster than its competition. German institution TUV Rheinland has certified the safe and fast charging batteries.
Mi 9 also has plenty to offer for those of us who use our phones primarily to take photos, videos and use social media. The Mi 9's AI triple camera comprises of the main 48-megapixel camera, 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 12-megapixel telephoto camera.
The main rear camera utilizes the latest 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 1/2” sensor which can shoot high-resolution, 48-megapixel images. The camera also takes clear and bright photos in low-light conditions.
The secondary rear 16-megapixel camera has a Sony IMX481-powered sensor that provides a wide 117-degree field of view, which provides a decent panoramic shot at the click of a button instead of having to move your phone from left to right or visa versa.
The third rear 12MP camera uses a Samsung S5K3M5 telephoto sensor which provides a clear 2x optical zoom, so you don't have to go closer to the subject you are photographing.
The selfie camera on the front is a 20-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture, which is touted to take clearer photos than all its flagship competitors.
The objective DxOMark website, which compares the photo- and video-quality of various smartphone cameras, has given the Mi 9 the highest score in terms of video and the second-highest in terms of photos captured.
All this and more, at AED 1,849 seems like there has to be a catch, but there isn't any. The reason that the price is this affordable is that Xiaomi has promised its users that it will not earn more than a 5 percent profit margin on any of its hardware products, which include smartphones.