By Ram Christian Superable Agustin
The newest authorized Xiaomi store in the Philippines opened on Saturday, May 18, and was the first to unveil the Mi 9 SE smartphone, the successor to Xiaomi’s flagship model, the Mi 9.
The newly opened Mi Store, the company’s eighth branch in the country, is located at the third floor in the Midtown Wing of Robinsons Place Manila.
Like the iPhone SE is to the iPhone 6S, the Mi 9 SE has a smaller 5.97″ Full HD+ AMOLED screen compared to its predecessor’s 6.39″ panel. Right off the bat, the Mi 9 SE feels a lot sleeker and more streamlined when compared side-by-side with the Mi 9.
It is also worth noting that the glass is a 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 material which makes it a tough guardian against scratches.
Under the AMOLED panel is an in-display fingerprint sensor, much like the trend with flagships nowadays. Although it is not as fast as the 3D Sonic fingerprint sensors found in the Galaxy S10 and the Plus version, Xiaomi was able to use its 5th-generation in-display fingerprint sensor and promises to be the fastest among its peers.
While it is refreshing to see an NFC capability for a phone in this price segment, wireless charging is still a no-show in the new smartphone.
Protruding at the back of the device is a triple-camera setup which will definitely require users to use a phone case because of wobbling when it is laid flat on a table.
The main shooter is a 48MP Sony IMX 586 sensor with an aperture of f/1.75. First seen in the Honor V20, the sensor by default takes 12-megapixel images that improves in performance when in low-light. The second lens is a wide-angle sensor with an f/2.4 aperture that helps in taking photos with a larger view, which in this case is 123-degree wide. The third one is a telephoto lens with a 2x optical zoom.
The front camera, on the other hand, is a 20MP sensor with an aperture of 2.0 that works well in poorly-lit conditions and offers an HDR mode. Just like the previous Redmi Note 5, the Mi 9 SE also comes with the same AI-beauty mode. When it comes to video capture, unfortunately, there is no hint of any stabilization capability.
Under the hood is a Snapdragon 712 SoC with clocking speeds of up to 2.3 GHz, partnered by an Adreno 616 GPU. The device is running under MIUI 10 on top of Android 9 (Pie) while the battery is at 3,070 mAh capacity which might need a charge at the day’s end, although the 18W quick charge can fully power the device in roughly 90 minutes.
Aside from wireless charging, some missing features include a dedicated micro-SD slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an LED notification light which is quite handy. Fortunately, out of the box, Xiaomi provides a 3.55mm to USB Type-C cable. And let’s not forget the usability of NFC when it comes to future-proofing and the always reliable IR Blaster.
The Mi 9 SE is powered by a 6GB RAM with comes in three color variants: Piano Black, Ocean Blue, and Lavender Violet. The 64GB version of storage sells for P15,990, while the 128GB storage option costs P17,990.