Hands-on with the Xiaomi Mi 9 Transparent Edition and the Violet variant

Hands-on with the Xiaomi Mi 9 Transparent Edition and the Violet variant

MWC 2019 is chock full of brand new devices from many different companies, though not all of them have been announced here. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is one such device which actually launched last week ahead of the event, however, the company has been showing it off here in Barcelona. I managed to get some time with the transparent edition of the Xiaomi Mi 9, which features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, a 6.39-inch 1080p display, a 3,300mAh battery and a whopping 12GB of RAM.

Xiaomi Mi 9 XDA Forum

The Xiaomi Mi 9 Transparent Edition looks fantastic

Admittedly, the back of the Xiaomi Mi 9 Transparent Edition does not represent the device internals. Like the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition, it’s actually an inert PCB for show. That doesn’t stop it from looking cool though, and you can see the Snapdragon logo and a small fan. The glass on the back is only 0.4mm thick, which helps to facilitate wireless charging. The Xiaomi Mi 9 can charge at 20W with a non-Qi proprietary charger or 10W with a Qi charger. The transparent edition of the Xiaomi Mi 9 is a great looking device, though I prefer the other variants. This one is more “hardcore” and features a pretty rugged look.

The Xiaomi Mi 9 Violet

The Xiaomi Mi 9 transparent edition that I got to use did not actually have any software on it, but I was given the violet Xiaomi Mi 9 to check out the software. It’s just MIUI 10.2, so pretty much everything you expect from Xiaomi at this stage. Sadly, the lighting actually makes it extremely difficult to see the violet’s unique colors, but it looks amazing in person regardless. It glimmers and shines in any colorful lighting and it’s extremely stylish. It’s the nicest looking Xiaomi smartphone yet, in my opinion, followed closely by the same device in Blue. I’m not hugely a fan of the transparent back, but that’s more a personal preference thing. I can appreciate it looks cool, I just prefer the more colorful options. The edges are aluminum and help the device’s design to feel even more premium.

First impressions on the Xiaomi Mi 9

MIUI on the Xiaomi Mi 9 is exactly how you’d expect it to be. It’s MIUI 10.2 and it doesn’t have any other tricks or gimmicks. You get all of the AI features that launched with MIUI 10.2, gesture controls, and you get Android Pie. There’s nothing new here, and you can check out what MIUI 10.2 brought to the table when it released earlier this month. The device I got to play with had the Chinese ROM, but it’s more or less the same as the global version in general usage. There are no Google applications, but for a quick hands-on it’s not a big deal. The display looks beautiful and sharp, the notch is largely unnoticeable, and the device itself is fast. I’ve always considered myself a MIUI fan in a lot of ways, so I don’t really have a problem with that.

Xiaomi Mi 9 Specifications

SpecsXiaomi MI 9
DesignFront: Waterdrop notch, 3.6mm chin size

Back: 243 sq. millimeters of sapphire glass covering the triple rear camera lenses

Frame: Stainless steel. No IP rating.

Colors: Lavender Violet, Ocean Blue, or Piano Black; Holographic effect

Dimensions and Weight: 155 x 75 x 7.6mm, 173g

SoftwareMIUI 10.2 based on Android 9 Pie
Display6.39-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

System-on-chipQualcomm Snapdragon 855 with Adreno 640 GPU
RAM and storage6GB RAM LPDDR4X + 64GB storage UFS 2.1
6GB RAM LPDDR4X + 128GB storage UFS 2.1No microSD card slot
ChargingWireless: 20W non-Qi with proprietary charger OR 10W Qi wireless charging
Wired: Rated for 27W wired charging (18W charger provided with the device)
Rear cameras
  • (Primary) 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) 12MP telephoto Samsung S5K3M5 lens, f/2.2 aperture, 6P lens, 1.0μm pixel size, 2x optical zoom
  • (Tertiary) 16MP 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
Front camera20MP, all Xiaomi AI beauty functions supported
BiometricsFifth-generation optical in-display fingerprint scanner
ConnectivityDual nanoSIM 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Multi-function NFC (SN100T chip), Dual-frequency GPS with independent L5 antenna, IR Blaster, USB type-C port, HPUE, 4×4 MIMO

GSM: B2/3/5/8
WCDMA: B1/2/4/5/8
TD-SCDMA: B34/39
FDD LTE: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/20/28
TDD LTE: 38/39/40

(Bands may vary depending on region)

AudioLinear speaker, audio output amplified by Smart PA, no 3.5mm headphone jack

About author

Adam Conway
Adam Conway

A 21-year-old Irish technology fanatic in his final year of a Computer Science degree. Lover of smartphones, cybersecurity, and Counter Strike. You can contact me at [email protected] My Twitter is @AdamConwayIE and my Instagram is adamc.99.