Xiaomi Mi 9 SE review: who is this smartphone suitable for?

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE follows a trend that is now widespread among smartphone manufacturers: to create an economic version of its top of the range. A variant that is normally more compact and certainly cheaper. The question is only one: is it really worth buying it? We explain it to you in ours review.

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Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: the technical sheet

As always, let's start with the technical features.

dimensions: 147,5 x 70,5 x 7,5 mm
Weight: 155 g
Display: 5,96″ SuperAMOLED – 1080 x 2340 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
GPU: Adreno 616
Memory: 64 / 128 GB
Network: 4G LTE – Dual SIM
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, GPS, NFC
Battery: 3070 mAh
Rear camera: 48 + 8 + 13 MP
Front Camera: 20 MP
Video: 4K @30 fps
Operating system: Android 9.0 Pie

Unusual lightness

The design of Xiaomi Mi 9 SE will certainly not surprise you: we have the same display as its brother, the same frames reduced to a minimum, the inevitable notch and the glass back. In short, it is basically the same as its older brother. On the other hand, what might pleasantly surprise you is the weight: with its 155 grams Xiaomi Mi9 SE it is very light and really simple to manage with one hand. A sensation now increasingly rare.

The only real flaw is represented byimportant protrusion of the triple rear camera which is annoying both when you hold the device and when you keep it resting on the table.

On the right side we find both the on / off button and the volume rocker and on the left the slot for the two SIMs (but not for the microSD), while on the lower part we have a decent mono speaker and the USB Type-C connector. Unfortunately no 3,5mm jack: you will have to fall back on headphones with the same input or on Bluetooth headsets.

The aforementioned display - a Super AMOLED with Full HD resolution - is 5,97 inches, supporta l’HDR, offers bright colors and ensures good brightness. There is also the option to activate l’Ambient Display - which unfortunately does not integrate notifications - and to adjust the color temperature and contrast of the screen.

And the fingerprint reader? Also in this case Xiaomi Mi 9 SE follows in the footsteps of his brother by proposing an optical sensor under the display which works quite well although it is not always very fast. If you prefer an even faster system I suggest you activate 2D face recognition which is really immediate, but remember that this method is less secure than fingerprint detection.

Excellent performance but ...

On board this Xiaomi Mi 9 SE we have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 processor - instead of the Snapdragon 855 present on Mi 9 -, the Adreno 616 GPU and 6 GB of RAM. At your disposal then 64 or 128 GB of internal memory which, as I mentioned before, is not expandable. All this allows you to achieve excellent performance in any situation including browsing the web, using the various messaging apps and the inevitable gaming sessions.

To leave me a little perplexed some small bugs on the software side like the Telegram screen that becomes inexplicably black when listening to voice messages or the camera locks during the creation of Instagram Stories. Nothing that Xiaomi cannot solve with a software update. I take this opportunity to remind you that we have on board Android 9.0 Pie with March security patches and EMUI 10.2.5, EMUI that I remind you continues to have some difficulty with notifications. The latter in fact disappear from the appropriate bar, which means that to check which messages, calls or emails you have lost you will necessarily have to lower the curtain. A defect that the Chinese company unfortunately continues to ignore and re-propose despite protests from users and the press.

Obviously the EMUi 10.2.5 does not bring with it only defects. On the contrary, the interface is anyway fast and smooth and integrates functions such as the second space, the cloned apps and navigation through gestures.

Finally, I want to spend a few words on the battery from 3070 mAh. I know, there are not many, but in reality the processor manages to manage consumption very well and helps you to get up to the evening with a few percentage points left.

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A copy of Mi 9

The photographic sector of this SE is identical to that of the older brother. So we have a 48 megapixel main sensor, an 8 megapixel wide angle and a 13 megapixel telephoto lens with 2x zoom. The results are absolutely good: the photos are in fact of excellent quality, also thanks to HDR and artificial intelligence. I remind you that you are the one to activate or deactivate both of these aids, so that you don't have to passively suffer them if you don't like the final effect.

Different modes available to users, all at your fingertips: we therefore have Portrait, Panorama, Pro and Night modes. Too bad for the two separate buttons for zoom and wide angle: if you come from a device that integrates the two functions in a single button you will need a few days to adapt.

The videos, which reach 4K, and the 20 megapixel front camera which can take selfies in portrait mode.

    Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: buy it or not?

    Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is undoubtedly an excellent device: it is light, compact, fast and capable of guaranteeing more than satisfactory shots. The problem is the price: let's go by 349,90 euro against the 449,90 euros of the Mi 9 which has more powerful hardware and IP68 certification. In short, for only 100 euros more you can take home the top of the range of the Asian company or, if you want to see it in the opposite variant, with 100 euros less buy a device practically the same as the flagship phone of the same company. A choice, that of Xiaomi, really difficult to understand and that could put users in difficulty.

    So how to understand which device is best for you? Simple: if you want to save money and resistance to water and dust is not vital, go for the SE variant. If, on the other hand, you want the most from your smartphone, you should probably buy the classic Mi 9.

    Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

    • Light and compact
    • Bel display
    • Excellent performance
    • Good camera
    • No 3,5mm jack
    • No IP68 certification
    • Improved software
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