Xiaomi’s flagship Mi series of smartphones is usually relatively unremarkable. Unlike the notch-busting Mi Mix line, the Mi phones don’t tend to have particularly interesting designs, and Xiaomi doesn’t push the prices as far down as it can with the Redmi range. The Mi phones are always just pretty good, pretty affordable phones.
The Mi 9 is a little different. It doesn’t depart from the basic Mi formula of offering high-end specs in a mainstream design at a reasonable price. But more so than any other Mi series phone in the past, the ~$500 Mi 9 narrows the gap with its high-end flagship competitors even further. If you live in a country where the Mi 9 is available, there’s very little reason not to give it serious consideration.
The Mi series has established its own design language at this point, and this continues with the Mi 9. There’s the same stainless steel frame that’s thinner on the sides than the top and bottom edges, leaving a curved glass panel to fill in the space. The left side of the phone has a dedicated Google Assistant button, which I could take or leave. (I would rather have it than a Bixby button.)
Overall, it’s a sleek, attractive device, though my “piano black” review unit is more like “mirrored gunmetal,” and it’s one of the slippier, more fingerprint-prone phones I’ve seen in a while. I’d probably like the iridescent purple and blue options better, not to mention the transparent model.