It’s Galaxy S10 day today, but that didn’t stop some of its rivals from coming out with brand new smartphones. While LG chose to unleash a flurry of affordable mid-range phones that will not compete against the Galaxy S10 series, Xiaomi went a lot bigger than that. The Xiaomi Mi 9, which was spotted in plenty of teasers ahead of Wednesday’s event, is going to deliver a few impressive features, including support for up to 12GB of RAM. And, unlike the 12GB Galaxy S10 that will be quite costly, the Mi 9 will be incredibly affordable if you can find it in stores that is.
The Mi 9 will pack some of the same hardware that we expect from various other Android flagships this year, including the latest Snapdragon 855 chip, an in-display fingerprint sensor, a triple-lens camera arrangement on the back, and a notch all-screen design. But the phone has several tricks up its sleeve that won’t be available from the Galaxy S10. And all of it comes in a very affordable package.
The Mi 9 sports a 6.39-inch Samsung OLED “Dot Drop” display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio and Full HD resolution. Under the display, there’s an “improved in-screen fingerprint sensor that unlocks the phone up to 25% faster than the previous generation.” The sensor, however, is still optical, not ultrasonic like the one Samsung will surely unveil for the Galaxy S10. The bottom chin is also “incredibly narrow,” the company says, at 3.6mm.
The Snapdragon 855 chip is paired with 6GB, 8GB, or 12GB of DDR4x RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of storage. The phone packs a 3,300 mAh battery that supports 27W fast wired charging, as well as 20W fast wireless charging (as long as you use an appropriate Xiaomi charging pad). That incredibly fast wireless charging speed is a world first, according to the company, and the solution received certification from German institution TUV Rheinland for safety. Via wired charging, the phone will need 30 minutes to get to 70% and an hour for a full charge.
Finally, the phone’s rear camera also offers several improvements over its predecessor, including a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 1/2” sensor, a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens camera with support for macro photography, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. The triple camera is assisted by artificial intelligence, which is practically a given for any new smartphone, and will offer a new Supermoon mode that will let you “capture clearer images of the moon even without a bulky tripod,” as well as an advanced motion tracking video mode.
The Mi 9 Transparent edition, which isn’t exactly transparent, is the model that will feature 12GB of RAM, as well a 7P camera lens with f1.47 aperture. The Mi 9 SE, meanwhile, will be a Lite version of the Mi 9, sporting a 5.99-inch display, and Snapdragon 712 processor.
The Mi 9 will start selling in China on Wednesday, with prices that Samsung just can’t match. The cheapest version of the Mi 9 flagship, the 6GB/128GB model, costs 2,999 yuan ($446). The 12GB/256GB transparent edition will cost 3,999 yuan ($595), which is even cheaper than the rumored price of the Galaxy S10e or the iPhone XR. The Mi 9 SE will start at 1,999 yuan ($298) on March 1st when it launches. Finally, the 20W version of the Mi Wireless Charging Pad will retail for 99 yuan ($15), while a wireless 10,000 mAh power bank will cost 149 yuan ($22).