Xiaomi - Xiaomi Mi 9 SE


Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: an attractive little Mi 9

Aprox. 309€ - see price -

See specifications

After the frank success of its Mi 9, Xiaomi offers its SE version. A kind of Mi 9 Lite, which still retains serious advantages, including a more compact format.

Our review


Since arriving in Spain a year ago, Xiaomi has followed a very fast pace for the releases of its new smartphones. The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE announced in February 2019 was among the most anticipated. If it is a little less well endowed than its big brother, it is nonetheless very competitive. He finds himself in front of his cousin the Pocophone F1, the Samsung Galaxy A50 or the Sony Xperia 10.

Continuing to do what he can do best, Xiaomi has just presented the Mi 9T in Spain. A phone that plays on the delicate balance ...

Ergonomics and design

Physically, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is a little less elegant than its big brother. With its wiser lines, it is nevertheless well finished. The original colors chosen by the Chinese brand bring a little originality to a rather sober smartphone world. However, no miracle on such a shiny surface: fingerprints settle quickly. This will obviously not be a problem for lovers of protective cases. The Chinese manufacturer offers just one, silicone, in the box.

The first difference with the Mi 9 lies in the more compact size of this SE version. Here, it is a screen of 5.97 inches which is proposed, against 6.4 inches for the Mi 9. The whole, in a body which leaves the beautiful part to the screen on the front face. It occupies a little less than 85% there. Only a small teardrop notch nibbles the space dedicated to the display. This greater compactness will delight those who are cooled by the huge smartphone screens. Here, it is quite possible to carry out a majority of the common uses with one hand.

One would have expected that this price level Xiaomi will ignore the fingerprint reader placed under the screen. It is not so. The Mi 9 SE integrates such a device under its slab and uses optical technology. For the moment, only the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 + have been switched to ultrasonic under their screen. The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is one of the cheapest smartphones to offer this unlocking technology, with the Galaxy A50 in particular. On the Mi 9 SE, unlocking remains fairly effective overall. It shows a bit slower than a conventional sensor, but we are talking about a few milliseconds here.

The positioning of the volume control and unlocking buttons is good. All these little people fall without difficulty under the thumb of a right hand or the index and middle finger of a left hand. On the bottom edge, there is only a USB-C port and a speaker. The 3.5 mm mini-jack plug has disappeared, replaced here by an adapter (supplied). His big brother being stripped, it would have been astonishing to find any waterproofing certification on this Mi 9 SE.


Xiaomi makes no concessions on the screen of its small Mi 9 SE. This is a Super Amoled panel displaying a definition of 2,340 x 1,080 px, for a resolution of 432 ppi. Enough to deliver excellent display finesse, more than enough for most uses. Oled technology brings its share of advantages, starting with an almost infinite contrast ratio. This contrast is also accompanied by a maximum brightness of 447 cd / m². What keep a good readability in full sun, especially as the light reflection rate of 48% is close to the average of our comparison. In complete darkness, the screen brightness can drop to 2.3 cd / m², which is perfect not to be dazzled.

Xiaomi continues to prove that mastering colorimetry is within its reach. The Mi 9 SE displays an excellent Delta E at 1.8. However, you must go to the display settings menu to obtain the best result. In "Contrast and colors", you must choose the "default" mode - which is not selected by default, you will understand why. In this mode, we also measure a correct color temperature at 6,300 K. A value a little low compared to the standard (6,500 K), which results in shades of gray a little too warm, but nothing good annoying, however.

The screen of the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE has a good reactivity. We measure a tactile delay of 67 ms, below the average of our comparison (87 ms). For its part, the remanence is zero, a property of Oled screens.


The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE differs from the Mi 9 "quite simply" by the SoC that it ships. The first is based on a Snapdragon 712, when the second is based on a Snapdragon 855. Not surprisingly, the raw performance of the Mi 9 SE is slightly worse than that of its big brother. Not enough to suffer major slowdowns so far, the Xiaomi smartphone remains fluid in the vast majority of cases. Only on the most demanding applications can we notice a difference.

The bell sound is the same for video games. The Adreno 616 chip is less efficient than the Adreno 640. Once again, it will be necessary to be faced with very demanding 3D games to note a difference and start to see the fluidity drop slightly. The whole remains solid for this price level.


The Mi 9 SE skips the 3.5 mm mini-jack socket. To use a headset - or another listening device - you will have to go either through a Bluetooth connection, or through the USB-C to mini-jack adapter supplied in the box. The latter is average according to our tests. The power delivered will not be to the taste of gourmet headsets and the stereo scene is not perfectly represented. On the other hand, the distortion remains at a sufficiently low level and the adapter offers a dynamic in the average of what we usually see.

Contrary to what the two series of holes on either side of the USB-C port suggest, the Mi 9 SE has only one speaker. Its limited power and its tendency to saturate at full volume does not make it a very good ally for watching movies and series. The restitution of the voices remains correct for its part and this HP can provide an honest job for calls.


The photo was the disappointing point we noted during the Mi 9 test. It would have been surprising to see the Mi 9 SE do better. And we are not surprised. Xiaomi here renews 3 photo modules on the back of its smartphone. The first is based on a 48 Mpx sensor and an equivalent 26 mm lens opening at f / 1.8. By default, this module practices the pixel binning technique, which consists of merging 4 pixels into 1 to deliver 12 MP images. The second photo module has a 13 Mpx sensor and offers a wider capture field thanks to an equivalent 15 mm lens opening at f / 2.4. Finally, the third and last module has a 12 MP sensor, surmounted by an equivalent 52 mm lens opening at f / 2.4. The most informed will note that none of the modules of the Mi 9 are found on the Mi 9 SE. The philosophy remains the same: offer a wide choice of possibilities, from very wide-angle to telephoto. The amplitude is still a little less on the SE than on the Mi 9 (3.46x against 4.15x).

In broad daylight, the main module of the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE generally behaves like that of its big brother. Snapshots are captured by default in 12 MP. The images are correctly detailed and the rendering is rather natural, although a little cold. The pixel binning sometimes seems to have a little trouble transcribing colors in very small areas, but the whole remains very good. The most demanding will notice a loss of sharpness in the corners. It is possible to choose to capture images in 48 Mpx, which allows to slightly increase the level of detail and especially to be able to crop its images by losing less information.

In low light, the result is much less satisfactory. In 12 Mpx as in 48 Mpx, the pictures suffer from a lack of precision due to the very pronounced smoothing applied by the smartphone. The Mi 9 was also not faultless in this area. The Galaxy A50 does a little better here than the Mi 9 SE, while forcing a little more on the accentuation. In a close price range, the Pocophone F1 remains the best student.

The very wide-angle module is handy when photographing a landscape or a building that you cannot fully frame with the main module. In this area, the Mi 9 SE does well as long as there is enough light. It offers much more detailed shots than those of the Samsung Galaxy A50, but less good than those of the Mi 9. The very wide-angle module of the Mi 9 SE also manages to correct a large part of the deformation due to the short focal length, unlike the Galaxy A50 which retains a strong barrel distortion.

The drop in image quality in low light is however colossal at 15 mm. Without shining, the Galaxy A50 achieves a better result in difficult conditions.

The third and last module in the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is probably the most disappointing. Its 12 MP sensor fails to effectively eliminate electronic noise, even in broad daylight. Obliged to shoot at ISO 600 and 1/50 s to avoid camera shake, he has great difficulty keeping small details. Unsurprisingly, the result deteriorates markedly in low light. Like most smartphones, if there is not enough light, it chooses to switch to a digital zoom from the main sensor. The Mi 9 SE is however, at the time of writing, the only smartphone at this price to offer 3 modules ranging from very wide-angle to 2x zoom.

The Mi 9 SE offers, like many smartphones now, a portrait mode. It accentuates the bokeh and highlights a subject. In practice, this portrait mode works rather well. It is possible to play on the intensity of the background blur. Be careful not to push it too far, otherwise you will get poor results.

Selfie lovers will be pretty well served by the Mi 9 SE's front photo module. Image quality is at the rendezvous with the 20 MP sensor. The exposure is almost always fair and the backlights are well controlled. We can regret that the capture field is not a little wider and that the optics quickly distorts the elements on the edges of the image.

For video, it is possible to climb to a UHD definition in 30 fps. However, to keep the best result and in particular the best stabilization, it is better to settle for Full HD. Focus tracking is quite effective and exposure transitions are smooth.


The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE follows in the footsteps of its big brother in terms of endurance and therefore proves to be very good in exercise. With its 3,070 mAh battery, it resisted our SmartViser autonomy protocol for 17 h 24 min. What to hold without problem for 2 full days in standard use. For their part, the hardest users will have no trouble ending their day without having to go through the recharging box.

With the charger provided by Xiaomi, it takes barely an hour to fully charge the Mi 9 SE.


If it makes some concessions, especially in terms of power compared to its big brother, the Mi 9 SE remains in the same vein. If you are put off by very very large screens, this smartphone is a good choice. Too bad the photo part was not more careful, because this smartphone would have come close to perfection. If the photo is the main choice criterion for you, turn to the Pocophone F1.