Xiaomi Mi 9 SE review

Mini Mi 9 with very few compromises

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(Image: © Future)

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Smaller smartphones that feel like flagships and pack excellent cameras are a dying breed.

So while the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE most definitely has its quirks - most notably, Xiaomi’s custom interface (which can easily be hidden) - it also has a huge amount going for it, not least a compelling price tag and across the board impressive performance.

It's not for everyone, but if you can deal with the sub-par software then it's well worth considering.

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Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

Who’s this for?

The Mi 9 SE would make an excellent work phone given how smart, sleek and slender it is. Alternatively, for anyone after an on-the-go movie player, it packs a great HDR AMOLED screen for the price. 

Finally, if you don’t need a flagship, it has a versatile camera and powered through all the games we threw at it.

The only kinds of users we wouldn’t recommend the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE for are those who need expandable storage, waterproofing or wireless charging.

Should you buy it?

If you're in the market for something smaller that still feels expensive and performs well, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is a very easy phone to recommend, delivering better value than most phones out now.

Consider these alternatives:

Moto G7 Plus

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Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

If you’re looking for a bigger phone, the Moto G7 Plus gives you a bit more screen and size in general, not to mention faster charging.

Packing two cameras as opposed to three, it isn’t quite as versatile as the Mi 9 SE, but with optical image stabilization, its 4K video is that bit steadier.

Read our full Moto G7 Plus review

Oppo RX17 Neo

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Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

The Oppo RX17 Neo, like the Moto G7 Plus, features a larger display than the Mi 9 SE, but it doesn’t pack the customization options Xiaomi’s does. What’s more, it doesn’t feature a USB-C port, instead opting for a micro USB port, and on top of that, its camera system isn’t as versatile.

When talking about RRPs, the Neo is cheaper though, so could make for a more affordable option.

Read our full Oppo RX17 Neo review

Sony Xperia 10

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Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

With its 21:9 screen, the long Sony Xperia 10 is a unique proposition, but side-by-side with the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE, it’s clear that it doesn’t deliver quite the same flagship level finish, and the LCD display just doesn’t pack the punch the SE's AMOLED does.

So while the Xperia 10 might be a good choice for film buffs who need that ultra-wide screen goodness, with a superior design, camera and display, the Mi 9 SE edges ahead.

Read our full Sony Xperia 10 review

First reviewed: July 2019

Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is the Head of content at Make Honey and freelance technology journalist. He is an experienced writer and producer and is skilled in video production, and runs the technology YouTube channel TechEdit.