Last year Xiaomi released the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, which received widespread attention for its transparent back because it offered a look at the components inside. However, it was later revealed that the components shown under the back were fake. Now the company is releasing a transparent version of the Xiaomi Mi 9, but this time, it isn’t playing the same trick it did with the last model.
Xiaomi is being transparent this time
With the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, the layer underneath the transparent case was a fake board placed on top of the real components. Xiaomi was criticized widely for faking the components because it earlier gave the impression that the components showing underneath were real. However, the Xiaomi Mi 9 seems to demonstrate that the company has learned from its mistake.
On Monday the Chinese company announced plans to release the transparent Mi 9 Explorer Edition. This time Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun openly admitted that the components showing under the back are not real. Rather, the board that’s showing is a thin, CNC-carved aluminum sheet which is nothing but a stylized version of the parts, according to Android Police. However, the sheet serves as more than just a visual design; Lei adds that it will also help with heat dissipation.
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Lei also shared images of the upcoming phone. Unlike the circuit board design on last year’s model, the transparent design of the Xiaomi Mi 9 looks similar to what one would see inside a laptop. However, we can still see the Snapdragon logo, and several random phrases like “48MP AI Camera Ultra Wide,” “MIUI,” “Super Mi,” and “Battle Angel” are visible through the phone’s clear back.
The phrase “Battle Angel” is shown because it’s part of the phone’s name — the Xiaomi Mi 9: Battle Angel. For the upcoming phone, the Chinese company has partnered with the movie Alita: Battle Angel. The handset will officially be revealed before the Battle Angel movie hits theaters in China. The movie will release in China on Friday, while the Xiaomi Mi 9 will be introduced on Wednesday.
The Xiaomi Mi 9’s confirmed specs
As revealed by the official teaser for the phone, the handset will feature a Snapdragon 855 chipset. The phone will also sport a triple-lens camera on the back and a Qi Wireless charging coil on the back. Other confirmed specifications include a 48 MP rear “AI” camera, 12 GB of RAM and a “7-piece lens.”
The handset’s triple-lens camera setup includes a 48-megapixel primary lens featuring an f/1.75 aperture, a 1/2.0″ Sony IMX586 sensor, a 6P lens, 4-in-1 pixel binning, and 0.8μm pixel size. The 12-megapixel telephoto lens will feature an f/2.2 aperture, 6P lens, 2x lossless zoom, and 1.0μm pixel size, while the 16-megapixel 117-degree ultra-wide angle lens will have an f/2.2 aperture, 6P lens, 4cm macro and 1.0μm pixel size.
The front-facing camera has a 20-megapixel lens with AI beauty support. Xiaomi has also added several other beauty features, like age detection. Such a feature is useful for taking photos of babies because it customizes the baby’s skin to ensure that they look like a baby in a group photo with their parents.
Xiaomi has also confirmed that the handset will include a dedicated button for Google Assistant. This feature will likely be used outside China, suggesting that the handset will also be available in Europe and Asia. The company also confirmed that the phone will support HPU 4x MIMO, meaning it should offer good connectivity, even in areas with bad reception.
Previous rumors have hinted that the Xiaomi Mi 9 will feature a 4-inch Full HD+ display with water-drop notch design. The handset is expected to be powered by a 3,500 mAh battery, have 27W fast charging support, and run on Xiaomi’s MIUI 10 OS, which is based on Android 9.0 Pie. Other expected features include an in-display fingerprint scanner, face unlock, and Turbocharge technology. As of now, it is not clear if all variants of the handset will have the same specifications or if they will be limited the Mi 9 Explorer Edition only.
Xiaomi has not announced the official prices for the phone, but speculations suggest it will cost CNY5,999 or about $885. A recent leak also suggested that the phone will be available in three variants: 6 GB of RAM with 64 GB of storage; 8 GB of RAM with 128 GB of storage; and 8 GB of RAM with 256 GB of storage. The leak also suggests the three variants will be priced at CNY 3,300, CNY3,500 and CNY3,700, respectively.