Xiaomi is ready to do battle. Its emergence in western countries has marked the beginning of what will likely be all-out war against the most famous and well-known brands. Will Samsung be the first to surrender? I doubt it, but in terms of quality, we all owe Xiaomi some respect after the debut of the new Mi 8. Will the Galaxy S9+, which isn’t as popular as it once was, be able to fend off this feisty newcomer?
For some, this might seem like an uneven battle due to the difference in price between the two devices and the fact that one is of much greater notoriety. But in fact, as you’ll see from this article, the Korean and Chinese flagships are closer than you’d imagine and the choice between the two models might be more difficult than you’d expect.
- Does it really make sense to buy the Galaxy S9?
- Xiaomi Mi 8 is a true champion, the benchmarks confirm it
From the perspective of performance, the two smartphones are similar. Both have 6GB of RAM and in its US version, the S9+ uses the same SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 as the Xiaomi Mi 8. The international version of the Galaxy S9+ uses a chip produced by Samsung, the Exynos 9810, which is faster than the Qualcomm chip in terms of CPU, but it's legs behind in terms of graphical power.
If you’re a gamer and outside the US, you’ll probably prefer the Mi 8. The differences are noticeable with the naked eye in high-quality games, even without measuring the frames per second.
The direct clash in benchmark tests
|Xiaomi Mi 8|
Sling Shot ES 3.1
Sling Shot ES 3.0
Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0
You should choose the Samsung Galaxy S9+ if:
Design is important to you
It’s undeniable, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ has an exceptional design. The two curved glass panels perfectly merge with the metal frame, giving the S9+ a pleasant, modern and elegant look. The workmanship is great and the “premium” feeling that this smartphone exudes is unparalleled.
The Samsung smartphone is comfortable in your hand despite the size of the display. You can still use it with a single hand with the support of the ergonomic lines of the device. In short, if what’s most important to you is what your smartphone looks like, the Galaxy S9+ is the choice for you.
You want the best display in the world and hate the notch
The notch trend just won’t go away. I don’t want to get too deep into the subject, but if you’re one of the people who can’t hand the notch in the display, you should choose the Korean flagship.
Not only does it have a notch in the display, the curved AMOLED panel with a resolution of 1440x2960 pixels (529ppi) was rated as the best overall among all smartphones: it’s definitely a better choice than the Mi 8 or any other device in this regard.
- Xiaomi Mi 8 display review: just a notch about the MIX 2S
- Galaxy S9 and S9+ display review: Is it really the best?
You don’t want to compromise on security
Samsung’s devices are universally recognized as among the safest and are most popular in the business sector. Not only does the S9+ have a fingerprint reader, it also integrates the safest iris scanner, a unique feature of Samsung smartphones.
The Xiaomi flagship offers a faster and more reliable fingerprint reader and face recognition than Samsung, but its iris scanner is not as secure. Moreover, the Mi 8 also lacks the hardware and software security structure you’ll find on Samsung KNOX.
The audio experience is fundamentally important to you
The Xiaomi Mi 8 doesn’t have the same outstanding audio equipment that the S9+ does. Samsung’s latest Galaxy S still retains the coveted 3.5mm headphone jack and uses a pair of truly powerful stereo speakers made in collaboration with Harmon Kardon. You also shouldn’t underestimate the Dolby Atmos equalization support.
The Mi 8 offers only a mono speaker that faces downward. The sound is sufficient, but not excellent, and you’ll also need USB Type-C headphones or Bluetooth, unless you decided to you the additional USB-C / headphone jack converter that comes with the device.
You’re a fan of accessories
Perhaps for some this might not be too important, but for others it clearly is. The Samsung Galaxy S9+ arrives in a world of easy accessories that make a real difference. I’m not just talking about the Pad for wireless charging or Samsung’s DeX accessories, I’m also talking about the myriad of covers and protective cases (whether they are official or not) which are practically available everywhere, both online and in physical stores.
Unfortunately, the Mi 8 isn’t such a popular device, and at least for the time being, you’ll hardly find covers in stores that are created specifically for the Xiaomi flagship. The situation is improving online, but in most cases, you’ll have to be patient and wait for an incoming package from far away China.
You should choose the Xiaomi Mi 8 if:
You only want to recharge the battery once a day
Unfortunately, this is the truth. Despite its 3500 mAh of battery capacity, the Galaxy S9+ can’t keep up on more demanding days. The wireless charging is convenient and a Galaxy S9+ will charge quickly when you need it to, but the Xiaomi Mi 8 is certainly more durable despite its mere 3400 mAh battery. But for many users this is an important criterion, so you don’t always need a power outlet nearby to give your smartphone that little extra charge you need.
- Xiaomi Mi 8: Great battery life only without Google
- Galaxy S9 and S9+ battery test: The disappointing truth
If you can’t stand Samsung software
It’s no surprise here: the Samsung Experience is not one of the most popular Android skins. The Korean brand’s software isn’t optimized perfectly, and although it has improved in the later versions, it still causes devices to slow down occasionally, which can be annoying in the long run.
On the Xiaomi Mi 8 you’ll find MIUI, a version of Android that is even more deeply altered than the Samsung skin, but at least it’s optimized very well. In fact, MIUI is further from Android stock than the former TouchWiz. It’s fluid, fast, and snappy. You can tell that the designers paid attention to detail. The only impediment might be that the software closely resembles iOS, but that’s something you can sacrifice since it’s so speedy and fluid.
You want to save some money
Obviously, choosing a smartphone also includes the issue of cost. Not everyone is willing to spend 839 dollars (the list price from the 64GB version of the Galaxy S9+) for a smartphone will almost certainly be replaced after two or three years. This makes the price of about 455 dollars (current deal on Amazon) for the Xiaomi Mi 8 more palatable.
It’s true that you can find Samsung smartphones for discounted prices on some online shops, but even if you find a better deal, purchasing a Mi 8 will still save you hundreds of dollars that you could save for a nice vacation.
Photo lover? You can go either way
A comparison between the cameras on the Mi 8 and S9+ doesn’t yield a real winner. The S9+ has a 12-megapixel camera with variable aperture between f/1.5 and f/2.4 and can capture video in 4K at 60 fps or in slow motion at 960 fps. The Mi 8 has a normal 12-megapixel f/1.8 camera without any particular tricks up its sleeve, at least on the surface.
The results are closer than expected. The Mi 8 manages to hold its own against the other smartphone cameras on the market without major problems. The S9+ certainly has a more elaborate manual mode and many shooting and recording modes that the Mi 8 doesn’t have, but the Xiaomi smartphone has a phenomenal automatic mode due to its software optimizations. And thanks to the much talked about AI, the Mi 8 changes the settings to give you excellent shots.
Xiaomi Mi 8 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9+ technical specifications
|Xiaomi Mi 8||Samsung Galaxy S9+|
|Dimensions:||Sorry, not yet available!||158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm|
|Weight:||172 g||189 g|
|Battery size:||3300 mAh||3500 mAh|
|Screen size:||6.21 in||6.2 in|
|Screen:||2248 x 1080 pixels (402 ppi)||2960 x 1440 pixels (531 ppi)|
|Front camera:||20 megapixels||8 megapixels|
|Rear camera:||12 megapixels||12 megapixels|
|Android version:||8.1 - Oreo||8.0 - Oreo|
|User interface:||MIUI||Sorry, not yet available!|
|RAM:||6 GB||6 GB|
|Internal storage:||64 GB
|Removable storage:||Not available||microSD|
|Chipset:||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Samsung Exynos 9810
|Number of cores:||8||8|
|Max. clock speed:||2.8 GHz||2.7 GHz|
|Connectivity:||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0|
Which one should you choose?
It will be a subjective choice either way. Some people prefer to spend a little more and rely on well-known brands and there are others who want to save at any cost. Either way, if you choose one of these smartphones, you’ll get along just fine and won’t regret your decision.
I personally prefer the Xiaomi Mi 8, which I fell in love with while I was reviewing it. The Galaxy S series no longer has the same appeal it once did, and given its price tag, I would prefer to not compromise on buying a device with such mediocre battery life. If you choose the Mi 8 you’ll have to make some compromises as well, but in my opinion, these are more acceptable compromises when you look at the price.
On the other hand, the S9+’s unique qualities stand out, and despite their efforts, Xiaomi hasn’t quite made its flagship invincible. Whatever the case, I expect a harder fight from Samsung, Apple’s main rival. Instead, we’ll have to call this one a tie with a newcomer from China.
Have you tried either of these devices? Let us know how your experience has been so far!