Xiaomi has finally entered the UK market, producing high quality smartphones with flagship specifications at affordable prices. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is arguably the most impressive yet, boasting a wealth of features fit to compete with devices at double the price point. But is the Xiaomi Mi 9 water resistant?
The Xiaomi Mi 9 is not ‘officially’ water resistant and does not come with a certified IP rating. That said, it is draped in Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and 6; a toughened glass that provides an extra layer of safety, offering very mild resistance from water.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 is now available from Clove Technology, with prices beginning at £455 inc-VAT.
What is Gorilla Glass, and will this help with waterproofing the Xiaomi Mi 9?
Despite not having an official IP rating, the Xiaomi Mi 9 does have a 2.5D sheet of Gorilla Glass 6 across the back of the device and Gorilla Glass 5 draped over the front.
Gorilla Glass is a well-known brand, producing chemically strengthened glass that is designed to be thin and light so that it can be used on a range of handheld electronic devices, and importantly damage-resistant. Indeed, in production, the glass is immersed in a proprietary, hot, potassium-salt, ion-exchange bath to gain its surface strength and crack-resistance.
Gorilla Glass undergoes rigorous testing for flexibility, scratch resistance and impact protection before mass production. From this, it’s claimed that Gorilla Glass 5 is able to survive drops of up to 1.6 meters (or selfie height!) onto hard surfaces 80% of the time, whilst on average, Gorilla Glass 6 survived 15 consecutive drops from 1 meter onto rough surfaces.
As such, whilst not being produced for water resistance, this essentially provides your smartphone device with a thin extra layer which is durable and resilient. When you think about it as an extra layer of protection to your device, you get a rough idea of how this might work in the face of small drops of water such as light rain.
We certainly wouldn’t advise taking the Xiaomi Mi 9 swimming with you, but it should be able to cope with light rain. It’s always best to avoid this where possible and act with due care and diligence.
Why don’t Xiaomi make their phones water resistant?
It’s not just the Xiaomi Mi 9 that comes without certified water resistance; Xiaomi has not crafted any of their flagship devices with an IP rating.
Indeed, it was only a couple of years ago that the company’s founder Lei Jun, addressed this issue after many users had questioned this, giving a number of reasons why Xiaomi hasn’t entered down this route.
The first reason he gave, was that when smartphone handsets are damaged even slightly, the water protection is immediately weakened, rendering an IP rating useless. Jun believes that even the most minor of damage to a phone – such as a small crack – can cause the device to deteriorate, damaging it from the inside. Even the smallest crack allows water into a phone, making waterproofing procedures wholly ineffective, even if they are certified with a high IP rating.
Many other manufacturers that are producing IP68-rated handsets are protecting the internals (such as the connectivity ports) with a rubber seal to stop water from seeping inside. If any of these seals are accidentally torn during day-to-day activities with a phone, then even minimal contact with water could render the device useless.
The second reason that Lei Jun gave, was that waterproofing procedures add greatly to the device’s overall costs. Xiaomi devices promise high quality and flagship specifications at extremely affordable prices, and if waterproofing were brought into this, then costs would rise significantly. Indeed, Jun added that Xiaomi may add the functionality if users were willing to pay 20-30% more for devices.
As such, it seems pretty certain that Xiaomi don’t have any immediate plans to add waterproofing to their devices.
What is an IP rating and is it important?
In short, an IP rating is an international standard that is used to define levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies (such as dirt and dust) and moisture.
An IP rating is presented in the form of ‘IP’ (Ingress Protection) followed by two numbers.
The first of these numbers refers to the protection provided against solids. This number ranges from 1 to 6 and the higher the number, the better the protection. For example, 1 promises protection against solid objects over 50mm, whilst a 6 rating indicates that a device is dust tight.
The second number then, refers to protection from liquids and ranges from 1 to 8. In this instance, a ‘1’ rating describes protection against vertically falling drops of water (such as rain), whilst a top-of-the-class ‘8’ rating promises protection against the effects of long periods of immersion in water, usually outlined by the manufacturer.
As such, an IP68 rating is the currently the best certification that can be given to a device, however it’s important to remember that the relevant testing is only performed against fresh water. As such, you may experience an extremely difference outcome in the face of salt water and other liquids such as spilt drinks.
Are there any other ways to protect the Xiaomi Mi 9 from water?
Whilst the Xiaomi Mi 9 does not come with certified waterproofing, there are a number of ways in which you can protect your device from water.
The best of these is by buying a waterproof case for your device.
The DiCAPac Action Universal Case is perfect for wet scenarios and provides all of the protection that you need to be more adventurous with your smartphone device in tandem. As well as coming with the highest grade JIS IPX8 waterproof rating, the window on the front is crystal clear so that you can easily see the screen on your phone and still use all of the features you need.
Indeed, you are still able to make full use of the touchscreen whilst it’s in the case and also make calls. The case also protects against dust and other particles, as well as water.
Is the Xiaomi Mi 9 worth it?
Despite not coming with an IP rating, the Xiaomi Mi 9 is a very impressive flagship device and has a plethora of other features that make it one of the best devices of the year. Xiaomi has a deserved reputation of providing high quality handsets at affordable prices and the Mi 9 is certainly no different.
If smartphone photography is important to you, then the Mi 9 comes with a triple lens rear setup. An incredible 48MP main camera sensor from Sony provides the highest available resolution in a mobile camera today, allowing you to zoom in on photos up to 4x and still have an incredibly detailed image.
The all-new Snapdragon 855 processor is the current top-level mobile chip, with improved performance in all areas including graphics and AI / machine-learning. A 3,300mAh battery should get you through a day without any issues, however when it is time to rejuice, the device supports 20W fast wireless charging.
To round things off, the Mi 9 sports a 6.39-inch HDR10 certified Super AMOLED display which allows for fully immersive media playback.
Xiaomi Mi 9 Key Features
- Android 9.0 (Pie) with Xiaomi MUI 10
- Snapdragon 855 flagship processor with Adreno 640 GPU
- 39-inch HDR10 certified Super AMOLED display
- Aluminium frame & Gorilla Glass
- Triple main camera: 48 + 16 + 12MP
- 20MP front-facing camera
- In-screen fingerprint sensor and IR face unlock
- 3,300mAh battery
- 20W fast wireless charging