(Pocket-lint) - Xiaomi has a hit with the Mi 9. It's a great flagship phone as we discovered in our review, priced so that it's hard to beat for what you get for the money.
However, there's another Mi 9 model coming from Xiaomi, which sees the Chinese company leveraging that model name - it's the Mi 9 SE. SE in this case doesn't mean "special edition", instead it seems to pick-up on using SE as a mid-range alternative.
But unlike the Apple iPhone SE which packed powerful core hardware into an older case design, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE packs lower-power hardware into similar-looking package.
The Mi 9 SE is smaller with a 5.99-inch display (rather than 6.39-inch) with a drop notch on the front. It offers some fancy colours and finishes and comes with a triple camera system on the rear.
The move to the mid-range isn't a bad thing though. It comes with a £349 price tag - £150 shy of the flagship model - and offers the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 and an AMOLED display. So while it's a mid-range device, there's still some quality coming through.
That new Qualcomm hardware replaced the 710, which was a platform that offered an experience close to flagship 800 series performance. For many people, it will have all the speed that they need. It's paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage in its cheapest guise - so you might want to plump for the 128GB model at £399 as there's no microSD card support.
There is a 3070mAh battery and an 18W fast charger in the box.
The camera system offers a 48-megapixel main camera, with a 13-megapixel wide-angle and 8-megapixel zoom. The front camera is 20-megapixel and there's a lot of functionality and AI magic thrown in to help you get the most from your photos. Whether it will be able to fend off the Google Pixel 3a is another question.
While the triple camera looks like that of the Mi 9, apart from the main camera, the other modules are different so there's no telling how well it will perform.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE slips into a more compact space, offering lots of spec that will please many, while chipping away at the asking price. It will run MIUI over Android which can make things a little messy - but in this sub-flagship category, you're getting a lot for your money.
There are rumours that Xiaomi may be offering other Mi 9 versions, including a Pro version, in the near future.