Xiaomi had a very good camera in the Mi4 smartphone last year, and they have almost the same quality camera in the newly launched Xiaomi Mi 4i, though we see some difference that makes the earlier device a better one in terms of camera. A 13-megapixel shooter with a Dual LED flash is good enough for what you are paying, but one would have loved to see more than what the MIUI includes in the camera app.
Let’s talk about the camera app, to start with. Not the best at looks, not the best with functions. Asus clearly is a winner for us, with several options and they are software-optimized, thus whatever we miss in the Mi 4i’s camera app is not a compromise with the hardware. The app has the same focus wheel as seen in other MIUI6 based devices, and the wheel can be rotated to adjust exposure, brightening or darkening the image.
The various modes include Panorama, Timer, Refocus (which needs objects one less than a meter, and other quite far), Manual, Beauty and HHT. The Manual controls are very easy to understand for someone who hasn’t used Pro settings earlier, including White Balance, Focus, Exposure time and ISO sensitivity.
Check: Asus ZenFone 2 Camera Review
Check the samples below, where we show how does the camera on the Mi 4i fare, in different conditions – natural light, indoors, low light and how well does the HDR and exposure controls work.
Natural light captures: Great details, good color reproduction except for the green which seems a little washed out. No wonder why the Xiaomi officials suggested to use HDR always while capturing pictures in natural light.
Low Light Captures
In low light conditions, the Auto mode doesn’t help. Increasing the ISO and exposure in manual settings helps, but a lot of noise is seen. This is one such area where the ZenFone 2’s camera does a far better job. The below captures show how it behaves when the exposure is changed.
Tried taking a picture using HDR, it made the entire thing brighter, though not surprising to see that in low light.
While capturing some pictures in good light indoors, the focusing was still quick and much comparable to bright natural light conditions, and it rarely missed on focus.
Panorama capture was good on multiple tests, we rarely saw stitching of the images and it was smooth while taking the picture.
HDR Captures: The coloring changes a lot, and actually makes the picture looks better. The green, as said above, was washed out a bit without HDR, but that seemed more natural and good in the HDR capture.
The zoom function worked much better in the Mi 4i when compared to the ZenFone 2. The same area captured with full zoom using the latter, showed a lot of distortion comparatively.
The camera app also has the Refocus function, similar to the Wide aperture feature on Honor 6, and this lets the user set focus on particular object in some distance. Doesn’t work really well, but appreciable for how one can decide later on where to focus.
It is a great camera overall, but while comparing this to the Asus ZenFone 2, the latter is touch better, and credit goes to the low light captures optimized by PixelMaster 2.0 technology in it. Selfies are very much comparable in both, though, we are inclined towards the Mi 4i’s camera, and the beautification that removes all smudges and brings out good selfies in the end.