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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Xiaomi Mi 4i review: 8.Camera review

Great 13MP snapper

Xiaomi Mi 4i features a 13MP camera, equipped with a dual-tone LED flash, a somewhat surpring upgrade over the Mi 4's basic LED flash.
Xiaomi Mi 4i
The camera interface is fairly simple, though it has certainly changed since MIUI v.5. Now you have three panes - the default one shows the viewfinder with a virtual shutter, flash trigger and front camera key. Slide to the top pane and you'll get a choice of 12 filters with live previews. A slide to the bottom hides the advanced modes such as Panorama, Refocus, Delay Shutter, Highlight tones, Hand-hand twilight, and Manual.
The HDR switch is now placed next to the virtual camera shutter and offers Live HDR, Enhanced HDR, and Off modes.
Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i
Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i
Camera UI
The Manual Mode offers you manual settings for white balance and ISO. The Face Detection switch is within the additional settings.
Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i
More camera settings
The Xiaomi Mi 4i resolves plenty of detail and the noise levels are kept very low. The white balance is pretty accurate and we like the lively color rendition. The dynamic range is above average, too. Overall the processing is really mature and we consider those samples among the best 13MP ones we've seen so far.
Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i
Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i
Xiaomi Mi 4i camera samples
The HDR mode is available in Live and Enhanced modes, but we suggest using only Enhanced. While you won't be seeing the HDR effect in real time, the results are much better. The Enhanced mode is conservative enough and rescues both the highlights and shadows without making a flat contrastless mess out of the image. Those aren't the best HDR photos we've seen, but they certainly are among the better ones.
Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i
Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i
HDR off • HDR live • HDR enhanced
Panorama shots are available too. You can capture both landscape and portrait panoramic photos with a 180 degree field of view. Shooting is easy but the stitching takes a while to complete. The end result is rather disappointing though - the landscape shots come in 2250x400px pixels while shooting in portrait mode results in the more usable 1980x720px. The image quality is quite poor.
Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i
Xiaomi Mi 4i panorama samples in landscape and portrait modes
Xiaomi Mi 4i features a 5MP front-facing camera for high-res selfies. The images come out nicely detailed. This camera is among the best front snappers we've met - with excellent color rendition and the high level of resolved detail.
Xiaomi Mi 4i
A 5MP camera sample taken with the front camera

Photo comparison tool

The Xiaomi Mi 4i is more than capable of pulling its own weight in our Photo Comparison tool. You can see it puts up an excellent fight against the other snappers we've tested and comes on top even against some far pricier options.
Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool
Xiaomi Mi 4i in our photo quality comparison tool

1080p video recording

Xiaomi Mi 4i camcorder has the same UI as the still camera. It supports slow-mo (the result is a 720p@16fps video) and time-lapse videos with customizable snapping interval.
Xiaomi Mi 4i Xiaomi Mi 4i
Camcorder UI
The Xiaomi Mi 4i is capable or recording up to 1080p@30fps. The bitrate of the video recordings is poor at about 15 Mbps, while audio is captured at 96 Kbps with 2 channels (stereo).
The resolved detail in the videos is modest at best. The colors and contrast are good and the framerate is smooth and consistent at 30fps. The dynamic range is above average.
And here is a 1080p video we've uploaded on YouTube.

Video quality comparison tool
Here the Xiaomi Mi 4i enters our video comparison tool. There are plenty of 1080p camcorders you can compare it with. It resolves an average level of detail, but contrast and colors are good.
Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool
Xiaomi Mi 4i in our Video quality comparison

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