Xiaomi Mi4: Camera
Xiaomi has always been very open about where it sources its parts, and even lists the Mi4’s camera as the Sony’s Exmor IMX214 on specification sheets. It’s a 13 megapixel variant that’s supported by an LED flash for low-light shooting.
This shot contains good detail but it’s not quite as sharp towards the edges, showing some noticeable noise that lets the Mi4 down a little in low-light shots.
Like so many mobile phone cameras, it only really shines when taking shots in well-lit environments. Indoor photography is plagued by the usual problems such as washed-out colour, fuzzy detail and an aggressive flash which over-saturates images with light.
The Mi4’s custom camera software comes with a range of features, including HDR, burst shooting and panoramic capabilities. It also allows you to lock the focus of the sensor by dragging a box over an object.
This feature works well in practice and is handy when you’re taking close-up images of fidgeting offspring, but it’s less successful when dealing with fast-moving targets.
The Mi4 captures excellent detail in this shot (Full-res shots available in the gallery)
If you’d rather go for something a little similar you can switch the default camera application to Google’s own, which is available for download on the Google Play market. While this is lacking in features when compared to the Mi4’s native software, it’s somewhat easier to use and might be preferable for those who want to simply “fire and forget” when it comes to photography.
Being able to swop out core apps for your own choices is one of the most appealing aspects of Xiaomi’s MiUI software.
This shot shows some problems. It struggles with the exposure of the clouds and there’s a slightly odd, magenta hue to some clouds.
Overall, while it falls short of the iPhone it imitates and other top-end phones, this is a very good camera for the price. The fact it shoots 4K video is a nice though probably unnecessary bonus, but the 8-megapixel front-facing camera is a very handy addition. Anyone who takes seflies often, or video calls, will appreciate the extra detail it captures.