The Redmi Note 5 Pro ensures a solid headstart for Xiaomi for the year that lies ahead. Xiaomi builds on its tired and trusted formula, offering latest Qualcomm mid-tier chipset, full HD display, a good memory rig, hybrid sim tray and latest MIUI custom skin.
If there is one aspect of a smartphone experience where Xiaomi has struggled in the past it has to be the camera. Xiaomi managed to change that perception with its Android One phone, the Mi A1, which is currently seen by trade pundits as the best camera phone under Rs. 15,000. Can the Redmi Note 4 successor dethrone its now ageing sibling? Let us find out in our Redmi Note 5 Pro camera review:
Editor’s Note: To put things in perspective, we will be comparing the Redmi Note 5 Pro camera with Mi A1 in this review for a better understanding.
Camera Comparision: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Vs Mi A1
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Camera Details
- 12-megapixel primary sensor, Sony IMX486 sensor, PDAF, f/2.2 aperture, 1.25-micron pixel size
- 5-megapixel depth sensor (Samsung), f/2.0 aperture, 1.12-micron pixel size, LED flash
- 20-megapixel front camera, Sony IMX376 sensor, f/2.2 aperture, LED flash
Xiaomi Mi A1 Camera Details
- 12-megapixel primary sensor, PDAF, f/2.2 aperture, 1.25-micron pixel size
- 12-megapixel telephoto sensor, f/2.6 aperture, 1-micron pixel size, dual tone LED flash
- 5-megapixel front camera, f/2.2 aperture, LED flash
Camera App and Hardware
Paying heed to latest trends, Xiaomi also started offering dual rear camera setup in mid-range with the Mi A1 later followed it with Redmi Note 5 Pro. However, the dual camera setup on the Note 5 Pro has slightly different implementation than the Mi A1. The Note 5 Pro combines a 12MP sensor with 5MP depth sensor whereas the Mi A1 gets a combination of two 12MP sensors, the second one with a Zoom lens.
There is one thing is common between Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi A1 camera i.e neither of them comes with Optical Image stabilization (OIS). Off late, Xiaomi has been trying to appeal to selfie enthusiasts and the Note 5 Pro gets a 20MP front camera befitting the task. The selfie snapper comes with Sony IMX376 sensor with f/2.2 aperture and LED flash as well. The Mi A1, on the other hand, only gets to shoot selfies with a 5MP snapper.
While comparing Redmi Note 5 Pro camera with Mi A1, one thing was evident that both are snappy with no shutter lag. The Redmi Note 5 Pro camera app is almost identical to its Note series predecessor. Though, Xiaomi has added portrait mode in the app. It offers different modes and settings to take advantage and click better images. On the other hand, Mi A1 camera app is very basic and not as rich in features as the Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Colors and Details
Let’s start our Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro camera comparison with Mi A1 by evaluating colors and details in the shots captured from both devices in same conditions. Both the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A1 managed to capture immersive images. both cameras manage to capture sharp, crisp and punchy colors in broad daylight.
However, if we have to do some nitpicking, we will point the images captured by Mi A1 are slightly sharper and colors are a tad warmer than shots taken from Redmi Note 5 Pro. Having said that, the Redmi Note 5 Pro holds its ground pretty well.
The test images here showcases the Mi A1 has a better dynamic range but the Redmi Note 5 Pro has an upper hand when it comes to handling shadows. In the first set of pictures, the tree in front of the building is more visible in the image captured with Redmi Note 5 Pro. Furthermore, the sky looks a bit more washed out in Mi A1 shot than the image from Redmi Note 5 Pro camera. However, when zoomed in, the Mi A1 had better details when it came to the building architecture and the leaves of the tree present in the picture but remaining objects and people are sharper in Redmi Note 5 Pro.
On the other hand, in the second set of pictures, the greenery of the foliage or whites and greys of buildings and reds of the car well captured by the lenses in Mi A1. Even when zoomed in, Mi A1 image offers better details.
Also Read: Redmi Note 5 Pro VS Mi A1 Specs Comparison
Another space where the Mi A1 outshines the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Thanks to its telephoto lens, the Mi A1 offers up to 2X optical zoom. The Redmi Note 5 Pro users, on the other hand, will have to bank on cropping or will have to use digital zoom to get closer images. The Mi A1 camera manages to capture better details and colors here.
Once again the fight is really close. Both cameras manage to capture good details of the subject while blurring out the background. I personally find colors of the shot taken by Mi A1 more natural and better.
Also Read: Top 14 Xiaomi Mi A1 Useful Tips and Tricks
In above gallery, we have added same shot clicked with and without HDR from both the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi A1. In tricky places like those in the images above, most budget cameras struggle in differentiating between highlight and shadows.
Looking at these above images, it appears that the Redmi Note 5 Pro did a good job with metering to produce better, evenly exposed shots in HDR off mode. We can clearly make out bikes and shops in the image captured using Redmi Note 5 Pro while, the Mi A1 image shadows are a tad darker making it hard to make out details.
Having said that, The Mi A1 is clearly ahead in the game when it comes to taking pictures with HDR. With HDR turned on, the Mi A1 image is more evenly exposed in comparison to the Redmi Note 5 Pro shot.
Indoor (Low Light)
As evident from these low light shots, the Redmi Note 5 Pro seems to do a slightly better job in not so favorable lighting conditions. The first shot is evenly exposed while the Mi A1 shot seems a tad underwhelming here. Also, there is a pinkish tint in the Mi A1 shot while Redmi Note 5 Pro colors appear to be well balanced.
Selfies is one camera aspect where Redmi Note 5 is a clear winner. The phone managed to capture some delightful selfies which are much sharper and evenly balanced. Looking at the above Redmi Note 5 Pro selfies appears to have a good dynamic range and produces punchy colors.
Even in indoors selfies, Note 5 Pro manages to topple the Mi A1.
Redmi Note 5 Pro Camera Review: Is It Better Than Mi A1?
Well, the answer is yes and no. Yes, when you talk about selfies and low light shots the Mi A1 camera fell short when compared to the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The vertical camera setup of Redmi Note 5 Pro has faster shutter speed and it takes less processing time in comparison to the Mi A1. However, the Mi A1 camera clearly has edge over the Redmi Note 5 Pro when it comes to dynamic range, better zooming capabilities, and HDR mode.
The image processing software is quite aggressive on the Redmi Note 5 Pro, but the processing is still quite well balanced. Overall, the camera performance is quite close on both phones and we find the scale slightly tilts in Mi A1’s favor. However, Mi A1 is now aging and its camera isn’t enough incentive to choose it over Redmi Note 5 Pro. At the same time, your individual preferences may differ and you’d perhaps be happier with images shot from Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Keeping the Mi A1 aside, the Redmi Note 5 Pro cameras should be tough to beat in this budget.