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Xiaomi Redmi Note camera review: not the best, but still manages to impress

|October 6 2014 |Xiaomi, Reviews, Camera Phones, Phablet

"The Redmi Note boasts serious camera credentials with a 13-megapixel sensor at the back and a 5MP front-facing shooter? But can it deliver?"

With the increase in sales of smartphones, compact cameras are seeing a decline in interest. The reason is simple – consumers prefer carrying one gadget (the smartphone, that is) and use it for shooting pictures and videos, instead of carrying a dedicated camera separately. Sadly, most smartphones haven’t reached a point yet where they can actually replace a camera, since there’s more to the image quality than just megapixels.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 14

That's why we put all smartphones arriving in our labs through a camera performance test to see whether they manage to usurp the digital camera. The device we're focussing on today is the Xiaomi’s phablet, the Redmi Note (first impressions) which boasts some serious camera credentials with a 13-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture. For shooting in low-light conditions, the shooter is supplemented by an LED flash. The camera interface is also heavily customised and offers a ton of modes and features thanks to MIUI running atop Android, and we'll be discussing them in detail in our upcoming review.

So without further ado, let’s see how the Xiaomi Redmi Note fares in the camera department.

Long shot

Xiaomi Redmi Note Camera review - long shot

The landscape shot captured with the Redmi Note’s 13-megapixel camera shows ample detail and good colour variance. Even with 100 percent zoom in, buildings are visible, albeit the image seems grainy and isn’t very sharp either.

Close up

Xiaomi Redmi Note camera test - close up

The Xiaomi Redmi Note is able to capture close-up shots beautifully, with flowers and leaves looking very natural, and both petals and veins of the leaves visible.

Close up (zoomed in)

Xiaomi Redmi Note camera test - close up (zoomed in)

When we zoom in on the same image, the details aren’t lost. However, the flower is blurry and there seems to be a spillover in the colour capture.

HDR off

Xiaomi Redmi Note camera performance - HDR off

A normal shot captured to check the HDR capabilities of the Xiaomi Redmi Note's camera.While the image looks fine, colours are on the dull side. Let’s see what HDR mode does to the scene.

HDR on

Xiaomi Redmi Note camera performance - HDR on

Turning on the HDR helps the image immensely, as the whole scene looks brighter and more pleasing to the eyes.

Front camera

Xiaomi Redmi Note camera test - front camera shot

Not only the rear camera, the Redmi Note also promises good selfies and video calling capabilities with its 5-meg shooter at the front. As can be seen in the image captured above, the ball and hand look nice and don’t turn grainy when zoomed in.

Low light shot

Xiaomi Redmi Note camera review - low light shot

In the camera performance test of the Redmi Note, the device struggles in poorly-lit conditions like most other smartphones. However, it’s not that bad considering both the ball and globe are visible. More importantly, we can also see the threads on the ball even after zooming in.

Low light shot with flash

Xiaomi Redmi Note camera review - low light shot with flash

With the flash however, the whole scene is properly illuminated and both the objects can be seen. Unlike many other devices, the flash is uniformly distributed.

Night shot

Xiaomi Redmi Note camera performance - night shot

At night, the Xiaomi Redmi Note is able to capture the scene well. While noise creeps when you start zooming in, you’re still able to make out different objects in view.

Based on the images embedded above, the snappers on the Xiaomi Redmi Note manages to impress. Sure, it’s not perfect especially with regards to sharpness, but it’s more than ideal for casual usage. What’s interesting is the fact that at the expected price point of Rs 9,999, the device offers compelling cameras just like its siblings, the Redmi 1s (review | camera review) and the Mi 3 (review | camera review).

We’re using the device as a daily driver ever since we got one from China and came up with its unboxing and FAQs. Watch out for our full review to know more about the device and its real-life performance.

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