Xiaomi Mi 9 SE vs. Mi 9: Which takes the best photos?

ByParis Ba 2019-06-10 3476

It has been clear for some time now that Xiaomi not only offers top-of-the-range smartphones with great performance - but also outstanding cameras. We have tested the flagship Xiaomi Mi9 and mid-range Xiaomi Mi 9 SE in a sibling duel for their photo quality.

Four cameras - that now seems to be the standard for Xiaomi. In addition to the current flagship Xiaomi Mi 9 and its cheaper little brother Mi 9 SE, the new Redmi K20 (which will run under the name Xiaomi Mi 9 T in Germany) will also come with a triple camera setup and a selfie cam.

How the K20 (or Mi9 T) will perform remains to be seen. But which of Xiaomi's currently most interesting smartphones takes the better photos? We took some snapshots.

Clear winner - on paper

But first of all a look at the specifications: The Mi 9 offers a 20 Megapixel Selfie-Cam with f/2.0, a trio of main camera (48 Megapixel with f/1.75), a wide angle sensor (16 Megapixel with f/2.2) and a telesensor with double optical zoom (12 Megapixel with f/2.2).

This is where the Mi9 differs from its smaller brother: the Mi9 has the same selfie cam and main camera, which means that the Quad Bayer color filter in the built-in Sony IMX586 image sensor can combine 2 x 2 adjacent pixels to form a large pixel. However, the Mi 9 SE's wide-angle sensor has only 12 megapixels with f/2.4 and its telesensor only 8 megapixels with f/2.4.

In light and shade: the practical test

Both models offer a wide range of shooting modes such as Portrait mode, which allows you to achieve the beautiful bokeh effect. To ensure comparability of photos, all shots were taken with HDR in auto mode with AI disabled.

In the best daylight, the two models don't take much at first glance. The photos look sharp and detailed. However, I find that the photos on the Mi 9 look even sharper. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is also somewhat faster than the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE when it comes to autofocus. The same applies to the processing of the images, as the faster processor of its big brother is noticeable here.

There's a subtle difference in the color temperature: the high-end smartphone captures it somewhat cooler, while the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE looks more saturated in the colors.

Conclusion: more expensive equals better

The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE already shows the price difference - at least as far as wide-angle and telesensor sensors are concerned (apart from the faster performance of the Mi 9, which makes image processing much faster). But there are no real differences between the Selfie-Cam and the normal photo mode.

So if you're mainly doing selfies and portraits and don't need the best of the best with wide-angle and telephoto functions, the Xiaomi Mi9 SE will make you very happy. Considering the price difference, this is also very bearable.

With the Xiaomi Mi 9, everyone is well advised who doesn't want to make any compromises, wants a great camera setup and is willing to dig a little deeper into their pockets for it. Anyway, it's worth it!

 You may also want to read:
 Sony A7S III: release date, features
  Samsung Galaxy A70s price, specs, camera, release date and other rumors
  Xiaomi Mi 9X (Mi A3) exposure: punch screen and Snapdragon 675


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