Xiaomi Mi A3 Review

10 August 2019, 02:43:42

Xiaomi Mi A3 Review

Rear cameras, photo and video samples

Xiaomi Mi A3 has three rear cameras. The main one is equipped with a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor. It has a large 1/2" format and a small pixel size - 0.8 μm, to fit all these pixels onto its surface. The sensor's most hyped feature is the Quad Bayer colour filter array in which every 2x2 pixel array has the same colour filter. Thus, depending on the conditions, it can process data in different ways. In low-light conditions, for example, the data from four adjacent pixels is processed as data from a single one. Hence, the resulting photos are with a resolution of 12MP. By default, the smartphone shoots 12MP (4000 x 3000) photos and you have to explicitly choose shooting with 48MP (8000 x 6000) resolution - there's an icon about that when you open the additional options for the Photo mode and in the Pro Mode. The sensor is paired to a 6-element lens with an f/1.79 aperture.

As for video recording, at 30 fps it shoots HD, FHD and 4K videos. At 60 fps, it shoots FHD videos only. Slow-motion videos are HD at 240 fps/120 fps or FHD at 120 fps. EIS works for HD and FHD videos at 30 fps. PDAF is available as well. Other smartphones that use the same 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor and have been reviewed by us include: UMIDIGI S3 Pro, Redmi Note 7 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 9, OnePlus 7 Pro.

The second rear camera of Mi A3 is an 8MP unit with unknown sensor model with 1.12 μm pixel size and a 118° ultra-wide lens with an f/2.2 aperture. You can shoot either with the main camera or with the ultra-wide one. Switching between the two happens either from the Pro Mode or from the zoom icon - 1x is for the 48MP shooter and 0.6x is for the ultra-wide unit. The third camera is a 2MP depth-sensing one with a 1.75 μm pixel size and f/2.4 aperture. It works only with the main camera when shooting portraits to add background blur. The rear camera module is accompanied by a dual-LED flash.
48MP
12MP 1.0x
8MP 0.6x
48MP
48MP
48MP
48MP
48MP
48MP
1x
0.6x
1x
0.6x
1x
0.6x

Front camera, photo samples

The front camera of Xiaomi Mi A3 resides in the waterdrop notch placed centrally above the AMOLED display. It features a 32MP Samsung S5KGD1 ISOCELL PLUS sensor with 0.8 μm pixel size. The resulting photos are with a resolution of 6560 x 4920 pixels. The sensor is paired to a 5-element lens with 79° FoV and an f/2.0 aperture. The top-res video recording is FHD at 30 fps. The front-facing camera supports face unlock.

Camera app

Xiaomi Mi A3 arrives with the company's in-house designed Camera application, which is adjusted to each particular model to address its shooting capabilities. As usual, the main screen of the app has a circular shutter button at the bottom's centre with a shortcut to the list of photos and videos to its left and the camera switch to its right. Above those buttons, you will see the list of shooting modes - Photo, Portrait, Video, Short Video, Night, Panorama, Pro. The Photo mode is the default one and allows you to add a beautification filter accessible from the small "magic wand" in the utmost right corner above the shooting modes. On the top of the screen, you get the flash and HDR options for photo shooting as well as on/off icons for AI and the filters. The hamburger menu icon opens additional photo shooting options and camera settings - timer, tilt-shift, straighten, camera frame, Google Lens, 48MP. The latter is also available from the Pro Mode. Video shooting is the second mode with time-lapse and slow-motion videos as additional shooting options. The Short video mode is next in line and with it, you can only choose from a set of filters. The Portrait mode supports simple beautification (a slider) and filters. The Night Mode was introduced with the launch of the Mi MIX 3 and, of course, has found its way on the Mi A3. For this mode, the main camera is used, which makes 12MP photos. The Pro mode allows you to adjust the white balance, f-number, ISO, and shutter speed as well as switch between the main (wide) and second (ultra-wide) camera.
The Camera settings are one and the same for the front and rear cameras and include toggles for location and time stamps, watermarks, gridlines, focus and shoot. You can also set the picture quality, choose auto exposure and anti-banding settings, etc. When shooting videos, the settings allow you to set the resolution and fps, the video encoder, time-lapse interval, etc. The rest of the video recording options are the same as for the photo shooting ones.
The interface for the front camera is almost entirely identical to the one for the rear cameras. Whenever you choose a shooting mode that's not supported by the front camera (Night, Panorama or Pro), the device simply switches to the rear cameras. The Photo mode of the front camera includes a Palm Shutter option and the beautification effects are further enhanced. The latter is also available when shooting with the Portrait Mode on. The Short video and Video modes are the same as for the rear cameras. When you open a photo with the Photos app, you can edit it by applying filters, adjusting the light, colour and pop as well as the frame position. Google Lens is also integrated into the Photos app.

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