Mi A2: More Than What Meets The Eye


Building on it’s predecessor’s success, the Mi A2 offers some important upgrades for users. Nilofer Khan puts it to test.

Mi A2

Since the beginning, Xiaomi has sought to give users the best quality of cameras, and well-designed products at a pocket-friendly price. Launched in July, the Mi A2 is the successor of the Mi A1, and competes with affordable cameras in the market. Let’s see what this latest iteration has to offer.

What’s in the Phone?
The phone features a dual camera setup—a 20MP and a 12MP f/1.75 lenses. It offers various modes—Panorama, Square, HDR, Photo, Portrait, and Manual Mode. The Manual Mode has five options— White Balance (bulb, sunlight, tungsten, cloud, and customise), Focus, ISO (100 to 3200), shutterspeed (1/1000sec to 32sec). The Manual Mode also offers two lens features—a low light and a regular lens option. You can also select the focus peaking option while manually selecting the focus. The option helps to set the focus by showing red dots on your screen. If the image is in focus, the subjects will have red outlines around them. Moreover, to set the exposure, you have to drag the side bar that appears after you’ve locked the focus on the subject.

You can shoot 4K and slow-motion videos, as well as time lapses. Moreover, you can choose the time lapse interval between 0.06 seconds to 60 seconds. The camera offers image stabilisation, and three auto exposure settings (frame average, center weight, and spot metering).

In the Photo Mode, the rear camera has five options—Tilt-shift (circular and parallel), Straighten, Group selfie, HHT (the camera takes multiple photos and then creates a photograph with minimal amount of noise), and Beautify. The Portrait Mode is available for both front and back cameras. It does a decent job of blurring the background, without making the subject look like a cutout.
The phone also offers the Enhance Low Light Photos Automatically feature. However, I didn’t see any significant difference when I switched between the modes. The other options—Contrast, Saturation, and Sharpness are also available.

On the front, the Mi A2 has a 20MP f/2.2 camera. Both front and back cameras have a torch, AI, and various filter options. You can live view the effects of the filter. The phone runs on Android One, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor. The 5.99-inch display features a full HD resolution. It has a pixel density of 403ppi, and uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for protection.

The phone captures details accurately, and the colour reproduction is really good. Photograph/Nilofer Khan

How it Performed
The overall performance of the camera is good. The images are sharp from edge-to-edge, and the colour reproduction is quite accurate. I really liked the low light performance of the camera. The low light lens feature produces accurate colours and can capture details like shadows, tone and contrasts. You can only notice loss in details if you push the ISO at 1600 and beyond.

Moreover, I did not face any lag while shooting, and the video quality is good during the day, and does a decent job at night. I also noticed that the camera tracks a person’s face when detected. The front camera produces good selfies in low light at ISO 800. I shot a few images while commuting in a rickshaw at night, where the only source of light were the passing vehicles.

This image was shot using the low light lens feature. Photograph/Nilofer Khan

While editing, I decided to use two to three in-camera filter effects. Photograph/Nilofer Khan

I used one of the filters, and then played around with the saturation, tint, exposure and shadows. I then created a copy of the previous image, and added another layer of filter to get the desired results for the picture at the center. Photograph/Nilofer Khan

In Conclusion
The Mi A2 ticks all the boxes for a good camera. However, it lacks one thing—you can’t shoot RAW. I tried to use the Google Camera app, but it did not work. The phone offers ample of options for both selfie shooters and photographers. Furthermore, the Mi A2 feels extremely sleek and stylish to carry around. Priced at 16,999, it’s an ideal choice for anyone on a budget.

SPECIFICATIONS 20MP + 12MP, f/1.75 rear camera, 20MP f/2.2 front camera, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal memory, Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Octa Core 1.8GHz, 5.99-inch display, 3010mAh battery, Rs. 16,999.
WHAT WE LIKE Great picture quality, good low light performance, sleek design
WHAT WE DISLIKE RAW shooting unavailable
WHY BUY IT Good details produced by the camera, decent battery performance, and good ergonomics
CAMERA FEATURES 20MP front camera, 20MP + 12MP rear camera 24/25
IMAGE QUALITY  Good reproduction of details, and colour rendition 26/30
VIDEO QUALITY Offers 4K video recording, time-lapse and slow-mo 13/15
HANDLING Good button placement and good grip with the case 13/15
SPEED & RESPONSIVENESS Responses well with no lag 13/15
Tags: better photography, Xiaomi, cellphone camera review, Nilofer Khan, October 2018, Mi A2