Xiaomi Mi 5 Mobile review: Better in bright lightBy Paul Carroll - Wednesday May 11 2016 Mobile Review
Achieving an overall DxOMark Mobile score of 79 points, the Xiaomi Mi 5 is a reliable option for a smartphone for photography, particularly in outdoor and bright-light conditions. Our industry-standard mobile tests analyzed the image quality of both still photos and video footage to determine individual Photo and Video sub-scores.
Achieving sub-scores of 80 for Photo and 76 for Video, the Xiaomi Mi 5 performs slightly better for stills, with good target exposures and good autofocus performance. Its 16Mp 1/2.8”-type sensor also captures high levels of detail in bright light, making it capable of recording intricate and complex outdoor scenes. Some luminance and chromatic noise are visible in all images, however, which is particularly noticeable in low-light conditions, along with a loss of the finer details. Color is vivid and pleasant in most conditions, though, with stable and repeatable white balance, which renders just a slight yellow cast in daylight and a subtle pink under tungsten. Video footage offers accurate white balance, with pleasant color rendering in most conditions and accurate target exposures.
Nice target exposures and good autofocus outdoors
Shooting outdoors, the Xiaomi Mi 5 delivers accurate target exposures in most conditions, with only the very brightest highlights overexposed in high-contrast scenes. In bright light, the Xiaomi Mi 5’s autofocus really excels, as it’s fast, accurate, features face and smile detection, and is reassuringly smooth and stable during preview. Fine detail is well-preserved in outdoor shots, too, with 100% crops showing that the high-resolution 16Mp sensor preserves good detail in complex patterns, with luminance and chromatic noise limited to blocks of uniform color.
More noise in indoor shots
The Xiaomi Mi 5 is capable of some nice exposures and generally good color indoors, but both chromatic and luminance noise are more visible, along with a visible loss of fine details, with some autofocus failures in auto mode and focusing irregularities in trigger mode also observed. Furthermore, in extreme low-light (5 lux), images are completely underexposed.
TIP: Use the Xiaomi Mi 5’s built-in Picture Editor feature to adjust color and increase brightness to improve your indoor shots.
Uniform coverage and good flash exposures with nice color
Mixing flash with additional light sources, white balance remains pleasant, if slightly pink, thanks to the Xiaomi Mi 5’s dual-tone LED flash unit, which is capable of rendering pleasant color and accurate skin tones. Good flash exposures are achieved for flash-only and mixed-flash shots, although the former displays a loss of detail and strong chromatic noise. The Xiaomi Mi 5’s flash is well-centered in the frame, displaying good frame coverage with uniform distribution and relatively minor light attenuation in the corners.
Details: Explaining the score
Exposure and Contrast (85)
An overall score for Exposure and Contrast of 85 was one of the best category scores recorded for the Xiaomi Mi 5. The device achieved consistently good results for exposure in bright-light conditions, scoring 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5) in our perceptual analysis of image quality. The main issues were slightly overexposed highlights in high-contrast scenes, and underexposed results in extreme low-light conditions of 5 lux.
A very respectable score of 80 points was achieved for color, thanks to its accurate white balance and pleasant color rendering in most conditions. Perceptual analysis scored white balance accuracy at 4.3/5, color shading at 4.4/5, and 4.2/5 in bright and low light, respectively, and color rendering 4.5/5 and 3/5 — so solid scores all round.
The Xiaomi Mi’s autofocus scores a solid 85, with very good performance in bright light. Scoring an outstanding 95 points in our bright-light tests, it’s one of the best mobile autofocus systems we’ve tested in these conditions. In low light, however, a less-impressive score of 75 affected the overall autofocus score, but it’s still a capable performer in these conditions. Perceptual analysis of bright light autofocus recorded great scores of 4.7/5 for sharpness, 4.7/5 for speed, 4.4/5 for smoothness, and 4.9/5 for stability.
Texture (83) and Noise (68)
An excellent bright-light texture score of 97/100 indicates how well fine details are preserved in complex and intricate outdoor scenes. As with autofocus, however, the overall texture score was affected by a weaker low-light result of 69/100. Test images captured under both bright and indoor conditions resulted in good objective measurements with high detail preservation, while results using a lower 20 lux light source showed a loss of detail. The same pattern bears out in the perceptual analysis, too, with a bright-light texture score of 4.8/5 compared to 3.4/5 in low light.
Noise was one of the less impressive results for the Xiaomi Mi 5, achieving a relatively low score of 68 overall. Again, bright light results were more favorable, with only a fine luminance noise visible in large areas of uniform color when shooting outdoors. Indoors under a 20 lux light source, its perceptual analysis score of 2.9/5 was affected by noticeable colored noise.
Artifacts achieved a better overall score of 81. Color fringing and sharpness both scored 4/5 in the perceptual analysis, with just a slight cyan shift occurring in outdoor scenes, and some loss of sharpness at the edges compared to the center of the frame.
An overall flash score of 80/100 is very respectable and the Xiaomi Mi 5 delivers good flash exposures with and without additional light sources. Perceptual analysis of flash image quality scored 4.1/5, thanks to its well-centered light source and uniform flash distribution, with just a little loss of detail and visible chromatic noise lowering the score.
Video Overview and Highlights
The Xiaomi Mi 5’s video module offers HD 2160p/1080p@30fps video capture, as well as 720p@120fps. Generally, video exposures are accurate, with good white balance and vivid color in all conditions. Video exposure isn’t very stable, with noticeable steps in adaptation as brightness changes; that, along with limited dynamic range, resulted in a lower Exposure score for video. Texture and details aren’t as well-preserved on video exposures either, with a loss of detail and some noise visible on videos shot under all lighting conditions. Autofocus remains fast and accurate when capturing video, however, with only minor autofocus overshoots observed during testing.
TIP: Capturing video on slightly overcast days and avoiding high-contrast scenes or those with varying levels of brightness will ensure more accurate video exposures.
Note: Results from both Photo and Video scores feed into the overall DxOMark Mobile score, with greater weight given to Photo results in the final analysis.
|DxOMark Mobile Photo|
|Exposure and contrast||
- Good overall exposure.
- Good detail preservation.
- Stable and repeatable white balance and exposure.
- Great autofocus performance in bright light.
- Luminance and chromatic noise noticeable in bright light.
- In outdoor scenes some highlights are overexposed.
- Minor white balance inaccuracies.
- Using flash with no additional light source, some loss of detail is visible and strong chromatic noise is noticeable.
|DxOMark Mobile Video|
|Exposure and contrast||
- Good white balance and pleasant color in most conditions.
- Fast autofocus.
- Generally good target exposure.
- Visible loss of detail in all conditions (video is 720p by default).
- Stabilization is not effective, particularly outdoors.
- Limited dynamic range in outdoor scenes.