Every year, the mobile industry introduces a new trend and 2017 is the year of dual cameras. Almost every other phone has a dual-camera setup — either at the front or the back or, in few cases, both — capable of shooting admirable pictures in portrait mode and wide angle.
Fortunately, the Indian market has also seen a quite a handful of good budget dual camera options.
Notable among them are Xiaomi's Mi A1 – the flagship model from Xiaomi, Honor 9i – the first phone in India with four cameras (dual cameras at both the front and the back), Lenovo K8 Note, and the newly launched InFocus Turbo 5 Plus.
All these phones are in the sub-Rs 18,000 range and pack admirable camera specs along with decent hardware specs. So, it seemed only fair that we compare the performance of the rear camera of all the phones and see which comes out as the ultimate winner.
Here's a quick roundup of the specs.
|Xiaomi Mi A1||Honor 9i||Lenovo K8 Note||InFocus Turbo 5 Plus|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 625||Hisilicon Kirin 659||Mediatek Helio X23||MediaTek MT6750|
|Display||5.5-inch FHD||5.9-inch FHD+ FullView||5.5-inch FHD||5.5-inch HD|
|Price||Rs 14,999||Rs 17,999||Rs 13,999||Rs 8,999|
Now that we have shown you the overall specs of all the four phones, let's take a look at the camera performance.
1. A Bit of Blue
We caught these colorful fliers against a sunny backdrop at a mall in Gurugram. As you can see, the Mi A1 captured the colors of the fliers most accurately.
Though it isn't clear in the first set of pictures, the bluish tinge is prominent in the following set of pictures.
The Honor 9i and the Mi A1 tend to produce warmer pictures while the Turbo 5 Plus and the K8 Note go for a bluish hue.
2. The Case of Mistaken Color
The next picture shows a green cover on a road divider in broad daylight. Again, the flagship Xiaomi dual camera was able to reproduce the image almost accurately in the HDR mode with a well-balanced play of shadows and exposure.
Following close behind was the Honor 9i. The InFocus Turbo 5 Plus and the K8 Note gave a less than impressive performance with the green almost turning into white in the image.
3. Colors and Colors
This paper sculpture provided the perfect opportunity to see how the four cameras render color.
4. A Mixture of Light and Dark
In the next picture, the background provides a good mix of light and dark. While the image taken by the Mi A1 looks better, the Honor 9i produces the most accurate picture.
The pictures taken from the Turbo 5 Plus and K8 Note are a bit darker but they are acceptable.
5. Focus and Sharpness
The following picture has been captured admirably by the Mi A1. To my surprise, the K8 Note has managed to render the leaves in sharp focus and accurate color.
The Honor 9i yields a somewhat hazy image while the whites are over exposed in the image taken from the Turbo 5 Plus.
Here are some more sets of pictures to help you judge the performance of these four dual-camera setups.
6. Low Light Experiment
The low-light pictures taken from the Mi A1 produced a lot of noise while the Honor 9i impressed us with an almost noise-free image.
The Turbo 5 Plus and the K8 Note also produced noise in their representation. The Honor 9i did a pretty good job when it came to low-light photography.
7. Play of Artificial Light
Under harsh artificial light, the Mi A1 managed to hold its ground with the green staying as green. However, it lost its quality when it came to the sharpness of the image.
The Honor 9i again produced a better image compared to the other three but in the expense of the saturation level.
Here are a few more examples of low light photography with the four phones.
8. Portrait Mode
Portrait mode is one of the main highlights of the dual-camera setup. The Mi A1 and the Honor 9i managed to pull this feature off beautifully.
The pictures from the Mi A1 produced a soft blur with clear borders and a significant depth of field. Even the K8 Note did a better job producing the Bokeh effect. Although there were a couple of misses when it came to the sharpness, the overall execution from the K8 Note was satisfactory.
Here again, the Turbo 5 Plus did a sub-par job with its blur creeping on to the subject in focus.
Comparing the pictures above, Xiaomi's Mi A1 seems to be the clear winner among the four. The shadows and the exposure levels were perfectly balanced with accurate color reproduction both in normal and low-light conditions.
The Honor 9i comes a close second with a balanced performance in daylight and some amazing representation under low light, even better than that of the Mi A1. Still, the images felt a bit over saturated.
The InFocus Turbo 5 Plus, being a relatively new and lesser-known entity in the smartphone world, gave an impressive performance. It were the poor low-light shots and the portrait pictures that turned me off.
Lastly, we have the Lenovo K8 Note. Priced at Rs 13,899, it gave a less-than-average camera experience with washed-out pictures, hazy outlines in portrait mode, and a blue hue in the daylight images.
So, if you're looking for a good dual camera phone in the sub-Rs 18,000 price bracket, Xiaomi's Mi A1 seems to be the ideal option if low-light photography and selfies are not your favorite types of photography. If so, you can consider going for the Honor 9i.