Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi has today unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Mi MIX 2S. Packed with top-end features, it’s an exciting development for smartphone photography enthusiasts looking for high-end specifications at an affordable price point. The dual camera setup utilizes a 1/2.6-inch sensor aligned with a wide-angle 26mm equivalent lens that boasts an optical image stabilization (OIS) system. The second camera utilizes a smaller 1/3.4-inch 12MP sensor combined with an equivalent 46mm telephoto lens, but there’s no OIS on the Mi MIX 2S’s telephoto lens.
One of the first devices to use the latest Snapdragon 845 chipset, and featuring a quad-core processor, 8Gb of RAM, and running Android 8.0 (Oreo), the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S pack plenty of power for photography and processing. What’s more, with 256GB of internal storage, there’s bags of space for storage, too, although there’s no expandable SD storage with this device.The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S’s 5.99-inch DCI-P3 LCD screen is a great size and has great resolution for composing and reviewing images as well.
Other photography features include Electronic Stabilization (EIS), which uses gyroscopes to detect movement; phase-detection autofocus; a dual LED flash; and temporal noise reduction for photo and video.
Key camera specifications:
- Dual-camera with wide-angle main and secondary telephoto lenses
- OIS on the main camera
- Phase detection autofocus
- Snapdragon 845 chipset
- 5.99 inch DCI-P3 LCD
About DxOMark Mobile tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone camera reviews, DxOMark engineers capture and evaluate over 1500 test images and more than 2 hours of video in both controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of the testing. For more information about the DxOMark Mobile test protocol, click here.
With an overall DxOMark score of 97, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S runs neck-and-neck with some high-end devices from more established manufacturers such as Apple, Google, and Samsung. With an excellent Photo sub-score of 101 points, the Xiaomi achieves the same score for still photography as iPhone X, and is only three points behind the Samsung S9+. Its standout features are the excellent phase detection autofocus system, which is fast, accurate and very repeatable, together with its nice balance between texture preservation and noise reduction. In low light, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S renders some of the smoothest files we’ve seen, and luminance noise is very well-controlled in outdoor images, too.
Exposures and color are also very good, and although its dynamic range isn’t quite as strong as some of the top-end devices, HDR results are pretty good. Zoom and bokeh controls are becoming must-have features, especially for smartphone portrait photographers, and they’re implemented well on the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S, with excellent results using the 46mm-equivalent telephoto second lens at close range, creating a strong background blur effect, as well as good depth estimation and subject masking applied to bokeh mode portraits.
At 88 points, the Video score is a little lower than the still image performance, but still good. The Xiaomi’s main video strengths are its excellent autofocus system and electronic stabilization system. Noise is fairly well-controlled as well, but dynamic range is a little limited in some clips.
Shooting outdoors or in low-light conditions, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S delivers some outstanding still images, with great exposures in well-balanced lighting conditions, where the device excels. Dynamic range is a little limited compared to some of the best smartphone we’ve tested, with highlights overexposed in some tricky high-contrast scenes. Color is bold and vivid, with generally accurate white balance, aside from a slight purple color cast in some outdoor images, particularly in the blue and green hues (but it’s not overly strong). Luminance noise in areas of uniform color is extremely well-controlled, so you can expect nice clean blue skies in your landscape pictures. Texture in outdoor shots is very good, too. It’s not the best we’ve seen, with some of the very finest details lost through that smoothing of luminance noise, but it remains very acceptable.
Low light and Flash
Exposures in low-light conditions remain excellent down to very low-light levels (5 Lux), making the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S a sound choice for pictures indoors or parties at night. Color saturation indoors is excellent generally, and when shooting in near-dark conditions (1 Lux), shots are underexposed, but remain usable with acceptable color (given the conditions). Some white balance irregularities occur under artificial light sources, but the color casts are not very strong nor too distracting.
A key strength for the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S is its compromise between detail preservation and noise reduction. For noise, it’s one of the smoothest smartphones we’ve tested in low light, with very little noise evident down to 5 Lux. Of course, the trade off is sharpness, but the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S will maintain pretty good texture in your low-light images.
Using the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S’s dual LED flash combined with some additional artificial lighting, exposures are excellent, and although flash-only exposures are a little underexposed, they remain okay. Light attenuation, or corner shading, is well-controlled, and white balance is good, with no serious color casts ruining your flash pictures. The red-eye effect is visible when using flash as the only light source, but again, noise is very well-controlled, even in the corners where light starts to drop off a little.
Zoom and Bokeh
Equipped with a telephoto lens on the second camera, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S offers optical zoom shots up to 2x magnification. Results are generally excellent at this range and slightly outperform high-end devices such as the iPhone X for resolution, thanks to excellent texture preservation in outdoor images, along with pretty good results indoors, too. Autofocus on the telephoto lens becomes a little less stable, however, which affects the zoom score overall, but when the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S gets it right at close range, it’s excellent. At medium- and long-range zoom magnifications, the digital zoom kicks in, reducing the overall resolution. However, at medium range results remain very good outdoors, and although the loss of detail becomes more noticeable indoors, by and large the images are good. You should avoid long range zoom if possible due to the noticeable loss of resolution, especially in low light, but it’s OK in very bright light conditions.