151Image quality ratingUBER-G SCORESscoring / ranking system nameIQImage quality based rating systemCAMERAMobile PremiumCategory based on price2018-10Device launchXiaomi Mi Mix 3Device brand and name

We attended the launch of Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 in Beijing in November, but it's time to revisit this handset for a thorough review and evaluation of the Mi Mix 3 camera. Learn more: What is our Camera IQ benchmark?

Important camera specifications and hardware score of the Uber-G camera

  • Reversing camera system (3 cameras)
    • Primary: 26mm 12MP camera, 1: 1.8, OIS
    • Zoom: ~ 52mm 12MP 2X zoom, 1: 2.4
    • Extra wide: N / A

From the above specifications, it can be easily deduced that the Mi Mix 3 can compete with the iPhone XS, the Samsung Galaxy S9 + and other mobile cameras with two lenses and similar specifications.

The iPhone XS is technically close, but the Galaxy S9 + has a more sophisticated lens design with a larger aperture of 1: 1.5, which is very useful at night. The iPhone XS also has an OIS (optical stabilization) on its 52mm 2X zoom lens that Mi Mix 3 does not have.

However, for a handset worth $ 475 (Chinese price starting at $ 530 via Amazon), the Mi Mix 3 offers the user a lot, especially when compared to the more expensive options mentioned above.

97Camera Hardware ScoreUBER-G SCORESCoring / Ranking system nameHWardware-based ScoreCAMERAMobile PremiumCategory based on price2018-10Device launchXiaomi Mi Mix 3Device name and brand

Further information: What is the score of our camera hardware?

Image quality analysis

Important: Let us clarify some terms that we will use:

  • "Image processing": Software work that improves the image data quality
  • "Image filtering": Software work that changes the style (aesthetics) of the photo.
  • "Context photo: a large Approximation from what we see
    • Including how dark the scene actually is
    • Just for that context of the shot.

A note on Uber-G camera IQ Score: Our camera rating system is based on four “pillars” or partial values ​​that offer the much needed nuance: Day, night, Zoom and extra wide Photography.

Daylight photography: 176

Context photo: what the scene looks like

Recorded with the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

When taking photos with bright light, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 takes pleasant photos with excellent color rendering. However, we're not afraid to make an effort to distinguish between different cameras, so we'll take a closer look at the key differences between the cameras.

Context photo section: what the scene looks like

While the Mi Mix 3 performs well overall, there are things that make competitors better even within the same price range. We have found that the Honor View 20 performs better in daylight photography with much sharper details (in 12MP automatic mode). The softness of the Mi Mix 3 level of detail and the HDR (High Dynamic Range) performance could be improved.

If you compare the sheets of the Honor View 20 with the context photo, you can see that they may even be a little noisy because the fine details appear too sharp. Overall, however, the clarity is visibly better.

Apart from the price, a handset like the Google Pixel 3 can take better daylight photography, which results in a slight overwork and a possibly exaggerated contrast easy to correct with mobile photo editing. The slight optical softness of the Mi Mix 3 lens cannot be reworked.

Low light photography: 179

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 offers good functions in low light conditions. Our photo examples and analyzes show an excellent color recording (beyond the iPhone XS), but a poor image sharpness. At night, our tests clearly show that the Mi Mix 3 competes well with high-end phones, but let's find out how good it is.

The Mi Mix 3 is ideal for people who prefer a natural camera setting over artificial filters. We will demonstrate this below:

Context shot of what the scene looks like

Recorded with the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

In this HDR scene, for example, you can see that the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 has very good color capture and can detect shades that mute or overlook others.

Together with Note 9 and S10, it is one of the closest to what your eyes can see. Others like the Mate 20 Pro change the mood of the scene significantly and use strong filtering, which Xiaomi doesn't. Remember: brighter isn't always better.

Recorded with Galaxy Note 9

Recorded with Mate 20 Pro

Shot with honorary view 20

A cropped view below shows that the clarity of the Galaxy Note 9 is definitely higher (a consistent trend) and that the Mate 20 Pro has better texture preservation despite heavy filtering. As we showed in our review of the Galaxy Note 9 camera and our review of the Galaxy S10 camera, Samsung is still the owner of the night.

Compared to Honor View 20 (below), the relative lack of sharpness is well compensated for by a more pleasant overall rendering (also less noise), including hues that are precise and realistic (therefore controllable).

Below is another common scene that could be challenging for a camera. The difference in contrast between illuminated and non-illuminated areas can be high, and details and colors are difficult to grasp.

Context shot: The scene looked like this

Recorded with Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

Recorded with Galaxy Note 9

First, almost all smartphones will brighten the scene beyond what your eyes see (see context photo). Both the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and the Galaxy Note 9 capture colors that come closest to “reality”, even though they have a slightly warm shade, probably due to the yellowish street lights.

Recorded with Mate 20 Pro

Above you can see that a handset like the Mate 20 Pro changes the mood of the scene considerably. While some people like this particular style, it also makes the shot less predictable. We made in-depth comparisons between Mate 20 Pro and Galaxy Note 9 in their respective camera tests.

Below we take a closer look at the image quality, an indispensable step because judging a 12-megapixel photo on a 1-megapixel screen is not very efficient. Cutting to rescue:

Although the Mi Mix 3 and Note 9 photos appear to be the best colors, the cropped photo is unattractive: the Galaxy Note 9 is much better at preserving details.

In his honor, Xiaomi has done an excellent job of color matching, as many other phones cannot properly capture the subtle purple of the flowers. However, competitors at this level can sometimes grasp details better.

Below in our classic 0.5 LUX testThe Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 proves once again that it can capture the mood very well. The cropped view shows that the Xiaomi tuning shows much less processing than, for example, the OnePlus 6T.

Context photo: The 0.5LUX scene feels so dark

Recorded with Mi Mix 3

Recorded with OnePlus 6T

Shot with honorary view 20

Recorded with Galaxy Note 9

But even compared to the Galaxy Note 9 (and S10), Samsung's noise level is much lower thanks to the superior 1: 1.5 lens design and software noise reduction. In many ways, these two points are the key to low-light performance, even more than sensor size.

Zoom photography: 82

With ~ 52mm 2X optical zoom lensThe Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 easily outperforms cameras with a lens of the same category, but competition with other 2X lenses is tough.

Contextual shot of how the scene looks when enlarged

In our tests, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 did well enough to land over the zoom camera of the LG V40 and to compete closely with the HTC U12 + with a little less sharpness.

Below you can see how the Honor View 20 achieves slightly better image quality without using a special zoom lens thanks to its 48 megapixel sensor that can be used in zoom mode.

And of course the Mate 20 Pro / P20 Pro 3X 80mm zoom lens remains untouchable at the moment. Convince yourself below:

Other 2X zoom lenses such as the S9 +, the Note 9 or the Galaxy S10 deliver an image that is significantly less noisy despite comparable level of detail. See below:

Context photo (zoom)

Ultrawide Photography: N / A.

The Mi Mix 3 is not equipped with an Ultrawide camera, but the new Xiaomi Mi 9. We look forward to testing them too. It's great to see that all OEMs offer an ultra-high-end option.

Conclusion and Uber-G camera IQ Score

151Image quality ratingUBER-G SCORESCoring- / Ranking-SystemnameIQImage-Quality-based rating systemCAMERAMobile PremiumCategory based on price2018-10Device startXiaomi Mi Mix 3Device brand and name

Uber-G camera IQ Partial results
Day 176
night 179
Zoom 82
Extra wide N / A

According to our tests, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 camera lands near the Google Pixel 3 camera ($ 699), which is an excellent level for mobile photography. With a retail price of ~ $ 530 at the time of release, the Mi Mix 3 is currently the mobile camera that has the highest value for the price in the bonus Segment, together with the OnePlus 6T camera.


Outside the score, we would like to praise Xiaomi for its “natural” camera tuning style, which is superior to Apple's iPhone XS camera in capturing color tones at night. The XS generally stays better with edge details and HDR by daylight.

In the end, it is the sharpness and noise level of this camera that matters, and our Uber-G Camera IQ benchmark reflects this very well.

Saved in Cell Phones> Reviews. Read more about Editor Spick, Mobile Camera Reviews and Xiaomi.


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