The smartphone industry has been on a roll this year especially in China and India with everything from Displays to metal and glass designs coming down at price. While all this was always expected, the one thing that always kept the flagships where they are were the cameras. Well, that too seems to have changed this year and we’ve seen some amazing camera performances from budget smartphones. Today, Nokia launched their all new Nokia 6.1 Plus in India today and we compared it to the best smartphone cameras in its price range. The Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro go head to head against the Nokia 6.1 Plus for the ultimate budget camera comparison. So who’s the winner here? Well let’s find out, shall we?
Taking a look at the first set of pictures we have a good wide shot with a lot of elements to analyse all the three pictures and right off the bat, the Mi A2’s image looks the best, it has good contrast neutral colours and the clarity is just on point. While the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s image also looks close, I pick the Nokia 6.1+ as the second best image although there’s a pink tint, it just looks to have more details and well-exposed areas than the Redmi Note 5 Pro, but that’s just half of the story.
Zooming in we see that the Mi A2 again has the most details and the least amount of noise. Now the Nokia 6.1+ here clearly has more details than the Redmi Note 5 Pro, but also has more unwanted noise. The Redmi goes for a softer image here but also manages to suppress the noise due to that. That said when it comes to color accuracy the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro are much better and that was even visible in the whole color temperature of the wide shot.
Even looking at the small security guard’s room in the bottom right side, we see just how much detail Nokia is able to pull. While I still feel that the Mi A2 has the most balanced image with most details and good color accuracy. SO this round goes to the Mi A2.
Daylight HDR Off and ON
Looking at HDR shots, first we quickly look at an HDR Off shot and here the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2 look almost identical. The Nokia 6.1+’ image also doesn’t look bad, but both Xiaomi phones have better color reproduction and better dynamic range already.
Now turning HDR ON, Xiaomi always is quite subtle on the HDR Mode which I am not really a fan of and at times also tends to crush shadows even further for some weird reason. Here looking at the HDR image I realised the non-HDR image on the Mi A2 was a little hazy and after HDR that just becomes a lot more contrasty clearer image, no exactly what HDR is meant for but that is what happened here.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro added a weird warm tint to the photo completely messing up the image, I don’t know what that is. The Nokia 6.1+ shines here, the HDR does exactly what it’s supposed to, improves the highlights and shadows and gives an overall better looking image. The details are also very impressive, I mean it’s a capable camera and this round of HDR goes to the Nokia 6.1+.
The closeup shots are our next set of pictures and we start with this beautiful white flowers, I am a white flower person, all the white flower people put your hands up, ok now in these set of pictures without zooming in, while the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 pro have an accurate looking picture, the Nokia 6.1+ has a more saturated and pleasing looking image.
That said, zooming in we see that it has a little more noise than the other two, all of them have shot at 100 ISO so there shouldn’t have been this much noise, but yes there are areas where the Nokia has just pulled in way more details than the rest. Apart from that, I think the Mi A2 has got the colours right, they are accurate and not dull.
The noise is also visible at the edges of the petals, the Redmi Note 5 Pro has this slight green tint. Overall I personally give this round to the Mi A2 although the Nokia 6.1+ is also a good contender here and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s your pick.
This next image, the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2 again look very similar but the Nokia 6.1+ seems to have had a difficult time here. Zooming in we can see how well the Redmi has focused on the subject, the Mi A2 and the Nokia 6.1+ have focused on the petal base rather than the stigma.
Now, the Mi A2 clearly has more details in the rest of the picture compared to the other two. PInk, red, yellow and more vibrant colours are generally difficult for smartphones to reproduce. The Nokia 6.1+ has overexposed the image and the colours too look very unnatural. This round for me goes to Mi A2.
Here all the three pictures look great although the Nokia 6.1+’ picture shines with good bright skin tones and overall good colours. The Mi A2 goes for a natural look here and so does the Redmi Note 5 Pro, although here that turns out to be too dull.
The bokeh which the Mi A2 and Redmi Note 5 Pro provenly do well has been just handled exactly well by the Nokia 6.1+. All of them have done an impressive job, even the detailing is very similar on all of them and I can’t seem to find a winner in that part.
So solely for the better-looking skin tones and colours on the Nokia 6.1+ I chose it as the winner for this one.
The selfie images here all look pretty good. But there’s something interesting happening here. While all throughout the comparison Nokia took vibrant looking images, here it choses to be accurate with the colours while the other two boost it up, so I actually like the skin tones on the Nokia, although zooming in shows us just how much more details are in the Xiaomi phones, the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro just crush it.
The Mi A2 has the most details in this image and while I slightly liked the Nokia’s skin tones better, the details just take it away for me and the Mi A2 is my pick here.
Here the characteristics of the images are the same and hence we are only going to talk about the Bokeh mode here.
And wow again, Xiaomi has been known for good bokeh mode, but Nokia is no slouch and in all the portrait mode pictures we took, Nokia stands tall amongst the two xiaomi devices. If we peep very closely then there’s one portion near the hair, the Nokia blurs out the strands while Xiaomi MI A2 and Redmi keep a soft blur still keeping things in focus more or less, for the reason I pick the Mi A2 because of slightly better colours on the t-shirt and the face too.
I mean do I need to even say anything here. The Nokia 6.1+ produced what only the most generous would call an image.
Now looking at the other two, while Redmi Note 5 pro has done a commendable job, the Mi A2 has clearly produced the best picture among the three. it’s still not the best low light shots you could get, but it wins among the competition.
Even the ISO on Mi A2 for this picture is 9800 compared to 6400 on the Redmi Note 5 Pro and there’s still less noise on the Mi A2, so good sensors being used by Xiaomi and it speaks clearly.
Low Light with Flash
The images here sure look good and btw this is the UE boom 2 Ershad’s reviving it so stay tuned on the Mr. Phone Website for that. But ok looking at the images here, which one is your favorite? I know right?
The Mi A2 has done a tremendous job with these pictures. The color temperature is the bit on the warmer side but the flash also evenly illuminates the frame. I think you can clearly see the difference in the uniformity. I like the colour temperature on the Redmi Note 5 Pro a lot.
Nokia here has the most unappealing performance of the three, the flash doesn’t uniformly illuminate at all and there’s is an unpleasant looking green tint on it. Zooming in we see that the Nokia’s image does look good and contrasty but that alone cannot compensate for the green tint or the poor flash performance.
Low Light Selfie
These are extreme Low light selfies and as you can see, they are difficult for cameras to reproduce properly. The Nokia 6.1 has again performed rather poorly in extremely low light. The subject isn’t visible at all, which just makes things worse. The Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro have done an excellent job in comparison, although, I like the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s image here, because of the good color temperatures. There is also slightly better noise control on the Redmi Note 5 Pro here and is hence my winner for these set of pictures.
Low Light Selfie with Flash
Here the Nokia 6.1+ is at a small disadvantage since the other two phones have front flash, that said, the Nokia did manage to light up the face fairly well. but when compared to the other two phones nah!. The Mi A2 lights up the face the best with an even glow and while the Redmi Note 5 pro has a good looking image, it’s the Mi A2 wins here for me.
Video 1080p @ 30fps
The video performance is also not difficult for me to analyse because of the clear differences. The Nokia 6.1+ produces great colours and details, but the lack of EIS is clearly visible, that is where the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro take the cake, amazing EIS performance. Now between the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro, Both of them seem to have great colours but the Mi A2 nails the EIS very well. There is a lot of focus hunting going on in the Redmi Note 5 Pro, it’s there in the Mi A2 too, but it’s under control.
The final set of clips that we see are selfie videos and here It’s difficult to tell you clear winner. All of them do a few things well. I don’t like that the Nokia 6.1+ is a closer crop compared to the other two that, but the audio sounds really good albeit with some background noise. The Mi A2 has a great looking video with good colours and the audio here is clean, it’s not loud but the background noise has been completely cut off which is also a reason for lost volume. Finally, we come to the Redmi Note 5 Pro, good clean video with background noise and It’s difficult for me to pick a winner, but it does come in handy that the Mi A2 is cutting the background noise.