Xiaomi Mi A1 vs Honor 7X: In-Depth Camera Comparison

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A camera has become one of the strongest selling points in the current generation of smartphones. This little piece of hardware is possibly the most marketed feature today among different handsets if we look at the industry trends. In fact, the arrival of dual-lens cameras has converted the reasoning of having a camera in a phone from a mere requirement or a need to an uncompromising necessity (even if it’s just to brag about). Not just that, a dual camera setup can also make a handset appear premium when it might hardly be one.

For sure, manufacturers around the world are capitalizing on this new craze and fitting their latest devices, irrespective of their segment, with dual cameras. On that note, the Honor 7X is the latest device in the lower-midrange category launched only this month in India. It looks good, has a big 5.93 inches of Full HD+ display and has a dual camera at the back. This handset demands a second look.

In terms of the camera performance, we have already compared the Honor 7X with the Honor 6X (read here) and the Moto G5S Plus (read here). And this time, the Honor 7X faces its compatriot, the Xiaomi Mi A1 in an in-depth camera comparison. So here it goes.

Camera Specifications

Honor 7X

– Dual camera with 16 MP primary lens and 2 MP secondary lens (for depth)

– Phase Detection Autofocus


– Wide Aperture Mode and Portrait mode

– 8 MP front camera

Xiaomi Mi A1

– Dual camera with 12 MP primary and secondary lenses

– Phase Detection Autofocus


– 2x Optical zoom

– 5 MP front camera

On to the image quality then.

Daylight or Good Light Images

In Daylight photography, one of the biggest things to notice is how well the Exposure is controlled by each camera. The Exposure is the intensity of the light, and in the presence of a bright sunlight, it can be a challenge for some cameras to keep it under control in order to prevent the overexposure. Below are a few daylight samples from both smartphones.

7x vs A1 daylight sample

7x vs A1 daylight sample 2

7x vs A1 daylight sample 3

In the samples above, there are positives and negatives in the images taken from both the cameras. If we specifically look the 2nd sample, the Honor 7X displays slightly better control of the Exposure as the poster on the wall (on the extreme left) is better visible in its case. In comparison, the same poster in the image from the Mi A1 appears white (too much light Exposure).

However, the Mi A1’s camera produces better colours that look closer to reality while the colours from the Honor 7X are relatively dull. Also, the Mi A1 displays better warmth of the sunlight which is again a truer representation of the actual scene.

Winner: Xiaomi Mi A1

Night or Low Light Images

Night conditions are possibly the biggest challenge for any photographer out there especially if the camera is a smartphone. Due to less than adequate lighting, there is a great risk of noise (or the grain effect) coming into the captured images. In simple terms, if you see a photograph with infinite tiny dots scattered all over (like dust particles), that is noise or the grain effect.

Let’s see a few examples under the Night condition.

7x vs A1 night sample 1

7x vs A1 night sample 2

7x vs A1 night sample 3

The night samples images show a mixed bag of observations for the Xiaomi Mi A1. While the 1st and the 3rd images show a controlled level of Exposure from the A1’s camera, the 2nd image displays the noticeably overexposed lit passageway. Comparatively, the details of the lit passageway are more clearly visible in the 2nd image from the 7X’s camera. Yet, in all the 3 images above, the A1’s camera has captured slightly better details in other elements like the floor and the pillars along with more accurate colour reproduction.

Winner: Xiaomi Mi A1

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High Dynamic Range (HDR)

The objective of the HDR functionality is to enhance the details in the dark (or the shadowy) parts in an image without sacrificing the detail present in the brighter parts. This means, things that are generally not visible in the shadowy areas in an image are noticeable when the same image is captured through the HDR mode.

Here are few HDR samples from both cameras.

7x vs A1 HDR sample

7x vs A1 HDR sample 2

7x vs A1 HDR sample 3

In the HDR samples above, the Xiaomi Mi A1 continues to display better dynamic range in the colours and the resultant liveliness. Also, while neither camera does an absolute fine job in retaining the details, the Mi A1 displays more detail in almost all the elements compared to its competitor.

Winner: Xiaomi Mi A1

Bokeh or Depth-of-field Samples

One of the most widely used features in a dual camera setup is a dedicated Portrait mode. Alternatively, it can also be referred to as the ‘Wide Aperture’ mode (in the case of the Honor 7X). These modes simulate a depth-of-field effect. Please understand that since it is only a simulation, it is not a true depth-of-field or a Bokeh effect. We will try and show the differences between a true and a fake Bokeh effect through the samples below.

7x Bokeh real and fake

A1 bokeh real and fake

In the Bokeh samples above, the images on the left have the actual depth-of-field effect while the images on the right simulate the same. In the case of the Honor 7X, the ‘Wide Aperture’ mode leaves a lot to be desired as it fails to properly isolate the subject from the background. For example, notice the stick extending at the top of the photograph and it can be seen that its edges are bleeding (or leaking) into the background. The same stick appears well isolated in the image on the left.

In comparison, the Mi A1’s camera does a better job with its dedicated Portrait mode and is able to simulate a much better depth-of-field effect than the Honor 7X. There is no noticeable bleeding in its case even though the blur effect in the background is a bit too heavy.

Winner: Xiaomi Mi A1

Selfie Images

The front camera may not be as important as the camera at the back, yet, it is integral to the overall experience of owning a smartphone in the present times. Let’s check out a selfie sample each from both the smartphones.

7x vs A1 selfie

The front cameras on both handsets overexpose the background (especially when it is bright), but once again, the Mi A1’s trumps the 7X in terms of colour accuracy.

Winner: Xiaomi Mi A1

Panorama Images

A Panorama is an interesting form of imagery which is created when a number of images are joined together in order to cover a much larger area. Below are the Panorama samples from the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the Honor 7X.

7x vs A1 panorama sample

In the samples above, both cameras struggle to create a seamless Panorama image as there are visible breaks especially towards the extreme right side of the image (see the railing). However, the Honor 7X darkens the image a bit too much for our liking.

Winner: Xiaomi Mi A1

Video Quality

When it comes to recording videos, the Xiaomi Mi A1 has the advantage over the Honor 7X as it is capable of recording 4K videos whereas the 7X can record up to 1080p (Full HD). Below are the video samples from the two smartphones.

Neither cameras get the OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and hence, both videos show considerable amount of shake or jerk since both phones were being held in the hands. Although, the Mi A1 goes on to deliver a better overall experience in this aspect with better colour accuracy (purely in comparison to the 7X). Note that both videos were recorded in 30 fps (frames per second).

Winner: Xiaomi Mi A1

Final Verdict

Given our experience with the two cameras, the Xiaomi Mi A1 has done a clean sweep in this comparison test. Its camera is better than the one in the Honor 7X by a noticeable margin. The colours look better with superior dynamic range and detail even though the Honor 7X, at times, is quite good at managing the Exposure. This is true for the front camera as well. Lastly, the Mi A1 is also capable of recording 4K videos.

Do share your opinion on which camera you find better in the comment section below.



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