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Xiaomi Mi 11 vs. OnePlus 9 smartphone camera comparison: Disappointments on both sides

Which premium phone has the best camera? We clarify this in our review.
Which premium phone has the best camera? We clarify this in our review.
We pit the current high-end smartphones from Xiaomi and OnePlus against each other in a camera comparison. How big are the differences between the Xiaomi Mi 11 and the OnePlus 9? This will be revealed in our review.
Marcus Herbrich (translated by Stephanie Chamberlain), 🇩🇪 🇳🇱 ...
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The Xiaomi Mi 11 was able to score points with its good 108 MP main lens in our camera comparison the Samsung Galaxy S21+. However, the Xiaomi phone revealed some weaknesses when it came to the ultra wide-angle module. We'll take a closer look at the photo quality of the Mi 11 smartphone compared with the OnePlus 9 using different photo subjects and light situations. All photos in this comparison are taken with the help of artificial intelligence. The camera settings are left in the respective factory configurations.

The detailed specifications of the camera modules can be found in the comprehensive reviews of the Xiaomi Mi 11 and OnePlus 9.

Cameras in the Xiaomi Mi 11 and OnePlus 9 in detail
Cameras in the Xiaomi Mi 11 and OnePlus 9 in detail

Daylight photography with the Xiaomi Mi 11 and OnePlus 9

Photos in daylight are at an appealing quality level with both premium smartphones. However, the results with the main cameras are very different in detail. While the Xiaomi Mi 11 renders subjects a bit more softly, and these look less sharp but more natural as a result, OnePlus overdoes it - from our point of view - when it comes to image sharpness with its 9 model. The pictures taken with the OnePlus 9 are often oversharpened, but we like their color reproduction. We find the green tones of the Xiaomi Mi 11 to be exaggerated here. The base sharpness could be slightly higher as well.

However, the Xiaomi phone has considerably more details in its photos than the OnePlus 9. Photos taken with the latter look very detailed on the small smartphone panel, but there are clear weaknesses when the pictures are viewed on a large screen. Occasionally, background areas like in the last image even look a bit artificial.

Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Portrait Mode
OnePlus 9 | Portrait Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode

If the wide-angle lens is used for taking pictures, you'll have to deal with a visible reduction in details and sharpness with the Xiaomi Mi 11 - especially at the edges. The detail reproduction is much better with the OnePlus 9. Dynamic range and exposure are also rendered more appealingly by OnePlus.

In terms of zoom photos, we focused on the 5x zoom range, which can achieve a decent quality in everyday use - at least with the Xiaomi Mi 11. This category is where the Xiaomi phone shines, because the results of the OnePlus 9 look quite artificial here. Due to the lack of a telephoto lens, however, you also have to make compromises with the Mi 11 in terms of zoom photos.

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Xiaomi Mi 11 | Ultra wide
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Ultra wide
OnePlus 9 | Ultra wide
OnePlus 9 | Ultra wide
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Ultra wide
OnePlus 9 | Ultra wide
Xiaomi Mi 11 | 5x zoom
OnePlus 9 | 5x zoom
Xiaomi Mi 11 | 5x zoom
OnePlus 9 | 5x zoom

Night-time photography with the Xiaomi Mi 11 and OnePlus 9

The qualitative difference in low-light photography is particularly pronounced in both high-end smartphones compared to flagships, even though the Xiaomi Mi 11 does a bit better than the OnePlus 9. The latter often reveals weaknesses in terms of focus (it wasn't possible at all to take a decent picture of one of the subjects), and details are covered by softening as well.

The OnePlus smartphone is better when using Night Mode, which combines pictures over a certain time interval to create the best possible image - especially in terms of brightness and image sharpness. Xiaomi still has to work on its algorithms here.

Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Night Mode
OnePlus 9 | Night Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Night Mode
OnePlus 9 | Night Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode

Neither the Xiaomi Mi 11 nor the OnePlus 9 can produce truly appealing results in low light when it comes to 5x zoom photos and ultra wide-angle shots. The OnePlus phone is ahead again when taking wide-angle photos, and the Xiaomi model is better at taking zoom pictures.

Xiaomi Mi 11 | Ultra wide
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Ultra wide
OnePlus 9 | Ultra wide
OnePlus 9 | Ultra wide
Xiaomi Mi 11 | 5x zoom
OnePlus 9 | 5x zoom

Photos taken with the front-facing cameras in the Xiaomi Mi 11 and OnePlus 9

Neither of the high-end phones are selfie kings. In a direct comparison, the front-facing camera in the OnePlus 9 scores points with its slightly higher image sharpness, but the Xiaomi Mi 11 takes photos with rich contrast and better exposure.

Xiaomi Mi 11 | Portrait Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Portrait Mode
OnePlus 9 | Portrait Mode
OnePlus 9 | Portrait Mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 | Photo Mode
OnePlus 9 | Photo Mode

Camera review verdict - None of the premium smartphones prevail

In review: Xiaomi Mi 11 vs. OnePlus 9. Test devices provided by OnePlus Germany and Trading Shenzhen
In review: Xiaomi Mi 11 vs. OnePlus 9. Test devices provided by OnePlus Germany and Trading Shenzhen

As in the camera comparison against the Samsung Galaxy S21+, the Xiaomi Mi 11 convinces with its good 108 MP main camera. Thanks to the very high-resolution 27 MP photos, pictures reveal a lot of details even in pixel-binning mode, much more than the OnePlus 9, which loses some points due to its pronounced oversharpening. We like the results of the Xiaomi phone better overall.

The situation is different when it comes to the ultra wide-angle cameras. The differences in quality are much more pronounced here, so that the pictures taken with the OnePlus 9 are almost a class above those of the Xiaomi Mi 11. Due to the lack of telephoto lenses, zoom photos taken with both premium smartphones suffer a bit in terms of quality, but in bright light, the Xiaomi phone allows for the better looking 5x zoom photos.

Users who often venture to use the ultra wide-angle camera should definitely go with the OnePlus 9. If the focus is on the main camera with the occasional zoom shot, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is the better choice.

Price and availability

The support of Widevine L1 and LTE band 20 as well as the low prices in China make the CN version of the Mi 11 very attractive this year. If you're in the United Stated, where this smartphone is not officially sold, you can keep your eyes out for the Mi 11 in online stores like newegg, Amazon, or ebay.

Moreover, the OnePlus 9 is available on Amazon for $729.

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Marcus Herbrich
Editor of the original article: Marcus Herbrich - Senior Tech Writer - 265 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2016
I have always been very passionately interested in mobile technologies, especially smartphones. Being a tech enthusiast means the half-life of my devices isn’t exactly long, and being the latest hardware is not enough to suffice as the manufacturer and operating system play a minor role – the most important aspect for me is that the device is state-of-the-art. After posting for Mobi Test I joined Notebookcheck in 2016, where I have been pursuing my enthusiasm for technology by reviewing the latest smartphone, tablet, and accessory trends.
contact me via: @Marcus_Herbrich
Stephanie Chamberlain
Translator: Stephanie Chamberlain - Translator - 435 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2020
I've been fascinated with technology ever since I got my very first Android smartphone, which was quite a while ago. The power packed into such a small footprint still amazes me. Learning to program made my understanding of technology deeper, and at the same time, it expanded my interest to the area of desktop computers and laptops. All this led me to enjoy reading and watching reviews of new devices, and that's how I stumbled upon Notebookcheck. I immediately found their reviews to be very comprehensive, and luckily, I've even had the chance of translating them since 2019. When it comes to the huge field of technology, I'm currently also interested in specializing in Java programming.
contact me via: LinkedIn
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Xiaomi Mi 11 vs. OnePlus 9 smartphone camera comparison: Disappointments on both sides
Marcus Herbrich, 2021-04-13 (Update: 2021-04-13)