Xiaomi Mi 11 vs. OnePlus 9 smartphone camera comparison: Disappointments on both sides
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Camera review verdict - None of the premium smartphones prevail
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.