Xiaomi's upcoming Mi Mix 4 promises to push the boundaries of smartphone photography
Xiaomi launched the Mi Mix 3 at the end of 2018 and is said to be set to follow it up with the Mi Mix 4 in the coming months. The Mi Mix 4, a few months ago, was touted to feature a 64 MP camera and Xiaomi’s Product Director, Wang Teng, may have confirmed it a few days ago.
The executive claimed that the Mi Mix 4 would feature a better sensor than the only 64 MP sensor on the market right now, Samsung’s ISOCELL Bright GW1. Resolution doesn’t exactly have much to do with camera quality but with the recent rumors about the Mix 4 in mind, we’re willing to bet it features a 64 MP sensor. Just not Samsung’s, though, which could mean that the flagship may utilize Sony’s yet unreleased competing 64 MP sensor.
The past three years have seen massive improvements in smartphone photography and each year brings a new development to the industry. Last year was a race to see which company could cram in the most camera sensors into a phone, starting with the tri-cam Huawei P20 Pro and culminating in the penta-cam Nokia 9 PureView. This year, though, we’re back to the megapixel war.
Sony’s 48 MP IMX586 has been the flagship camera sensor of choice since it was launched at the end of 2018, finding use on flagships like the Mi 9, OnePlus 7 Pro, and Honor View 20. One could almost be fooled into believing more pixels meant better picture quality, but reality is often disappointing. For example, the 48 MP IMX586 is beaten soundly by Sony’s 40 MP IMX600, mostly due to the latter just being a bigger sensor all-round.
The jury is still out on whether the pixel-binning technology higher-res sensors like the IMX586 and Samsung GM1 uses actually produces better images than those taken by lower-res sensors like the 12 MP Sony IMX363. Bigger is usually construed as better, and a 48 MP camera sounds more impressive on paper than a 12 MP one, and that may very well be the reason for this new trend.