These days, cameras have become just as important in smartphones as CPUs and displays. Just look at the smartphone marketing materials from the past year or so and you’ll see how smartphone camera descriptions have started too match those of digital compacts and DSLRs. Case in point is this year’s MWC, where we’re seeing too Chinese manufacturers boast about impressive Optical Image Stabilization features that you’d only find in dedicated cameras camera. Unsurprisingly, Xiaomi won’t be caught dead in last, so it has a video showing just how smooth the Mi 5’s camera is, even with the shakiest hand.
It’s also unsurprising to see Xiaomi pit the Mi 5 against the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, currently considered to have the best OIS in the market (the jury is still out on the Samsung Galaxy S7 at this point). To make the demonstration more scientific, Xiaomi used a machine that purposely shook the three smartphones while recording video. Considering from whom the video comes from, you can already guess who wins. Interestingly, the iPhone 6s seems to have had a harder time when colored subjects are involved.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 boasts of a 4-axis Optical Image Stabilization along with a Sony IMX298 sensor. That’s definitely twice what most smartphones have, which commonly correct shakiness on 2 axes tops. The highest number would be 5-axis stabilization, which compensates for movement in the roll, yaw, pitch, horizontal, and vertical axes, something only DSLRs really can claim. Xiaomi hasn’t disclosed which axes it corrects.
That’s also one axis more than OPPO’s SmartSensor stabilizer, which only supports 3 axes (roll, yaw, pitch). The advantage of OPPO’s technology, however, is the use of microeletromechanical systems (MEMS) versus springs in usual OIS. Again, Xiaomi is silent on the exact technology used in the Mi 5.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 is the Chinese OEM’s latest entry to the smartphone race, bearing, in the Pro model, a Snapdragon 820 and 4 GB of RAM. The smartphone would have probably been almost perfect, but the 5.3-inch Full HD IPS LCD screen might leave some wanting for a bit more. Also, the company has not yet mentioned any US plans for the Mi 5, making all those benefits practically inaccessible.