The notched screen is not the only cool feature on the Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite. The rear camera has a 12MP sensor with f/2.2 lens and 1.25µm big pixels. There is another snapper nearby - a 5MP one, whose sole job is to provide scene depth information. Phase-detection autofocus, and a LED flash complete the camera specs.
The camera app puts toggles for HDR, filters, and the flash toggle on the left. The app also offers quite a few different shooting modes - Panorama, Timer, Straighten, Manual, Beautify, Tilt-Shift, and Night (HHT) as well as the camera settings. Unfortunately, the Manual mode lets you tweak only ISO (100-3200), and white balance, but not the shutter speed or focus.
The image quality is very good in broad daylight - photos are sharp and detailed, and noise is kept reasonably low considering the f/2.2 aperture, and the contrast is nice. The colors are true to life, but in some rare occasions photos came out with a bit washed out colors though nothing that extreme.
The dynamic range is above the average and we rarely had to use HDR.
For those rare occasions where either Auto HDR reacts or you turned it on, you'll get a picture with restored highlights and improved resolved detail in the shadows.
The Mi A2 Lite night shots came out quite soft and noisy. You can see what's in the picture, just don't expect much detail when you zoom in. There is a lot of noise, sometimes we also got blurry images due to the lack of stabilization, but those would probably do for the social networks.
If you leave the automatic low-light enhancement enabled, also known as HHT in Xiaomi's speak, you will get less noise in the images but most of the samples won't benefit from much more detail or higher contrast. Still, we prefer the less noise and we suggest keeping this option on in spite of it taking a second longer to capture the scene (probably because of picture stacking).
You should check how the Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite does against the Mi A2 and Mi A1 in our Photo Compare Tool. We've pre-selected these two, but you are free to pick any other phone to compare it against.
The Mi A2 Lite uses the combination of the two cameras to shoot the trendy Portrait shots. It's a process of mapping the distance to all objects of the scene and attempting to isolate the subject in front by defocusing the background gradually in accordance with its distance to the subject. This works best when you're shooting a well-lit person or an object which stands out against the backdrop.
Shooting a portrait is easy, but it takes a while for the camera to read the scene and apply the depth effect. Most of the samples turned out pleasant with mostly accurate shapes and blur effects. There are occasions where wrong details get blurred - like hair or parts of the face, but that's probably because of the busy scenes. As we mentioned above - it's better to have a background which is not so busy and shoot in a well-lit environment.
The Mi A2 Lite has a 5 MP sensor for selfies, f/2.0 lens, and has some AI abilities. The machine learning comes handy when the phone is in Beautify mode or Portrait Selfie mode.
Xiaomi brags that the AI allows for much more accurate subject separation than the competition. And indeed, we found the Portrait shots taken with the selfie camera very impressive. The person is almost perfectly mapped, as is the background brilliantly blurred. Messy hair or not - the camera does an excellent job in recognizing it, while in the meantime even the tiniest of background spots visible between the hair and the arms are nicely blurred.
The regular selfies are rich in detail, have good contrast and colors, and while the dynamic range is limited, you can use the auto HDR option as it does a very good job in using HDR when it's needed. The samples are a bit noisy, but still - quite pleasant.
The Mi A2 Lite video recording maxes out at 1080p@30fps mode. Those are captured at a bitrate of 20Mbps and have rock solid 30fps. The audio is stereo captured at 96KBps bitrate.
The video quality is very good - the resolved detail is enough, the dynamic range is about average, the colors and contrast are very good. The noise is kept quite low, too. The audio sounds good, unlike on the Y1, and even though the bitrate is the same.
The Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite also offers gyro-based video stabilization - you just have to enabled it from settings (it should be ON by default). It does an excellent job stabilizing the videos at the minor expense of detail and field of view. The viewfinder won't show you the stabilized video, but we are still very happy with what we got in the end.
You can also download the 1080p@30fps (9s, 24MB) video sample taken straight off the Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite.
Finally, you can use our Video Compare Tool to see how the Mi A2 Lite stacks against the Redmi S2 and Oppo F7 when it comes to video capture.
The Snapdragon 625's DSP does support 4K video recording, which however is not available on the Mi A2 Lite. We've encountered similar oddities with some cheap Redmis, so we suspected we could get 4K clips with a third-party app since Xiaomi is using a standard camera APIs. So, we just downloaded the OpenCamera app from the PlayStore and bingo! 4K@30fps. And even EIS is working, too, although it's not as good as the 1080p EIS from the regular camera app.
The MP4 video has no issues, and runs very smooth, with a rock-solid frame rate of 30 and over 40 Mb/s bit rate on the AVC video stream. Resolved detail is clearly better.
And as we said, EIS is working as well. Once again, you won't see the result until after you've shot the video, but we'd call that greedy on a €200 phone.
You can download this untouched 4K video sample (10s, 49MB). And here is the 4K videos from the Mi A2 Lite in our video compare tool.