Moto X4 vs Xiaomi Mi A1 Camera Comparison: The battle of the dual-camera setups

Here’s how the dual cameras on the newly launched Moto X4 compete with the Xiaomi Mi A1.

moto x4 vs mi a1

It goes without saying, smartphones with dual-camera setups are going mainstream in all price categories. Different companies use different setups – the Xiaomi Mi A1 uses its second camera for telephoto shots, whereas the Moto X4 uses a standard and wide-angle lens. Both setups offer different advantages over the other. We pitted the Moto X4 with the Xiaomi Mi A1 in different lighting conditions, and here’s how they fare.

Before we go ahead and discuss about the camera samples, let us first take a look at the specifications. The Moto X4 comes with a 12-megapixel standard camera of aperture f/2.0, supplemented with an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens of aperture f/2.2. Together, the sensors let you capture standard and wide-angle photos. Moto has also added depth-of-field mode that lets you add DSLR-like bokeh effects to your photos.

The Mi A1, on the other hand, features a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens of aperture f/2.2, supplemented with a 12-megapixel telephoto lens of aperture f/2.6. The setup allows you to capture standard photos, as well as pictures with 2X lossless zoom. There is also a portrait mode that lets you add DSLR-like bokeh effects. So, let’s go ahead and take a closer look at the camera quality of both smartphones.

Indoor portrait

One of the key highlights of the dual-camera setups on both smartphones is the portrait mode, so let’s begin with that. I clicked a couple of photos in portrait mode using both smartphones and the Mi A1 seems to do a better job at it. The beauty mode kicks in and it does make the skin tone a bit softer and brighter, but the background defocusing effect is also better.

The Moto X4, on the other hand, does a good job in retaining skin tones. The background is mildly defocused, while keeping the subject in focus. However, the edges are not sharp, and smoothing effect can be seen in the photos. If we purely go by the background blur effect and overall quality, the Mi A1 takes the lead here.

Outdoor portrait

Now this is where things get a little tricky. The Mi A1 once again does a good job at distinguishing between the background and foreground, and adding blur effects accurately. However, it does mess up with the skin tone by making it way too brighter, and smoother. ALSO READ: Moto X4 First Impressions: Mid-ranger with flagship offerings

In case of the Moto X4, the skin tone is accurate with adequate details, and the background blur effect is good too. However, take a close look at the T-Shirt and the edges. The algorithms don’t seem to work well and the effect looks way to artificial. It seems like Moto has only worked towards keeping the face in focus while the rest of the body is treated as background. Below is the camera sample to give you a clear idea.

Outdoor daylight shots

In the next test, I shot a couple of photos outdoors using both smartphones and the one captured on the Moto X4 turned out to be better in terms of overall composition. Even after zooming in a bit, the details were good, and even the sky looks blue. On the other hand, the photo shot on the Mi A1 looked a little washed out and hazy. Details are there, but the punchiness in the colors is missing. Below are the camera samples.

Outdoor daylight selfie

Both smartphones are able to capture decent selfies in the daylight, and while the one shot on the Moto X4 is slightly brighter and detailed, it does add a bit of dark reddish tone to the skin. The Mi A1, on the other hand, captures brighter selfies with milder skin tones, but it does smoothen the skin a bit to hide the dark spots and blemishes. If I had to choose the best one among both, I would go ahead with the Mi A1.

Outdoor evening shots

Around 6:30 in the evening, just when the sun was setting in, I shot these photos. As you can see, the one captured from the Moto X4 is slightly better – they are brighter, punchier and more detailed. However, the one shot from the Mi A1 is slightly blurry, and grainy too.

Outdoor low-light

These pictures were captured at night, sometime around 11PM. As you can see, the Moto X4 does a fairly decent job, and the image appears a bit sharper. The Mi A1, on the other hand, adds a bit of reddish tint to the photo. It is also out of focus, picture looks grainy, and the smudging is also noticeable throughout. Clearly, the Moto X4 captures better photos here.

Outdoor low-light selfie

Lastly, I also captured some outdoor selfies around 11PM. This was on a skywalk with enough light around. While the Moto X4 produces decent output, the photos captured from Mi A1 are slightly inferior. Graininess is visible on both photos, but the one shot on Mi A1 is slightly grainier, and skin tone is a bit reddish too.

Final words

Both the Moto X4 and Mi A1 has its fair share of positives and negatives. While Mi A1 does better with portrait shots, it lacks in getting the skin tones right. Also, overall photos turn out to be dull compared to the ones shot on the Moto X4. Now, while the Moto X4 captures good photos overall, it suffers in getting the portrait shots right, but daylight and low-light shots turn out to be good.

You Might be Interested

Motorola Moto X4


Android 7.1 Nougat
Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Octa-Core 2.2GHz Processor
dual camera 12 MP (f/2.0 aperture) + 8 MP (f/2.0 aperture)
Xiaomi Mi A1


Android 7.1.2 Nougat
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-Core 2.0GHz Processor
12 MP (wide-angle) + 12 MP (telephoto)
  • Published Date: November 24, 2017 5:14 PM IST
  • Updated Date: November 24, 2017 5:18 PM IST