Xiaomi has a lot of affordable yet performing smartphones. For half of what you would spend on a premium flagship, you get a decent midrange that delivers beyond its price.
Such examples are the latest Mi 9T and Mi 9 SE, which are both priced at PhP 15,990 (US$ 313). The two phones appeal to different users when it comes to its design and performance. However, if one is looking for camera capabilities as a prerequisite when buying a smartphone, one can’t help but think how they will fare against each other.
For this installment of our long-running series, we’re comparing Xiaomi’s affordable midrange headliners — the Mi 9T and Mi 9 SE.
As usual, photos are shot on auto mode except for scenes that need the portrait and ultra-wide angle mode. No post-processing was applied except for resizing so the images can load faster. You can find the results at the end of this article.
Now, get ready to take down notes. Let’s begin!
Mi 9T – 1B, 2A, 3A, 4B, 5A, 6B, 7A, 8A, 9B, 10A, 11A, 12B, 13B, 14A, 15B, 16B, 17A
Mi 9 SE – 1A, 2B, 3B, 4A, 5B, 6A, 7B, 8B, 9A, 10B, 11B, 12A, 13A, 14B, 15A, 16A, 17B
Both smartphones capture vibrant and detailed photos. As usual, midrange smartphones struggle at night and in low-light conditions. In the portrait department, bokeh cut-outs are still far from perfect. At least, selfies get a pass.
However, there is no real winner in this shootout. What matters is how you feel about these results. Did it help you decide which phone is really your GadgetMatch?
Share your thoughts about this shootout and connect with us on our social media channels. Don’t forget to join our growing community of fellow Matchketeers!
Galaxy S21 Ultra vs vivo X70 Pro+: Camera shootout
The Chinese company’s finest smartphone goes head-to-head with the South Korean giant’s best.
Huawei with Leica, OnePlus with Hasselblad. Like many brands that have come before, vivo recently partnered with lens manufacturer Zeiss in an effort to level up its reputation as a bonafide smartphone camera champ.
We’ve always been cynical of these co-branding partnerships as being nothing more than a license to plaster a camera company’s logo on smartphones. Although, our experience made us a believer.
Before we do a deep dive on its cameras, let’s discuss the partnership first.
Vivo x Zeiss: What is it all about?
Zeiss claims one of the areas they partnered in has to do with Zeiss T* coating. This time around, all of the X70 Pro+’s cameras have this coating and Zeiss says it has to customize a recipe for each one, so it’s optimized for each lens.
The coating helps reduce the glare, ghosting, and imaging artifacts. Take a look at this example shot at the Barclays Center.
See how the X70 Pro+’s camera managed all that glare.
Now, let’s talk cameras and take a look at some samples.
First, the X70 Pro+ has four cameras: a 50-megapixel wide camera, a 48-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 114-degree field of view (and with gimbal stabilization), a 12-megapixel telephoto camera with optical zoom, and an additional periscope camera with 5x optical zoom.
Regular 1x shots
Using the periscope
Taking selfies on its 32-megapixel selfie shooter
Performing against the Galaxy S21 Ultra
This is probably what you’ve been waiting for: a comparison of the vivo X70 Pro+ against the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Without further ado, let’s jump ahead. For easier comparison, all photos on the left were taken using the vivo X70 Pro+ while the photos on the right were shots from the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
These photos were shot during the day with the sun out, and the phones do well as expected.
Even in tricky situations such as against the light shots, where the HDR kicks in.
It’s the same on a gloomier day.
Low light is where we’ll see the most dramatic of differences, but first, let’s go indoors.
Admittedly, this wasn’t the most photogenic cocktail but the X70 Pro+ produced the most post-worthy shot.
And we like its photo best in this shot of the bar’s interior.
Next, dusk — right before the lovely blue hour.
This shot taken at Transmitter Park in Brooklyn could go either way. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s photo is the brightest while the X70 Pro+ tones it down a little — keeping it bright but also keeping it as close to reality as possible.
Now, let’s add a human subject. The problem here is the X70 Pro+’s photo is too bright, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s is not very sharp.
That evening, we also stumbled on a very, very dimly lit bar. Think: heavily dark room with little to no lights.
Truly, the X70 Pro+ is a low-light master. Chay looked stunning and the room looked bright — something you couldn’t even see even with your naked eye. (Because the room is dark, remember?)
The Galaxy S21 Ultra managed to capture all the colors too, but at cost of noise. And when a face is involved — it’s not very flattering.
Although, personally, we wouldn’t post the shot taken using the X70 Pro+. It’s so good, it kind of takes away from the point of the photo.
That said, this is such a great example of how good of a low-light shooter this phone is.
Last shot at this bar without a human subject. The drink was a Piña Colada smoothie and it was white. Notice how the X70 Pro+ captured the condensation on the glass.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s shot was color accurate, but if you’ll zoom in to the upper right corner, you can see how noisy the S21 Ultra’s shot actually is.
You good? Crazy ‘no?
While comparing, here’s one last thing we want to show you. Thanks to its T star coating, notice these two shots taken in two different subway stations. Notice how the fluorescent lights aren’t as blown out on the X70 Pro+’s photos.
X70 Pro+ vs Galaxy S21 Ultra
Cameras aside, the X70 Pro+ directly goes after the Galaxy S21 Ultra. On paper, it’s got a resume that can go head-to-head with Samsung’s best.
6.8 / AMOLED / 120Hz
6.8 / AMOLED / 120Hz
If you look at this chart, you’ll see they’re pretty similar. The X70 Pro+ is at a slight advantage with its newer 888 Plus processor, which was launched last June way after the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s release. While the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a bigger battery.
They both offer a complement of cameras that, as you saw in the comparison, are competitive with one another. But the Periscope Camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra can zoom further to 10x.
They both have things like IP68 water and dust resistance, and an under-display fingerprint scanner — both of which are fast and snappy.
Both have quick wired and wireless charging. The biggest leg up the Galaxy S21 Ultra has is support for the S-Pen, in case you want a phone that lets you use a stylus.
Is the vivo X70 Pro+ worth considering as your GadgetMatch?
Overall, vivo has built a solid challenger, delivering on the needs of hardcore users: a screen that’s great for content consumption be it watching movies or games; cameras that shoot well, especially in low light; and batteries that last longer and charge fast.
And in a world without Huawei — still suffering from the Google ban — and LG, which closed down its mobile phone business this year, vivo is the only other manufacturer that’s made a phone that can legitimately rival the best from Samsung.
Undoubtedly, the X70 Pro+ is one of the best Android phones you can buy today. Period. And for that, the phone deserves the GadgetMatch seal of approval.
For the full vivo X70 Pro+ review, watch our video on YouTube:
iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max: Camera Shootout
Are there any significant improvements?
Apple says the new iPhone not only has an all-new wide sensor, but also an improved ultra-wide sensor with a wider aperture. Moreover, the telephoto zoom lens was bumped from 2.5x to 3x with a real Night Mode support.
But do the new camera sensors and features justify the need for this year’s iPhone? Or should you save your money and buy last year’s iPhone instead?
Watch our iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max ultimate camera shootout — now in 4K!
Galaxy Z Fold3 vs Z Fold2 vs S21 Ultra: Camera shootout
Battle of Samsung’s flagships!
Yet another shootout is here! Last time, we had a camera smackdown featuring the Galaxy Z Flip3, Galaxy Z Flip 5G, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra. This time, we’ll be showcasing a camera fight between the Galaxy Z Fold3, Galaxy Z Fold2, and Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Can the Galaxy Z Fold3 perform better than its predecessor? And can it square up with Samsung’s flagship camera powerhouse? Like our other shootouts, the photos were only collaged, resized, and labeled for a faster preview. No other edits have been applied. Now, let’s start the fight!
Note: All photos labeled A were taken using the newest Galaxy Z Fold3, while photos labeled B were shot on the Galaxy Z Fold2. On the other hand, photos labeled C were captured using Samsung’s other flagship smartphone — the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Even with the same set of camera lenses, both the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Fold2 have different chipsets and software processing. The former tends to be overexposed and there’s an increase in highlights, while the latter produces images with vibrant and rich colors.
But if you observe it closely, the Galaxy Z Fold3 tends to have a good grasp when it comes to exposure and color calibration, especially when it’s not a backlit shot. The Galaxy S21 Ultra still held out like a champ, keeping its shots close to what it looks like in real life.
The only thing that might set others off would be its portrait shot — where the Galaxy Z Fold2 looks better for those who prefer it bright, and the Galaxy Z Fold3 looks better for those who want more details. All without looking like a cutout pasted on a blurred background like the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s shot.
The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G can take on its predecessor and Samsung’s flagship powerhouse. The only difference would be the cameras’ grasp on exposure, which might vary depending on the lighting condition.
Nonetheless, the color calibration and the processing of the photos captured are nearly the same to the untrained eye and to average consumers. Especially those who just need to capture their day-to-day and upload on social platforms.
But for those who want to have more control over their photographs, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the way to go.
Amazon Kindle PaperWhite Signature Edition Review
The best Kindle for every bookworm?
AirPods 3 Unboxing and Review
Watch before you buy!
Hot Wheels Unleashed review: A childhood dream realized
It’s action-packed and rather nostalgic
iPhone 13 Pro, Pro Max now support Apple ProRes video
Amazon Kindle PaperWhite Signature Edition Review
Honor 50 and Honor 50 Lite launch globally
Players finally meet as HoYo FEST kicks off in SEA this November
The Xperia PRO-I is Sony’s first smartphone with a 1-inch camera sensor
Mercury in retrograde: When technology and communications go haywire
Xiaomi Pad 5: It is worth the hype
Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2: Feel like a pro
Apple iPhone 13 series: Price, availability in the Philippines
Why the Samsung Crystal UHD 2021 is a must have in your 20s
Gaming2 weeks ago
Nintendo Switch OLED Unboxing and Review
Unboxing2 weeks ago
Apple Watch Series 7 Unboxing: Starlight the new Silver or Gold?
Reviews2 weeks ago
Apple Watch Series 7: In-Depth Fitness Review
Gaming2 weeks ago
Apple reportedly working on a Nintendo Switch competitor
Reviews2 weeks ago
vivo X70 review: Sexy, camera beast
Videos2 weeks ago
Amazfit GTR 3 Pro: 7 Best Features!
Laptops2 weeks ago
realme Book review: Done right the first time around
Laptops1 week ago
Apple announces new MacBook Pros powered by M1 Pro, M1 Max