The AI powered Mi MIX 2S – with an S for smarter

Smartphones are becoming even more integrated into our everyday lives with new and developing Artificial Intelligence-powered features. We leveraged our expertise in AI, cloud computing and big data to improve the IQ of our smartphones. Our newest smartphone, Mi MIX 2S includes exciting AI-powered features for photography, face detection, voice recognition and more.

This update from the award-winning Mi MIX 2 is a reflection of our exploration and growth in the area of AI. The powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform supports advanced on-device AI processing, with optimized CPU and GPU, achieving a 300% improvement in AI performance compared to its predecessor.

Let’s dive deeper into the amazing on-device AI features in Mi MIX 2S.

The AI-powered “mind” of Mi MIX 2S in photography

The dual camera on Mi MIX 2S is able to make photos look better without you having to take any action, because of the AI scene detection that automatically offers retouching effects. This function works for the primary rear camera, as well as the single front camera.

When taking a portrait, for example, Mi MIX 2S quickly identifies the human face and most of the surrounding objects to automatically apply different effects to each item, according to the specific conditions.

In the photos above, you can see that the AI scene detection (photo on the right) makes the buildings brighter while the environment around them is more saturated, rendering a vivid and balanced output. Usually, non-AI supported smartphones can only adjust the brightness of the whole photo, beautifying the main object, but at the same time, losing minute details.

Moreover, AI deep learning helps the camera accurately detect the edge of the subject, creating a depth-of-field effect. It can also recognize small details, such as hair accessories, detect the edge of the accessories and keep them from being blurred, generating a more realistic bokeh result.

The AI scene detection also works great for backlight and scenery photos, offering a filter-like effect in high-contrast environments. 

AI voice assistant – a phone that understands you better 

Apart from AI photography, the intelligent Mi MIX 2S has built-in features including the Xiao AI voice assistant, which is integrated in our Mi AI Speaker that was announced in July 2017.

In just eight months, “Xiao Ai” has been summoned 1.1 billion times, activated 11 million times daily, and commanded smart device features 310,000 times. Mi AI Speaker has become the hub of a smart home supporting over 40 different products.

The built-in AI voice recognition in Mi MIX 2S can understand more than 100 commands in six categories, including system control, lifestyle, smart home, social, entertainment and knowledge.

You can ask your phone to show your photos taken last October, text your friend, and check the weather, just to name a few examples. If you have a smart home, it can control smart devices that are integrated into the Mi Home app, such as Mi TV and Mi Bedside Lamp.

With an improved AI performance, Mi MIX 2S can understand you better and make your life more convenient and efficient. We are excited to bring our enhanced AI technology to more users around the world, and open more possibilities for a ‘smarter’ life in the future.

Why Redmi Note 5 will quickly become your favorite smartphone camera

Today we launched Redmi Note 5 in China, the counterpart of Redmi Note 5 Pro that recently launched in India. Not only is Redmi Note 5 China’s first smartphone to incorporate the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, but the device also stands out for its stellar camera. Featuring a dual camera setup, a large 1.4μm-pixel sensor, 2PD (dual photodiode) autofocus, AI camera features and an LED Selfie light for its front camera, Redmi Note 5 is a powerful device that takes amazing photos anywhere, at any time.

Whether you’re a social media maven, casual creator, or professional photographer, here are a few reasons why Redmi Note 5 will quickly become your favorite smartphone camera.

12MP+5MP rear dual camera setup

Redmi Note 5 sports a 12MP+5MP rear dual camera, in which the 12MP serves as the primary sensor, while the 5MP secondary rear camera is used for capturing depth. Together, they create a more convincing bokeh effect.

Large pixel size for high quality images, even in low light conditions

It’s widely known that more pixels make for a better photo – but many people don’t realize pixel size also has an effect on image quality. Larger pixels capture more light, especially in low light conditions, yielding higher ISO performance, less noise, better image quality and more room to maneuver.

The 12MP sensor on Redmi Note 5 features large 1.4μm pixels – a standout feature for better camera performance that’s only available on a handful of flagship smartphones.

Dual Photodiode or 2PD for faster autofocus

For the first time, the dual photodiode or 2PD — a technology commonly seen in professional dSLR cameras, is integrated on a Xiaomi smartphone. This significantly improves the speed and accuracy of autofocus on Redmi Note 5, reducing the risk of the subject being out of focus, especially in low light conditions.

A photodiode is a semiconductor fitted into each pixel of the sensor for detecting and receiving light. 2PD means that every single pixel on the camera sensor of the 12MP prime is split into two photodiodes — 24 million in total for phase detection.

Redmi Note 5 combines 2PD and a large 1.4μm-pixel sensor to produce high quality photos with less noise and vivid colors. Its large 1.4μm-pixel sensor collects more light so you can speed up the shutter, while the 2PD system identifies the subject quickly and accurately. For example, when taking indoor photos of children playing, you need fast shutter speed and reliable autofocus to catch those magical moments.

Better selfies regardless of light

To further enhance the photography experience, Redmi Note 5 also sports a 13MP front sensor with our Beautify 4.0 AI algorithm and front Selfie-light, allowing users to take better selfies than ever before – even in low-light conditions. This also marks the first time a Redmi phone has AI portrait features.

The specifications are slightly different from Redmi Note 5 Pro in India, which has a 1.25μm rear primary sensor. The reason being that the Indian version has a powerful 20MP front camera developed especially for Mi Fans in India.

We’re excited to introduce this new phone as we continue to break down barriers in what is expected for a smartphone starting from RMB 1099.

[News]Xiaomi announces Redmi Note 5 in China

Featuring flagship-level photography capabilities for great photos

BEIJING, China, 16 March 2018 — Global technology leader Xiaomi officially announced Redmi Note 5 in China today, which features flagship-level photography capabilities. With a dual camera featuring a large 1.4μm-pixel sensor, AI camera features, and an LED Selfie light for its front camera, Redmi Note 5 is a powerful device that takes amazing photos anywhere, at any time.

Redmi Note 5 also marks the debut of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 platform in China. It will be available in China on 20 March starting from RMB 1099.

Clearer images and faster focusing even in low light

Redmi Note 5 sports a dual camera setup, a combination usually adopted only in flagship smartphones. The main 12-megapixel sensor features large 1.4μm pixels, which can capture more light and deliver better results under low-light conditions.

The camera is also armed with 2PD (dual photodiode) autofocus — a technology commonly seen in professional dSLR cameras, which results in a much faster autofocus speed. Every single pixel of the main 12-megapixel sensor contains two photodiodes (which convert light into current that can be measured) – resulting in 24 million photodiodes in total, which is nearly 30 times more than the number of photodiodes of traditional PDAF-enabled sensors of the same resolution. This allows the sensor to measure phase differences effectively, improving Redmi Note 5’s autofocus speed dramatically.

The front camera of Redmi Note 5 sports a 13-megapixel sensor, complemented by an LED Selfie light. When Portrait Mode is engaged, both the front and rear cameras come with Xiaomi’s latest Beautify 4.0 mode, which has different effects enhanced by AI calculations for a natural look similar to having an expert makeup session. Even without a second sensor, the front camera achieves a great bokeh effect in Portrait Mode thanks to AI technology that helps to isolate the subject from the background.

Redmi Note 5 also uses facial recognition for unlocking the device, which is based on AI technology, enhancing the accuracy of identification for a more secure system.

China debut of Qualcomm Snapdragon 636

Redmi Note 5 uses Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 636 platform based on the 14nm manufacturing process. Its Kryo 260 architecture, 1.8GHz maximum clock speed, and the Adreno 509 GPU ensure amazing performance. Compared to Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Snapdragon 636 has a 40 percent increase in performance — gamers can enjoy demanding 3D games on Redmi Note 5 with no worries.

Redmi Note 5 is the first device in the Redmi family to use up to 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM, usually only found on flagship devices. With more RAM, Redmi Note 5 can run more apps simultaneously and switch between programs even more smoothly.

Other features of Redmi Note 5 include a 5.99 inch FHD+ 18:9 full screen, large 4000mAh battery and support for fast charging. Equipped with the latest MIUI 9 operating system, Redmi Note 5 also comes with full screen display gestures so users can maximize the display area by completely hiding the navigation bar.

Redmi Note 5 comes in three versions: 3GB + 32GB, 4GB + 64GB and 6GB + 64GB, at RMB 1099, RMB 1399 and RMB 1699 respectively. It is available in four colors — Lake blue, Rose gold, Gold and Black. A simple and elegant TPU case will be included in the box with every Redmi Note 5.

Redmi Note 5 is the counterpart of Redmi Note 5 Pro, first launched in India in February. Redmi Note 5 features slight differences in specifications, and it will be available globally at a later date, with details in local markets to be announced individually.

Capture the world through new lenses

Are you getting a little bored of your 4:3, 16:9 or even 18:9 camera frames that provide a limited view of the world you are trying to capture? 360-degree cameras can represent a scene in an entirely new way, enabling the viewer to capture a greater range and sensory experience.

Among the many products in this rapidly growing photography category, Mi Sphere Camera is an well rounded, accessible device that elevates the user experience from just seeing the world in the front to the entire scenario of that location.

“A 360-degree camera is an important tool that allows consumers to make their own VR content,” said Huang Yetao, founder of MadV, the manufacturer of Mi Sphere Camera. (MadV is one of Xiaomi’s Mi Ecosystem companies.)

In addition to capturing 360-degree still photos, Mi Sphere Camera also allows users to record amazing panoramic videos at high speeds. Its six-axis electronic image stabilization corrects movement while skiing, skydiving, bungee jumping, or any other high-speed actions. It also has a 1600mAH battery, which is higher in capacity than many other products in its price category. The powerful battery supports up to 75 minutes of 4K video on a single charge during normal temperature conditions.

To accommodate the adventurer who uses the Mi Sphere Camera, the unit is water and dust proof, and can withstand being immersed in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes.

The size is also an important attribute as the Mi Sphere Camera was designed for individuals who are often carrying a lot of equipment. In fact, the thinnest part of the Mi Sphere Camera is only 12mm, making it easy to transport and store as well.

With such specifications, users can focus on reaching the next peak, pushing their limits or exploring a new city knowing that their camera will capture each adventure to the fullest.

Comparison  

Life in 360, a YouTube channel focused on 360 photography, created a video comparing the 4K video effects of Mi Sphere Camera, INSTA One and Theta V — three popular consumer-level 360-degree cameras. After changing locations and light conditions with the three units, the reviewer found that Mi Sphere Camera did a great job in stitching and stabilization, and just as well as the others when it comes to the quality of 4K videos.

Below are the key specifications of the three 360-cameras portrayed in the video:

Device name Theta V INSTA 360 One Mi Sphere Camera
Image resolution 5376 x 2688 6912 x 3456 6912 x 3456
Video resolution 3840×1920@30fps 3840×1920@30fps 3456 x 1728@30fps
Size 45.2 x 130.6 x 22.9mm 96 x 36.5 x 25mm 78 x 67.40 x 12.00mm
Battery life Supports up to 40 minutes 4K video 820mAH 1600mAH
Image stabilization Not supportive Electronic image stabilization Six-axis electronic image stabilization
Water-proof Not supportive Not supportive IP67 water/dust-proof
Price $375.99 $299 $299.99

 

Mi Sphere Camera is now available for U.S consumers to purchase on Amazon, creating an opportunity for the beautiful moments in life to be captured in an entirely new way.

A Love Dream Created by Mi 6

With smartphone camera capabilities quickly matching and even surpassing those of DSLR cameras, professional photographers and consumers alike are resorting to their phones for everything from a professional headshot to the perfect Instagram picture. Recently, we held a portrait photography competition, attracting a wide variety of submissions, many shot on Mi 6 with our flagship dual-camera setup. Photographer An Shenlyu won the competition with his photography series called “A Love Dream.” We spoke with him after his win about what inspires him and his experience using Mi 6’s camera.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an independent photographer based in Shenzhen. I’m good at creating artistic portraits and I like building dreams by using photography to show my fantasies and dreams.

How did you become a photographer? How would you describe your style?

Two years ago, I began to take photos to keep a record of my life. Gradually it grew into an indispensable habit. When I get old, these photos can remind me of my past moments and emotions.

Speaking of photography style, I like emotional and touching images that can inspire me like poems and paintings can. I want my photos to mimic the colors and forms of oil paintings.

What do you think are the main reasons that your photography series, “A Love Dream,” won our competition?

Luck, I should say, because many photographers I admire also joined this competition. Another reason would be my style and attention to detail. I’ve been trying to put unrelated things together in the same scene and make them look comfortable and coordinated. To achieve this harmony, I need DIY tools and garments at the scene. For this series, I needed a cloth curtain in the middle of the water.To work out this effect, I used a wooden structure to fix the curtain. Additionally, the lanterns, oil paper umbrellas and other garments all took a lot of effort.

An Shenlyu shooting “A Love Dream”

How did you conceptualize the idea for “A Love Dream”?

My original idea for “A Love Dream” was to transform a dream scene into a reality, where a beautiful woman leans on a tree in the middle of a sea. Many people living in big cities like being close to nature, as it provides a change from their typical view of skyscrapers out the window. The photos were taken in a famous tourist destination in Dali, Yunnan, where trees grow in the vast waters. I had to wait for a sunny day to shoot the photos because sunshine defines the style, and if you take the photos on a gloomy day, it would completely change the feel and style of the photo.

Different from design, for which post-production is crucial, I think the most important part in photography is the content. Developing and executing creative ideas are crucial to me. I often watch movies, listen to music and see good exhibitions where I am inspired. Usually I first come up with a point, which then evolves into an image. Then I prepare tools and garments, contact models, check the weather forecast and pick a day for shooting.

What do you think are the key factors for portraits?

This is a rather complicated question. You need to pour your emotions into your photos, so that people can feel the resonance of emotion, even if they don’t know the person in the photo. A photo without emotion is just an ordinary photo and can’t be considered art.

Another important thing is that I love nature. When I come across a beautiful place, I imagine someone standing in the environment. I observe the natural light and figure out the best time, the best clothes, and the best tools and garments for shooting.

Tell us your feelings about Mi 6. Does it make photo shooting easier for you?

Mi 6 provided a good user experience. I appreciate the slogan “Picture Perfect Dual Camera. Its 4-axis OIS makes shooting easier. The sunlight was very strong on the day I shot “A Love Dream,” but the photos were still well exposed. In general, I like Mi 6’s color quality and its ability to capture an environment truthfully.


Can you share a few photo-taking tips with our Mi Fans?

For non-professionals, I think good photography composition is half the success of a nice photo. Photography composition is like the frame of a house. If the framework is good, the house will not look bad regardless of its decorations. The other half includes light, colors and theme, which can be improved through practice.

I often watch movies to learn from their composition and artistic practices. I also see a lot of good photography work, almost on a daily basis. After seeing enough beautiful things, your aesthetic and tastes will naturally improve.

*All the photos in this post are contributed by An Shenlyu. 

The bokeh effect: pro photographers’ take on dual-lens cameras

The word “bokeh” stems from the Japanese word meaning blur. In photography, it can be simply understood as background blur.

In the past, only DSLR cameras and delicate cameras could produce this effect. However, some say, a phone’s dual-lens camera is the future of mobile technology.

There are two mainstream dual-camera setups. One is RGB and monochrome. In this setup, one lens takes color photos with true and vivid color, and the other captures in black and white with rich detail and sharpness.

We have chosen another dual-camera setup on our Mi 6 and Mi 5X — a wide angle camera and a telephoto camera. Working simultaneously with a deep learning algorithm, the dual cameras can blur the background and make the main object appear clearer. With our camera, we have chosen a 52mm portrait lens on Mi 6 and a 50mm portrait lens on Mi 5X.

Take a look at some photos shot on the Mi 6 and Mi 5X dual cameras.

It’s still an open question whether dual-camera setups can produce the same “bokeh” as DSLR cameras, but at least one thing is certain, mobile phones are much more convenient to carry and much easier to use than DSLR cameras, and their photos are good enough for non-professionals to record everyday life and share to social media platforms.

We had a chat with some famous photographers about dual-lens cameras and whether their “bokeh” effects can parallel with DSLR cameras. The following are excerpts from our chats:

Song Xiaogang, chief photographer at South China Morning Post

“I think dual cameras’ bokeh is different from that of DSLR cameras, and the latter can more accurately blur backgrounds. However, mobile phones are compact and portable, and dual-lens cameras’ bokeh effects are enough for non-professional people to share on social media platforms.

Shot in the East 44th Hutong, Beijing, 16 July, 2017.  Shot on a smartphone. Photo by Song Xiaogang.

Wang Jing, chief photographer at China Daily, IPA (International Photography Awards) Deeper Perspective Photographer of 2014

“Dual cameras mark a new era of mobile photography. The bokeh effect on a dual-camera setup can parallel that of a DSLR camera if properly used.”

Military officers and people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) gather at the Kim Il-sung Gymnasium in Pyongyang, on April 14, 2012, before a meeting to mark the centenary of the birth of the country’s former leader Kim Il-sung. Photo by Wang Jing

Jason Lee, senior photographer at Reuters since 2005  

“To me, mobile cameras still have a big gap from DSLR cameras. The resolution is okay on a smartphone screen, but not on a computer screen. For professional photographers, DSLR cameras are still very important.”

A firefighter is taking a short break by the highway on the second morning of the powerful explosions in the Chinese port of Tianjin, 13 August, 2015. This is an original photo taken on a smartphone. It went viral and was re-shared over 10,000 times. Photo by Jason Lee

Aaron Ma, chief photographer at Sohu.com

“When the natural light is sufficient, the dual-camera’s bokeh is very good. When the light is poor, the image quality is compromised. In terms of pixels, mobile phones are hard to compare with DSLR cameras. Even so, I think mobile phones are enough for everyday use if you just want to take a record of memorable moments and share to social media platforms.

Gao Yuanyuan, a famous Chinese actress. Photo by Aaron Ma 

Jia Dai Teng Fei, chief photographer at Oriental Morning Post, member of WPP (World Press Photo) Master Class in 2012

“A mobile phone’s digital technologies can simulate traditional aperture and focal length and calculate which place on a photo should be blurred and where to be clear. I feel that dual-camera setup’s bokeh is enough for non-professionals, but as a professional photographer, I still rely on a DSLR camera. But the technology is developing very fast, so it’s likely that mobile technology will be good enough to replace DSLR cameras one day.”

Cao Xiuhu, 85, an aidman during the Korean War. Photo by Jia Dai Teng Fei