The Redmi 1S is the newest entry to the hot and happening budget smartphone market in India. At Rs.5999 (~$99), it is cheaper than its competition like Moto E, Asus Zenfone 4 and Micromax Canvas Unite. In spite of that, the Redmi 1S carries much superior hardware specs to any of these smartphones, and that includes the Camera.
The Redmi 1S comes with an impressive 8 MegaPixel shooter on the rear with auto-focus and ƒ/2.2 aperture, 28mm wide angle lens, and 1080p video recording. It comes with an extra large 1.4ųm sensor and a 5 plastic lens, completely unheard of in smartphones at this price segment. These are some impressive specs on paper, but how well does it perform in real life? We find out.
Let me start by saying that the camera on Redmi 1S is a winner. Not only does the camera specs look good, it actually takes decent photos in all lighting conditions. Something like Moto E which costs Rs.1000 more, doesn’t even offer auto-focus. Although the camera isn’t as fast as on Xiaomi Mi 3 (d’oh), the autofocus works very well.
The color reproduction was very good, but in low lighting conditions, the camera was a bit too aggressive in minimizing the noise, thereby losing out on details. But that’s just nitpicking. The LED flash works surprisingly well. For someone who isn’t a fan of LED flash on smartphones, the photos came out pretty well as the subjects weren’t over exposed as it normally happens with cheap LED flashes.
As you can see from the sample images captured, the camera on Redmi 1S manages to capture a lot of details in all lighting conditions. The HDR mode works, but definitely not the best we have seen. Considering other phones in this price range doesn’t even offer HDR, we shouldn’t be scrutinizing Redmi 1S a lot for that.
The Camera UI is very similar to what we saw on Xiaomi Mi 3 and other MIUI devices. It comes with a host of features including live filters, scene modes, ability to scan QR code, options to adjust white balance, exposure and ISO, and many more. One can also choose the picture quality which reduces or increases the JPEG compression. The front facing camera is just 1.6 MP, but can take some decent selfies.
The Redmi 1S can capture 1080p Full HD videos without breaking a sweat, again something which isn’t a norm for smartphones in this price range. There are live filters and options to change white balance, exposure etc., much like the camera mode. The videos come out pretty well in day light conditions, but struggles with noise compression at low light. All in all, you have a very usable camcorder in your hands.
To conclude, the camera on Redmi 1S is by far the best we have seen in this price segment. In fact we think it betters even the Moto G (which costs 40% more) with its photo and video performance. The nearest competitor is the Asus Zenfone 5, which has a good lens and sensor at its disposal. If you are looking for an entry level smartphone with a good camera, look no further than the Redmi 1S.