Realme 5 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi A3 Camera Comparison: Which Phone Has the Better Cameras?

Both these affordable new phones use the Sony IMX 586 48-megapixel sensor, but which one does a better job?

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Realme 5 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi A3 Camera Comparison: Which Phone Has the Better Cameras?

Mi A3 (top) vs Realme 5 Pro cameras shootout: Which phone offers the best image quality?

Highlights
  • The Realme 5 Pro has four cameras at the back
  • The Xiaomi Mi A3 has a 32-megapixel selfie camera
  • Both phones use a Sony IMX586 sensor for their main cameras

The Realme 5 Pro (Review) and the Xiaomi Mi A3 (Review) are currently both super-hot budget offerings that only recently launched in India. Both phones offer classy designs and good overall performance, and both have positive aspects which have earned them our recommendations. Both phones are also priced very closely to one another, for similar RAM and storage configurations.

As an overall package, picking one of the other shouldn't be too difficult. The Realme 5 Pro offers better app and gaming performance thanks to its faster SoC; it has a higher resolution and better looking display; and also features a macro camera which lets you capture extreme close-ups. The Mi A3 has its merits too, such as being part of the Android One programme for guaranteed, quick software updates; an AMOLED display with an in-display fingerprint sensor; and a more premium feel thanks to a glass back.

However, what they both have in common is the primary camera sensor, which is the popular 48-megapixel Sony IMX586. This is a capable sensor which we've seen in phones such as the Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review) and even the OnePlus 7 (Review) and OnePlus 7 Pro (Review). So, if camera quality is the main deciding factor in your purchase decision, should you get the quad-camera Realme 5 Pro or the triple-camera Xiaomi Mi A3? Time to put them to the test and find out.

    Realme 5 Pro Xiaomi Mi A3
Primary Camera Resolution 48-megapixels 48-megapixels
Sensor Sony IMX586 Sony IMX586
Aperture f/1.79 f/1.79
Autofocus PDAF PDAF
Wide-angle Camera Resolution 8-megapixels 8-megapixels
Aperture f/2.25 f/2.2
Field of View 118 degree 119 degree
Depth Camera Resolution 2-megapixels 2-megapixels
Additional Camera   2-megapixel macro  
Selfie Camera Resolution 16-megapixels 32-megapixels
  Aperture f/2 f/2

 

Both phones' primary cameras have phase detection autofocus, with wide f/1.8 apertures. They each have an 8-megapixel, ultra-wide angle cameras too, with similar fields of view and apertures. You also get a 2-megapixel depth camera for edge detection when shooting in Portrait mode. The Realme 5 Pro has a fourth rear camera for extreme close-ups. Coming to the selfie cameras, the Mi A3 has a 32-megapixel sensor, compared to a 16-megapixel sensor on the 5 Pro. Let's see how all of them compare.

 

Realme 5 Pro vs Mi A3: Daylight landscapes

We begin with some landscape shots taken in daylight. Here, we get a chance to test the cameras' HDR capabilities, detail, and colour processing. The Realme 5 Pro generally has well-balanced exposure, with fairly accurate colours and good detail. There's good detail in the shadow areas too, though some noise is visible. Objects at a distance have decent detail, but again, with some mild grain.

The Mi A3 has equally good white balance as the Realme 5 Pro but bumps up the contrast for a more dramatic look. The blacks are also crushed a bit, so you don't get as much detail in the shadows as the 5 Pro, but there's no grain. Details are sharper and colours are more pronounced, even in distant objects, which is nice to see.

Tap to see full-sized image

Tap to see full-sized image

 

As long as you don't zoom in to the very smallest details, the Realme 5 Pro produces more pleasing images and does a slightly better job with exposure.

Winner - Realme 5 Pro

 

Realme 5 Pro vs Mi A3: Daylight close-ups

In our first close-up test using these toy figures, it's an incredibly close call. Both phones manage nearly identical shots in terms of detail, colours, and bokeh. The only real difference is that the Realme 5 Pro has slightly higher brightness, but other than this, it's pretty much a tie.

Tap to see full-sized image

 

Winner - It's a tie

 

When shooting extreme close-ups, the Mi A3 struggles to lock focus on the exact spot you're aiming for and needs a few tries before it gets it right. Just like our landscape test, the contrast is boosted a bit but the colour tone is lot more neutral. The Realme 5 Pro has a slightly warmer tone in comparison, but the overall exposure is much better. Colours are also handled better and it's a lot easier to lock focus.

Tap to see full-sized image

 

The Realme 5 Pro's macro camera lets you get really close to your subject, which does give a more dramatic effect. The resolution of shots taken with the macro camera is only 2-megapixels, but at this distance, you won't need to do any zooming.

Winner - Realme 5 Pro

 

Realme 5 Pro vs Mi A3: Low-light landscapes

In low-light landscapes, the Mi A3 wins some of points over the Realme 5 Pro. Night shots are generally cleaner, with good colours and slightly better detail, but more importantly, less noise. This combination of attributes makes photos taken with the Mi A3 really stand out. The Realme 5 Pro isn't far behind in terms of detail, but darker areas have a bit more grain and colours aren't as vibrant as those in the shots taken by the Mi A3.

Tap to see full-sized image

Tap to see full-sized image

 

Winner - Xiaomi Mi A3

 

The Realme 5 Pro comes back fighting when you use its Nightscape feature. Noise is reduced and details that would ordinarily have been lost are reproduced well. The Mi A3 also has a ‘Night' shooting mode which improves details a bit, but the difference isn't too dramatic, since regular low light shots are quite good to begin with. One side effect of the Relame 5 Pro's Nightscape mode is that it can warp finer details in objects at a distance, which the Mi A3 handles better.

Tap to see full-sized image

 

Overall, we'd still stick with the Mi A3 as a more consistent low-light performer.

Winner - Xiaomi Mi A3

 

Realme 5 Pro vs Mi A3: Low-light closeups

When shooting closeup subjects in low light, the Mi A3 exposes the scene slightly better than the Realme 5 Pro in our first sample, but details are a little weaker. On the other hand, the Realme 5 Pro manages to capture slightly better details, especially finer textures.

Tap to see full-sized image

 

Tap to see full-sized image

 

The same holds true for our second sample too. Here, Realme 5 Pro does a slightly better job with finer details, at the cost of some noise. However, the Mi 3 captures the colours much better and also does a better job with white balance.

Winner - Xiaomi Mi A3

 

Realme 5 Pro vs Mi A3: Portraits

The Realme also does a slightly better job with photographing objects. Edge detection and even the colour tones look a lot better. The Mi A3 does a decent job too but edges aren't as well defined.

Tap to see full-sized image

 

Winner - Realme 5 Pro

 

When shooting human subjects, photos taken with the Realme 5 Pro generally had better skin tones and exposure, with better light metering. Colours in the frame looked accurate and detail was good. The Mi A3 did a good job with detail but the exposure was off and skin tones were too yellow for our liking. Even when using the Portrait mode on both phones, the Realme 5 Pro continued to deliver very good skin tones, and edge detection was pretty spot on.

Tap to see full-sized image

Tap to see full-sized image

 

The Mi A3 captures better skin tones this time around but also smoothens the face a bit. It also had slight trouble with some of the edges but this wasn't a dealbreaker. On the plus side, you can adjust the level of blur before you take the shot, which is not possible on the Realme 5 Pro.

Overall, the Realme 5 Pro is the one to pick if you're going to be shooting a lot of portraits.

Winner - Realm 5 Pro

 

Realme 5 Pro vs Mi A3: Selfies

For selfies, we turned off the AI beautification filters on both phones in order to gauge the sensors' true capabilities. The Realme 5 Pro reproduces far more pleasing skin tones but doesn't quite get the black colour of the t-shirt right. Details on the face are also a little soft but not lacking. The Mi A3 has a lot more detail and selfies are also sharper. The colour tone is also more neutral, with the shade of the t-shirt coming out more accurate. When shooting against the light, the Realme 5 Pro does a better job with HDR. The background is still a bit blown out, but colours are better and more importantly, selfies are better exposed.

Tap to see full-sized image

 

With Portrait mode turned on, both phones manage to do a decent job with edge detection. The 5 Pro gets a little confused with our subject's right cheek but other than that, it does it well. Once again, we prefer the skin tone produced by the 5 Pro but it's hard to ignore the details in the Mi A3's output.

Tap to see full-sized image

Tap to see full-sized image

 

In low light, both phones have good detail, but we prefer the white balance of the Mi A3's shots. In very low light using the screen flash, the Mi A3 clearly has the better lit and more detailed selfie. The colour tone is a lot more pleasing and you can see a lot more detail in the background.

Overall, we'd pick the Mi A3 for its good low-light performance and stronger details.

Winner - Xiaomi Mi A3

 

Realme 5 Pro vs Mi A3: Wide-angle cameras

The wide angle cameras let you capture interesting perspectives and here, both phones do equally good jobs with details. We prefer the colour tone of the Realme 5 Pro's output, which is more neutral, and it even exposes the sky slightly better compared to the Mi A3.

Tap to see full-sized image

Tap to see full-sized

 

In low light, both struggle to capture good detail, although we prefer the colours from the Mi A3 here. The Realme 5 Pro also lets you use the night mode for the wide-angle camera, but the end results aren't always effective. The Mi A3 doesn't let you use night mode for this sensor but you can record video with it, which you can't do with the 5 Pro.

Winner - It's a tie

Realme 5 Pro vs Mi A3: Panoramas

If you love shooting panoramas, the Realme 5 Pro is the better phone. Both do a good job of stitching photos together but the Realme 5 Pro simply produces much better exposure and detail, compared to the Mi A3.

Tap to see full-sized image

 

Winner - Realme 5 Pro

 

Realme 5 Pro vs Mi A3: Videos

When shooting 4K video, the Realme 5 Pro tends to boost colours, which can look dramatic but it's certainly not an accurate representation of the scene. To its credit, it does expose the scene very well without blowing out the highlights or crushing the blacks. The Mi A3 on the other didn't have a consistent exposure in our test, often underexposing most of the frame. However, we like the fact that colours aren't boosted too much. Stabilisation isn't available on either phone at 4K.

In low light, footage from the Realme 5 Pro has visibly more noise, compared to that of the Mi A3. However, despite this, we'd still root for the Realme 5 Pro simply because it has better continuous autofocus. It's quick to lock focus when you move about, and even in low light, it produced slightly sharper video than the Mi A3.

At 1080p, the Realme 5 Pro produces more sober colours; continuous autofocus is still quick, and stabilisation works well. There's a mild hint of distortion when you walk about but it's not too severe. The Mi A3 has better stabilised video but continuous autofocus isn't very reliable and the auto exposure is a bit lazy and not very quick to adapt to changing light. In low light, it does produce cleaner footage than the Realme 5 Pro and both phones have a slight shimmer effect when moving about.

Winner - Realme 5 Pro

We also compared videos taken with both phones' selfie cameras at 1080p, since the Realme 5 Pro boasts of having stabilisation. There's slight distortion when shooting during the day or in low light, but it's definitely better than not having anything at all. However, in terms of image quality, the Mi A3 wins this one. During the day, our footage was sharp with good colours. The same held true when shooting in low light, indoors. The Realme 5 Pro does a decent job during the day but footage looks soft and colours aren't great, compared to the Mi A3. In low light, footage has visible grain, and the stabilisation (which can't be switched off) causes some annoying distortions.

Winner - Xiaomi Mi A3

033A1453 ameraThe Xiaomi Mi A3 is good when it comes to low light photography, but the Realme 5 Pro edges ahead in everything else

 

Verdict

Not only does the Realme 5 Pro (Review) has better specifications than the Xiaomi Mi A3 (Review), we think it's safe to conclude that it also has the better set of cameras in most cases. We found the autofocus to be a lot more reliable when shooting close-ups and video; this phone generally did a better job with exposure and colours, and the additional macro camera can be useful. Low-light video and stills aren't its strong suits, and the selfie camera is not as good as that on the Mi A3, especially in low light.

Xiaomi might have skimped on the specs and display on its latest Android One smartphone, but it continues to impress us when shooting in low light, just like its predecessors. We didn't find the continuous autofocus to be very reliable for video or when shooting close-ups, and it did have a little trouble with exposure in many instances. The cameras are still good, but as an overall package, the Realme 5 Pro manages to do a little bit better.

  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Looks good, easy to handle
  • Strong overall performance
  • Impressive photo quality in daylight
  • Very fast charging
  • Bad
  • Average battery life
  • Camera app UI needs improvement
Display6.30-inch
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 712 AIE
Front Camera16-megapixel
Rear Camera48-megapixel + 8-megapixel + 2-megapixel + 2-megapixel
RAM4GB
Storage64GB
Battery Capacity4035mAh
OSAndroid 9 Pie
Resolution1080x2340 pixels
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Good cameras
  • Premium build quality
  • Excellent battery life
  • Smooth performance
  • Bad
  • Low-resolution display
  • Hybrid dual-SIM slot
  • Camera is slow to focus at times
  • Aggressive HDR
Display6.08-inch
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 665
Front Camera32-megapixel
Rear Camera48-megapixel + 8-megapixel + 2-megapixel
RAM4GB
Storage64GB
Battery Capacity4030mAh
OSAndroid 9.0
Resolution720x1560 pixels
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Roydon Cerejo

Roydon has written about technology and gadgets for more than a decade now and began his career reviewing PC components. He found his calling with laptops, smartphones, and cameras and is the go-to guy at Gadgets 360 for this technology trifecta. In his spare time, he likes watching horror films, obsessively organising his cable management pouch and plotting world dominion one pixel at a time.

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