The competition in the smartphone market is insane. When even a tiny edge matters, manufacturers have a strong incentive to paint their products in the best possible light. Sometimes, that means cheating.
In most cases, companies cheat in speed benchmarks, like AnTuTu. This time around, Xiaomi is being accused on Reddit and other social media of cheating in the DxOMark tests of its new Xiaomi Mi 9 camera.
What’s going on
The Mi 9 unit that DxOMark tested had 4K video recording enabled out of the box, which allowed it to get a very high score in the video category. As per DxOMark’s analysis:
While the Mi 9 is very good for still images, it really shines in video mode, achieving 99 points—the best Video score we have seen so far. The Xiaomi is the first camera we have tested that records 4K footage by default, which to a degree explains the excellent detail rendering in bright light and when recording indoors.
The record video score allowed the Mi 9 to climb the general DxOMark ranks. The Mi 9 currently boasts the second highest score overall, beating phones like Apple iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, and Google Pixel 3.
However, the Mi 9 does not actually ship with 4K video recording enabled by default, at least not right now.
We were able to verify this on our Mi 9 review unit – out of the box, the phone was set at 1080p 30fps. The demo units Xiaomi had on display at MWC were also set to 1080p (see the image at the top).
4K default coming as day-one update
When we asked Xiaomi about the issue, the company confirmed the Mi 9 units currently on sale in China default to 1080p video recording. However, an OTA update will switch the default video resolution to 4K .
A Xiaomi spokesman shared the following statement:
The default video capture setting for Mi 9 is 4K, and this will be applied in the first post-launch OTA update. An earlier firmware was used in pre-launch units as production started at a much earlier date in preparation for the launch.
Xiaomi seems to have crossed some wires when it comes the Mi 9, which just debuted in European markets like Spain and the U.K. The phone was introduced in China less than a week ago, which is slightly unusual for Xiaomi. The company used to take months to release its phones outside of China, so it might have rushed to get its global software ready on the Mi 9.
The statement doesn’t really explain why Xiaomi would release early software on phones that are already on sale in China. But the company is known for moving fast, and occasionally breaking things, when it comes to software updates.
In addition to this, DxOMark told Android Authority that it requires manufacturers to confirm in writing that the phones it tests are functionally identical to the phones that go on sale. “If we don’t have a firm commitment, we just don’t publish. If someone does once fool us, we can retest and republish it,” a company representative told us.
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