As they say, the more things change, the more they remain the same. In the not too recent past, Samsung and Huawei were caught trying to be deceptive about the cameras in some of the phones that they sell. Now it is the turn of Xiaomi to be caught doing something similar. The Poco F1 phone, which is the first phone under the company’s sub-brand Poco’s umbrella, is in the line of fire. An eagle-eyed Reddit user has pointed out that Donovan Sung, Xiaomi’s Director of Product Management and Global Spokesperson, has been using a photo taken from another phone’s camera and publishing them on social media as photos taken from the Poco F1.
The user Faiso333 on Reddit posted about how an Intagram post from Sung claiming to be a camera sample from the Poco F1 looked eerily similar to a photo Sung had posted from the Mi Mix 2S on 22 April. In fact, there has been a rather poorly done retouch to remove the watermark at the bottom left corner of the original image (which read “Shot on Mi Mix 2S AI dual camera”, and it seems some edits have been done to make it look brighter as well when posted as the Poco camera sample. The latest post in question has since been deleted, but we haven't heard an official word from Xiaomi yet on the matter.
The Poco F1 has a dual camera set-up which includes one 12-megapixel camera (1.4μm pixel, f/1.9 aperture and dual pixel auto-focus) and a 5-megapixel camera (1.12μm pixel, f/2.0 aperture). In comparison, the Mi Mix 2S has a dual camera set-up that involved one 12-megapixel camera (1.4µm pixel, f/1.8 aperture and dual pixel autofocus) and a secondary 12-megapixel camera (1µm pixel, f/2.4 aperture). The Poco F1 camera has no optical image stabilization whereas the Mi Mix 2S does.
Another Reddit user pointed out that “This place is in front of China's National Centre for the Performing Arts.”
Xiaomi’s Poco F1 blooper comes just after Samsung and Huawei were caught out trying to cheat about the quality of their phone cameras. Samsung was first called out by a Twitter user in Brazil, for using stock images and trying to pass them off as photos taken by their Galaxy A8 (2018) smartphone. Then, Chinese phone maker Huawei has been caught implying that photos taken by a professional DSLR camera are actually ones taken by the Nova 3i smartphone’s selfie camera. It is perhaps rather cruel that Huawei’s tactic was inadvertently outed by the actress who is actually a part of the film, in a now deleted Instagram post which showed off a behind-the-scenes photo. Over the summer, Huawei was also busted trying to push off a photograph as taken by the camera of the P9 smartphone, when instead it was from a Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR camera. “We recognise, though, that we should have been clearer with the captions for this image. It was never our intention to mislead. We apologise for this and we have removed the image,” Huawei had said in an official statement at the time.
If one is to say that Xiaomi’s transgressions with the Poco F1 aren’t as big as Huawei’s for instance, because they aren’t using a DSLR, then that is completely missing the point. It is all about being deceptive, and that is what the now-deleted post intended to do. Consumers get potentially put with all this incorrect portrayal of facts, and that does beg the question—why not be up front and honest about your phone’s camera performance, and let the consumers decide?