Xiaomi is saying "yes" to dual cameras. The Chinese phonemaker's Redmi Pro uses two camera lenses on its back to take shots with Bokeh effect, that artful look that leaves some of the image in focus and beautifully blurs the rest. It's a feature seen in Huawei's P9, and also in 2014's HTC One M8.
What's interesting here is that the lenses aren't the same. You have a 13-megapixel Sony sensor and a 5-megapixel Samsung sensor. The Redmi Pro combines image data from both cameras to let you adjust the depth of field you get, so you have a chance to play around with the amount of blur. The effect works best when shooting portraits and closeups, setups where you want the focus on what's in front of you.
Xiaomi did not say if the dual-camera setup had other features, such as telephoto zoom or better lowlight shots, which we've seen on camera modules from Israeli startup Corephotonics.
To activate the camera's bokeh effect, just tap on the small button located just above the onscreen shutter. From there, you can select the aperture you want, say f2.8, and the Redmi Pro will automatically adjust the amount of background blur. You can also select the focal point after you take the shot.
I'm quite a fan of the Redmi line, and the Redmi Pro is just icing on the cake, thanks to its solid metal unibody build and flagship-like design. It's easily capable of matching flagship smartphones in design and hardware, though I'm not sure how well the Helio X25 processor will hold up compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. We'll hopefully have a review unit soon to try out.
True to its name, the Pro steps up the hardware specs compared with the other Redmi phones. It has a metal body, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of onboard storage and MediaTek's Helio X25 ten-core processor. There's 4G LTE support for two SIM cards, but you could also use one SIM card and insert a micro-SIM card. There's a fingerprint sensor too, located below the 5.5-inch full-HD OLED display.
A basic version of the Pro will sport 3GB RAM and 32GB of onboard storage and will use the Helio X20 processor instead.
The phone is set to launch on 6 August and will sell for the ridiculously low price of 1,499 yuan (this converts to around $225, £170 and AU$300), although the highest end version goes for 1,999 yuan (about $300, £230 or AU$400). Interestingly, it will also be sold offline in stores as well as Xiaomi's usual online model. While it's only China for now, expect to see the company launch the phone in markets like India, Hong Kong and Singapore shortly after.