Xiaomi MiJia Sphere 360 Camera Kit 2020 Detailed Review.
Xiaomi MiJia Sphere 360 Camera Kit: It’s hard to overstate the significance that social media has had on modern life and culture. Back in the year 2000, terms like “social media” and “smartphone” were nonexistent. Over the years, with the rise of sites like Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, it became possible for anyone in any corner of the globe with an internet connection to generate a digital audience in the thousands or even millions.
The Xiaomi MiJia Sphere Camera is an incredibly small 360-degree action camera with exceptional quality. If you want to capture an immersive scene for personal memories or social sharing, read on to find out if the MiJia has what you’re looking for.
MiJia 360° Panoramic Camera is one of the most powerful and one of the smallest action cameras created to capture your next adventure 360-degree wide!
Due to a narrow field of view, most action cameras have “blind spots”. With MiJia 360° Panoramic Camera there is none. The camera has a thin and durable housing with two oppositely directed fish-eye lenses that allow to record 360-degree wide videos at a stunning 3.5K (3200×1800) resolution with no “blind spots”.
It’s a bit odd to think about capturing a full 360-degree video from just two lenses. Xiaomi pairs two 190-degree F2.0, wide-angle, or “fisheye” lenses with dual Sony IMX 206 sensors. Since each lens can capture slightly more than 180-degrees, the camera intelligently stitches together the two images to form a nearly seamless, full sphere.
Using the H.264 format, each sensor on the MiJia can capture video at either 2304 x 1152 at 30 or 60 frames per second, or 3456 x 1728 at 30 frames per second.
Xiaomi intelligently designed the MiJia for action use. Knowing that video quality doesn’t mean much if it’s unwatchable due to bouncing and shaking, they also include a 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis acceleration sensor. These sensors work together to smooth and stabilize the video during activity.
While they do also include a tripod, we imagine most users will want to take the MiJia out to explore their world and activities, so image stabilization is a very useful feature.
Design and Specifications
Since the rise of VR and YouTube’s 360-degree video support has brought a number of compatible cameras into the market, there’s a tremendous range of quality and designs out there. While some models are bulky and awkward with many lenses, and others have questionable quality, the Xiaomi MiJia packs tremendous quality and features into a surprisingly small package.
This sleek camera is a small black rectangle measuring just 2.7 x 3 x 0.5 inches and weighing only 0.42 pounds. At this compact size, it’s incredibly easy to hold in your hand or slip into a pocket or purse. The immediate feature that stands out, the MiJia has not one but two lenses on opposing sides of its body. These separate lenses work together to stitch a full 360 video sphere.
The Xiaomi MiJia hardware left a very good initial impression on us. The app, however, was a slightly different story.
With the compact size of the camera, Xiaomi elected not to add a screen or display of any kind to the MiJia. If you want anything more than basic recording options, you’ll need to connect to a smartphone or tablet. Connection occurs by linking your device to the Wi-Fi network created by the camera.
Available for Android devices 5.0 and up or iOS devices 8.0 and up, the Mi Sphere Camera app has made some improvements with recent releases but remains far from a polished product. By design, you should be able to take photos and videos, preview and edit content, and easily share in-app to popular social media sites.
Performance and Quality
If you’ve never experienced 360-degree video, it’s quite a unique experience. We’re so accustomed to passively watching a “flat” video that the ability to engage and explore any angle in the environment really enhances the immersion.
The MiJia did surprisingly well compared to other 360 cameras we’ve tested. It’s important to recognize that even with high resolution, these videos are often not as clear as you might expect. First, the resolution isn’t limited to just one area but spread to cover the full sphere. Even a 4K video looks less crisp when it’s stretched over a full 360 degrees.
Also, due to the nature of the optics required to get the extreme wide angles, the camera software does have to do some correction and stitching. Fortunately, we felt the MiJia executed these tasks quite well. While the video didn’t look like a professionally shot, ultra-high-definition movie, the image quality was very good and we struggled to even find the stitching lines under close observation. The sound quality, like the video, was good enough without standing out as exceptional.
Aside from the previously mentioned concerns with the app, we found the MiJia exceptionally convenient to use. Unlike other bulky 360-degree cameras we’ve tested in the past, the extremely compact form factor let us slip the MiJia almost unnoticeably in our pockets.
We’ve always found that, in general, we’re far more likely to use devices that we can conveniently bring with us. As much as we love a good digital SLR, it’s often far easier to just head out the door knowing that our smartphones can take “good enough” pictures
It’s important to recognize what the MiJia Sphere Camera is and what it isn’t. Xiaomi designed the MiJia as a compact, rugged action camera for those looking for a full 360-degree video. This relatively new video format unlocks a new way to revisit your memories and share your experiences with the world.
While the MiJia may not have cinema-quality video, the ability to shoot 360 degrees from such a small and fairly inexpensive device put a feature in your pocket that was unheard of just a few years ago.