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Google Camera with NightSight on Redmi Note 4x

I have been running Google Camera 5.x on a rooted Redmi Note 4x / MIUI9 for the longest time. The default HDR+ shots are fantastic, and the portrait mode is fun and surprisingly reliable.

I generally dislike flashing new ROMs due to the hassle of configuring the environment and having to setup the odd apps that do not properly restore their settings from the cloud. So I have stuck with MIUI and have generally grown quite used to it.

A number of factors have finally nudged me out of my comfort zone. First, the MIUI10 update was a total disaster. Google Camera stopped working with no known workaround. Once one has tasted the power of Google Camera, it's hard to go back to anything else! Secondly, MIUI10 is an aesthetic mess. It abandoned color notification icons for the black-and-white aesthetic of vanilla Android, but left its own apps (eg. Mi Fit) alone. This led to something so horrible that even a typically function-over-form guy like myself couldn't stand it. Thirdly, this version has ads! You can disable them if you want to, but they are scattered all over the place, and leaves a pretty bad taste in this user's mouth.

Finally, there have been so much news of the magical NightSight feature in Google Camera 6.x that I have been actively looking for ports for Redmi Note 4x. After much research, it appears some people have had success with it:


so I decided to give it a shot (no, I don't understand Hindi, so it is a long shot!).

Basically, I need to get a Android 9 (Pie) ROM onto the phone. Pixel Experience (as recommended in the video) seems to be a pretty solid choice.

Here are the steps I took to load Pixel Experience onto my phone:

1. Make sure bootloader is unlocked.

2. Make sure latest version of TWRP for Redmi Note 4/4x (codename: mido) is installed. My version is 3.2.3-1 (twrp-3.2.3-1-mido.img)

3. Download Pixel Experience ROM for mido (PixelExperience_mido-9.0-20181024-1424-OFFICIAL.zip) and put the file in internal storage of phone.

4. Download franco kernel for mido (fk-r15-anykernel2.zip) and put the file in internal storage of phone.

5. Boot to TWRP recovery.

6. Create a backup of the current system just in case.

7. Select "Wipe". Select "Format Data".

8. Select "Wipe". Selected "Advanced Wipe". Check "Dalvik Cache", "System", "Data", "Internal Data", "Cache", then proceed.

9. Select "Install" and install PixelExperience_mido-9.0-20181024-1424-OFFICIAL.zip and fk-r15-anykernel2.zip.

10. Reboot

After a longish wait that happens whenever the ROM is updated, you will hopefully see the Pixel Experience welcome screen and have a fully functional Android Pie phone.

The version of Google Camera included with Pixel Experience is an older one without NightSight. To load the version with NightSight:

1. Disable the built-in version by long pressing on the "Camera" icon and selecting "Info". Then hit the "Disable" button.

2. Download and install (GoogleCamera_6.1.013.216795316-debug.apk).

I have tested NightSight extensively, and it works every bit as advertised. "Magical" is the word that keeps popping to mind. The tech news is choked full of review photos, but believe me, when you try it out yourself in a pitch dark environment with a sub-$200 phone and see the results, you will still get a WTF jaw-dropping kick out of it. It is magical!

I have also tested other features such as HDR+, portrait mode and video capture, and they all work fine. I am sure there are existing issues with this port, but I didn't find any. Doubtless it will only get better with time, but even in its current state, I am a happy camper.



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