Xiaomi is well known for high quality phones that are sort of difficult to get in every country, but this changed with the Mi A1 which is Xiaomi’s first phone made in partnership with Google. With the stock Android OS and global availability, is Xiaomi about to take the mid-range market by storm? Read to get your answers.
If you’ve been following Xiaomi’s phone releases you might do a double take on the A1, it is the twin model called the Mi 5X. It’s all metal and feels premium and sturdy, the edges are rounded and pretty smooth. The unibody is gap-free but like most mid-range phones the Mi A1 isn’t water resistant. There’s a 3.5mm audio jack at the bottom along with the USB type-C port.
As for speakers loudness is excellent and the sound is rich and crisp with even some good bass. The 64GB of internal storage is expandable, which takes up your second sim-slot. The always-on fingerprint scanner is located at the back, it’s well centered and easy to reach really responsive to wake up your phone. Like other Xiaomi devices there’s an IR blaster built-in which can turn appliances on and off. The backlit navigation touch keys are located at the chin of the phone.
The 5.5-inch LCD screen has 1080p resolution with 403ppi and is covered by Gorilla Glass which is slightly curved along the edges. It is a really great LCD, it has some of the deepest black in the competition and the brightness is above average over 500 nits. Viewing angles are decent and sunlight legibility is pretty good too.
Mi A1 runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat, unlike its twin Mi 5X, the Mi A1 gives you completely stock Android experience instead of the traditional MiUI. This means you miss out on some of the Xiaomi’s proprietary features but for fans of keeping things simple this is a feature in itself. You do get a couple of Xiaomi’s apps, Mi remote for the IR blaster and feedback. The simple interface is smooth but there’s nothing unique for timely Android updates, and Oreo is confirmed for the Mi A1.
Under the hood, there’s Snapdragon 625 chipset with 4GB of RAM, it’s not the fastest available these days but it’s known for its power efficiency. In benchmark performance its great at the top of its class in this price range and it stays cool even after heavy use and in everyday task it runs very smooth without any lag. Battery life is really solid here, its 3080mAH b and efficient chipset help it to last more than a day. A disappointment here is that, there’s no Quick Charge option though with the regular charger it goes from 0 to 27 percent in 30 minutes.
The new Mi A1 has as dual camera setup which is pretty similar to the one on the Xiaomi Mi6. One is 12-mp camera with f/2.2 wide angle and other is 12-mp with f/2.6 telephoto camera, but OIS is missing here. In good lighting the camera snap pictures blazingly fast with a great detail and low noise. The dynamic range is high without having to resort to HDR, in low-light the performance is bit underwhelming due to lack of OIS but select the low-light option and you still get the decent photo.
The telephoto camera doesn’t work in low-light but in decent lighting it gives you two times optical zoom, the results are but soft and have more noise than we would have liked. The telephoto lens also helped to create blurred background effect behind your subject in portrait mode once it’s ready the shots come out pretty fast. The ‘Bokeh effect’ shots have nice colors and mostly accurate blurring and edge detection.
The front facing camera is 5-mp with 1080p recording and images come out ‘OK’. Detail on dynamic range are nothing special but there is high contrast and pleasant colors. Videos taken in 1080p resolution are not very good, the level of detail are low and everything is over sharpened and the quality is not the best. 4K videos on the other hand are great, there are plenty of resolved details, good colors and contrast, low noise and above-average dynamic range.
Xiaomi Mi A1 Specifications:
- Android 7.1.2 Nougat OS, Upgradable to Android 8.0 Oreo
- Hybrid Dual SIM Support
- Fingerprint sensor, Infrared sensor
- 5.5 inch Full HD 2.5D curved glass LTPS display, 450nit brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass protection
- 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
- 2GHz Octa-Core Snapdragon 625 14nm processor with 650MHz Adreno 506 GPU
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB internal storage (eMMC 5.0), Expandable up to 128GB using microSD card
- 12 Megapixel rear camera with wide-angle lens, 1.25μm pixel size, f/2.2 aperture, dual-tone LED flash, secondary 12 Megapixel camera with telephoto lens, 1.0 μm pixel size, f/2.6 aperture and PDAF
- 5MP front-facing camera
- 3.5mm audio jack, dedicated 10v amplifier
- 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz / 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS + GLONASS and USB Type-C
- 3080mAh battery
The Xiaomi Mi A1 is one of those phones that delivers a ton of features for the money, you don’t get a lot of software features but you do get stock Android, plus there’s a flagship level camera without OIS. Over so much to offer under 15k in India, this mid-range phone is to look out for.