We are all familiar with Xiaomi's status as one of the most popular budget phone manufacturers on the Asian market. The Chinese giant offers you a budget package with its budget devices, running a forked version of Android called MIUI. While many users love MIUI and its superior customization capabilities, there are some who are still waiting for an inventory experience paired with brilliant hardware and price. This is where Google stepped in to save the day. Google recently partnered with Xiaomi to revive its Android One program, which was once forgotten with the launch of Xiaomi Mi A1.
Unlike the previously released Android One devices, which were quite poor due to hardware constraints, the Mi A1 is a great combination of hardware and software at a really attractive price of 14,999. We have heard users singing praises for the device over the past week, so I decided to put the Mi A1 to the test for myself. Read this in-depth review to find out all about my experiences with the device:
Before taking a detailed look at the Xiaomi Mi A1 in person, let's take a quick look at the device's specs:
|Dimensions||155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3 mm|
|Weight||165 g (4.41 oz.)|
|Monitor||5.5-inch FHD LCD screen, with 1920 x 1080p resolution|
|Processor||Eight-core Snapdragon 625 processor with 2.0 GHz clock speed|
|Storage||64GB, expandable up to 128GB via MicroSD card|
|Primary camera||Dual 12MP wide-angle + 12MP telephoto lens, with two-tone flash|
|Secondary chamber||5MP, with f / 2.6 aperture, beautification and facial recognition|
|OS||Android 7.1.2 Turrn|
|Sensors||Fingerprint, infrared, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, proximity and proximity sensor, accelerometer|
|Connectivity||VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou|
|Ports||USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Colors||Black, gold, rose gold|
What's in the box
As we've come to expect from Xiaomi phone cases, the Mi A1's retail package had no big surprises. The device was sitting on top as usual, with the charging brick and cable hidden in a clean rectangular box underneath. The box also included the SIM eject tool and the user manual, but no complementary accessories were found. Xiaomi can at least include a screen protector or a protective case with their devices just like doing in the day.
Here is everything you get inside the Xiaomi Mi A1 retail packaging:
- My A1 (obviously, you can't miss this one)
- 5V power adapter
- USB Type-C cable
- User guide
- SIM ejector tool
Design and build quality
The moment you remove the plastic wrap from the Mi A1 and take it by hand, you will not feel like you are holding a cheap phone. Xiaomi has used, yes, you guessed it, Aluminum to carve the structure of the robust Mi A1 device . However, the Chinese giant has given little thought to the design of the device and now seems to have copied the design of the iPhone 7 Plus or OnePlus 5.
The Mi A1 is a fairly solid construction and feels quite comfortable in the hand, but not as good as the Moto G5s Plus, to be honest. The Moto G5s Plus shows an original design, even when it is also carved from metal. The rounded camera bump, a placeholder for dual-lens setup and the flash, above the "Moto" logo in the dimple on the back looks impressive.
You get a great 5.5-inch Full HD display, which sadly doesn't brag about the new 18: 9 aspect ratio. Xiaomi has Stuck with huge bezels on the bottom and physical navigation buttons, they give you a power key and a control of volume on the right tray and dual SIM hybrid on the left. The buttons are not entirely soft and it is a pleasure to use them.
The back of the device has a dual camera setup, very similar to the iPhone 7 Plus and a fingerprint sensor quite fast in the middle. This is my favorite position for the biometric sensor since my index finger naturally rests in that position. The Moto G5, on the other hand, places the fingerprint sensor on the front on the bottom bezel. You can make it easier to unlock the phone when it's on the table and that's it.
The Mi A1 also Includes a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is becoming a luxury on the phones and in the port of load USB Type-C which is incredible to have at this price. The addition of the latter to the Mi A1 could inspire other budget phone manufacturers to upgrade their charging ports in next-gen device launches.
The curved metal structure of the Mi A1 can feel great in your hand and prevent fingerprint smudges, but it is very slippery. Had constant fear that the device would slip between my fingers at any time, but thankfully it didn't . This also made one-handed use of the Mi A1 a nightmare and Android stock is what saved me. I no longer needed to reach out and deploy the notification tone when I activated fingerprint gestures to simplify this task. Therefore, I recommend that you put a case on the device at the time of purchase.
The Mi A1 It has a 5.5-inch Full-HD screen, which is great, but it's definitely not the highlight of this device. . Xiaomi has not compromised a bit on this front and incorporated a super bright LTPS (Low Temperature Poly-Silicon) LCD screen, which has a higher pixel density and low power consumption compared to other LCDs, in the Mi A1 . It is not as good as an AMOLED panel but it did not prevent my daily use.
I would have much preferred to see a larger 18: 9 screen on a device than it would launch in the second half of 2017, but I have no issues with the panel on the Mi A1, which is much better than previous budget devices released under the Android One. Program. I know boasts of a 1920 x 1080 pixel screen resolution, adding a PPI of around 403.
The touch was extremely sensitive and I had no unusual problems with the screen. The screen was super bright on the inside as well as on the outside, with no color change that would have made reading the screen a huge chore. The Chinese giant boasts that the Mi A1's LCD screen has a contrast ratio of 1000: 1 and can be as bright as 450 nits, which turned out to be quite true during my tests.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the Mi A1 is its Android experience with actions that most users tend to want on their software-laden smartphones. The Mi A1 is running Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the box, with a promised Android Oreo update later this year.
While you can expect a limitless experience on the Mi A1, it still comes with a handful of Mi apps on the go . However, you can choose to uninstall the Mi apps, except for the default camera app, if you want. The camera app has been developed by Xiaomi to support dual lens setup as Google Camera cannot do the same.
While previously there were doubts about whether Xiaomi will be able to deliver the Oreo update on time, the Chinese giant has now confirmed that the update will be done very soon. He's started recruiting beta testers to see the Oreo update before its official release, if not this year and then in January, no doubt.
The delay in launching Android Oreo is possibly due to the time Xiaomi is taking to optimize all its applications for the current API, especially the camera app. It has also promised that Mi A1 will also receive Android P when it is available, but nothing can be said at the moment. We will have to wait and see if that turns out to be true. The current user interface is Android and it looks like this:
Performance and benchmarks
Since the Mi A1 is in Xiaomi's mid-range segment, the device It is powered by 8th core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset once again . With a speed of 2.0 Ghz, this is possibly the fourth line of Xiaomi smartphones that works with this chipset, but there have been no potential complaints about it. The performance of the Mi A1 is top-notch and why wouldn't it be when the software is available and clean to the core. Here are some benchmark results to reiterate this point:
My practical experience with the Mi A1 has been mostly positive, with negligible delays or frame drops in normal use. Even heavy games are pretty comfortable, but the Mi A1 tends to warm up a bit during that time period. There is another annoying problem that I faced a few strange times during the week I had with the device. The My A1 reboots randomly out of nowhere and was extremely frustrating when it did between application changes.
The Mi A1 wants to be your first choice in this budget segment, therefore it doesn't offer you multiple alternatives for RAM and storage combo. Xiaomi knows enough that our media creation and consumption rate has now increased, so we only need the highest specs for our daily drivers. The My A1 comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, but you can still upgrade to 128GB of storage with a MicroSD card. This will be useful when shooting 4K video or high resolution images.
In line with the current trend, the Mi A1 sports a dual-lens rear camera setup, which is quite similar to what we've already seen on the iPhone 7 Plus the year before. Get a 12 MP wide-angle and telescopic lens on the Mi A1, with aperture of f / 2.2 and f / 2.6 respectively . The device does not use the Google camera app, but instead includes the Xiaomi camera app, as the Google camera does not include native dual lens support on the front of the software.
When capturing casual photos, Xiaomi's camera interface is quite intuitive and easy to like. Color reproduction and sharpness of photos captured with the dual lens system during the day are on point. The secondary telescopic lens makes it simpler for you to get closer to your subjects, but it introduces some noise into the images. The shutter speed is good and no significant delay was detected Clicking on photos, but the same cannot be said for the application when using portrait mode.
The Camera app stops responding for an odd couple of seconds when clicking a portrait shot, which can make you nervous if you plan to capture multiple images. The portrait mode on Mi A1 is comparable to the current Xiaomi Mi 6 flagship device, which has received high praise overall. The bokeh (blur) effect is a little too overwhelming, but the camera is doing a good job of edge detection and subject focus.
This camera system is better than any other dual-lens setup available in the price segment under $ 15,000, especially the Moto G5. However, sometimes it doesn't focus on the topic, but a quick restart helps to solve the problem. The camera doesn't perform as well in low-light conditions, but it does capture some decent photos for the price. Here are some samples:
As for the selfie camera, it's a 5-megapixel shooter that's half decent. You will be able to capture some good photos, including group selfies if the lighting conditions are correct, but I suggest you don't get too used to the 'beautify' mode, since it alters the photo quite a lot. However, without it, the camera softens the image and the dynamic range is not good enough. Here is how the images that are selected with and without the beautification mode are as follows:
Also due to the smaller f / 2.6 aperture of the front lens, the Mi A1 doesn't capture the best selfies in low light conditions. The facial recognition feature, on the other hand, seems to have improved a lot compared to my Redmi Note 3, which is so old. The video recording capabilities of the Mi A1 are undoubtedly excellent because you can now capture videos in 4K resolution using the Dual Lens Rear Camera Settings. The output is quite good, but the lack of OIS or EIS is undoubtedly visible in the form of some tremors earlier.
Audio and telephony
After spending about a week with the Mi A1, it's fair to say that you don't see any significant signal loss or interference during calls. The The audio quality is quite clear and the earpiece is loud enough that you can easily hear the caller . Audio calls sounded just as good on both sides, thanks to the noise canceling microphone on top.
The My A1 includes a background speaker and this is not the perfect location for it . Xiaomi should have gotten stuck with its usual rear speaker placement, as it is now easy enough for the hand to cover the small speaker at the bottom, muffling all sounds while playing or watching any video / movie in landscape mode.
The speaker is quite loud and doesn't have as many bass as you would expect. The stock of Android could do with more volume steps in the audio controls to make it easier for users to control the experience and not suddenly burst their eardrums.
Like any device in the budget segment for the Asian market, the Mi A1 includes the usual set of connectivity options. You will get the Dual SIM hybrid tray, where you can choose to use two SIM cards or pair a single SIM card with a MicroSD card . The device is compatible with all major supported networks, along with VoLTE support for those that provide the functionality. I had the opportunity to try the same with my Reliance Jio SIM card and everything worked very smoothly.
The device also supports the latest version recent Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, along with Wi-Fi Direct, that makes it easy to print, share, sync, and stream content to other devices. Bluetooth 4.2, which is not the latest protocol, is also included in this device, along with the HID (Human Interface Device) profile designed to provide a low latency link with low power requirements.
And like other Xiaomi phones, you also get an IR blster that can be used to control devices at home . You can use the Mi Remote app, which comes preloaded on the device, to control your TV, set-top box, air conditioner, and more. It really is useful since I no longer need to waste my remote control and I can control the TV with my own phone.
Battery and Charge
Battery size is one of the first things we need a checkmark against when considering buying a smart phone. The Mi A1 includes a Decent 3.080mAh non-removable lithium battery pack which is enough to last you all day without having to plug it in to charge the device. In all my time with the Mi A1, the device survived an entire day in medium to high use, with a little left over. I got a total screen time of about 4-5 hours, which is definitely good for an inexpensive device.
Although the smallest battery pack lasted an entire day, thanks to Android's battery optimization and Doze functions, charging the Mi A1 remains a difficult task. I am happy that Xiaomi is adopting the USB Type-C standard with the My A1 but has left the fast charge out of the mix . It takes an odd couple of hours for the device to fully charge, but it would have been perfect with quick charge, which would have allowed it to sneak into a quick charge when you're about to leave.
Is Xiaomi Mi A1 the best cheap Android smart phone?
As the end of 2017 approaches, you may be looking to replace your current smartphone with a new one in the coming weeks. If your budget is low and you have been looking for a good mid-range device, then the Mi A1 may be the perfect device for you. This is also the best time to go out and buy the device as it is available at an attractive discount right now.
Compared to its competitors, the Mi A1 shines quite bright and stands out from the crowd for its superior and intuitive user experience. The Android ROM loaded on the Mi A1 s helps, but the overall build quality is also an important contributing factor. The Mi A1 includes a powerful processor, dual-lens rear cameras, and a vanilla Android for 15,000, which in my opinion is an investment. But, if you are looking for other options, you will surely have run into competitors like Moto G5s Plus and Honor 7X.
While the Moto G5s Plus at 15,999 is very similar to the Mi A1 in terms of power and features, it is quite bulky and the standout camera doesn't look any better. Honor 7X, on the other hand, starts at 12, 999 and might lure users away from Mi A1 with its highest 18: 9 screen, but you won't get the intuitive Android experience with it. Therefore, Mi A1 is definitely the best choice in the budget segment at the moment.
- Without a doubt, the Android experience in stock.
- Large images in portrait mode
- Presence of the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
- Excellent price
- Very slippery in hand.
- No update to Android 8.0 Oreo yet
- Sudden reboots, out of nowhere.
Buy Xiaomi Mi A1 (14,000)
Xiaomi Mi A1: Android One Done Right
While Google has done its part to revive the Android One program, Xiaomi is changing the status of this forgotten program by providing it with a premium experience for a bargain. It has broken the soggy mold that was previously defined by Google and built a device for anyone looking to get away from an Android (or iOS) version.
My A1 is one of the most premium devices available for 15,000 on the Indian market. Are you planning to buy the Xiaomi Mi A1? If so, what is the prominent factor driving you to make this decision? Let us know in the comment section below.