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Xiaomi Mi A2 hands-on and first impressions: Of stock Android and AI-backed cameras

The new Xiaomi Mi A2 still runs stock Android OS, but brings in a lot of improvements over last year’s Mi A1. Here are our first impressions.

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Highlights

  • The Mi A2 is the latest Android One device from Xiaomi.

  • It runs stock Android Oreo out-of-the-box.

  • The Mi A2 will launch in India on August 8.

Xiaomi yesterday launched the Mi A2 at a global event in Spain. As expected, the smartphone is a part of Google’s Android One program, which means it runs stock Android OS out-of-the-box. The Xiaomi Mi A2 will be launching in India on August 8, but in the meanwhile, here are my first impressions of Xiaomi’s latest smartphone.

Familiar design, but better

Right out of the box, the Xiaomi Mi A2 has that sense of familiarity about it. The overall design is very Xiaomi-like, and the device fits really well in one’s hands. The body is really slim with a thickness of only 7.3mm, which is quite impressive. But this thinness also means that the dual-camera module at the back really juts out. In other words, the device won’t sit flush on a flat surface.

The front side of the Mi A2 is quite plain, and is dominated by the 6-inch 18:9 display. The bezels on the sides are quite slim, but the same can’t be said about the ones at the top and bottom.

At the bottom, the Mi A2 features a USB Type-C port, but unlike the Mi A1, there is no 3.5mm audio jack. Instead, you will have to depend upon the Type-C port for audio as well as charging. Whether smartphone companies should or should not ditch the audio jack is a discussion for another day. But those who don’t want to let go of their old headphones, Xiaomi has bundled in an Type-C-to-3.5mm-audio-jack adapter.

Performance upgrades

Compared to last year’s Mi A1, Xiaomi’s new smartphone has got quite a few upgrades under the hood. It is now powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset, which is a proven performer. The device is backed by a 3,000mAh battery, which should be good enough to last a day on a single charge.

There are three variants to choose from – 32GB+4GB RAM, 64GB+4GB RAM, and 128GB+6GB RAM. It remains to be seen if Xiaomi launches all three variants in India from the get go. Unfortunately, there is no option to expand the internal memory, since there is no microSD card slot.

Better photography

Xiaomi spent a lot of time at the launch event yesterday talking about the Mi A2’s photographic chops. At the back is a dual-camera setup that includes a 20-megapixel primary sensor and a 12-megapixel secondary sensor. Up front, there is a 20-megapixel selfie camera, and both sets of cameras boast AI capabilities. I have spent very little time with the device to really pass a judgement on the cameras’ capabilities. But we will surely be testing them in dept in our review.

Vanilla OS

What really sets the Mi A2 apart from other Xiaomi smartphones is its operating system. As a part of the Android One program, the device runs stock Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box. Barring a couple of its own apps, Xiaomi has left the OS vanilla. The stock Android bit was what made last year’s Mi A1 among our favorite Xiaomi devices, and expectations for the Mi A2 are unsurprisingly high.

Watch: Xiaomi Mi A1 Launched

The new Mi A2 then clearly has us excited, and it will be interesting to see how aggressive Xiaomi gets with the price tag. Competition these days in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment is fierce, and Xiaomi does seem to have a capable device on offer. We will be looking at the Xiaomi Mi A2 in depth as we inch closer to the August 8 India launch, so stay tuned for our review.

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Xiaomi Mi A1

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  • Published Date: July 25, 2018 1:47 PM IST