comscore Xiaomi Mi A1 Review: Truly A1!
Review

Xiaomi Mi A1 Review: Truly A1!

Xiaomi Mi A1 features a dual-camera setup and runs on stock Android. But is that enough to tempt users? Check out our review.

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-bgr-1

Xiaomi Mi A1 4.5 5
BGR Rating :
4.5/5

It s no secret that when shopping for a capable smartphone in the budget segment, the shortlist invariably mentions Xiaomi. But since the launch of the Mi 5 early last year, there s been an absence of what you would call a premium flagship device. While there is little hope of the Mi 6 coming to India, Xiaomi did recently launch a device that it calls a flagship the Mi A1. The new smartphone is aggressively priced at Rs 14,999, boasts a decent spec sheet, and its highlights include a dual-camera setup and near-stock Android operating system. Also Read - Xiaomi Redmi K40 Gaming Lite could be in the works, specs leaked

Also Read - This Qualcomm chip bug affects around 30 percent of phones globally: Report

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is a part of Google s Android One initiative. In other words, it runs on stock Android Nougat 7.1.2, and an Android Oreo roll out is promised before the end of this year. The Mi A1 is described as created by Xiaomi and powered by Google , and the experience of using it is vastly different from the other Xiaomi devices available in India. Having spent a considerable amount of time with it, here s my review of the Xiaomi Mi A1. Also Read - MIUI 13 release on June 25: Xiaomi, Redmi, Poco phones to get, not get the update

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-bgr-5Let s start with the design, and there is no denying that Mi A1 is a premium-looking device. The overall design is distinctly Xiaomi, and a lot of elements seems to have been retained from the Redmi devices. But the Mi A1 is clearly a step up. At 7.3mm thickness, the device is quite sleek, and the rounded edges help it sit comfortably in one s palms. Adding a touch of class is the 2.5D curved glass up front, which covers the front of the device.

If I were to nitpick though, the glass up front makes the device quite reflective. The back panel, on the other hand, looks eerily similar to the iPhone 7 Plus. The antenna lines at the top and bottom edges, and the placement of the dual-camera module remind you of Apple s smartphone. What helps differentiate is the circular fingerprint sensor in the center, and the Mi and Android One logos. These are however small grouches, and something that you are bound to oversee during your day-to-day usage.

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-bgr-6As mentioned, the highlight of the Mi A1 is the dual-camera setup. This also happens to be Xiaomi s first smartphone in India to come with such features. The setup includes a pair of 12-megapixel sensors where one is a wide-angle lens, and the other a telephoto lens. Both combine to shoot photos with DSLR-like bokeh effects. There is a dedicated Portrait mode that is meant for shooting photos with blurred background. Courtesy of the telephoto lens, the camera also allows for 2x lossless optical zoom.

A similar camera setup is found on devices like the OnePlus 5 and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. While it will be too much to expect the Mi A1 s cameras to offer those kind of results, they don t necessarily disappoint.

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-bgr-4When the lighting conditions are ideal, the Mi A1 s cameras are able to capture some really good portrait shots. Colors looked natural, with just the right amount of blurring, and clearly defined edges. Equally impressive is how effortless it is to shoot good portrait shots. The camera app guides you with tips like Stereo mode helps you blur the background. The object shouldn t be further than 2 meters , and Place subject within 2.5 meters .

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-camera-sample-1

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-camera-sample-4

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-camera-sample-3

With support for Phase Detection auto-focus (PDAF), and face detection, the camera is able to quickly focus on subjects. Apart from portraits, the camera is equally capable of shooting good landscape shots. But with optical image stabilization missing, the camera s performance takes a hit when the lighting conditions are less than ideal. In low-light conditions the photos are affected by noise, and lack of sharpness and details. Needless to say, the portrait mode is rendered useless when shooting photos in low-light.

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-camera-sample-2

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-camera-sample-5

Up front, there is a 5-megapixel camera that is more than capable of clicking good selfies. With face detection, the camera is again able to quickly focus on one s face. The photos are also good enough to be instantly shared on social media without the need for edits. As we have seen with Xiaomi s smartphones, there s again a beauty mode that lets you tweak your skin tone, or make your face look slim. Again the feature works quite well, and most of the times, the results do not look gimmicky.

Another talking point on the Mi A1 is the operating system. While there are no doubt a large number of fans of Xiaomi s MIUI, using a smartphone with stock Android has its own charm. I, for one, fall in the second category. The minimalism and smoothness of stock Android is what I prefer, and that is what I personally like most about the Mi A1.

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-bgr-2There are only four Mi apps installed out-of-the-box, and two of them can be immediately uninstalled. These include the camera app, Mi Remote, Feedback and the Mi Store. Of these, only the Mi Remote and Mi Store apps can be uninstalled. Another advantage of having stock Android is Google Assistant, which is among the best voice assistants out there.

My only disappointment here is Google Photos storage. Being a part of Android One, you would expect Google to offer unlimited photo storage, but that is not the case. On the Mi A1, you get unlimited storage for high-quality photos and videos. This is however different from the Pixel smartphones that have unlimited photo and video backup in original quality. There is however 64GB internal storage, which can be expanded using a microSD card.

With these points out of the way, let s quickly take a look at Mi A1 s other specifications and features. The 5.5-inch full HD display is bright, crisp, and has good viewing angles. Under the hood is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core SoC, which has proven its worth on the popular Redmi Note 4. Paired with 4GB of RAM, the smartphone is able to easily handle day-to-day tasks, along with multitasking, with above average mid-range performance.

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-bgr-3Even graphic-intensive games like Asphalt 8 Airborne, and Riptide GP2 work quite well. But crank up the settings, and after a point you do notice a bit of drop in frame rates. Xiaomi has also done well to stop the device from overly heating up. Underneath, the company has opted for dual pyrolytic graphite sheets to dissipate heat effectively. During my time with the phone, I can barely remember a time when the device heated up. The back panel however did get a tad warm when using the camera for a long time, playing games, or when the device is put on charge.

Keeping the device ticking is a 3,080mAh battery. In my day-to-day use, the battery was able to easily last a day on a single charge. My use included a constantly buzzing Slack account, WhatsApp, two email accounts, and social accounts like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Add in some game time, video and music playback, and about an hour worth of calling, and you will have to charge the phone before going to sleep. Suffice to say, some of Xiaomi s Redmi smartphones in India have a much better battery performance. Charging is via the USB Type-C port, and the time taken from zero to 100 percent is a shade under two hours.

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-bgr-8Call quality is decent even when on roaming, and the voice clarity via the earpiece is quite good. The speaker on the smartphone too is particularly loud. It comes with a 10V smart power amplifier for enhancing audio through earphones, and it also uses DHS Audio Calibration Algorithm. With a focus on audio performance, it is a tad disappointing that the Mi A1 doesn t come with bundled earphones.

xiaomi-mi-a1-review-bgr-7

Verdict

There is very little that is wrong with the Xiaomi Mi A1. While Xiaomi s hardware quality has rarely been questioned, the stock Android OS on board the Mi A1 takes the overall experience to a new level. Many see this as the return of Google s Android One initiative, and you can see why the search giant chose Xiaomi. RELATED: Well done Xiaomi, you just reminded us that Android One exists

If you look beyond Android One, the Mi A1 on its own is a very capable device that is well built, features a decent list of specifications and features, and is aggressively priced as well. The dual cameras may struggle a bit in low light, but the photos clicked during the day more than make up for it. At Rs 14,999, the Mi A1 comes very close to being a perfect mid-range smartphone, and I would highly recommend it.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel.
  • Published Date: September 15, 2017 2:52 PM IST


You Might be Interested

Xiaomi Mi A1

13999

Android 7.1.2 Nougat
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-Core 2.0GHz Processor
12 MP (wide-angle) + 12 MP (telephoto)

new arrivals in india

Samsung Galaxy F02s
Samsung Galaxy F02s

8,999

Samsung Galaxy F12
Samsung Galaxy F12

10,999

POCO X3 Pro
POCO X3 Pro

18,999

Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro

17,999

Realme 8
Realme 8

14,999

Vivo X60 Pro Plus
Vivo X60 Pro Plus

69,990

Vivo X60 Pro
Vivo X60 Pro

49,990

Vivo X60
Vivo X60

37,990

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

64,999

OnePlus 9R 5G
OnePlus 9R 5G

39,999

OnePlus 9 5G
OnePlus 9 5G

49,999

Samsung Galaxy A72
Samsung Galaxy A72

34,999

Samsung Galaxy A52
Samsung Galaxy A52

26,499

Micromax In 1
Micromax In 1

10,499

Asus ROG Phone 5
Asus ROG Phone 5

49,999

Samsung Galaxy M12
Samsung Galaxy M12

10,999

Motorola Moto G30
Motorola Moto G30

10,999

Motorola Moto G10 Power
Motorola Moto G10 Power

9,999

Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G
Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G

25,990

Oppo F19 Pro
Oppo F19 Pro

21,490

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

18,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

15,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10

11,999

Realme Narzo 30A
Realme Narzo 30A

8,999

Realme Narzo 30 Pro
Realme Narzo 30 Pro

16,999

Infinix Smart 5
Infinix Smart 5

7,199

Samsung Galaxy F62
Samsung Galaxy F62

23,999

Samsung Galaxy A12
Samsung Galaxy A12

12,999

Nokia 5.4
Nokia 5.4

13,999

Nokia 3.4
Nokia 3.4

11,999

Realme X7 Pro 5G
Realme X7 Pro 5G

29,999

Realme X7
Realme X7

19,999

Vivo Y31
Vivo Y31

16,490

Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G

35,990

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

1,05,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G

81,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

69,999

Vivo Y12s
Vivo Y12s

9,990

Vivo Y51A
Vivo Y51A

17,990

Samsung Galaxy M02s
Samsung Galaxy M02s

8,999

Xiaomi Mi 10i
Xiaomi Mi 10i

21,999

Oppo A15s
Oppo A15s

11,490

Tecno Spark 6 Go
Tecno Spark 6 Go

8,499

Vivo V20 2021
Vivo V20 2021

24,990

Vivo Y20A
Vivo Y20A

11,490

Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power

11,999

Motorola Moto G9 Power
Motorola Moto G9 Power

11,999

Motorola Moto G 5G
Motorola Moto G 5G

20,999

Vivo V20 Pro
Vivo V20 Pro

29,990

Xiaomi Mi 10T
Xiaomi Mi 10T

35,999

Xiaomi Redmi 9i
Xiaomi Redmi 9i

8,299

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro

39,999

Infinix Hot 10
Infinix Hot 10

9,999

Vivo V20 SE
Vivo V20 SE

20,990

Vivo V20
Vivo V20

24,990

Micromax In 1b
Micromax In 1b

6,999

Micromax In Note 1
Micromax In Note 1

10,999

OnePlus 8T
OnePlus 8T

42,999

Samsung Galaxy F41
Samsung Galaxy F41

15,499

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

1,29,900

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
Apple iPhone 12 Pro

1,19,900

Apple iPhone 12 Mini
Apple iPhone 12 Mini

69,900

Apple iPhone 12
Apple iPhone 12

79,900

Poco X3
Poco X3

16,999

Realme Narzo 20A
Realme Narzo 20A

8,499

Realme Narzo 20
Realme Narzo 20

10,499

Realme Narzo 20 Pro
Realme Narzo 20 Pro

13,999

Oppo F17
Oppo F17

16,990

Samsung Galaxy M51
Samsung Galaxy M51

22,999

Poco M2
Poco M2

10,999

Oppo F17 Pro
Oppo F17 Pro

22,990

Realme 7 Pro
Realme 7 Pro

19,999

Realme 7
Realme 7

14,999

Xiaomi Redmi 9A
Xiaomi Redmi 9A

6,799

Vivo Y20
Vivo Y20

12,990

Xiaomi Redmi 9
Xiaomi Redmi 9

8,999

Nokia 5.3
Nokia 5.3

13,999

Motorola Moto G9
Motorola Moto G9

11,499

Realme C15
Realme C15

9,999

Realme C12
Realme C12

8,999

Samsung Galaxy Note 20
Samsung Galaxy Note 20

77,999

Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Prime

9,999

Oppo Reno4 Pro
Oppo Reno4 Pro

34,990

Samsung Galaxy M01 Core
Samsung Galaxy M01 Core

5,499

Realme 6i
Realme 6i

12,999

Asus Rog Phone 3
Asus Rog Phone 3

46,999

OnePlus Nord
OnePlus Nord

24,999

Infinix Smart 4 Plus
Infinix Smart 4 Plus

7,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 9
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9

10,999

Samsung Galaxy M01s
Samsung Galaxy M01s

9,999

Vivo X50 Pro 5G
Vivo X50 Pro 5G

49,990

Vivo X50 5G
Vivo X50 5G

34,990

Realme C11
Realme C11

7,499

Poco M2 Pro
Poco M2 Pro

13,999

Realme X3
Realme X3

24,999

Realme X3 SuperZoom
Realme X3 SuperZoom

27,999

Tecno Spark Power 2
Tecno Spark Power 2

9,999

Oppo A12
Oppo A12

9,990

Oppo A52
Oppo A52

16,990

Samsung Galaxy A21s
Samsung Galaxy A21s

15,999

Best Sellers