Reviews

Xiaomi Mi A1: How It stand out in a Mid-Range Market

If we had to choose a mobile as one of the most complete for the year 2017 in a price range of around 300 dollars we affirm that Xiaomi Mi A1 has many ballots to be: finishes, autonomy, specifications and a dual rear camera with portrait mode that offers very good results.

This mobile has many of the features that are sought when it comes to locating which smartphone to buy. Xiaomi arrived in Nigeria a few months ago and since then there is a break in stock, of course, that let’s glimpse the popularity of it. In addition, the company has also launched a model with 32 GB of internal memory at an unbeatable price of 220 dollars. Are you interested in reading our smartphone buying guide or you are importers from China? Then, you have to check out this article All You Have to Keep in Mind Before Buying a Chinese Mobile Phones“.

Xiaomi Mi A1: Technical Specifications

ProcessorOcta-core Snapdragon 625 processor, max 2.0GHz, 14nm FinFET, high performance and power efficiency,Adreno 506 graphics 650MHz
Memory4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, Up to 128GB expandable storage (microSD)
DimensionsHeight: 155.4 mm, Width: 75.8 mm, Thickness: 7.3 mm, Weight: 165 g
Rear CameraWide-angle lens
12MP 1.25μm f/2.2
26mm equivalent focal length
5-piece lens
Two-tone flash
Telephoto lens
12MP 1.0 μm, f/2.6
50mm equivalent focal length
5-piece lens
2x optical zoom
PDAF phase focus
Low-light photography enhancements
HDR adjustment
Panorama mode
Continuous shooting mode
Facial recognition function
Front Camera5MP 1.12μm, f/2
Beautify with 36 smart beauty profiles
Selfie timer
Facial recognition
Video4K / 1080p / 720p video, 30 fps
720p slow-mo video, 120 fps
Battery3,080mAh(typ)/ 3,000mAh(Min), 5V / 2A charging, Reversible USB Type-C
Display5.5 inch (diagonal) LTPS FHD display, 450nit brightness, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 403 PPI, 1000: 1 contrast ratio
Connectivity & Wireless3-choose-2, Nano SIM/MicroSD, Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac protocols, Supports 2.4/5G WiFi / WIFI Direct / WiFi Display, Supports Bluetooth 4.2/HID, 4G, Supports VoLTE/4G/3G/2G on compatible networks
Button & InterfaceHeadphone jack, Microphone, USB Type-C Port, Speakers, SIM/MicroSD tray, IR Blaster
GPS Navigation & PositioningGPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU
SensorsInfrared, Ambient light Sensor, Gyroscope, Hall Sensor, Accelerometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Proximity Sensor
MultimediaMP4, M4V, MKV, XVID, WAV, AAC/AAC+eAAC+, MP3, AMR-NB/WB, FLAC, PCM, *Supports H.265 /HEVC (main profile), H.264 (baseline / main / high profile), and MPEG4 (simple profile / ASP).
PackageMi A1 phone, Power Adapter, SIM insertion tool, USB cable and User guide/Warranty card
Price$260 on Amazon

The prices of a launch of the phone importing it from China were low by themselves and the official arrival has not brought with it a great extra cost remaining in a range of prices very interesting for all that the Mi A1 offers. In our case, we are going to analyze the model of 64 GB of internal memory, 259.95 dollars.

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Mi A1 (Android One) Review with Pros & Cons - Best Mid Range Smartphone?

This...

If you still do not know what mobile phone we are talking about, we’ll give you the background: Xiaomi launched a mobile phone with Android One with a 5.5-inch FHD screen, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory with a Snapdragon 625 chip is part of its appeal, as we have metallic finish and fingerprint reader on the back and glass Gorilla Glass 2.5D in the front covering the 5.5-inch Full HD screen.

In addition, Xiaomi has managed to transfer much of the experience of the Mi 6 camera to this mobile with a dual rear camera configuration with 2X zoom and a very capable portrait mode as we will see in the section of the camera.

Now, is all that glitters of gold? Is this smartphone worth more than its interesting list of specifications?

Xiaomi Mi A1: Traditional Mobile 16:9 with Premium finish

The Xiaomi Mi A1 takes the designs of the Xiaomi Mi 5X. It is a smartphone with a very ergonomic finish, a rounded body, not only the corners but also the sides making it very comfortable to hold in your hand.

The model we analyze has a white front covered by Gorilla Glass 3 glass. It is not terminal that stands out for the percentage of frontal that covers the screen since we have, on the one hand, 16:9 format screen and, on the other, some notable frames in both the upper and lower part.

In this case, the lower part houses Android capacitive buttons to control the smartphone unlike many other mobile phones on the market, which saves space on the screen when using the mobile phone.

This terminal is not small, measures 155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3 mm but what we can say is that for the size it feels very light when you use it. It weighs 165 grams.

Xiaomi Mi A1: Software

If we talk about the back side, the Android One logo is noted at the bottom. It makes clear reference to the software running on the terminal, a very light version of Android 7.1.2 and stock launcher. The user experience it provides is traced to the one offered by Google Pixel.

Undoubtedly another of the elements to take into account this aluminium back (golden colour in our case) is the fingerprint reader. It has a circular shape and in our experience, it worked very well since you only have to put your finger to unlock the screen automatically. It’s very fast and has not failed on virtually any occasion. As an extra at this point, you can configure it to display the notifications by sliding your finger up and down.

Xiaomi Mi A1: Camera

And to finish, we record the rear camera, or rather, cameras. It is a dual camera with 2x zoom and offers very good results in this price range. The most advanced users will want to know if it is the same configuration as the Xiaomi Mi 6, and the reality is that it is not the same configuration as the Xiaomi Mi 5X. As you can see, the double camera pack protrudes from the back as it happens in other terminals on the market such as iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus or Moto G5S.

As you can see in the photo, both in the upper and lower part we have visible antenna lines that in other colours are more disguised. It is not something that bothers or hinders the day to day, but, there they are.

Xiaomi Mi A1: Design

Within this section of the design, we have to comment that Xiaomi has not discarded the mini-jack port, having it in the lower part next to the USB-C connector. This terminal has a curious and useful extra, infrared emitter at the top. This means that you can use the Mi A1 as a universal remote control and control your TV, air conditioning, etc.

The Xiaomi terminal mounts a 5.5-inch screen with an IPS Full HD resolution panel with a slightly cool calibration without having any exaggerated oversaturation tint. In mundane words: it is a screen with good viewing angles and it looks good in any situation.

If we talk about colour calibration, it is good, but not the best on the market. It gives the sensation of having a small balance towards cold tones that you notice in white colours that tend to blue. It is not problematic at all and surely is not detectable for untrained eyes. As a negative point, we have to comment that there is no option to customize that calibration natively.

The personalization of the screen comes with possibilities to vary the brightness, level of automatic brightness, the size of the source and the screen, and, from developer mode, choose an RGB colour mode that offers colours faithful to that format.

The Mi A1 has an automatic brightness control that works correctly by varying the brightness of the screen according to the amount of ambient light in real time. We emphasize the level of minimum brightness that it offers at night, being able to use the mobile phone without disturbing your sight or that of others.

The maximum brightness offered by the Xiaomi Mi A1 is good, it can be used on the street in full sunlight, but we can say that it is not the highest on the market, but it is on a par with other terminals in this range. The Moto G5S or the Aquaris V Plus.

Mi A1 offers an interesting functionality that has been called Ambience Screen. If we activate the functionality we will see the notifications of the terminal with the screen off, that is, if we have the mobile on the table and a notification arrives, the notification received will be lit with blank text.

FURTHER READING:

Double camera to portray the world

Xiaomi did a great job in the photographic section of its flagship Mi 6 and is something that has tried to transport that experience to lower ranges such as the Mi 5X or this Mi A1. The double chamber configuration is similar in layout and aesthetics, but the trimming is noticeable in the qualities of the sensor and optics. The rear camera of the Xiaomi Mi A1 mounts two 12-Megapixels sensors. The main sensor has a photodiode size of 1.25 μm and offers a 26mm perspective with an aperture lens f/2.2. It is an interesting configuration that achieves great results in situations where lighting is not low.

Xaomi Mi A1 display (1)
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The second camera has a 12-Megapixels sensor with a somewhat smaller photodiode size, 1 μm, as well as the aperture that goes up to f/2.6. The perspective offered is 50mm what is being a 2x optical zoom in front of the main camera. The characteristics of this camera make it usable in situations where there is good lighting, indoors we begin to notice that it is less bright than the main one.

Xiaomi Mi A1 has an HDR mode and works quite well raising the shadows and softening somewhat the burned areas. The result is good, but not so much the process to achieve it, since the absence of stabilization in this camera means that as we do not have a good light it is likely that stunning images will be achieved.

Where does the Xiaomi Mi A1 camera stand out especially? In Portrait mode. It is a dedicated mode that we have to activate and makes a joint use of the image of the second sensor and the first to detect the “background” of the image to blur it by software before saving it. This setting is automatic and cannot be adjusted before or after capturing the image in a similar way to how it works on iPhone terminals.

The results are very good in most situations. You get photos that could go through photos taken with some DSLR or with a smartphone that will probably triple in price to this A1. Although, as we have commented previously, at night it will not be possible to obtain portraits due to the low luminosity.

The software of the camera is simple, allow you to focus on touching the screen and adjust the exposure of the shot afterwards. The interface shines for its simplicity, at the top we have a flash button, Portrait or HDR mode and at the bottom, we can access the Options, from where manual controls are available among other predefined modes.

Xiaomi Mi A1: User Experience and software – Fluency Everywhere

Xiaomi did a great job in terms of performance with its Xiaomi Mi 6, but of course, we talked about a mobile with a Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM. The experience of use with Mi A1 with a less capable processor, Snapdragon 625, is just as fluid in the day to day and this is largely thanks to the software.

Android One is a version of the Google software prepared to work consuming fewer resources than the native Android version. Mi A1 arrives with Android One 7.1.2 Nougat but has announced that it will have support for the next version, Android 8.0 Oreo.

The launcher and software is no longer the traditional MIUI of Xiaomi to offer an Android stock experience, that is, the experience in terms of applications and launcher is the same as you can have with a Google Pixel. Personally, this was one of the points that always slowed me down when it came to making the leap to Xiaomi phones. The MIUI layer went beyond a launcher, is very intrusive and is something that was seen even in the configuration of the system. That coupled with the updates arrived well in advance of the Chinese ROM version that the version with ROM Global was always a handicap for me.

Xaomi Mi A1 Features snapshot (1)
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Xiaomi Mi A1 has broken that custom software scheme and manages to get the attention of people looking for a user experience as clean as possible, also has an update to Android Oreo way, and Android One support seems to guarantee updates during the life of the phone.

Have we encountered any problems during our tests? The truth is that if they have not been big problems, but they have been bothersome bugs. We have seen a bug in the screen environment that sometimes prevented us from actually turning on the phone screen and required a restart. Other bugs were the random loss of 4G connectivity, not being able to turn off the phone or forced closures of the Google application.

The last two updates have solved those problems and finally, we have been able to use the updated terminal with the latest Google patches and without dragging bugs from previous versions. We have taken a look at the official forums MIUI and people have complained about these problems, have commented that an update solved a problem but reintroduced previous bugs. In short, the experience until the update last November was not as fine as it should have been.

However, since the November update, the terminal looks like another. It has a very smooth operation; we have not noticed slowdowns, forced closures or connectivity problems or turn off the terminal. As we say, it is not something that if you buy the mobile affects you but it does show that Xiaomi is paying special attention to the update of this mobile terminal. Not in vain, we just received the update of the month of December that according to Xiaomi solves bugs and updates the security patch of Google.

We talk about performance and it’s a curious point because we have a capable chip, Snapdragon 625, not the highest range but more than enough for most users. Mi A1 also has 4GB of RAM and is something that is noticed during multitasking or use of apps in split screen. You will not have appreciable lag in demanding the use of the phone.

Another thing is if we talk about 3D graphics and how the Adreno 506 GPU renders in Full HD resolution in games. In most cases, we will have an acceptable frame rate but it is far from the general fluidity achieved by other higher-end phones with more powerful chips.

It is a perfect mobile for users of casual games or with a high rate of fps or if you are a user who does not mind suffering some slowdown during the game. In most cases, we are facing a mobile that offers a good gaming experience to next-generation titles, although we must bear in mind that this is the critical point in the performance of the Mi A1.

Optimized Autonomy to Spend the day

The new Xiaomi Mi A1 integrates a battery that exceeds 3,080 mAh, a figure that seems to have been set as standard in 2017. However, not all smartphones consume the same. Each hardware and software element counts and in this case Xiaomi has achieved an interesting balance with a frugal chip, Snapdragon 625 manufactured in 14nm. The adaptation of Android One to its platform is highly optimized to the point that on occasion we have come to use the phone for almost two days.

In the synthetic tests of autonomy, we have observed more than 6 hours and half hours of use with screen on and during this period of use day by day we attest to that. Not only can we get to the end of the day with enough battery, but if we make a lighter use of the mobile you forget if you charged the phone last night or was the night before.

This smartphone integrates USB-C and the charger that Xiaomi integrates into the box is a charger that offers 2A of charging intensity. If you are wondering about the fast loading support we have to let you see another aspect of the smartphone’s improvement. It is a functionality that does not support as standard even using a QC 2.0/QC 3.0 compatible charger.

Check Out Amazon

Xiaomi MI A1 (64GB, 4GB RAM) Android One Dual Cameras Dual SIM Unlocked, Global Version (Gold)

$273.99
4 new from $269.99
Free shipping
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as of January 21, 2018 7:32 am

Features

  • Dual Main Camera: Wide angle lens 12MP 1.25μm f / 2.2 and Telephoto lens 12MP 1.0 μm, f / 2.6
  • Snapdragon 625, octa-core 2.0GHz, Adreno 506 650MHz graphics processor
  • Networks Supported: 4G FDD-LTE B1/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B20 TDD-LTE B38/B40 3G WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz 2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • Display: 5.5" FHD LTPS Display 1920 x 1080, 403 PPI
  • Memory: 64GB ROM, 4GB RAM, Up to 128GB of expandable storage (microSD)

Product Description

Perfect Picture Dual Camera Created by Xiaomi, Powered by Google Logo dual camera, 2x optical zoom 5.5 "FHD display, full metal body The dual camera of the Mi A1 is more than a group of powerful functions, it is a complete experience. Take a photo, apply improvements, then store it or share it-all with a single touch. With only 7.3mm, the Mi A1 looks and feels as if it was designed specifically for your hand. The curved glass screen of the Mi A1 is absolutely beautiful and perfect for reading, playing and watching videos. Glass is incredibly durable, as we can expect from Corning® Gorilla® Glass. A leading industry in 10V intelligent power amplifiers, along with the advanced Dirac HD Sound algorithm provide powerful audio and bass output for music and phone calls. The independent audio amplifier supports high impedance headphones up to 600Ω. The Mi A1 comes with a superior microphone and a lower one. Combined with a Fortemedia sound reduction algorithm, you will be heard clearly...

The terminal load from 0% – 100% take us about two hours and is something those in 2017 crashes. Last year we have seen a multitude of fast charging technologies: Quick Charge 3.0 from Qualcomm, PumpCharge from MediaTek, SuperCharge from Huawei (Mate 10 or P10) or Dash Charge from OnePlus.

In short, we have good autonomy, the load is not very slow, but is far from the increasingly present fast charging technologies that manage to offer up to 50% capacity in just 30 minutes.

Xiaomi Mi A1: perfect for tight budgets

It is very difficult not to recommend Xiaomi Mi A1 for its price, few are the negative points to take into account for a premium mid-range user experience with probably the best portrait mode of this range of prices.

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We miss some feature such as fast charging or NFC (necessary for mobile payments, among others). However, Mi A1 combines characteristics that the great thickness of users looks for in a mobile: good camera, autonomy, performance and general fluidity of the system. Not in vain, it has broken stock worldwide and is a clear indication of the interest of the general public.

From Dailytechhub.com we can only say that this smartphone has won the Phone Today 2017 award for the best low-end smartphone due to the reduced price it has. Probably the best smartphone in specifications for this price range and surely the best smartphone in quality/price ratio of the year.  What do you think of the Mi A1?

Xiaomi Mi A1 Review

Performance
Battery
Camera
Design
Value for Money
Price

Budgeted Phone

It is very difficult not to recommend Xiaomi Mi A1 for its price, few are the negative points to take into account for a premium mid-range user experience with probably the best portrait mode of this range of prices.Pros • Value for money • Portrait mode of the rear camera • Android stock and updates • PriceCons • Initial software problems • Camera quality in low luminosity • Without fast loading

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User Rating: 5 ( 1 votes)
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