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Review: Xiaomi Mi A1

When Google announced its Android One initiative, most brands that signed up for the program, started churning out budget phones.And when rumours were afloat that Xiaomi is going to possibly announced a new Android One phone at its global launch event in India, I had my reservations.

I thought – “Yes, another budget phone no one’s going to buy!”. But being at the launch event in India was seriously an eye-opener. Not only there is a very big market for budget phones, it’s very much alive and thriving.

And then, Xiaomi made the much-awaited announcement, of launching the new Mi A1 as its first Android One smartphone.


As soon as I laid my eyes on the phone, my only reaction was, “Shut up, and take my money!”. The Mi A1 is a gorgeous piece of technology.

It is a move away from the budget phones many vendors were churning out under the Android One initiative. Xiaomi went the other way around by building a premium phone with awesome specs at the right price, to make sure that the device does not cost an arm and a leg to purchase.

The new Mi A1 smartphone is a product of partnership between Xiaomi and Google. Hence, the Mi A1 runs on stock Android. This will probably shock Xiaomi fans, who swear by Mi’s very own Mi UI, as being the best smartphone UI out there on the market. But, hold the A1 in your hands and swipe through the stock Android UI and you will fall in love with it.

Out of the box, the Xiaomi Mi A1 ships with stock Android 7.1.2 Nougat. The company has also promised that the Mi A1 will be one of the first devices to get the Android 8.0 Oreo update by the end of this year.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is made entirely out of metal and comes with a set of capacitive buttons below the display. These buttons include overview (multitasking), home and back. The smartphone also features a dual camera system at the back – both are 12-megapixel shooters – one with a RGB sensor and a wide-angle lens, and the other with a telephoto lens.

On the front, you will find a 5-megapixel camera for all your selfie needs. On the left edge of the device sits the dual SIM tray – you can either use dual nano SIMs or one nano SIM and a micro SD card. On the right edge you will find the volume rockers and the power button.

On the top edge sits a noise-cancelling microphone and an IR blaster, while at the bottom edge sits the speaker grille, a microphone, the 3.5mm audio jack and the USB-C port. Under the hood, the Mi A1 runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 processor, comes with 4GB of RAM and offers 64GB of built-in storage. This can be further expanded by using a micro SD card.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Photography Sample 1

You also get a fingerprint scanner at the back of the device, just below the dual camera setup. On the front the Mi A1 sports a 5.5-inch full HD (1920-by-1080) display. Colour options include Black, Gold and Rose Gold.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Photography Sample 2

The one I received for an unboxing was the black variant. The Xiaomi Mi A1 measures 155.4-by-75.8-by-7.3mm and weighs 165-gms.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Photography Sample 3

To test out the real world performance, we ran the AnTuTu benchmark on the device. We were able to clock 73,923 points, which is quite good for a mid-range device.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Photography Sample 4

On the battery front, the phone is powered by a 3080mAh battery. In our HD video loop test, the Mi A1 managed to run for around 12 hours, before it gave up the ghost. This is quite good for a mid-range device as well.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Photography Sample 5

When it comes to pricing, the company has not revealed the local pricing. However, the pricing will be under AED 1000, which is very good price point for a mid-range phone, that comes with an excellent build quality and design, stock Android interface, and a brilliant dual camera setup. If you are looking for a dependable mid-range device with premium look and feel, excellent UI and brilliant camera, the Mi A1 is the one!

Price: AED 1000 approx.

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