Xiaomi today expanded its portfolio with a whole new smartphone series at an event in New Delhi. The event also witnessed the launch of the first ever Mi-branded Android One handset powered by Google. The smartphone in question is the Xiaomi Mi A1, which comes at a competitive price of Rs 14,999 and goes on sale via both online and offline channels starting September 12, a day after the unveiling of Mi Mix 2 in China. Soon after the launch, we used the Xiaomi Mi A1 ourselves, and as a result of our limited interaction with the device, here are our first impressions.
Xiaomi Mi A1 Build & Design
The Xiaomi Mi A1 flaunts a full metal unibody measuring a thickness of 7.3mm and weighing 165g. The phone feels extremely slim and lightweight to hold in hands, and on top of that, it boasts of a metal unibody, making it appear no less than a premium smartphone. If you have already used the company’s best-selling Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (Review), it will be hard for you to spot any difference on the front. However, it differs from the Redmi Note 4 in terms of a USB port: the Mi A1 features a USB Type-C port as opposed to micro USB 2.0 port on the Redmi Note 4.
Switching to the rear reveals a noteworthy upgrade over all the previous Xiaomi handsets in India, thanks to the vertically aligned dual camera unit. The rear side of the smartphone also consists of a circular fingerprint scanner, Mi logo, and Android One branding. On the top, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack, a secondary microphone, and an IR blaster. The bottom features a speaker grill, a primary microphone, and a USB Type-C port. The right houses a power button and volume controller whereas on the left hides a SIM cards tray.
Xiaomi Mi A1 Display
The Xiaomi Mi A1 sports a 5.5-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display. The screen packs 401 pixels into every inch and features Corning Gorilla Glass protection. From the limited amount of time we spent with the device, we feel that the display is bright enough to perform in outdoor conditions and offers good viewing angles. The screen appears to have a smudge-resistant oleophobic coating since it doesn’t easily attract smudges and fingerprints.
However, we would like to reserve our opinion about its smudge resistance until we put it to a thorough test. Our interaction with the display was considerably smooth, and at no single point did we feel that the display would be made up of cheap material. Overall, the screen looks promising and we are expecting it to perform accordingly during our full review.
Xiaomi Mi A1 Camera
The Xiaomi Mi A1 houses dual cameras with a 12MP wide-angle lens and 12MP telephoto lens with up to 2X optical zoom. The camera has to be the selling point given that Xiaomi took a lot of time off their presentation to compare it with the likes of Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Review) and the OnePlus 5 (Review). Xiaomi also talked about its deep learning algorithm, which is designed to create realistic bokeh in your photos.
The camera also offers an improved Beautify filter, which is often considered a key attraction while clicking selfies on Xiaomi smartphones. During our limited time with the device, we clicked a couple of indoor shots which produced clear and noise-free output. We faced no issues with the selfies as well. However, we’d be able to gauge the camera perform better once we put it through in-depth tests.
Xiaomi Mi A1 Software
The Xiaomi Mi A1 runs Android One based on 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box, and for the first, in all these years we’ve seen Xiaomi drop its custom MIUI skin in favour of stock, pure Android. The Mi A1 is the first ever Xiaomi handset to run Android One, which is known for offering affordable Android handsets with stock Android, similar to Google Pixel (Review) and Pixel XL (Review).
Stock Android means bloatware-free software experience. As a result, the Mi A1 comes without unnecessary apps preinstalled on the device. If you are a regular Xiaomi user, it may take you some time to settle with stock Android. But eventually, you will be used to it. So, the Xiaomi Mi A1 has an app-drawer to search through all apps installed on the device, unlike MIUI. The gallery is replaced with Google Photos, offering unlimited high-quality photo storage on the cloud.
Xiaomi Mi A1 Battery
The Xiaomi A1 packs a 3,080mAh battery under the hood that accompanies a 5V/2A charger. Although the phone is expected to last one full day on a single charge, how it turns to be in our full review remains to be seen. Since it comes with pure Android and power efficient Snapdragon 625 SoC, the device is expected to perform well as far battery usage is concerned.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 features 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage, out of which around 8GB of storage is reserved for the operating system and other pre-installed apps. As far as price, features and internals are concerned, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is expected to compete with the likes of the Moto G5s Plus and the Coolpad Cool Play 6. Overall, the Xiaomi Mi A1 looks promising with its commendable design, dual cameras, and stock Android experience.