Xiaomi Mi A1 (Android One) : The Perfect Budget Phone

Xiaomi phones always have the same problem. While the company’s devices have generally great specifications and design for the price, the software experience is usually not very good. If you’ve read one of our Xiaomi device reviews, or used one of the company’s phones yourself, you probably know what I’m talking about.All of Xiaomi’s phones and tablets ship with MIUI, a heavily modified version of Android that has countless problems. Some of these include Bluetooth connectivity bugs, terrible notification handling, and over-the-top power management that can outright break notifications for many apps. Jordan went in depth about MIUI’s issues here, if you’re interested in details.

Because Xiaomi’s devices are mostly just inhibited by the software, people have been asking the company for years to make a phone with stock (or near-stock) Android. Last month, that finally became a reality, when Xiaomi announced its first Android One device – the Mi A1. So how is a Xiaomi phone without MIUI? It’s pretty fantastic.Up until August 2017, Stock Android and Xiaomi was a combination unheard of. However, that changes today with the launch of the Xiaomi Mi A1 — the first phone from Xiaomi to feature stock Android and a dual camera setup (in sub-Rs 14000 price bracket).

 Xiaomi Mi A1 boasts a fresh new design, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset, 4 GB of RAM and more. Plus, it has also been claimed that the later copies of the Mi A1 will be made in India, thus making it a Make in India smartphone.

So, should you buy the Xiaomi Mi A1? Here, we weigh its pros and cons and help you make an informed decision.


1. The Power of Dual Camera

This is one of the first Xiaomi phones in the sub-Rs 14000 price range to sport a dual camera setup. The marriage of the 12-megapixel wide angle lens and telephoto lens lets you achieve DSLR-like bokeh effect, much like the recently launched OnePlus 5. Also, Mi A1 boasts of 1.25-micron large pixels resulting in more light intake. And capturing object and subjects from a distance is a breeze with the 2X optical zoom and a 10x digital zoom.This affordable mid range Smartphone has Flagship dual camera. 12MP with f/2.2 aperture and 12MP telephoto lens with f/2.6 aperture work together to create real bokeh. In daylight conditions, pictures from the primary camera look crisp. It is also capable of fast autofocus on the subject, 2x optical zoom takes you closer to scene without sacrificing the quality. Although camera struggling to take images in insufficient lighting conditions where the noise is clearly observed. You can also shoot the video at 4K (2160p) Resolutions and it supports 120fps at 720p resolutions. 5MP secondary camera is decent enough to take quality selfies. 

But what makes the Mi A1 phone a tad different from its competitors (at the same price range) are the saturation settings, wherein you can control the saturation of the photos captured.


2. Timely Updates

With Xiaomi embracing Android One, the Mi A1 will receive software updates and security patches in time. Though, the updates won’t come from Google directly — since they don’t support dual camera phones — the Mi A1 will receive timely updates from Xiaomi.In fact, the company claims that the device will be upgraded to Android Oreo by the end of 2017 and will be one of the first Xiaomi phones to get Android P, i.e. whenever it’s launched.

3. Decent in Performance

This handset is powered by the Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 4 GB RAM and backed by the Stock Android. It is running smoothly even for the multitasking although for heavy games its Adreno 506 GPU is not so impressive but acceptable. On the basis of its budget, the configuration for the performance is quite decent. A typical user does not feel any kind of glitches while using the phone for different tasks. The handset features a top and bottom mounted microphone Combined with a noise-reduction algorithm by Fortemedia for transferring clear voice even in loud areas. 

4. Universal USB Type-C Support

First, it was the Mi Max 2 and now the Mi A1. Both of these are the first phones in the budget segment to sport USB Type-C charging port. Until before, Xiaomi’s more budget-orientated offerings like the Redmi 4 and 4A came with microUSB support.

Mi A1 also comes bundled with a custom 380V charger that is designed to protect against frequent power surges in India.


5. Pure Android Experience

Aforesaid, the Mi A1 runs on pure Android version and this essentially means that the Mi A1 is free of any bloatware apps. Along with pure Android experience, you’ll also experience Android Nougat in all its glory.As you might know, the absence of bloatware reduces the load on the device thus lending a smooth experience.


Overall, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is a decent phone with a dual camera setup, premium design, bloatware-free Android experience and the latest version of Android. Plus, the full metal unibody design and stylishly cut corners give an extra edge to the Mi A1 — and all these features at an incredible price of Rs. 13,999.

So, is the Xiaomi Mi A1 worth the money it demands? Going by the specs on paper, it sure looks like it has hit the jackpot.

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