XIAOMI A1 (Android One) Review!
Android One is a project created by Google which began in 2014 with an aim of creating a good software experience at an affordable price. For this project to work, Google had to merge with an OEM and therefore they initially merged with Indian companies like Karbonn, Micromax, and Spice. All the three smartphones ( Sparkle V, Canvas A1 and Dream UNO ) that these companies produced failed miserably as Google had realised that they had merged with wrong partners. Therefore Android One project could never survive in the saturated smartphone market.
Android One is now back with a bang as Google has now merged with Xiaomi to produce Mi A1. The company held its event in New Delhi on September 5, 2017 to launch their latest phone in the Indian market for ₹14,999. So has Google finally got it right with their Android One project? Let’s find out in this full review of Mi A1.
Display : 5.5’’ 1080p LCD screen with Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
Performance : Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset which is a 2.0 GHz Octacore processor with an Adreno 506 GPU.
Battery Capacity : 3080 mAh Lithium ion battery
Camera : 12 MP dual rear camera with an f 2.2 and f 2.6 respectively, 5 MP front camera.
Storage : 4 GB RAM and 64 GB ROM ( expandable upto 256GB via Micro SD slot)
SIM SLOT: Dual Sim Nano with an Hybrid SD card.
Design 8/10 :-
The design sort of resembles the iPhone 7 plus and the more recent One Plus 5 but when you actually hold the device, one would forget the resemblance purely because of the metal unibody casing. It definitely feels premium in-hand and the chamfered edges makes it better to hold the phone. The antenna lines can also be seen on the top and bottom portions of the phone and both Android One and Mi branding exist on the back of the device. The dual cameras are also located on the back of this device along with dual tone LED flash but unlike the One Plus 5 and the iPhone 7 plus, the flash is on the left side of the camera so that Xiaomi can say that they did not copy others homework (Smart). On the top there is an IR blaster along with a secondary noise cancellation microphone. The volume buttons are on the right hand side of the phone and the power button is below that. The Sim tray is on the left hand side and the speakers are located on the bottom of the device along with the USB type C as well as the headphone jack.
Display 7.5/10 :-
The 1080P FHD display backed by the 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 3 is not the issue here but the fact that they went with LCD instead of AMOLED is where some fans will get disappointed. Its not a deal breaker though but the AMOLED will consume less battery compared to LCD. The viewing angles are not that bad and watching videos or playing games will give good experience. The phone’s brightness level is perfect even if you are in a broad daylight as the sun wont be a problem. The 403 ppi density provides sharp details to the display and the users wont face any problems reading texts and icons. But one thing to note is that when brightness level is kept full, the display tends to get washed out. That is the reason why they should have gone with an AMOLED screen.
Performance 8.5/10 :-
The Android One project is created so that users can have a good software experience and that is what we get here. With the MIUI dished out completely, the stock android provides seamless experience. Android Nougat 7.1.2 is the OS that comes right out of the box. Lot of credit goes to SnapDragon 625 as well which is labelled as the most efficient chipset. But nothing is perfect. There are still minor stutters and lags which for the normal user is completely fine but a power user will definitely notice it. But apart from this the general performance is quite good because of the light stock android as compared to the heavy MIUI skin.
Gaming performance is also a delight thanks to the Adreno 506 GPU. Casual games provide seamless experience but heavy games will give occasional stutters in the middle when the graphic is set high. But the best part is it wont overheat even with an extended gaming of about half an hour or more than that.
Camera 8/10 :-
When Xiaomi had announced this device, they compared it with iPhone 7 plus and specifically the One Plus 5 in terms of camera aspects which was a bad thing to do simply because One Plus 5 costs double than A1. They stressed a lot on their camera because this phone too features the dual camera setup. And the pictures turn out to be great thanks to the 12MP camera. In the bright outdoor conditions the colours are saturated and the pictures look sharp. The 2x zoom is also a nice setting to have as the pixels wont stretch and the portrait mode is something that lots of users want on their smartphone as it gives a nice bokeh effect. However the tables are turned when it comes to indoor conditions and artificial lighting as the pictures have lots of noise. If Xiaomi figure out a way to reduce the noise, then the camera would get much stronger and it will certainly give tough competition to One Plus 5. When it comes to video recording, the same rule applies here as well. The videos are nice and sharp, colours are saturated but lacks any stabilization as it doesn’t have OIS. However they can add EIS via OTA update but as of now there is no stabilization and therefore the videos tend to be shaky. Note that portrait mode works best when there is good lighting conditions.
Battery life 8.5/10 :-
The users of the current generation want phones with decent battery life if not great and the 3080 mAh battery will last throughout the day irrespective of any user. At this price range its competitor is Moto’s G5s plus and the battery life is much better than that. Anything above 5 and a half hours of Screen-On-Time suggests that the phone’s battery life is good and that is what a power user will get here. Also the charger that comes with it is a fast charger and it can easily charge the device to 100 percent in about 90 minutes.
Thankfully all the sensors are there on this phone including the IR blaster through which you can control TV, AC etc. The phone doesn’t support any water resistance. The speaker quality that comes from the headphone jack is excellent as they have focused a lot on that department as well, probably the best than any smartphone till now. The phone does not have any heating issues even if it is used for extended period of time. As it is an Android One, the phone should get quicker updates since it runs on stock android. Surprisingly it doesn’t support NFC.
Good battery life
Good camera in outdoor conditions
Hybrid Sim Slot
Lot of noise in the picture in low lighting conditions
Is Mi A1 the ONE you’re looking for?
Google certainly partnered with the right manufacturer this time and the results are pretty good too. The Mi A1 has some pretty good features up in its belt and people who are looking for a budget smartphone at this price range can certainly go for this one. Its competitor I.e. the G5s plus is a good alternative as well but Motorola have been quite slow in software updates. With Mi A1, the users can be rest assured that their phone will be upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo quicker than the G5s plus.