Xiaomi Mi A1
- Smartphones

Review: Xiaomi Mi A1 – Budget smartphone with outstanding performance!

Xiaomi makes a lot of products. From smart home products, to speakers, to smartphones. And they are good at it all! My home is starting to look like a Xiaomi home, with the newest addition: The Xiaomi Mi A1! The smartphone has a lot in common with the iPhone. The design is kind of the same but the price is way less. What I think is an great addition to this phone is the Android One. This stock version of Android has everything you want and receives updates from Google! Perfect for the budget phones of course.

Let have a look at the specifications of the Xiaomi Mi A1:

Xiaomi Mi A1

Specifications and introduction

    General:

  • Announced: 2017, September
  • Size: 155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3 mm (6.12 x 2.98 x 0.29 in)
  • Size: 5.5 inches, 82.6 cm2 (~70.1% screen-to-body ratio)
  • Weight 165 g (5.82 oz)
  • Build: Front glass, aluminum frame & back
  • SIM: Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
  • DISPLAY Type: LTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M color
  • Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~403 ppi density)
  • Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 3
    Network and connections:

  • NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
  • WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
  • Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE
  • GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • Infrared port Yes
    Other information:

  • OS Android 7.1.2 (Nougat), planned upgrade to Android 8.0 (Oreo); Android One
  • Chipset Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625
  • CPU Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
  • GPU Adreno 506
  • Card slot microSD, up to 128 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
  • Internal 64 GB, 4 GB RAM
  • BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 3080 mAh battery
  • CAMERA Primary Dual 12 MP (26mm, f/2.2; 50mm, f/2.6), phase detection autofocus, 2x optical zoom, dual-LED (dual tone) flash, check quality
  • Features 1.25 µm/ 1.0 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
    Video 2160p@30fps, 720p@120fps, check quality
  • Secondary 5 MP, 1080p
  • Speaker Yes
  • Speaker Voice 74dB / Noise 73dB / Ring 90dB
  • 3.5mm jack Yes
  • Audio quality Noise -91.0dB / Crosstalk -82.5dB
  • USB 2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
  • FEATURES – Sensors Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity
  • MISC Colors Black, Gold, Rose Gold

For this price, the specifications are more then good. Octa-core 2.0 GHz with 12MP camera and stock Android? Almost too good to be true. I’ve seen with other phones (Maze Alpha or Bluboo S8) that the camera of those “cheap” models are often not good enough and won’t get you great pictures. Let’s see if the Xiaomi Mi A1 can do it all.

Xiaomi is a privately owned Chinese electronics and software company headquartered in Beijing. It is the world’s 5th largest smartphone maker in 2017. Xiaomi designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, laptops, and related consumer electronics. If you are into new technology and smart products, check out the products produced by Xiaomi, they have it all.

Unboxing

Xiaomi makes simple boxes which I think look good. Sometimes I like to have more information on it, but a simple product box is also really nice. This has a bit of both. On the front is nothing special but a picture of the phone and on the back of the box you will find some information on the Xiaomi Mi A1.

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The smartphone looks good in the box and comes with the USB-C type charger, which supports fast charging. There is still a 3.5mm headphone jack, so that means it is possible in a thin smartphone Apple! For me it is not a thing I will use very often. I own the Bose QC35 and the HBQ-i7 which are wireless and works great. I don’t want to go back to the cable madness again.

Hardware and design

Like I said before, I think the Xiaomi Mi A1 looks like an iPhone. This is not another comparison with Apple, I just feel like, specially on the back, that there are a lot of similarities. The full metal body does feel good in your hand and even if it is a 5.5″ screen, it is not too big to handle. It is slippery so a case is a must for the Xiaomi Mi A1. Luckily smartphone case makers are aware of the popularity of the Xiaomi brand and there are numerous cases available. I got myself this case, it protects the back and the sticking camera and it has a small edge over the display, which means if I drop it flat on the ground, the case will take the hit and not the display.

Personally I really like the design and the feel of the Mi A1. It is light weight, but feels durable. The placement of the fingerprint scanner is something you have to get used to, but I must say it is a handy spot. Sometimes I miss something to unlock the screen while it is on my desk, but them I just lift it up for a second.

The screen is a big 5.5″ display with 16 million colors! It makes watching a video a pleasure. The size is just right to watch some Netflix on it while on the couch. It is not to small or to big to hold, just right.

The speaker give a clear (loud) sound. It makes it possible to listen to a music song or watching a video in a crowd. Everybody is able to hear the sounds and it is not a silent small speaker in side. Again, Xiaomi knows how to make it work.

Finger scanner

The fingerprint scanner of the Xiaomi Mi A1 is located at the back of the phone. This is something I’ve never had before and I had to get used to in the beginning. Now that I use it for a couple of days it feels better and better. It unlocks very fast and it is located at the right spot for my finger.

I almost never have to fill in my password because the scanner is very accurate and 99% of the time takes my finger. This suprised me, I used to own an iPhone, which I think was less accurate then the scanner of the Mi A1. Price wise this is a real suprise of course! But this is only making the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the Xiaomi brand a better alternative for th way to expensive iPhone’s.

Software

Well, the Xiaomi Mi A1 runs on Android One, which means it is a stock Android. There are no additional software apps or skins installed, just Android. Some may find this annoying, I love it! No bullshit apps you don’t need. Just Google Apps (which I frequently use) and of course the App store. Here you can download all you other software apps.

Normally I would take you guys on a journey full of adventures with the software settings of the phone, but here is nothing to show. So let’s all be happy that Xiaomi made the Mi A1 with Stock Android!

Camera

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The Xiaomi Mi A1 has a 12MP dual camera. We reviewed some other phones where there were a lot of MP, but the camera quality was just not there. Xiaomi made it work and preforms on a level which is acceptable for the price paid. You can not expect iPhone 8 or Samsung S8 quality from a device that costs 75% less then that! (Yes, that is right! This Xiaomi Mi A1 is 75% cheaper then the iPhone 8!)

Overall I think the camera is comparable to the iPhone 6, maybe the iPhone 6S. For me that is more then enough. It makes better photos then the Bluboo S8 and it is able to show some great detail in the shots. The 4K video is also a nice feature. With the iPhone you can do that as well, but you are not able to add more storage which means that you can take 1 or 2 good 4K video’s and then say goodbye to your storage. With the addition of the SD card, you can shoot as many 4K video’s as you’d like, store them on the SD card and replace the card. This is a huge benefit over the Apple phones.

Photo’s:

4K Video:

Now we know how the camera is doing, lets enjoy some more photo’s taken with the Xiaomi Mi A1:

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Battery

Due to it’s beautiful design, we are unable to replace the battery our self. This no problem if the battery is lasting long enough, but did Xiaomi made a device which tops all my expectations?
For me a smartphone should last at least a day. If I need to charge it at the end of the day, that is totally fine by me. Now I’m used to the Lenovo P2 which last 3 days if I’m lucky, but if I buy a new device, I expect a day of battery life.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 has a 3080 mAh battery inside. This is enough to last till the end of the day. I think this is because of the Stock Android that is just Android and no heavy skins or battery consuming apps that you never use. Right now I’m really happy with the battery life of the Mi A1.

Photo’s of battery usage will come soon!

Charging time is fast but there is no Fast Charging. Sometime around 2 hours the battery is completely charged. When you connect the charger, it takes around 50 minutes to get 50%. If you are leaving the office after an heavy day of usage, just plug it in an hour before you leave and you should be good to go.

Conclusion

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is really a good phone. It is a budget smartphone with Android One, which is a great benefit. The battery life and the hardware are very decent and feel durable. With the Android One on the Mi A1 you can expect frequent updates, which should mean that you can last at least 1.5 to 2 years with this phone. That is for me match made in heaven! The Xiaomi Mi A1 feels good in your hand and is a bargain (around $250). If you want an new smartphone with some great features and functions, this is 100% match for you.

Xiaomi Mi A1

€230
8.7

Overall

9.5/10

Battery

8.0/10

Build quality

8.5/10

Software

10.0/10

Camera

7.5/10

Pros

  • Camera (photo's)
  • Battery
  • Android One
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Indicator light

Cons

  • Camera (video's)
  • Slippery

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