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 20000 price bracket).
Priced at Rs. 14,999, the 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.
Aforesaid, this is one of the first Xiaomi phones in the sub-Rs 20000 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.
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. 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.
Plus, the Mi A1 also comes bundled with a custom 380V charger that is designed to protect against frequent power surges in India.
4. 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.
Though the pure Android experience in the Mi A1 is buttery smooth, however, it has a slight inconvenience to it as well.
The Mi A1 is the first phones from Xiaomi not to sport the MIUI ROM, which means that the feature-rich experience associated with Xiaomi phones is absent in this one.
So, if you are shifting over from either a Samsung, Motorola or Xiaomi device you’ll miss the shortcuts for screenshots, one-handed mode, second space or dual messenger among others.
2. No OIS or EIS
Yeah, the dual camera is a flagship dual camera. But before you get carried away, let me tell you that the Mi A1 lacks image stabilization techniques on both the rear cameras. So, you might end with wobbly videos.
3. Unlimited Storage on Google Photos … Really?
Yeah yeah, the Xiaomi proudly boasted of unlimited photo storage on Google Photos. As amazing as that may sound, there’s a hidden aspect in that claim.
This unlimited storage option holds true for the high-quality photos and not for the full resolution photos.
The high-resolution photo upload option is available for any other Android phone.
4. No Dedicated Slots for MicroSD Card
If you look at the latest smartphones like Samsung Galaxy J7 Max or the Moto G5 Plus, it comes bundled with a dedicated slot for memory card. This feature lets you enjoy the full benefits of both the SIMs and also of the expandable memory.
The above feature is sadly missing from the Xiaomi Mi A1. So, you can either use the dual SIM feature or a SIM card or a memory card.
The 3080mAh battery unit of the Mi A1 will be able to see you through a day of regular use. But then, when it comes to the charging time, the phone will take it sweet time in getting fully charged since it lacks Qualcomm’s Quick Charge tech.
As they say, every cloud has a silver lining and here’s it’s in the form of adaptive fast charge.
So, Will You Buy It?
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. 14,999.
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.
Do watch out this space for the full review of the Xiaomi Mi A1.