By Samrat Amatya
Xiaomi, a Chinese OEM, who havemade their presence prominent in the Nepali market is here with their latest mid-tier smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi A1.Vatsal Impex, the official distributor of Xiaomi smartphones in Nepal, has priced the phone at Rs 29,999. For this price, the phone offers a lot of cool stuff like a dual camera set-up, a zippy fingerprint reader, and minimalistic software. Speaking of software, the Mi A1 is a bit different compared to other smartphones manufactured by Xiaomi as it runs Android One instead of MIUI. This phone is a result of collaboration between the company and Google. But the main question is, will this team-up persuade consumers to buy this phone? Is the Mi A1 the right smartphone for you? Let us find the answers to those questions in this full review.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 is a good-looking smartphone that flaunts a metallic build. It not only looks good but also feels quite premium to the touch. The phone can also be easily maneuvered by a single hand all thanks to its round edges and curved back. The only complaint I have in the aesthetics department is the large bezels on the top and bottom front of the phone. This makes the Mi A1 larger than it should be! All in all, the design of the phone is quite appealing, especially in the almost matte black colour variant.
The Mi A1 sports a 5.5 inch Full HD LTPS IPS display giving it a pixel density of 403PPI. The display is covered by Gorilla Glass 3 and is edged out by a 2.5D glass. The display on the phone is impressive with true to life colours and adequate brightness. Overall, the display on the Mi A1 is very good and it probably is its key strength.
The phone, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor backed by 4GB of RAM, had no trouble keeping up with my day-to-day activities. I also didn’t notice any visible lags or stutters even while gaming or performing heavy multitasking. The Adreno 506 GPU, which the phone comes with, is no slouch and can tear through any graphics intense games you throw at it. For this price, the combination of the processor and the RAM capacity is a sweet deal.
The software on the Mi A1 is a sui generis feature about it. The phone runs Android One based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat. Unlike other smartphones from Xiaomi, the MiA1 doesn’t come with the custom skin MIUI. This in simple terms means a clean software experience without any bloatware. Using the phone was a pure joy and I must say that I quite loved it!
In the camera department, the phone packs a dual camera setup made by two 12MP f/2.2 and f/2.6 sensors accompanied by a dual-tone LED flash. Among the two, the latter is a telephoto lens which gives the camera a 2X optical zoom capability. It also brings the ever so popular portrait mode for an Instagram worthy picture. Talking about the image quality, the snaps taken from the cameras have an exorbitant amount of details, clarity and dynamic range.
The Mi A1 also has f/2.0 5MP front camera for all selfies. The selfies taken on this phone in ample lighting condition is decent with good details and dynamic range. But unlike its rear counterpart, the low light performance is not what I expected it to be. Nonetheless, the cameras on this phone are great, especially considering the price.
Biometrics and others
The phone has an active rear-mounted fingerprint scanner embedded into its back panel. It works very well as I was easily able to unlock the phone in a jiffy. The Mi A1 also has a mono bottom firing speaker which is suitably loud for casual video streaming and gaming. There is also an Infrared Blaster which helps you control things like your TV, AC and other IR devices.
Connectivity wise the phone offers a hybrid sim card slot meaning that you can either use two Nano sim cards or one Nano sim card and a Micro-SD card up to 128GB. Storage won’t be an issue on this phone as it comes with 64GB of internal storage by default. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 4G, and USB Type C.
The phone packs a 3080mAh non-user removable battery. The battery life of this phone is decent as it lasted me a good 4-5 hours on a single charge. Casual users will not have any problem getting a full day worth of battery life out of this phone. And if the battery does run out, there is the inclusion of Fast Battery Charge and USB Type-C for faster charging time.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 is a great mid-tier smartphone that packs all the essentials skipping the unnecessary bells and whistle. It is simply a good smartphone! For a price of Rs 29,999, the Mi A1 is a better if not the best smartphone in the market right now. And if you decide to buy one, you will have a phone that looks great, snaps some superlative pictures and has a clean software experience without any clutter.