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Xiaomi Mi A1 First Impressions Review: Too Good to Resist

Xiaomi Mi A1 is poised to take on the likes of Honor 6X, Lenovo K8 Note, Moto G5s Plus and Coolpad Cool Play 6 for a price of Rs 14,999.

Debashis Sarkar | News18.com@SarkDeb

Updated:September 5, 2017, 4:50 PM IST
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Xiaomi Mi A1 First Impressions Review: Too Good to Resist
Xiaomi Mi A1 is poised to take on the likes of Honor 6X, Lenovo K8 Note, Moto G5s Plus and Coolpad Cool Play 6 for a price of Rs 14,999.
Finally, a pure Android smartphone from Xiaomi—the Mi A1. While it is too early to comment on whether this will be the only Xiaomi phone without MIUI or not but it is definitely a welcome break. With the competition in the budget dual-lens camera smartphone segment heating up slowly, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is poised to take on the likes of Honor 6X, Lenovo K8 Note, Moto G5s Plus and Coolpad Cool Play 6 for a price of Rs 14,999.

Watch Video: Xiaomi Mi A1 First Impressions Review



The Apple iPhone 7 Plus had set the trend by introducing dual-lens camera with portrait to deliver that D-SLR-like bokeh shots. Soon, the Android budget crowd followed this to lure buyers by offering the same on papers for one-fourth the price. Be assured that most of the cheaper Android options do somewhat manage to deliver ‘almost’ the same bokeh results but it is always a compromise.

The Xiaomi Mi A1, for the price of Rs 14,999, tries to replicate iPhone 7 Plus-like bokeh shots. Sometimes it does well and sometimes it fails. But beyond the dual-lens camera debate, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is a fine crafted smartphone in the affordable range which comes with a tried-and-tested Snapdragon 625 processor and has the all the goodies you want.

So, after using this stock Android Xiaomi Mi A1 smarpthone for a couple of days here are our initial impressions.

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What's with the look?

The Xiaomi Mi A1 flaunts a full metal body with a 5.5-inch Full HD display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The Mi A1 feels premium and the front of the device will remind you of the Google Pixel. The design is minimalistic and ends up looking like any other Android phone in the budget range. At the back, there is a fingerprint scanner and the dual-lens camera module.

The device feels pretty compact in the hands and weighs 165 grams. The Mi A1 comes with a dual hybrid SIM and microSD card slot with support for 4G VoLTE support. It will be available in Black and Gold colour options initially and after a month, Xiaomi promises to bring a Rose Gold colour variant of the Mi A1 as well. The good thing is that the Mi A1 will be available in stores from the first day (September 12) itself. You can check out the device in stores before buying.

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What to look out for?

Before I talk about the dual-lens camera and stock Android 7.1.2 operating system powering the Xiaomi Mi A1, you will be surprised by the music output of the phone. Xiaomi has included a dedicated headphone amplifier to better the music listening experience. Even if you use cheap earphones or headphones to listen to music on the Mi A1, you will be pleased by the audio quality, especially the mids.

Talking of the camera, the Xiaomi Mi A1 offers a 12-megapixels wide-angle lens along with a 12-megapixels telephoto lens which offers 2X optical zoom. The Xiaomi Mi A1 offers Portrait mode to deliver that D-SLR like bokeh effect. Xiaomi has opted to integrate the camera interface of MIUI instead of the stock Google Camera interface in the Mi A1. According to Xiaomi, this is because the stock Google Camera interface doesn’t go well with a dual-lens setup on the software front. There is 5MP selfie camera which offers decent results, if you keep the device steady.

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While the Mi A1 is an Android One smartphone, Xiaomi has still managed to retain some of its goodies like the IR blaster and the Mi Store. The phone is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage with support for microSD card.

Google promises to push faster operating system updates. This means the Xiaomi Mi A1 is expected to be among the first to get the latest updates. Also, Google is offering free unlimited cloud storage on Google Photos for all your photos and videos in high quality.

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First impressions

A Xiaomi smartphone with stock Android, dual-lens camera for an affordable price sounds like a deal too good to resist. Under Rs 15,000, this is one of the very few smartphone which offers an overall good smartphone experience. We quite liked the phone and the entire Android One relaunch idea.

Stay tuned to this space for the full review of the Xiaomi Mi A1.
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