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Xiaomi Mi A1 Review: Your Best Dual-Lens Camera Phone Bet Under Rs 15,000

Keeping aside the Android One bling, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is a perfect budget Android smartphone with average looks. Here is the full review.

Debashis Sarkar | News18.com@SarkDeb

Updated:September 11, 2017, 9:44 AM IST
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Xiaomi Mi A1 Review: Your Best Dual-Lens Camera Phone Bet Under Rs 15,000
The good thing is that the Xiaomi Mi A1 will be available in stores from the first day (September 12) itself. You can check out the device in stores before buying. (Image: News18.com)
After the success of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (costs up to Rs 12,999), it would have been very difficult for Xiaomi to introduce another handset under Rs 15,000 that could carve a niche for itself as well. The company has already decided to play it safe in India and not launch any smartphone that could be seen as an expensive deal by Mi fans. Thus, the Mi Notes series, Mi Mix along with the Mi 6 did not make it to India.

So, Xiaomi had to do something drastically different this time. And who would have ever thought that Xiaomi would ditch its prized MIUI interface to launch a pure Android phone that fits in with the right hardware and pricing.

WATCH VIDEO: Xiaomi Mi A1 First Impressions Review | The Android One Delight



The Mi A1 has everything to rerun the Redmi Note 4 success. As far as the Android One brand partnership is concerned, if Google pushes Android Oreo by December to the Xiaomi Mi A1, then it’s great, else, just forget about it. Anyways, you will get free unlimited cloud storage on Google Photos for all your photos and videos in high quality. Focus on the term “high quality”. This is something exclusive to Android One and Pixel phones for now.

After using the Xiaomi Mi A1 for a week, here is what we think about the smartphone.

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What’s cool?

We have always complained about MI UI interface being RAM intensive and have mostly recommended readers to buy Xiaomi Phones with at least 3GB of RAM. With Mi A1 running stock Android 7.1 Nougat operating system, there is more RAM availability which translates to better multitasking and gaming experience. The Xiaomi Mi A1 is powered by the tried-and-test Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC and there is no performance hiccups apart from the long initial boot time.

The Mi A1 offers 64GB of onboard storage with support for microSD card. Talking about the battery life, the device can last a little over a day on one full charge. 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.

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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.

The bokeh effect works well while clicking portraits of persons but when it comes to clicking objects, the results are disappointing sometimes. The selfie camera is capable of delivering some good shots.

The device feels pretty compact in the hands and weighs 165 grams. 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 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’s not so cool?

There’s nothing much to lookout for in terms of design. The Black colour variant looks better than the Gold option. 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. As far as the portrait mode is concerned, the results are good considering the price point but it is not a cheaper Apple iPhone 7 Plus replacement. There’s no NFC.

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Verdict

If you want to buy an Android smartphone within the price range of between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 that offers smooth performance, runs pure Android and has good cameras then the Xiaomi Mi A1 is good choice. There is competition from the likes of Moto G5s Plus, Lenovo K8 plus, Honor 6X on the dual-lens front, but the Mi A1 manages to outperform. Also, for the Xiaomi Mi A1 has more than enough to take on the likes of Nokia 6, Samsung On Max and others.

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