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Xiaomi Mi A2 Review: Android One Makes Another Swoop

Xiaomi Mi A2 Review: Android One Makes Another Swoop

The attraction of this mid-range Android smartphone is the clean Android operating system. Subtle improvements elsewhere make the Mi A2 a genuinely good phone.

As they say, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Xiaomi Mi A2 smartphone succeeds last year’s Mi A1. For starters, what has changed significantly is the design of the phone, but then again, that is to be expected to keep the Mi A2 up to date with the more modern design themes.

At first glance, the design differences are very clear. The Mi A2 is taller than its predecessor, because of the modern 18:9 aspect ratio screen now in place. Xiaomi have left a bit of a bezel above and below the screen, and that is perhaps why there was no need for a notch to take up space. Flip the Mi A2 over, and the family resemblance with the phones such as the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 are quite apparent. Perhaps a slightly refreshed design could work wonders for the Mi A2’s successor, since there might be the need for a fresher design language a few months down the line. That is subjective however and doesn’t take anything away from the Mi A2 design, which is very easy on the eye. There is no doubting the colour choices too, and our favorite has to be the Lake Blue colour option—the Rose Gold, Black and Gold are the other options.

The curved edges, the flat back and the rounded spines all combine to make the Xiaomi Mi A2 great to hold. For a phone with a large 5.99-inch display, this feels quite compact and easy to use. Xiaomi has done away with the 3.5mm headphone jack however, which has allowed the phone to be slimmer than the Mi A1.

On the inside, the Xiaomi Mi A2 packs in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor. This makes this phone one of the fastest devices you can buy at this price point. At the moment, Xiaomi is selling the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant in India. These specs are fine on paper, but it is important to remember that the Mi A1 had a memory card slot in addition to the 64GB internal storage, whereas the Mi A2 doesn’t—that means you will be relying on cloud storage service sooner rather than later. Perhaps you may want to consider the Redmi Note 5 Pro instead if storage is a real concern for you, because that has a card slot as well.

The user experience and the overall performance is where the Mi A2 does very well. The great power package gets a further boost because of the software, and that is where the advantage of Google’s Android One comes into play. The clean, unmodified and well optimized operating system makes all the positive difference when you are using a phone. Games run well on this, which means that you can be prepared to download and sideload Fortnite on this when Epic Games releases the Android version of the Fortnite game on its website sometime in the next few weeks.

We did not notice any lags or slowdowns in performance even with a dozen apps open simultaneously. However, when using certain apps, such as the camera or Adobe Lightroom for Android, the Mi A2 tends to heat up a bit more than other phones, which for that duration, also leads to extra battery drain. Apart from this niggle, there are no issues with performance and battery life.

The cameras are where the Mi A2 gets a big upgrade over the predecessor, and indeed many of its rivals. At the back is the dual camera combination of a 12-megapixel with a 12megapixel Sony IMX486 sensor and a 20-megapixel Sony IMX376 sensor. The larger of the two sensors utilizes what is called the Pixel Binning technology, where the data from 4 pixels is combined into one pixel. This can be useful in low light situations, for better detailing and depth in the photographs. The camera performance is great when it comes to most daytime photos that you will click. The detailing is great, colours look well distinguished and the overall vibrancy makes for great viewing. The low light photos do tend to have some edge noise at places, but if you do place the lighting well in the frame, the photos do look quite neat.

The reality of the Xiaomi Mi A2 (Rs16,999) is more complex than a simple yes or no recommendation. Among the factors to consider, the design, the display as well as the overall performance make this worth considering. You may however find the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack a tad annoying—unless wireless headphones are already your thing. However, factor in the Redmi Note 5 Pro (Rs14,999 onwards) with the same display size and expandable storage, is also a device that might weigh in on your decision.