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First ever Stock Android mobile from Xiaomi – Mi A1 – First Impressions

MIUI was the first ever product from Xiaomi and it is the largest factor of success for Xiaomi. Apart from design, competitive pricing, innovative product and word of mouth marketing, MIUI is one of the reasons for Xiaomi’s success. Xiaomi has now launched a new mobile with Stock Android: Mi A1. The Mi A1 is the first mobile from Xiaomi without MIUI interface. It is a device developed in partnership with Google for the Android One program. Android One was launched a couple of years ago, but it was not well received due to the choice of partners. But now Google has chosen Xiaomi and it is a wise decision. With Xiaomi Mi A1 being the first mobile from Xiaomi to be on the Android One program, it gains a lot of attention. The mobile was launched at a grand Global event, hosted in Delhi, attended by press, media and MI fans.

Key Specifications

  • Full-metal body design
  • Dual camera : 12 MP + 12 MP
  • 2x Optical zoom
  • Portrait mode
  • 5 MP front Camera
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 625 with 14nm FinFET technology (Octa-core 2.0GHz)
  • 4GB RAM + 64GB internal storage
  • 5.5-inch full-HD Corning® Gorilla® Glass display
  • 3080mAh battery
  • USB Type-C port
  • Available in Black, Gold and Rose Gold
  • Stock Android (Android 7.1.2 out of the box, during launch)

Check out the full specifications of Mi A1

First Impressions

I got a chance to play with the mobile for a few hours and based on my observations, here are my impressions. I am yet to test the mobile in detail and stay tuned for my detailed review. But here are my first impressions of Xiaomi Mi A1.

Design

With Xiaomi mobile, the emphasis is always on the design. Mi A1 is elegant and sturdy. It has a flat back with comfortably curved edges and corners. It has a nice feeling when you hold in the hand. The dual camera at the back has a small bump. It has the usual IR blaster which is now a regular feature in any Xiaomi mobile. I find the design to be solid and ergonomic.

Display

It has a 5.5 inch IPS LCD panel. The display is good if not impressive. It lacks the punch which the Redmi Note 4 had. The colors are slightly faded, but the contrast can be improved from the display settings. It has nice viewing angles and is very responsive to touch.

mi a1

Camera

The first Mi Mobile with a dual camera setup in India, Mi A1 delivers a dual camera with tele-focus and portrait capability. I have already spent considerable time with Mi 5x, which is a Chinese variant of the Mi A1. The camera UI and processing is same as in Mi A1. One lens is a 26 mm lens while the other is a 50 mm lens, offering 2x optical zoom. It can record 4K videos, but no image stabilization. The camera output is impressive. It has sharp details, accurate colors, and white balance. The HDR is also decent. At low light, noise is seen, but still the shots are impressive with lots of details. I am impressed with the Mi A1 camera. Check out my initial camera samples with the Mi A1.

Hardware and Battery

Xiaomi has gone with its successful implementation of Snapdragon 625 processor and the MI A1 has 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. It has a fingerprint sensor, FM Radio, Gyroscope but no NFC. It has 3080 mAh battery. I am yet to test the capability of this mobile, but based on my experience with Mi 5X, I have a positive feeling with the Mi A1 as well.

Software

Mi A1 is the first mobile from Xiaomi for the Android One program. It feels a little weird for me to use stock Android on a Xiaomi mobile. Maybe it is just my mental focus. But I need to spend a little more time with it. The mobile does not have any of the features like dual apps, second space or in-built security apps. It has just 3 basic MI apps like the Mi Store, Mi Remote, and Feedback app. Otherwise, it is pure stock with just the basic Google apps. I will have to spend a little more time to get my head around the stock experience in a Xiaomi mobile and come to a conclusion. But with Stock Android in a Xiaomi mobile, it could be a start of a Stock Android Revolution and others could follow Xiaomi. Mi A1 will get Oreo and Android P along with the usual security patches in time.

Pricing

Mi A1 is priced at Rs 14999. With Mi A1, now we have a Xiaomi Mobile at every 1000 Rs, starting at Rs 5999. Considering the specifications of the Mi A1, this is a killer pricing. If you are have been wanting to buy a Xiaomi device, but with a stock Android experience, go ahead and hit that buy button. Though this is my first impressions of this mobile, I have a positive feeling and I would soon publish my detailed review on the Mi A1.

About Giridhar

A Technology evangelist, Giridhar reviews gadgets and mobile applications. He is also a passionate photographer and a user experience designer by profession.

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