Xiaomi Mi A1 is a new smartphone from the company, which is also a Google Android One phone. Mi A1 is priced at Rs 14,999 and comes with a stock Android like experience, though there are some Xiaomi tweaks ( more on that later), but there’s no MIUI here.
The smartphone will be a Flipkart exclusive and goes on sale from September 12 on the website, Mi.com and Mi Home Stores. Xiaomi says the phone will also be made available with its offline partners across India, so you should find this phone in offline stores too. As part of the launch offer, Airtel users will get 200 GB data extra on the Mi A1. But what is so unique about the Mi A1 smartphone and why is this an Android One device? We explain below.
Xiaomi Mi A1 is an Android One phone: What does this mean?
Android One phones were first launched in 2014 and promised pure Android experience on budget devices. When Google had started Android One, they had also laid out specifications for the hardware manufacturers, and promised a stock Android experience along with regular updates for two years. The phones didn’t really take off in India, though Android One has continued as a project in Japan and Turkey.
Now Android One is back globally and in India with Xiaomi offering the same stock Android experience, assured security and the promise of updates. But Mi A1 comes with much better specifications than the original Android One phones in India, and runs stock Android Nougat 7.1.2.
Google is promising regular security updates, Android Oreo by the end of 2017 for Mi A1. The Android P is also promised for the Mi A1, when the new software launches. The price point is much higher, and Google indicated we could see more Android One phones across specs, pricing.
Xiaomi Mi A1 specifications sound exactly like the Xiaomi Mi 5X: What is different here?
Xiaomi Mi 5X was a smartphone the company launched in China earlier this year, and that one too sported dual-rear cameras. The specifications of both phones are exactly the same, though Mi 5X has a 4GB RAM+32GB variant, which the Mi A1 doesn’t get.
Specifications of Mi A1 are: 5.5-inch full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 12MP + 12MP rear camera which has a telephoto and a wide-angle lens setup, and a 5MP front camera. The battery is 3000/3080 mAh one and it comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, which is expandable to 128GB. Mi 5X sports the same specifications and metal unibody design and also comes in the same Black, Rose Gold and Gold colours.
However, Xiaomi say the Mi A1 is a different phone for India and points out that they have done customization for the market. The company says the phone comes with a special dual pyrolytic graphite sheet for improved heat management and to diffuse heat quickly on the phone. This will be part of the India phones, though Xiaomi will add to this Mi A1 devices launched in other countries as well. Xiaomi also says they have a 380V charger for India to watch out against power spikes, which can take place here. However, if one were to go purely by specifications, Mi A1 and Mi 5X’s main point of difference would be the lack of MIUI on the former.
Xiaomi Mi A1 has a dual-rear camera. How does that work?
Mi A1 sports a 12MP+ 12MP rear camera and this one has a telephoto and wide-angle lens setup. Xiaomi is promising high-quality of pictures with this setup and like other dual-rear cameras it does rely on the software to create that ‘bokeh’ effect, where the background is blurred to keep the object in sharp focus. Xiaomi is also promising 2X optical zoom on this smartphone, which is something you won’t find on most budget phones with dual-rear cameras.
The Mi A1 also has a native Mi app for the camera, not the standard Google camera app. Xiaomi says they added their own software tweaks, which were needed to support the hardware on this. With Mi A1, the camera results are a combination of software and hardware, which is common on most phones with such a camera setup.
Also what’s the difference between Redmi Note 4 and Xiaomi Mi A1?
Redmi is totally different series from Xiaomi, and the Redmi Note 4 is no doubt one of their best-selling phones in India. It does have a 5.5-inch full HD resolution display and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and has three variants starting at Rs 9,999 going to up Rs 12,999. The highest variant comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, and the phone sports a 13MP camera on the back and a 5MP front camera.
The battery is 4000 mAh, which is another highlight of the phone. Also Redmi Note 4 runs MIUI 8 with Android Marshmallow on top, though the company has rolled out the developer ROM for Android Nougat in India. Redmi Note 4 is the more affordable phone from Xiaomi without the frills of a dual-rear camera. Also the MIUI means the company is targeting this to a different set of consumers.
With Mi A1, Xiaomi is aiming not just in the Indian market, but looking globally and will launch the phone in markets like Indonesia, Russia, Mexico, etc. Mi A1 is a larger Android One project, and Xiaomi is hoping the lure of stock Android will help this phone do well globally.