Xiaomi Mi A1 First Impressions: Google’s Android One Makes a Comeback

Xiaomi Mi A1 First Impressions: Google's Android One Makes a Comeback

The Xiaomi Mi A1 has been launched as the new face of Google’s Android One platform. This will be a crucial device for Xiaomi which has not brought any flagship model to India this year, and also for Google, with none of its previous Android One models delivering either. This new Android One smartphone is Xiaomi’s second global smartphone launch in India, after it debuted the Mi 4i here first back in 2015. The Xiaomi Mi A1 could be part of an all-new series in the company’s lineup, but we strongly believe that will depend on consumer feedback to the first Android One phone from Xiaomi.

Much like other Xiaomi products, the Mi A1 is expected to get a lot of attention in India, though it will be interesting to see consumers’ reaction to stock Android replacing the company’s MIUI which has been a popular user interface across several markets. For those unaware, Xiaomi started out as a software company, and MIUI was its first product. The company is now offering a new product with an all-new experience.

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The Mi A1 launch also confirms that Google is still committed to its Android One program. Xiaomi’s new Android One phone could be the first of many in the pipeline. Apart from its stock Android experience, the Mi A1 is also Xiaomi’s first dual-camera device in India. It packs a decent set of innards and is being marketed as new flagship. We received a Xiaomi Mi A1 unit ahead of the launch, and here are our first impressions.


Xiaomi Mi A1 design

At first look, the Mi A1’s finish and overall look instantly tell us that it belongs to the more premium Mi range and not the budget Redmi series from Xiaomi. The metal unibody and 2.5D curved-edge glass at the front make it look good. The rounded corners are comfortable in the palm.

The front is bare of any branding, which we think looks good. You’ll see the Mi logo and the Android One tag towards the bottom of the rear. The Xiaomi Mi A1 will eventually be manufactured locally and will sport a “Made in India” tag, but initial units will be shipped in from different countries. The antenna lines are discreet and the design is different from what we have seen on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4(Review). In our opinion, the Xiaomi Mi A1 feels the best in hand out of the entire current Xiaomi product line.

While its software experience is definitely different, the Mi A1 does not have a whole new design language to go with it. It still feels a lot like previous Xiaomi products. In particular, it feels like a smaller version of the Mi Max 2 (Review).

Xiaomi Mi A1 specifications and software

The Mi A1 can be seen as an international or a rebranded version of the Xiaomi Mi 5X which was unveiled in China last month. Both phones have almost the same specifications. The Mi A1 features a 5.5-inch full-HD display with 2.5D glass. It is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM. It also has 64GB of storage and supports expansion using a microSD card. The Mi A1 has a hybrid dual-SIM design, and support two Nano-SIMs if you aren’t using a microSD card. There’s a fingerprint scanner at the back. The smartphone also has a USB Type-C port and packs a 3080mAh non-removable battery.

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