Xioami Mi A1 Hands-On Review: World’s Real Dual Camera Cheapest Smartphone


Occasionally you will find a smartphone that focuses on the entire market. A device with such a good price-quality ratio that you can not really ignore it. The Xiaomi Mi A1 is such a device. The Mi A1 runs under the official Android One program from Google, which means that the device has a bare version of Android, without any frills or software that you are not waiting for. You are also guaranteed two years of new Android updates after the release in September 2017, and even three years of security updates. On paper, you can certainly enjoy the Mi A1 until 2020. And in terms of specifications: the device has a dual camera, large battery and a bright 5.5-inch screen. But is this your next smartphone for the next three years?

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is a mid-range device, making the smartphone equipped with the slightly less powerful Snapdragon 625 processor. Fortunately, this is an energy-efficient processor, resulting in a longer battery life. So you can easily use the smartphone for two days on one battery charge. the smartphone also receives support for Quick Charge 3.0. With the help of Quick Charge 3.0, the battery is fully charged again in about 90 minutes on the charger.


Xiaomi Mi A1 is delivered in a packaging that needs to be pulled out. In the middle is the phone itself. Underneath there is an additional box, where the 10W charger is placed, and a cable with USB C and USB A terminals. There is also some papyrology and a key to the SIM tray, as you can see in the picture below. Basically nothing special. It, the basic set, in which there were no headphones.

Technical Specifications of Xiaomi Mi A1

5.5-inch screen (1920 x 1080 pixels)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
4GB of memory
64GB storage space (expandable with microSD card)
dual-camera (12MP + 12MP) on the back
5-megapixel selfie camera
fingerprint scanner (back)
3080mAh battery
3.5mm headphone jack
dual-SIM support
IR blaster (to be used as a TV remote control)


It is clear what Xiaomi looked at when they designed this device. The Xiaomi Mi A1 looks exactly like the iPhone 7 / 8 Advantages. Put them next to each other or hold them together, and it is difficult to see the differences. They are exactly the same size and almost as thick. They both have a 5.5-inch screen, and they start at the same height in both devices. In contrast to the most expensive flagship phones of 2017, you still have nice screen edges at the top and bottom. However, at the bottom, Xiaomi has processed the menu buttons of Android. You can, therefore, use the full size of the screen.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is available in different colors. We have tested the version with white front and gold back. It is striking that the smartphone has a good build quality. The smartphone is in fact equipped with a metal unibody. This housing is only 7mm thick, which gives it a premium appearance. The front of the Mi A1 is quite simple, with a speaker and a selfie camera at the top and three capacitive buttons at the bottom. The LCD screen is 5.5 inches in size and has very deep black pixels. At the back, we find in the top left corner a dual camera with LED flash. Something down is a fingerprint scanner. The camera protrudes a little from the housing.

At the bottom, we find two connections, a USB C port to charge the smartphone and a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the left is the connection for two SIM cards or one SIM card with one microSD card. On the right side, we find the volume buttons and the on / off button.


This is one of the strong points of the device, its beautiful LCD IPS LCD very bright. While its definition Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) will not be suitable for virtual reality, it is anyway not cut to provide this experience. This will play on the autonomy of the device since a higher resolution with more pixels to display does not render endurance to our smartphones.

The screen has good viewing angles and we find no concern for readability in daylight if the brightness of the device is of course correctly adjusted. We do not see the colorimetric problem we reported on his twin brother. Nothing to say on the screen that is really good and honors the smartphone.


In moderate use, the device will easily hold two days. We regret, however, that unlike other Xiaomi devices, the smartphone does not offer frankly very advanced options to be able to glean precious minutes when one is far from an electrical outlet. Android One requires, we end up with rather basic options from this point of view.

In terms of performance, the Mi A1 is a very stable and quite fast smartphone capable of dealing decently with all tasks. The SoC Snapdragon 625, considering that it is mid-range, is known for having a good performance coupled with autonomy and proves to be very interesting for the day-to-day. No noticeable application switching delays and the 4 GB of RAM allows you to have a very generous amount of applications open in the background, which never leads to waiting times for opening applications that are used more often. In the matter of games, here too he is able to run all titles without revealing lack of competence.

The benchmark results are revealing of its performance:

AnTuTu v.6.2.7
61028 points

Geekbench 4
Single-Core: 872 points
Multi-Core: 4241 points

In terms of storage, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is excellent for each other. The device is equipped with 64GB storage of which you can use 58 gigabytes. But you can also expand it with an SD card of up to 128GB, which you can insert into the second SIM card slot. You have the choice to use two SIM cards at the same time, or one SIM card and extra memory. Just as with the design, you expect to have a much more expensive phone with such specifications.

Stock Android

In the field of software, you are rammed with the Xiaomi Mi A1. The phone rotates under the official Android One program from Google. That means you are in front of the line when there are updates with Android, whether it is a completely new version or a security update. The device comes with Android 7.0. From the launch in September 2017, you will receive two years of new versions of Android and three years of security updates. With that, the phone surpasses many other cheaper and midrange Android smartphones, whose support often expires after a year because it is an expensive operation for the manufacturer to update the software.

Android One also means that you get a bare, fast version of Android without fuss. There is no advertising as free games or a controversial virus scanner that you are not waiting for. It is Android as it should be. However, Xiaomi has maintained two own apps within Android. The first is the own camera app because the standard camera app from Google does not support dual cameras.

The second is Mi Remote. The infrared port allows you to operate all kinds of devices, from TVs to amplifiers, from the box of your cable TV to audio systems. Xiaomi offers a comprehensive list of devices that are supported. Your smartphone as a remote control for your equipment – a very nice extra. For those who do not know this program, Google weaves partnerships with manufacturers wanting to offer terminals with a pure interface, without overlay. This program was initially aimed at emerging countries with relatively weak smartphones. However, over time, more ambitious devices appeared, without necessarily being flagships for as much. This helps, among other things, to make room in the market for devices that can be updated more easily and quickly.


A bare version of Android means that you call, internet and SMS with the standard apps from Google. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this and they look good, but if you still want to use alternative apps, there are plenty to download from the Google Play Store.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 has the usual networks, 2G, 3G and 4G and of course WiFi. The reach and speed of the internet are fine. As indicated earlier, there is support for dual-sim so you can, for example, keep work and private on your smartphone. A plus point of network support is reflected in the WiFi connection. In addition to 2.4GHz networks, the 5GHz networks are also supported. These networks are usually more stable and capable of delivering higher speeds. NFC is not present on the Xiaomi Mi A1, Bluetooth, and GPS of course.


The Mi A1 has a 5.5-inch Full-HD screen. Unfortunately, the screen is a bit dull, which makes watching movies a slightly lesser experience. The sound of both the speaker and your headset connected to the 3.5 mm jack is fine. A small minus is that the speaker is at the bottom of the device. Listening to music and watching movies can be done with the standard apps from Google that come with Android. Think of Google Play Music, Play Movies and of course the YouTube app. Again, there are plenty of alternatives available in the Google Play Store.


The fingerprint scanner is placed on the back of the device. This is very fast. By swiping from top to bottom over the fingerprint scanner, you swipe down the notification bar. By swiping up over the fingerprint scanner, you fold the notification bar back in again. Of course, you can also use the fingerprint scanner for certain apps and you can unlock the device with the scanner.

Perfect Duel-Camera

Another interesting point of the Mi A1 is the 12MP dual camera system in the rear. There are already several intermediate phones that come with two sensors in the back, but I can not remember any below the $ 1,000 that included optical zoom, something the Mi A1 has.

In well-lit environments, the pictures taken with the device come out very good, with enough detail and rich colors. The result is more than enough for you to be at least satisfied. The focus is fast, and the clicks are instant, so I have nothing to complain about until now. Dual sensors also allow you to use portrait mode to blur the background, which gives that cool effect the main focus of the photos.

However, things change a lot in the dark. The sensors have a hard time getting the focus right, and even when that works, there’s a good chance the colors will go out. You can use flash or night mode to make things better, but even so, night shots are likely to be full of noises – and forget the portrait mode in those situations.

At the time of the videos, Mi A1 can record in 4K at 30 frames per second. The quality of the image is good, but a stabilization system ends up lacking. One thing you have to be careful of is the position of the microphone, which is on the bottom of the phone. It is easy to finish covering it by hand during recording, and the sound is inaudible when it happens. The cell phone can also record timelapse with good quality and slow motion at 120 frames per second, but the maximum resolution of slow motion is only HD.

Going to the front camera, it has 5 MP and f / 2.0 aperture. The quality comes out acceptable in bright surroundings, but it’s just OK. Nothing that catches the eye or impresses, which is expected, almost intermediaries. Already in the dark, the selfies are really bad. As it does not have flash front and the screen also does not play this role, in this case, you have nothing to do.


The battery is 3080 mAh. Although Xiaomi already has several smartphones that bring a battery with more than 4000 mAh, it has chosen to put a battery of less capacity in the Mi A1. Let’s say that this can be considered a negative point since we know that we know the portfolio of the brand. However, the autonomy is framed with what is common in this range, easily reaching the 2 days of moderate use without the need to recharge. As for the speed of loading, it does not have fast loading but still can be faster than some. Specifically, up to 90% capacity, charges approximately 1% per minute. The chart below represents a complete charge.

After 30 minutes of charging from 0%, the battery will charge up to 25%.
After 60 minutes, the battery will be charged in 55%.
A Full charge lasts on average 1h and 57 min.

Other Features

The rear digital sensor is in an intuitive position that is easy to reach. This place is not as good as it was in the front or the side, because you can not unlock the device and use without taking it off the table, for example, but this is a small nuisance. On a daily basis, it works great and unlocks the screen very fast.

The sound box of the Mi A1 reaches a good intensity and has a decent sound quality, however much it rolls a little distortion in the strongest volumes. The problem here is the position of the speaker, which is quite easy to cover with your hand when you are using the cell phone horizontally. This may not bother you depending on how you handle your smartphone, but with me, it happens all the time. It’s pretty annoying when I’m trying to use Netflix or YouTube, for example.

Availability & Verdict

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is, in fact, the android one of the moment and there is no doubt that it will continue to be a great sales success, mainly for being suitable to our market, since it brings European charger. It turned out to be a smartphone very well achieved, for any task, with the advantage of having an affordable price in view of a long support by Google. Apart from the most unfavorable aspects of the smartphone, such as the color on the screen, the camera in low light situations and the power of the SoC Snapdragon 625, everything else puts this smartphone at the top and challenges the biggest in the segment. The autonomy can reach 2 days without charging, in my moderate use, and is framed with what is currently expected on a smartphone.

In the cameras, portrait mode, with blurred background effect, is at the level of the best in the segment and achieves good results if we give it a facilitated situation. It is not perfect, neither is it, but it is worthy of being shown and praised. In photos in low light conditions, quality is penalized. If you are looking for a good smartphone and do not want to invest as much as in the top of the range, the Mi A1 may be the right choice. If you prefer the MIUI interface, then Mi 5X will be the right alternative to Mi A1.

On the plus side, it’s definitely worth noting the low price and the clean Android One system. Support offered directly by Google is not without significance. If the availability of new versions of Android is a priority for you, then this smartphone is certainly worth attention. The biggest drawback, however, seems to be a camera. In fact, after a double camera with a telephoto lens much more could be expected, and in fact, this field is average. Xiaomi Mi A1 is now avaialble on Gearbest just at $189.99 using Coupon Code: GBphoneclear1 (End of April 18)

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is not just a smartphone that turns the market upside down. It is also a pest. Do you pay $220 for a phone that does almost everything well, or do you pay more than 2.5 times as much for a smartphone that also has a great camera? In any case, the budget-conscious buyer cannot ignore the Xiaomi Mi A1.


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