Xiaomi made its foray into the world of Android One last year with the Mi A1, and the company is now introducing updated variants for 2018. Xiaomi has overhauled the hardware and rolled out key upgrades to the camera, making the Mi A2 an even more attractive option.
The Mi A2 is designed around an 18:9 panel, and the goal with the taller form factor is to increase screen real estate by cutting down on the bezels. However, the Mi A2 still has sizeable bezels at the top and bottom, and in this area Xiaomi could have done better.
Then there’s the design at the back. Xiaomi has been using a similar design aesthetic for over a year now, so the Mi A2 doesn’t really feel like a new device. If anything, I think it looks like a smaller Mi Max 2. The vertically-arranged dual camera module at the back once again evokes similarities with the iPhone X.
While the design itself may not be exciting next to the likes of the Nokia 7 Plus or the Honor 10, the subtle curves at the back and the sleek 7mm chassis make the Mi A2 fit comfortably in your hand. As the phone is considerably thinner than its predecessor, the rear camera sensor juts out from the body. And because Xiaomi didn’t want to lose internal space to an analog port, it got rid of the 3.5mm jack.
The Mi A2 is available in four color variants — gold, black, blue, and rose gold — and the blue variant looks like the most interesting option. Xiaomi says it will have all four models available at launch when the phone debuts in India early next month, so if you’re eyeing the Mi A2, the blue or rose gold colors are the way to go.
|Spec||Xiaomi Mi A2|
|Screen||5.99-inch 18:9 FHD+ IPS LCD|
|SoC||2.2GHz Snapdragon 660|
|Camera 1||12MP, ƒ/1.75, 1.25um|
|Camera 2||20MP, ƒ/1.75, 1.0um|
|Front Camera||20MP, ƒ/1.75, 1.0um|
|Battery||3000mAh Quick Charge 4.0|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi ac, BT 5.0|
|Security||Fingerprint, face unlock|
|Dimensions||158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3mm|
|Colors||Black, Rose Gold, Gold, Blue|
|Price||$290, $325, $410|
Although things haven’t changed by much from last year on the design front, Xiaomi overhauled the internal hardware. The Mi A2 is powered by the Snapdragon 660, and comes with up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The Snapdragon 660 is one of the best chipsets available right now, offering flagship-level performance for less than a third of the cost of the Galaxy S9 or the Pixel 2 XL.
The Mi A2 is just as fluid in day-to-day usage as the Pixel 2, and the fact that you can get this level of performance for under $300 is fantastic. A lot of that has to do with Android One as well. The clean interface combined with the sheer power on offer with the Snapdragon 660 makes the Mi A2 a delight to use.
I’ve been using the phone for just over two days, and while that’s not nearly enough time to get an accurate picture of battery life, I was able to get a day’s worth of usage with room to spare. The Mi A1 managed to deliver excellent battery life from the 3010mAh battery, and it looks like the Mi A2 is no different.
Like last year, all models of the Mi A2 support Quick Charge 3.0, but Xiaomi is introducing Quick Charge 4.0 support exclusively for the variant that will go up for sale in India. That’s the model I’m using now, and while there’s a noticeable lack of reliable QC4.0 wall chargers in the market, that will likely change in the coming months. Xiaomi, for its part, includes the usual 5V/2A charger in the box, so you’ll have to get a third-party wall unit to access QC 3.0 or QC 4.0 speeds.
Another area that has received a significant update from last year is the camera. The Mi A2 has dual 12MP + 20MP cameras at the back, with the secondary sensor relying on pixel bunning to produce clearer photos in low-light conditions. The 20MP camera is engaged during low-light shots, but you do have the option of manually switching between sensors from the pro mode.
This isn’t the first time Xiaomi used the IMX376 sensor to this effect, and the Mi A2 produces incredible shots for a device in this category. The front camera also uses the same 20MP IMX376 module, and offers pixel binning as well. There’s also a front LED light that automatically kicks in during low-light scenarios, and Xiaomi is leveraging AI-assisted features to enable portrait mode for the front camera and automatically select beautify effects based on your facial features.
The Mi A2 is slated to make its debut in India on August 8, and it’s clear that Xiaomi is targeting the Nokia 7 Plus with the Mi A2. Both phones have near-identical hardware, and run Android One. With the Nokia 7 Plus retailing in the country for ₹25,999 ($375), Xiaomi will undoubtedly try to undercut HMD’s mid-ranger by launching the Mi A2 at around the ₹18,999 ($275) price point.
Should the Mi A2 be available at that $275 mark, it will be the phone to beat. It may not come close to the Redmi Note 5 series’ meteoric sales figures, but for those looking to get their hands on a device with clean software and robust hardware, the Mi A2 is a great option.
I just started putting the Mi A2 through its paces, so stay tuned for continued coverage of Xiaomi’s latest Android One phone over the coming weeks.