When it comes to Mi, it never fails to surprise us, just when we thought stock Android was coming to an end after the developer favourite Nexus series was made premium to Pixel , there remained only a handful of companies to provide the Pure Vanilla experience like Oneplus and now Nokia. Oneplus was directed towards the premium end, while Nokia is directed more toward the legacy experience of the build quality hence the backing the mid tier with budget CPUs leaving little options for power users in the mid range pricing. Mi set the bars again by bringing the Mi A1 the android one powered device i.e. it will get updated directly from Google and without a doubt, having a pure and subtle Stock android experience with higher mid range Hardware at a minimal cost.
Mi A1 was a power user favourite as soon as it was announced with a Snapdragon 625, 3000 mah battery, 4 gigs of Ram, 5.5″ Full HD IPS Display, with the highlighting feature of Dual Cameras.
Camera: In this Dual camera Era, many OEMs have started providing dual camera’s for better quality photos. The Dual Camera in Mi A1 was a highlighting point and indeed an eye catch which one wouldn’t fail to notice. Let me again focus on the fact that dual camera doesn’t necessarily mean better camera, yes sure it does have its good advantages, but in the end it all boils down to how well it has been implemented. To highlight the camera is a Dual 12 MP (26mm, f/2.2; 50mm, f/2.6), phase detection autofocus, 2x optical zoom, dual-LED (dual tone) flash.
Went over the head right to some exent? Lets forget the specifications for a moment and talk about real life experience.
The camera does more than excellent for anything in the price range and surely in many ways it holds its own with the mighty ones. In daylight the camera snaps fast and captures great with reasonably low noise levels much better than you can expect.
The telephoto camera also does a great job in good light and comes in handy when you need a bit of zoom. Its quality is close to the main camera having plenty of detail and the same great processing, colors, and dynamic range. The telephoto lens however wont do great for low-light shots due to its narrow lens.
The Mi A1 regular camera has good dynamic range but there are there are some areas where HDR is still required. Here the phone does a great job brightening up the differences in light intensity without going overboard and producing unrealistic flat images.
Coming to low light, here is where most cameras face the bottle neck. The Mi A1 low-light shots came out rather bad. There is a lot of noise, sometimes we also got blurry images due to the lack of stabilization. If you leave the automatic low-light enhancement enabled (HHT) you will less noise in the images but most of the samples won’t benefit from much more detail or higher contrast. Low light is a very difficult issue to tackle even in the flagships, so we are not that bothered by the low performance.
For the selfie camera, the images came out average in detail and a little noisy, but with high contrast, and pleasant colors. The dynamic range is about average, too.
Video mode gives you a choice of 2160p@30fps and 1080p@30fps for common shooting with a 720p@120fps option if you want some slow-motion. There’s no 1080p@60fps mode, though, and no telephoto videos either. Anyway, the 2160p videos are captured at a bitrate of 41.6Mbps and have rock solid 30fps. The audio is stereo captured at 96KBps bitrate.
The 4K video quality is great – the resolved detail is plenty, the dynamic range is above average, the colors and contrast are very good. The noise is kept quite low, and the Mi A1 produces some really nice 4K videos. The audio quality is awful though – there are traces of compression, and you’ll notice that it gets even worse with loud sound sources (loud music, crowds, cars honking, etc).
Performance: Mi A1 is powered by the power efficient Snapdragon 625 clocked at 2.0ghz * 8 cores. The number 625 has become very common in the middle end but there is more to it, one would expect the same performance as Redmi Note 4, but the Stock OS is very well optimised and thus beats other 625 models with a significant margin only second to Oppo F3 plus in multicore performance which has significantly stronger Snapdragon 652. As per real life performance the 625 wont leave a chance for the user to complain as the efficient and balanced performance with the fluidity of stock android gives very good real life experience with fast apps loading and switching.
The phone is more than well suited for heavy multitasking with 4GB of ram which is far More than enough in Stock Andorid and for Medium High loads.
Though with the optimisations along with the graceful Stock Android the Phone still lacks juice when it comes to power hungry loads and Graphic performace as compared to the Snapdragon 820 or above.
Although the phone will run all the HD games quite good and better with the graphic settings tweaking it still is significantly far from the top tier in Graphics performance.
Audio: Audio quality is by far more than anything we have ever seen till now. The output was rich, loud, clean with very minimal crosstalk. When attached to external output device even upon amplification the out was impressively loud and clear.The loudspeaker or I should say a music station, sorry for the bad one but yeah it is is rich and crisp amazingly loud (Louder than most of the phones) with good bass and clean high notes.
Design: As far as design is concerned it is nothing new we have observed, a uni-metal body will a thin and sleek design. Subtly Simple clean and attractive. It comes in Black, Gold and Rose Gold variants. The fingerprint sensor is at a usual position in the back with dual cameras in the top left corner. The antenna lines are at the top and bottom edges with rear mounted speaker. The design doesn’t surprise in any way but neither it disappoints.
Display: It a Full HD display difficult to spot in this range, an IPS LCD Screen RGB Matrix with 400 ppi with a 2.5D Curved Glass. The display is very bright and also has deep blacks indicating to an amazing contrast ratio with punchy colors, when it comes to sunlight legibility the display struggles to perform in the contrary as the colors are significantly washed out in the daylight.
Wrapping up: Overall the device wins everyone’s heart by providing so many premium features and amazing hardware, backed by the clean and optimized Vanllia experience, with promised regular updates from Google.
The device surely battles big and held its own against the upper middle ranged devices, the rating parameters are judged according to how well it does compared to them.
The device fares 8.5/10 and is sure light on your pocket, which makes it a very recommended device for its price and will not fail to win your soul.