Xiaomi Mi A2 Review

Google’s Android One program was brought to the emerging market, so that users get a stock Android experience at an affordable price. However, initially no other company joined the program after Karbonn, Micromax and Spice. In 2017, Google once again tried to revive the Android One program. Then Xiaomi Mi A1 (review) was brought to India last year.

Since then, many companies have become part of Google’s Android One program. But only a few of them launched their products in the Indian market. Nokia brand’s smartphone maker HMD Global announced that all its Android smartphones will be part of the Android One program. All the Nokia brand phones launched in Mobile World Congress 2018 have been brought in the Indian market. Now Xiaomi has introduced Mi A2, an upgrade of its first Android One smartphone Xiaomi Mi A1. It comes with better hardware besides stock Android. Should those wanting a pure Android experience buy the Xiaomi Mi A2? We have tried to find the answer to this question.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Design

Xiaomi Mi A2 is a smartly designed smartphone. It comes with a metal unibody and feels premium in the hands. The first major change is seen in the display compared to the Xiaomi Mi A1. The handset has a 5.99-inch 18: 9 aspect ratio display. Because of this, the phone looks long and thin. The edges are curved and for this reason there is good grip in the hands. The black variant of the review comes with a matte finish. It does not fall on fingerprints easily. But the phone slips easily in our hands and we would suggest our readers to use the cover given in the retail box.

The power and volume buttons are on the right. Their response is good. We found that the power button position is good, but the volume buttons are slightly above our liking. Xiaomi has placed a selfie camera, earpiece, selfie light and notification light above the display. The bottom of the display is empty. The smartphone has a color notification LED.

There is a USB Type-C port at the bottom. There are speaker grills on either side, but only the right one has a loudspeaker. IR ammeter is also present in the phone with the help of which the phone can be used as a remote control. It has got a place with a secondary microphone at the top. The phone does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead, a USB Type-C dongle has been given in the box. Xiaomi claims that it has used an amplifier with better quality, so that the speakers and headphones make good sound.

Xiaomi

Xiaomi has given dual camera setup on the rear side, in vertical position. On the back side is a 12 megapixel primary camera, 20 megapixel secondary lens and LED flash. The camera is on the rise. Because of this, the phone remains lifted on a flat surface. The fingerprint sensor has been placed next to the camera module. Xiaomi has given 3000 mAh battery in Mi A2.

Xiaomi Mi A2 specification, software and features

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer has used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor in the Mi A2. Adreno 512 GPU is integrated with it. Xiaomi Mi A2 has 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. Sadly, there is no microSD card slot, that is, you have to compromise the phone’s storage itself. This dual sim smartphone has space for two nano sim slots. There is support for 4G and VoLTE on both SIMs.

The 5.99-inch display is full-HD + resolution. Its pixel density is 403 pixels per inch. Corning Gorilla Glass 5 has been used for protection. Viewing angles are fine, but the display is not very bright. You will not be able to control the output either. The ambient display feature makes the phone active when notifications arrive.

The battery capacity of the phone is 3000 mAh, which is smaller than the battery available in the rest of the phones in this price segment. For example, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 (Review) comes with a large 4000 mAh battery. The Xiaomi Mi A2 supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+. But you will only get a 10 watt standard charger in the retail box. The connectivity features of Xiaomi Mi A2 include Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 AC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS and Baidu.

Xiaomi

Xiaomi has focused on the Mi A2 camera. On the back side is a 12-megapixel primary camera with F / 1.75 aperture. The secondary camera is 20 megapixels and also has an aperture F / 1.75. Remember that the secondary camera in the Mi A1 had a zoom lens for 2X optical zoom. But Xiaomi Mi A2 will give good performance in low light.

Xiaomi Mi A2 runs on stock Android 8.1 Oreo. The company has given its feedback, file manager and Mi Drop app in it. The feedback app cannot be disabled or uninstalled, but the other two apps can be removed from the handset. The camera app is also customized by Xiaomi. This is different from the default Android app. Google’s apps are already installed in this phone. When we started reviewing the phone, it was equipped with the security patch of June. But it received an update during the review after which the phone became equipped with the security patch of August.

If you want pure Android, then you will like the software experience of Mi A2. It has an app drawer. You can see all the installed apps by swiping up. You can find Google feed by swiping right on the home screen. Google Assistant can be activated by long pressing the Home button. We found that there is no app available to use the IR emitter in the phone. This means that the handset cannot be used as an out of box remote control. If you want, you can do this by downloading the Me Remot app from the Play Store. Xiaomi told Gadgets 360 that it will bring the update, after which the Me Remot app will already be installed in this phone. The camera app can be activated by double-pressing the power button in the Mi A2.

Xiaomi Mi A2 performance and battery life

We have used Nokia 7 Plus and it comes with the same processor as Xiaomi Mi A2. Nokia’s phone also runs on stock Android. The performance of Xiaomi Mi A2 is also similar. We had no problem while multitasking or using the phone’s UI. 4 GB RAM will prove to be enough for common use. The fingerprint sensor is fast and unlocks the phone fast.

We played games like PUBG, Clash Royal and Asphalt 9 on the phone. PUBG ran by default in Medium Settings. We had no complaints with the performance. We played this game for about 25 minutes. During this time I found that the phone did get hot, but not too much. Asphalt 9 ran without any lag or trouble.

Xiaomi

In our HD video loop test, the battery of this phone of Xiaomi supported for 8 hours 13 minutes, which is less than the average. In our review, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro (Review) and Redmi Note 5 were supported for 16 hours, although they come with a larger battery. The battery saver mode became active after about 7 hours and 30 minutes of active WhatsApp and Gmail accounts, around an hour of gaming, some time on Instagram and a few phone calls. If your user behavior is similar, do not forget to keep the charger with you. The charger provided with the retail box takes about 2 hours to fully charge the handset. In such a situation, we would suggest you to use the charger that comes with Qualcomm Quick Charge support.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Cameras

Xiaomi has worked on this phone’s camera app and is different from the stock Android camera app. You will get shot video, portraits, squares, panoramas and a manual mode. In manual mode, users will be able to control white balance, focus, shutter speed and ISO. During this time, users can also choose between regular and low light lenses. Xiaomi claims that it has made some changes in portrait mode such that it uses a 12-megapixel camera in sufficient light and a 20-megapixel secondary camera becomes active when low light. But we found that this does not happen. When one lens is in use, the other acts as a depth sensor.

The Mi A2 detects light very quickly and locks focus. Photos taken from the Mi A2 outdoors come with a lot of detail and the colors are also accurate. Even after zooming in, you will be able to see the detail in the picture and the noise is not too much. We also found that the camera app automatically switches to HDR mode when needed. Autofocus is fast when taking macros shots. We found that Me A2 is also able to focus on very small objects. Macros shot came Sharp. The phone showed a clear distinction between subject and backgroud.

In low light, the Mi A2 increases ISO and reduces shutter speed, so that the primary camera captures more light instead of using the secondary camera. We believe that Xiaomi should have automatically used the secondary given for better photography in low light. But if you want, you can do this by going into manual mode. These photos also showed pictures with detail, but we found that aggressive noise reduction has been done in the dark area, which causes a watercolor effect when zoomed in.

Tap on the image to see the camera sample of Xiaomi Mi A2

Selfies also come with details. Photos were sharpened in indoor. Selfie fill light proves to be very effective under low light conditions. HDR is also available for selfie camera and it becomes active automatically if required. You can decide the level of beautification according to yourself.

In Xiaomi Mi A2, you will be able to record 4K video from primary camera and up to 1080 pixels from selfie camera. You will have the facility to shoot 1080 pixel resolution videos at 60 frames per second from the primary camera. But we found that the camera was having difficulty locking focus at a higher frame rate. Video stabilization is available for the rear camera.

Our decision
The Xiaomi Mi A1 (Review) has always been the first choice for the stock Android experience in the budget range. However, the situation has changed. Especially after HMD Global brought Nokia Android One phones. In such a situation, Xiaomi will have to take special care of the price and the company has done something similar with the new launch.

The Xiaomi Mi A2 cameras are great. If seen, it is one of the best camera phones in this price range. Apart from this, the powerful Snapdragon 660 processor has been a part of the more expensive phone till now. In such a situation, this phone will surely entice customers who want strong performance in the budget.

The price of Xiaomi Mi A2 is Rs 16,999. Looking at the hardware, this is a very aggressive price. However, Xiaomi Me A2 also has some drawbacks. Battery capacity is below average. This results in poor battery life. Xiaomi has discharged the 3.5mm headphone jack and there is no slot for the microSD card either. Buyers pay special attention to both these aspects. If you want a stock Android and you want to have strong cameras, then Mi A2 is made for you. If you have no problem with the MIUI then Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro (Review) is still a better option and its price is also low. We would suggest you to keep an eye on Honor Play.

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