Xiaomi found a new instant mix for success last year with Mi A1 which became the first ever phone from the Chinese brand to come with vanilla Android instead of the customary MIUI skin. The experiment of Xiaomi teaming up with Google under the Android One program meant a holy merger of Xiaomi’s hardware mastery with Google’s light and pure Android experience. Mi fans loved it so much that it infused a new lease of life into otherwise struggling Android One project. (हिंदी में पढ़िए)

Yesterday, Xioami India officially launched the next iteration of A1, the Mi A2, in the country. We have already been testing Mi A2 for 2 weeks now and here’s our Xiaomi Mi A2 review based on our user experience.

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Mi A2 Specs

Model Xiaomi Mi A2
Display 5.99-Inch, Full HD+ IPS LCD display, 2.5D Gorilla Glass 3
Processor 2.2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 660 processor
RAM 4GB
Internal Storage 64GB
Software Android 8.1 Oreo
Primary Camera 20MP+12MP
Secondary Camera 20MP, 1080p Videos
Battery 3,010 mAh with QC 4+ support
Others 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/A-GPS, USB Type-C port, fingerprint sensor, IR Blaster
India Price Rs 16,999

Xiaomi Mi A2 India Price and Availability

Xiaomi continues offering really competitive hardware with an aggressive price. The Mi A2 price in India is Rs 16,999 for 4GB RAM variant. As for availability, the Mi A2 become first Xiaomi phone to go on pre-booking in India. The Mi A2 pre-booking went live on August 9 and the first sale will be held on August 16.

The pricing and availability of Mi A2 6GB RAM version are yet to be announced.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Review – Design and Display

Xiaomi hasn’t made any drastic alterations to its design philosophy. The Mi A2 (covers and cases) follows in the Mi A1’s footsteps but there are certain elements that have been picked from the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The most prominent begin the dual cameras on the rear, which like the Redmi Note 5 Pro, has a vertical orientation with LED flash tucked in between the two sensors.

Like most modern day phones, the Mi A2 also gets to flaunt an 18:9 display. Xiaomi Mi A2 has a standard 5.99-inch full-HD+ display with a 2160x1080p resolution and 403ppi pixel density. The display is protected by 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 and has a generous amount of bezels above and below it.

On the literal flip side, there is an arced metal back plate that has slightly rounded corners and chamfered side edges. Like the Mi A1, you will find u-shaped antenna bands at the top and bottom which blends well with the full metal back panel and lends the phone a distinctive look. The fact that Mi A2 is just 7.3mm slim helps too.

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Xiaomi has also included a capacitive fingerprint sensor on the rear and on-screen keys for navigation. In India, Mi A2 is currently available only in Black and Gold hues.

In our opinion, the Mi A2 looks better than all other affordable Xiaomi phones in India. As for durability and build quality, we tried bending the phone by applying pressure at the center using our two thumbs and it didn’t succumb to the force. Having said that, the phone ships with a TUP back cover and we’d recommend you use it.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Review – Hardware

The Mi A2 gets a major boost in terms of what rocks inside the phone. It employs 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 mobile processor matted to Adreno 512 GPU. In other words, the Mi A2 will be the most powerful Android One phone from Xaiomi to date. The SD 660 has an immaculate track record, as we experienced on phones like Vivo X21 (review) and Nokia 7 Plus (review), and we are quite happy with the performance we are getting on Mi A2.

In India, Xiaomi is bringing the Mi A2 in 4GB RAM with 64GB storage and announced that 6GB RAM with 128 GB storage will be coming soon as well. What’s really strange is that Xiaomi hasn’t offered a microSD expansion slot (dedicated or hybrid) in the Mi A2.

The Mi A2 has a USB Type-C (based on USB 2.0), Bluetooth 5.0, has an IR blaster and mono bottom-firing speaker. Amidst all these connectivity options, Xiaomi ditched the 3.5 headphone jack. So yes, the Mi A2 has no headphone jack and no microSD card slot.

Moving on, the Mi A2 has Dual SIM Dual 4G LTE support out of the box. The phone comes with 3,010mAh battery, bundled with a 10W charger. The Mi A2 India variant is compatible with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+ technology from the day one. So, if you already have QC 4.0 or QC4+ charger you can experience faster-charging speed.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Review – Software

The MIUI (tips and tricks) that Xiaomi usually uses is a well built ROM, but it still can’t hold a candle to the light and fast stock Android. Being a part of the Android One program the Mi A2 had no scope for bloatware. It only has three MI apps – Mi Remote, MI Drop and Mi File manager.

Like all Android One devices, the Mi A2 also comes with 2 years of regular updates guaranteed. Which is to say, the Mi A2 will receive OTA for Android P and Android Q.

Having said that, the question remains when these updates actually land after Google’s announcement. If you remember, Xiaomi made a similar promise for the Mi A1, but the OTA updates were delayed and when they did arrive, they were full of bugs that ruined the overall experience. Let’s hope that Xiaomi improves its update record with the Mi A2.

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Xiaomi Mi A2 Review – Camera

Xiaomi is really upbeat about the Mi A2 cameras and for good reason. Even after a year of its official launch, the Mi A1 still has the best camera compared to any other phone under 20k and that’s saying something.

Going by the launch presentation, the Mi A2 camera can take on the likes of OnePlus 6 (review), iPhone X and Pixel 2. 

As for the numbers, the Mi A2 boasts of a 12-megapixel sensor (Sony IMX 486 sensor) teamed with a 20-megapixel sensor (Sony IMX 376 sensor). Xiaomi has equipped both sensors with an identical f/1.75 aperture lens for better low light performance.

While Mi A1 featured a telephoto lens, its successor takes a different route altogether. The Mi A2’s main rear sensor packs comparatively larger pixels (1.25 µm) which can theoretically capture more information while the secondary 20MP (1.00 µm) sensor is used for depth sensing in portrait mode and for pixel binning in poor lighting conditions.

The Mi A2 camera in auto mode uses AI smarts to analyze a scene and automatically decides whether to use the secondary camera for pixel binning or not.

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The Mi A2 dual camera setup ships with lots and lots of AI and relies on crunching machine learning algorithms to produce good quality portraits or photos with shallow depth of field. The dual cameras are further assisted by a dual-LED (dual-tone) flash.

Lately, Xiaomi has started taking selfies seriously. The Mi A2 comes with a 20-megapixel (IMX376 sensor) camera with soft LED flash. It comes with AI-driven smart beautification, supports Auto HDR and there’s also a portrait mode for blurry background selfies.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Camera review: Xioami has done a good job with the camera. It keeps the colors natural and details are good here too. My only complaint here is slightly underwhelming shadow regions.
Mi A2 rear camera review: The image here is well-balanced with a good amount of details and accurate colors.
Mi A2 rear camera review: The subject in the image is slightly under-exposed, probably to avoid the back drop from being blown away.
Xiaomi Mi A2 Selfie camera portrait mode in action: It works better than what we had expected. Good job.
Xiaomi Mi A2 camera low light shot: The phone manages to do a good job with highlights and keeps noise in check. However, bit more details in shadows would have made it a perfect shot.
Mi A2 Camera Indoor test: Once again, not bad for a phone priced under Rs 17,000.

As you can see, all the Mi A2 camera manages to click some impressive shots especially when you consider its price. The only issue I had with the Mi A2 camera was with clicking long shots in dark or low lighting. The lack of optical image stabilization meant that it couldn’t negate slightest of shakes while taking a shot in dark ambience.

Also, for low light shots, the camera generously bumps up ISO to gather more light. The resultant shots look good on the phone’s screen, but when you view them on a bigger display, you’d notice poor details.

Even considering these flaws, I think Mi A2 will get you the best shots under Rs 20,000.

We have resized all the images for web. You can access these images in full size from here.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Review – Battery and Sound

Xiaomi Mi A-series hasn’t really changed much in terms of battery. in fact, the Mi A2 battery is 80mAh smaller than its predecessor. It is certainly not class-leading and it hardly manages to last our entire workday without a quick top-up.

Having said that, there’s one clear advantage that Mi A2 has over its competitors. It comes Quick Charge 4+ support but you will have to buy QC 4+ charger separately. The inbox changer is a 5A/2A charge which takes about 2 hours to fully charge it. You will have to

As far as Xiaomi Mi A2 loudspeaker is concerned, it packs a mono speaker which is average at best. The audio quality via headphones isn’t at best.

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Mi A2 Review: A worthy successor?

The Xiaomi Mi A2 on paper makes an impressive read but there still are a few pain points to be dealt with. The lack of 3.5mm audio jack will be hard to look past. Xioami has also shown the door to good microSD card.

In spite of these drawbacks, the Mi A2 is an impressive phone considering its price tag of Rs 16,999. It also benefits from lack of any viable Mi A2 alternatives that can challenge it head-on at this price point. The Mi A2 brings smooth stock Android experience with a reliable hardware. The camera performance has also improved but we’d be missing the telephoto lens and the option for 2X optical zoom.

Pros

  • Fast chipset
  • Good cameras
  • Value for money
  • Stock Android software
  • Quick Charge 4+ support

Cons 

  • No 3.5mm audio jack
  • lacks a microSD card slot
  • Battery backup

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