Google’s ‘AndroidOne’ Makes a Comeback with Xiaomi MiA1

Xiaomi has announced the Xiaomi MiA1, a new flagship phone largely focused on the Indian market with the tagline of “created by Xiaomi, powered by Google.” It has a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, a metal body, and a dual-camera system that includes a secondary telephoto lens for 2x zooming and portraits with shallow depth of field.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 has been launched as the new face of Google’s Android One platform. This will be a crucial device for Xiaomi which has not brought any flagship model to India this year, and also for Google, with none of its previous Android One models delivering either. This new Android One smartphone is Xiaomi’s second global smartphone launch in India, after it debuted the Mi 4i here first back in 2015. The Xiaomi Mi A1 could be part of an all-new series in the company’s lineup, but we strongly believe that will depend on consumer feedback to the first Android One phone from Xiaomi.

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The Mi A1 launch also confirms that Google is still committed to its Android One program. Xiaomi’s new Android One phone could be the first of many in the pipeline. Apart from its stock Android experience, the Mi A1 is also Xiaomi’s first dual-camera device in India. It packs a decent set of innards and is being marketed as new flagship. We received a Xiaomi Mi A1 unit ahead of the launch, and here are our first impressions.

Xiaomi MiA1 specifications:

The Mi A1 can be seen as an international or a rebranded version of the Xiaomi Mi 5X which was unveiled in China last month. Both phones have almost the same specifications. The Mi A1 features a 5.5-inch full-HD display with 2.5D glass. It is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM. It also has 64GB of storage and supports expansion using a microSD card. The Mi A1 has a hybrid dual-SIM design, and support two Nano-SIMs if you aren’t using a microSD card. There’s a fingerprint scanner at the back. The smartphone also has a USB Type-C port and packs a 3080mAh non-removable battery.

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One of the most marketed features of the Mi A1 is its cameras. It sports two 12-megapixel sensors at the back, one with a wide-angle lens and f/2.2 aperture, and the other with a telephoto lens and f/2.6 aperture. This is similar to the setup of the flagship Xiaomi Mi 6. Thanks to the telephoto lens, the Mi A1 offers up to 2x optical zoom which is a welcome addition to the feature list at this price. There is a Portrait Mode for bokeh effects, similar to the iPhone 7 Plus (Review) and the OnePlus 5 (Review). The phone also has a 5-megapixel front camera with real-time beautification in the app.

The Mi A1 supports 4G with VoLTE (Voice over LTE) as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Much like many Xiaomi smartphones, the Mi A1 also has an infrared emitter on the top. Xiaomi has added a dedicated headphone amplifier for enhancing audio.

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In terms of software, Xiaomi’s Mi A1 runs pure Android 7.1.2 Nougat which is the most recent Nougat version available for non-Google-branded Android smartphones. Considering that this is an Android One device, Google can be expected to support it with software updates for at least 18 months which means that Android 8.0 Oreo is as good as confirmed. At the launch, a Google representative also revealed that Mi A1 will receive Android P update, when it’s available.

Apart from the Google suite of apps, the Mi A1 also has some software from Xiaomi such as the Mi Remote and Mi Store apps. At least Xiaomi’s fans won’t completely miss out on features seen on other Xiaomi products. The Settings app also has a Mi Services section that can be enabled to send the company diagnostic data about how you use your phone.