A decent successor to the well known Mi A1
Following the success of its previous Android One device, the MI A1, Xiaomi release the latest MI A2 with improved camera, display and processor. With Android One project, the software on the device is pure stock and will be upgraded to new versions much faster as compared to the other Xiaomi devices. However, there are some downgrades too like an average display and battery and the absence of the headphone jack.
Let’s take a look forward at the complete review of MI A2.
Great Camera- MI A2 comes with a new and updated dual camera module which is capable of capturing some great images outmatching most of its competition. Also, the front camera is upgraded too, and now supports the portrait mode.
Stock Android- One of the perks of owning the A series device is the stock Android software. MI A2 comes with stock Android Oreo 8.1 and will be surely updated to the latest Android Pie soon.
Great Performance- With Snapdragon 660 under the hood, A2 outmatches its competition with enough power to easily handle even the heavy tasks like gaming, multitasking etc. The device doesn’t get hot either under heavy load which is impressive.
Fast Charging- MI A2 comes with support for Quick charge tech which means it is not going to take too long to reach from zero to full. A quick charge before you out will do the job.
No Wireless Charging- There is no wireless charging support on this device due to the metal back. Hence, for people specifically looking for a wireless charging device, MI A2 isn’t the one for you.
Same Old Design- MI is using the same old design with the A2. This design can be seen on pervious Xiaomi devices like the Redmi 5, Redmi Note 5 etc.
Average Speaker-The speaker on the device feels pretty average as the audio lacks the bass, although, it is in no way a bad speaker.
No Expandable Storage-MI A2 doesn’t support expandable storage which means you will be limited with the amount of storage available onboard. However, there are two storage options: 64GB and 128GB, hence, storage isn’t going to be an issue.
No IP Rating-The A2 doesn’t comes with an IP rating which means it isn’t dust and water resistance. Hence, take precaution while using the device near swimming pools or outdoor during a rainy season.
Xiaomi did nothing new with the design as previous Xiaomi smartphones had the same look and feel. Although, the design of the A2 is surely an upgrade over its predecessor. The new and upgraded 18:9 display and new color options is what makes it different from the MI A1. As seen on the Redmi 5 or the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the body is made out of aluminum which provides durability. Although, the device is made out of aluminum, it is quite lighter when compared to the Poco F1 which is made out of poly-carbonate
Being specific, the MI A2 weighs 166 grams and is 7.3 mm in thickness which is impressively thin. Although there is a noticeable camera hump on the back but it can be covered using a back case which comes within the box. The A2 comes in 5 color variants which are Gold, Blue, Rose Gold, Red, and Black.
MI A1 houses a big 18:9 display on the front along with the front camera, earpiece, proximity sensor and the ambient light sensor. There are no capacitive keys on the front. Moving to the right, there are volume key and the power key and on the left, it has a Dual SIM tray which doesn’t support Micro SD card. On the top, there is an IR Emitter and a noise cancellation microphone. At the bottom, there is a Type-C charging port along with a speaker and a microphone, unfortunately there is no headphone jack this time around.
Moving to the back, there is a primary camera module which looks quite similar to the camera on the iPhone X. Also, there is a fingerprint scanner on the back placed accurately where the finger resides. Overall, the device is well built and solid enough to handle some drops but remember there is no dust on water resistance on this device.
Ditching the 16:9 configuration of the old A1, the MI A2 sports aj 18:9 display, what Xiaomi is using in its last couple of devices. Nevertheless, it is a decent 5.99 inch IPS LCD panel with a screen resolution of 1080 x 2160 and a pixel density of 403 pixels per inch. There is Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection used on the display to protect it from scratches.
Although, the display look an upgrade over the previous model on the specs but it isn’t so. For starters, the color contrast on the display is lower due to which the colors appears dull on the display. Secondly, the maximum brightness of the display which is 420 nits makes it difficult to use the device under direct sunlight. However, the display is quite OKAY for a general user and have no Widevine L1 issue like the Poco F1, which means in can stream video in HD quality over services like the Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.
For daily usage, the display is pretty sharp and watching movies or stuff becomes quite enjoyable when the device is away from direct sunlight.
MI A2 isn’t a budget device which suffers under heavy workload instead it can handle most of the heavy tasks without breaking a sweat. With Snapdragon 660 inside, which is a 64 Bit Octa-core processor clocked @ 2.2 GHz and Adreno 512 GPU which is clocked @ 850 MHz it can handle long gaming sessions with ease.
App like Whatsapp, Facebook, Snapseed etc have no issues running on this device. Even the heavy games like Pubg, Asphalt 9 runs smoothly on the MI A2 without any issue. With very few device having Snapdragon 660 inside within the same price category, Xiaomi MI A2 outperforms most of the competition becoming the best performing device in its segment.
MI A2 based on the storage and memory comes in 3 different variant : 32GB/4GB, 64GB/4GB and 128GB/6GB. There is no expandable storage so the user will only be limited to the onboard storage capacity. Talking about multitasking, there are no issues unless there are multiple heavy apps running at the same time at which point apps start running out of memory but that’s no going to happen on the 6GB variant.
One of the best thing about the MI A2 is the stock Android experience. There is no bloatware preinstalled on the device like the MIUI custom ROM by Xiaomi. There overall experience is pretty smooth as app open and closes much faster and the updates are quicker too. Also, A2 is one of the devices which will surely receive Android Pie update.
The camera on the Xiaomi MI A2 is an improvement over the last years MI A1. Ditching the 12 MP Depth sensor, Xiaomi has gone for a 20 MP sensor for better low light performance. Hence the new camera configuration includes a 12 Megapixel f/1.8 primary sensor along with a 20 Megapixels f/1.8 sensor. The camera app on the A2 isn’t the stock one, it uses the Xiaomi’s own camera app which includes features like Portrait images, HDR, Panorama etc.
The camera app also support manual mode which gives advanced control to the user on the factors like Focus, ISO, White Balance, shutter speed etc. Talking about the quality, the camera performs really well under any lighting situation. The images which are captured contains just the right amount of saturation and dynamic range which looks pleasant to the eyes. Portrait mode look great too just like on the previous gen model. However, there is no 2x optical zoom this time around and utilizes the software to digitally zoom in the image. It can also record videos in 4K @ 30fps and uses EIS for video stability while recording.
For selfies, there is a 20 Megapixel f/2.2 sensor which captures amazing selfies. MI A2 also provides portrait mode functionality on the front camera through software. The images quality is the best in the segment and the front sensor can also record 1080p videos @ 30fps.
Xiaomi MI A2 uses a decent 3000 mAh battery which is 80 mAh less than the predecessor. Just like that, the battery life isn’t great either. It has a pretty average battery life and will only last a day with medium to heavy usage. That roughly evaluates to 3 to 4 hours of screen-on-time. While the other aspects of the device looks awesome, we are still unable to reason out why Xiaomi used such an average battery.
Although the battery capacity is average, Xiaomi included Quick charge support to recharge the battery much faster than an ordinary charger. However, the irony is that you have to buy the Quick charge certified adapter to utilize this functionality. The charger which comes in the box takes around 2 hours to completely charge from zero to full which is again quite average.
MI A2 supports Dual SIM with Dual Standby functionality. It doesn’t use the hybrid SIM slot which means the second slot can not be used for memory expansion. Both the slots support LTE and the reception on both the ends is loud and clear. Other basic connectivity features includes Bluetooth v5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and A-GPS.
MI A2 supports quite a number of sensors including Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity sensor, Ambient Light sensor, Accelerometer, and rear mounted Fingerprint scanner. There is no NFC support which can be trouble for some, although unlike the Poco F1, it does comes with an IR emitter which means it can be used to control electronic device like TV, AC or any device which is controlled by an IR remote.
There is a fingerprint scanner on the back which is placed in the exact position where the finger naturally lands while picking up the device. Also, the scanner unlock the device pretty quickly and detects the finger almost every time thus making it a reliable way to unlock the device.
MI A2 comes with a single down firing speaker which is quite loud. There is very small distortion even at the max volumes and there is pleasant amount of bass which makes listening to songs really enjoyable. However, there is still no stereo audio for which fans are really waiting for a long time. Xiaomi also moved away from the headphone jack which means you have to use either Type-C earphones or a Bluetooth one.
Xiaomi MI A2 might not be a perfect upgrade over the A1 but it sure is a decent smartphone for the price. It comes with quite a nice display and a powerful processor which can handle basic to heavy tasks without any struggle. There is no trouble with multitasking unless you try to switch between heavy apps at which point the 4GB version may slow down.
The cameras on the device are great and capture some great shots even in the low light condition. It comes with stock Android which feels really smooth while navigating through the UI. Also, it will be upgraded to the latest version soon. One of the major downside here is the absence of the headphone jack so you have to invest extra couple of bucks for new wireless earphones. The battery life isn’t great either as you can only get through a single day on one full charge. Xiaomi MI A2 is one good device for a price tag of around $240.
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