Xiaomi Mi A2 first impressions: tailor-made for fans of stock Android

Mi A2 1

We’ve got to hand it to Xiaomi for giving a new lease of life to Android One with the launch of the Mi A1. Evidently, the Mi A1 was riddled with a lot of issues as far as software updates were concerned. But looking past that for now, let’s concentrate on the Mi A2, which is incidentally launching in India on August 8. 

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The new Mi A2 is – in every sense – a full-blown upgrade to the Mi A1. It has improved internal specs, better cameras, a modern design, and much more. 

What follows are my first impressions of the Mi A2. You can expect our full review and comparisons on the day of the launch. 

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Xiaomi Mi A2: tweaked design to accommodate a modern display panel

On the outset, the Mi A2 looks very similar to Xiaomi’s very own Redmi Note 5 Pro (review). But, there are subtle differences. For one, the Mi A2’s metal body is slimmer and much lighter than the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Also, the subtly curved edges on the rear make the phone easier to hold. But since the Mi A2 has to accommodate two large sensors attached to big aperture lenses on the rear, the module juts out prominently. It might be annoying to some but those who want a good camera performance will probably take the tradeoff. The fingerprint reader is also placed on the rear. There is no face unlock on the Mi A2, which is common for most stock Android phones. 

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The phone has a USB Type-C port at the bottom and it is flanked on either side by grilles. But only the grille on the right side emits sound. The left one is there just for show. The SIM card tray sits on the right edge. The tray has two slots for two Nano SIM cards. There’s an infrared sensor on the top, as is common with all the Xiaomi phones. 

And yes, Xiaomi has killed the 3.5mm jack. I know a lot of audiophiles probably hate this decision. But don’t worry, Xiaomi has bundled a USB Type-C to 3.5mm jack dongle in the box. And, Xiaomi confirms that the amp from the Mi A1 has been retained, so you can expect the same sound quality.

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Compared to the Mi A1, this phone is a starkly different in design because of the 18:9 aspect ratio display on the front. This 5.99-inch screen uses the IPS LCD tech. I shall delve into the quality of the display panel in my full review of the phone. 

Xiaomi Mi A2: gunning for glory with its cameras

Evidently, Xiaomi’s big push with the Mi A2 are the cameras. The company spent an inordinate amount of time at the global launch highlighting the new sensors, lenses, and features. Honestly, I didn’t mind it and I am excited to actually put the camera through its paces. 

 

 

Let’s take a look at the camera specs and spend some time on it. On the rear, you get a 12MP primary camera that uses an IMX486 sensor. Interestingly, the primary camera is the one on the bottom. The one on the top is the secondary 20MP IMX 376 sensor. Both the cameras come individually attached with a f/1.75 aperture lenses. 

What’s the purpose of the secondary camera on the rear? Firstly, the secondary 20MP camera will be used for better Portrait shots. And secondly, it will be used in low light situations. In fact, you can switch between the sensors using the Manual mode. The secondary camera is being used in low light situations because using pixel binning, Xiaomi converts the 1-micron pixel sensor into a 2-micron pixel size. This means you can capture more light. In comparison, the 12MP primary camera has a 1.25-micron sensor. 

Xiaomi Mi A2: stock Android Oreo will never get boring

Internally, the phone is powered by a Snapdragon 660 SoC. Our unit has four gigs of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The phone also has a 3000mAh battery, which might be small for this price range. Also, only the Indian variant of the Mi A2 comes with Quick Charge 4.0. Evidently, you need to buy a compatible charger separately. 

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The phone runs on stock Android Oreo under the Android One Program and I am not going to talk much about it. It is pretty damn awesome as we all know it. It might not be as feature rich but the enthusiasts love stock Android. Also, it is tuned really well to function fast. At least in my limited time, I must say that the Mi A2 was pretty snappy.

Xiaomi Mi A2: closing thoughts

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The Mi A2 improves upon the Mi A1 by leaps and bounds. I already like the phone in the limited time I have spent with it. And, if it is priced under Rs 20,000, the likes of the Nokia 7 Plus (review) should be worried. 

Do let us know in the comments section below what you think of the Mi A2. 

Ershad Kaleebullah

When Ershad isn't writing, he spends time killing virtual zombies on his PS4. Having worked with a slew of renowned publications like PCWorld, Channelworld, CIO, NDTV Gadgets (now Gadgets360), MySmartPrice, The Inquistr, and 91Mobiles, Ershad brings a whole world of experience to Mr. Phone. He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?