At just over a grand, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is a compelling buy

Xiaomi Mi A1
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In the Android world, there are different implementations of the Android experience. Phone makers tend to inject their own unique flavours into the UI. There’s a whole bunch who prefer the pure stock Android experience though–yes, Android as Google intended. For the first time ever, Xiaomi has ditched its own MIUI for stock Android, as seen in its Android One-powered Mi A1. The affordable mid-ranger is now in Malaysia.

After a week of pre-orders via the Mi Official Store at Lazada Malaysia, the Mi A1 officially went on sale on 21 September 2017.

It’s easy to see why the Mi A1 is such a great buy. It’s an all-rounder that looks good, packs rock-solid hardware, runs stock Android and the icing on the cake… the spot-on price tag.

OK, so it’s a Mi 5X under a different skin, but that isn’t a bad thing.

The all-metal design, available in Black and Gold, is pleasant if a little familiar.

It rocks a 5.5-inch Full HD display and it gets its power from one of my favourite mid-range chips–the Snapdragon 625. The power-efficient octa-core processor is mated to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage.

If you find the built-in storage inadequate, go ahead and add more via microSD.

Following the trend of multiple rear camera setups, the Mi A1 boasts a 12MP dual-camera setup that consists of a telephoto and a wide-angle lens. The telephoto is capable of 2x optical zoom.

If you love audio, like me, then you’ll love that the device has high quality audio support with its DHS audio algorithm. It isn’t Hi-Res Audio certified, but certainly better than run-of-the-mill smartphones.

Keeping the device juiced is a 3,080mAh battery. OK, so it isn’t as big as it should be, but it’s still claimed to deliver all-day battery life. With the frugal Snapdragon 625 and stock Android, I say it’s definitely achievable.

On the subject of stock Android, it means a couple of things. Firstly, it will run fast and as responsive as Android should be. With no fancy UI layers slowing it down, expect top notch performance.

Also, you’ll find zero bloatware and it will be one of the first devices to receive Android updates. That also means Android Oreo will be on the radar soon.

Pricing and availability

The Mi A1 is available now for MYR1,099. Purchase online at the Mi Online Store on Lazada Malaysia. Or you can walk in to the Mi Premium Reseller Store at Queensbay Mall Penang, Mobile to Go at SS2 Petaling Jaya, or at all Direct D outlets.

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