If you had MYR1,000 to spend and you like a pure stock Android experience, there’s really only one phone to consider at the moment—Xiaomi’s latest Mi A3. The third generation Android One-powered device is a rock solid upgrade, now backed by official blow-your-socks-off pricing. Starting from MYR899, the Mi A3 will hit Malaysian retail channels from 3 August 2019 onwards.
Building on the success of the Mi A1 and Mi A2, naturally, you’d expect some iterative upgrades with the new offering. IMHO though, it’s a mish-mash of upgrade, a touch of pizzaz, listening to customer wants, and one step back. I’ll elaborate.
Aesthetic-wise, I think the Mi A3 is a huge step up from its predecessors. Well, it’s identical to the Mi CC9, which means a beautiful gradient glass back protected by Gorilla Glass 5. It’s hard to believe this thing costs under MYR1,000.
Xiaomi also went a little cheekier in naming the colourways, obviously inspired by the Google Pixel—Kind of Grey, Not Just Blue and the show stealer More than White.
Xiaomi learned from the shortcomings of the Mi A2, and listened to feedback from its customers. There were basically three core things customers wanted in the Mi A3—bigger battery, headphone jack, in-display fingerprint sensor.
And so, the Chinese tech giant listened and heeded.
The Mi A3 gets a bumped up 4,030mAh battery that supports fast charging via USB-C. It supports 18W fast charging although the Mi A3 comes bundled with a standard 10W charger in the box.
Xiaomi put back the 3.5mm headphone jack that it removed in the Mi A2, complementing the infrared blaster on the top of the device.
It’s quite awesome that the Mi A3 now includes an in-display fingerprint scanner, something you don’t see at this price point. Xiaomi says it’s an improved, quicker version too, so that’s a plus for Mi A3 users.
Depending on how you look at it, the biggest drawback of the Mi A3 is with the display. I was personally disappointed to hear that the 6.088-inch Dot Drop display comes with HD+ resolution, despite Xiaomi arguing that they’ve upgraded the panel from LCD to an AMOLED—a Samsung pentile display to be exact. Crisper, brighter? Just as the saying goes in car-speak, “There’s no replacement for displacement,” there’s not replacement for pixel density in terms of display.
Still, it’s an “upgrade.”
Moving on, the Mi A3 gets a slightly uprated Snapdragon 665 processor, and comes with 4GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. There’s microSD expansion via a hybrid SIM slot.
Optics-wise, the rear sports a familiar tri-camera setup: 48MP f/1.79 main shooter, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera and a 2MP depth camera. Meanwhile, on the front is a 32MP shooter enhanced by AI.
The device runs Android One based on Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box.
Pricing and availability
The Mi A3 comes in two configurations: 4GB RAM + 64GB storage and 4GB RAM + 128GB storage retailing at MYR899 and MYR999 respectively.