Xiaomi Mi A1 (5X)
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Xiaomi Mi A1 (5X) Review
The 3-Minute Xiaomi Mi A1 Review
A budget phone that's worth a look.
By Zach Riley | November 23, 2017
Features & Design: 3.5/5 ● Performance: 4/5 ● Value: 4.5/5
The Xiaomi Mi A1 is a well-built mid-range phone that gives you great performance, easy-to-use software, and a nice display at a very reasonable price.
One of the main issues with the Xiaomi Mi A1 is its limited availability. It can be seriously hard to find. The camera also leaves a lot to be desired and the design, while very nice, doesn’t stand out or impress in any way.
Is it for you?
If you’re on a budget and searching for a nice-looking phone that is easy to use and will give you solid performance, the Xiaomi Mi A1 could be exactly what you’re looking for. It has a premium-like design, fast performance, and a nice screen without the price tag you’d expect. For those on a budget, the fantastic price-to-performance ratio makes the Mi A1 a phone that's worth taking a look at.
“As long as you’re not expecting the performance of an iPhone X or Galaxy Note 8, you’ll probably be more than happy with what you’ll get from the Mi A1.”
Meet the Xiaomi Mi A1
A few years ago, Google introduced their “Android One” program. Their goal was to make smartphones accessible to more people by creating high-quality phones that could be sold at affordable prices. In the beginning, Google had strict restrictions for these phones. The result was a series of devices that failed to get any attention.
Now, Google is back. They’ve partnered with Xiaomi to design the Mi A1. Like the other new members of the Android One family, the Moto X4 and HTC U11 Life, the Mi A1 is mid-range phone rather than an entry-level phone. The Mi A1 is marketed as a phone that is “created by Xiaomi and powered by Google.” That means that Xiaomi’s own version of Android is gone (which, for many, is a good thing). With Google's more relaxed program restrictions, the Mi A1 looks to be the first of many intriguing Android One phones.
What we like
The Xiaomi Mi A1 is a solid phone. That said, one of the biggest factors that makes it such a good buy is its extremely affordable price. While none of the phone’s features really stand out when you compare them to higher-end competitors, it’s still clear that the Mi A1 gives you excellent performance and value for its price.
With that said, this phone is more than your average budget phone. It has a solid, high-quality build that is comfortable in your hand. It really feels like a device that’s much more expensive. The display, while not without its flaws, is vibrant and crisp. The phone also has some pretty serious hardware that makes it more than capable of handling everything but the most demanding apps.
Since this phone is part of the Android One program, Xiaomi has ditched their usual operating system in favour of regular, unmodified Android software. While some smartphone makers have succeeded with their own operating systems, Xiaomi’s custom software is seen as more of a drawback than a benefit. So, the fact that you get Google’s software is a big plus.
What we don’t like
In general, the phone is great for the price. However, budget phones always have to cut corners somewhere. To start, the camera is unremarkable. The Xiaomi Mi A1’s photo quality is noticeably worse when you compare it to more expensive phones. As the Xiaomi Mi A1 is largely aimed towards developing markets, it’s not widely available in other countries. That said, it shouldn’t be too hard to find it through resellers.
While the phone feels nice and seems to be well constructed, it also looks like a generic Android phone. Xiaomi didn’t have to reinvent the wheel when it came to developing this phone. So, a push to make the Mi A1 stand out from the crowd a bit more would have been nice. Even more so once you consider that it’s competing in a market with a ton of competition.
Should you buy it?
If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly Android phone that will still give you solid performance, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is worth a look. The phone’s high-quality construction, good performance, and nice screen combined with Google’s easy-to-use software make it a respectable mid-range phone that you can pick up at a very reasonable price. As long as you’re not expecting the performance of an iPhone X or Galaxy Note 8, you’ll probably be more than happy with what you’ll get from the Mi A1.
Check out the product video:
About the Author / Zach Riley
Zach Riley is a tech author who's combined a love of gadgets with a love of writing.
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- The Xiaomi Mi A1 (5X) is manufactured by Xiaomi and was added in September 2017 in the Smartphones section
- This product has a rating of 4.0 out of 5
- The best price of the Xiaomi Mi A1 (5X) in Canada is $231.30 at TomTop
- In Canada this product is available in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa-Gatineau
- You can find this product at S World Electronics, TomTop