Published: Fri, September 08, 2017
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Xiaomi Redmi 5A passes TENAA with 5-inch display and 3GB RAM

Xiaomi Redmi 5A passes TENAA with 5-inch display and 3GB RAM

For starters, the Mi A1 ushers the Android One name into the market Google failed to crack years ago.

Mi A1 offers the purest Android interface with hardly any customisation.

A new Xiaomi smartphone has been spotted on the website of China's TENAA. Lava followed up with another Android One phone - Pixel V1 in 2015, but the device did nothing to revive the Android One platform. The Mi A1 can be charged with the use of USB Type-C adapter, which strays from Xiaomi's previous budget devices. It has a 5.5-inch full HD display with 1,080x1,920 pixels (401 ppi pixel density), a MediaTek Helio X23 processor, and an Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system.

The Mi A1 with its all metal body and dual rear cameras may look remarkably like the iPhone 7 Plus, but, at least it looks good while at it. It packs a 3,000 mAh Battery with Fast Charging. The phone has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (expandable via SD card).

Xiaomi's custom ROM, aka MIUI, although it offers a seamless experience across the board, is known for some heavy skinning on top of Android, something that hard-core geeks don't really appreciate.

The Mi A1 will be available in around 40 markets from around the developing world, including many markets that Xiaomi has not officially entered so far. And capturing object and subjects from a distance is a breeze with the 2X optical zoom and a 10x digital zoom. Xiaomi has outfitted the device with a set of old-school capacitive navigation buttons, and to make things ever weirder, the button order is backward from that seen on most phones.

It's hard to know what Android One stands for anymore. There was very little marketing of the smartphone or any incentives to buy it. Af the below side of the back panel, it also has Android One branding.

Three years later, Google has a lot to be thankful for. But this time, we've a Xiaomi device with stock Android. After all, didn't Sundar Pichai say that $30 (Rs 2,000) is the ideal price point for a smartphone for masses? The company is smart enough to clarify that while the technology that comes equipped in Mi A1 is "created by Xiaomi", Google is the one "powering it".

Xiaomi Mi A1 comes with a 12MP+12MP rear camera setup with a "Portrait mode" in the camera app. The Google Photos is the default gallery for this smartphone and includes the Google Assistant also.

Though the pure Android experience in the Mi A1 is buttery smooth, however, it has a slight inconvenience to it as well.

Xiaomi has also added their own Mi Store, Mi Feedback and Mi Remote apps, that wouldn't have been present in previous iterations of Android One devices. Google would then provide the future Android updates.

Xiaomi is calling the shots and will act as the catalyst for the Android One program. Plus, it has also been claimed that the later copies of the Mi A1 will be made in India, thus making it a Make in India smartphone.

The other smartphones with Android One initiative that were launched in other countries but India are General Mobile 4G, General Mobile 5 Plus, General Mobile 6, Infinix Hot 2 X510, Cherry Mobile One G1, Bq Aquaris A4.5, Sharp S1, Sharp 507SH amongst many.

Xiaomi smartphones are known for their long battery back up and their stylish handset. Moreover, timely patches will ensure the phone's performance doesn't drop down to the brim after a couple of months. A solid, all-round phone that is a pleasure to use is what was needed.

After launching with high expectations in 2014, Android One fizzled out, as it struggled to connect with target customers. There is also dual-SIM support. Of course, they have to because the Mi A1 could well be Xiaomi's flagship smartphone for the Indian market.

Come 12 September, Xiaomi's Mi A1 is going to fly off the retail and virtual shelves.

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