REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi A1 - the most affordable Android One smartphone in Pakistan

07:25 PM | 7 Feb, 2018
REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi A1 - the most affordable Android One smartphone in Pakistan
Xiaomi Mi A1 is an ideal smartphone to consider if you are looking for a device which delivers smooth stock-Android experience with no proprietary apps, no software-based sluggishness, and a bright camera - within a reasonable price in Pakistan.

Xiaomi Mi A1 key features

  • Body: Aluminum unibody design

  • Screen: 5.5" IPS LCD display, 1080p resolution, 403ppi

  • OS: Android OS v7.1.2 Nougat, Oreo coming soon

  • Chipset: Snapdragon 625 chipset: octa-core 2.0GHz Cortex-A53 processor; Adreno 506 GPU

  • RAM: 4GB

  • Camera: Dual 12MP camera; wide-angle F/2.2 + telephoto F/2.6, live bokeh effects, dual-LED flash, phase detection auto focus, 2160p@30fps video;

  • Front Facing Camera: 5MP front-facing camera with 1080p@30fps video

  • Storage: 64GB of built-in storage

  • SIM: Dual-SIM (nano-SIM)

  • Connectivity: LTE; Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, Bluetooth v4.2, USB-C port, IR blaster

  • Battery: 3,080mAh non-removable battery

  • Misc: Fingerprint sensor (rear-mounted)


Mi A1 looks identical to other Xiaomi smartphones in terms of design and offers a premium metallic feel and looks solid in construction. At 7.3mm, it is still quite slim. Its 165-gram weight feels great in the hand.

On the front of the device, there is a 5.5-inch, FHD LCD screen. The top bezel is home to the front-facing camera and earpiece, while the bottom bezel features three illuminated capacitive buttons for the Android commands Menu, Home, and Back.

The rear of the phone features a super-fast and very reliable fingerprint scanner, as well as a dual 12-megapixel camera setup with an LED flash that’s located quite close to the edge of the phone.

The left-hand edge is home to a nano-SIM tray (which can accept two SIMs or one SIM and a microSD card) while on the opposite side you can find the power and volume rocker. On the bottom, there’s a USB Type-C port, a single speaker, and a 3.5mm headphone socket. Along the top edge are a noise-canceling speaker and an IR blaster. Unfortunately, this device doesn’t offer water-resistance.


Mi A1 equipped with 5.5 inch LTP IPS display which gives 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution and, 16:9 ratio with 2.5D curved glass at the top. The Full HD display delivers crisp visuals and excellent contrast, with a pixel density of 403 402 PPI (Pixels per inch) density.

The Mi A1’s 1080p screen is reasonably bright, but it looks slightly washed out when compared to some of the better AMOLED and LCD panels on the market. Contrast is also quite poor, with blacks looking slightly weedy, plus legibility in direct sunlight isn’t brilliant.


The Mi A1 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 chipset which has been built on a 14nm manufacturing process, Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53, Adreno 506 GPU and, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage and 3080 mAh non-removable battery.


Xiaomi Mi A1 has 12MP dual-camera and lacks OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and has slower lenses. The regular wide-angle camera has a 12MP sensor with 26mm f/2.2 lens and 1.25µm pixels. The 12MP telephoto sensor's specs sound familiar - 1µm pixels and 50mm f/2.6 lens - close to what Apple used for the iPhone 7 Plus telephoto cam.

The Mi A1 uses Xiaomi's proprietary camera app. Its interface is fairly simple and features toggles for HDR, Portrait Mode, and flash on the left, and 2x telephoto and the video camera on the right.

There are 17 filters available with live previews. The camera also offers a number of different shooting modes - Panorama, Timer, Audio, Straighten, Manual, Beautify, Group Shot, Tilt-Shift, and Night (HHT) as well as the camera settings. The Manual mode lets you tweak ISO (100-3200), exposure time (up to 1/15s), white balance, and focus.

In ideal lighting conditions, the camera on the Mi A1 manages to take some really good portrait shots with natural looking colors. Most shots had clearly defined edges and just the right blurring. In a few cases, it overdid the blurring, though. The landscape shots were also impressive and offered accurate color reproduction and good sharpness.

The 5 MP front camera takes quite good selfies and with face detection, it locks on to your face in a snap. The details are fairly impressive in good lighting conditions, though it cannot be compared to some other smartphones in the market with a special focus on front camera optics.


Mi A1 runs on the stock-Android OS that ensures the best Android experience with fast updates and a smooth user-interface and it does not come with Xiaomi’s MIUI which is why Xiaomi’s several software-based features are missing.

The included launcher is a hybrid between the AOSP and Google Now/Pixel launchers. There's a rounded search bar at the top of the first home screen, and swiping left reveals the Google Feed. Swiping up on the dock reveals all your installed apps, with a search available at the top.


Xiaomi Mi A1 is available for Rs29,900 in Pakistan and available in 3 colours Black, Gold and Rose Gold.

Final verdict

The Mi A1 is one of the most affordable smartphones in the upper midrange. It offers great dual-camera experience on the cheap and that can't be matched by any reputable maker.

The phone is pretty solid and well-rounded package. The capable innards are housed in a premium metallic chassis that looks great. In the daylight, the dual cameras shine, and its portraits alone merit a much higher price.

It’s difficult to criticize the Mi A1 given its impressive affordability, but we would have liked to see a more original design and better low-light camera performance nonetheless.

Android One or not, the Mi A1 is a very capable device. Getting a stock Android experience with guaranteed updates, with essentially future-proof device, just sweetens the deal.

The writer is a member of the staff. He can be accessed on Twitter @iamnozair


Currency Rates in Pakistan - Pakistani Rupee to US Dollar, Euro, Dirham, Riyal 13 June 2024

Pakistani currency rates against US Dollar and other currencies on June 13, 2024 (Thursday) in open market.

USD to PKR Rate Today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.6 for buying and 280.65 for selling.

Euro's buying rate stands at 296 and selling rate is 299 while British Pound rate is 350.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75 and Saudi Riyal at 75.9.

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 08:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.6 280.65
Euro EUR 296 299
UK Pound Sterling GBP 350.5 353
U.A.E Dirham AED 75 75.9
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.1 73.85
Australian Dollar AUD 182 184
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.88 748.88
Canadian Dollar CAD 204 206
China Yuan CNY 38.38 38.78
Danish Krone DKK 40.14 40.54
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.66 36.01
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.91 1.99
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 908.19 917.19
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 59.3 59.9
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.79 172.79
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.97 26.27
Omani Riyal OMR 723.52 731.52
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.42 77.12
Singapore Dollar SGD 203.5 205.5
Swedish Korona SEK 26.4 26.7
Swiss Franc CHF 309.94 312.44
Thai Bhat THB 7.56 7.71


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