Xiaomi Mi A1 review: Best of both worlds

The Mi A1 is Xiaomi’s best budget phone yet.

Of the hundreds of phones sold in the budget segment every year, a mere handful of devices stand out: the Moto G series, for instance, along with the likes of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note phones, Lenovo’s K series, and Honor’s budget devices.

In 2017, that list is dominated by Xiaomi’s phones. The Redmi Note 4 continues to be one of the best devices in the sub-₹15,000 segment seven months after its launch, and the Redmi 4 and Redmi 4A offer excellent bang for your buck in the sub-₹10,000 tier. Then there’s the Mi Max 2, which for ₹16,999 offers a large 6.44-inch display backed by a gorgeous aluminum unibody design.

Xiaomi’s aggressive positioning in the budget segment allowed the brand to catapult up the rankings, with the manufacturer now the second-largest phone vendor in India. The Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4 are two of the best-selling phones in the country this year, and with its latest phone, Xiaomi is set to consolidate its position in this category.

The Mi A1 is a great phone in its own right, but Xiaomi’s decision to partner with Google to deliver stock Android makes it a much more compelling option. A small but vocal minority of Xiaomi fans have been clamoring for a device with clean Android for some time now, and with the Mi A1, the brand has delivered just that.

Read on to find out why the Mi A1 is the best budget phone you can currently buy in India.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

About this review

I (Harish Jonnalagadda) am writing this review after using the Mi A1 for two weeks in Hyderabad, India on Airtel’s 4G network. The phone runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the box along with the August 1, 2017 security patch. The unit was provided to Android Central for review by Xiaomi India.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Specs

Category Spec
Operating System Android 7.1.2 Nougat
Display 5.5-inch IPS LCD 1920 x 1080 (403ppi)
Gorilla Glass, 2.5D curved glass
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
2.0GHz octa-core Cortex A53
14nm FinFET
GPU Adreno 506
RAM 4GB
Storage 64GB
Expandable Yes, up to 128GB
Battery 3080mAh
Charging USB-C
Rear Camera 1 12MP wide-angle (OmniVision OV12A10) f/2.2, 1.25-micron pixels
Dual tone flash, PDAF
4K@30FPS
Rear Camera 2 12MP telephoto (OmniVision OV13880) f/2.6, 1.1-micron pixels
Front Camera 5MP
1080p video
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.2
IR blaster, 3.5mm jack
GPS/AGPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
Audio 3.5mm headphone jack
Dedicated amplifier
Security One-touch fingerprint sensor at the back
SIM Dual SIM slot (hybrid slot)
Dimensions 155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3mm
165g
Colors Black, Gold, Rose Gold

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

Xiaomi Mi A1 Hardware

The Mi A1 is a rebranded variant of the Mi 5X, which sports an all-metal chassis with antenna lines at the top and bottom. There’s a clear difference in the design language between the Redmi series and phones in the Mi lineup, with the latter featuring a more refined aesthetic. As a result, the Mi A1 makes recent devices like the Redmi Note 4 look outdated.

The clean lines combined with the aluminum chassis gives the Mi A1 a premium look, and the build quality is outstanding. The phone comes with a 3.5mm jack, and unlike the Redmi Note 4, there’s a USB-C charging port at the bottom. The power and volume buttons at the back provide a decent amount of tactile feedback, and there’s an IR blaster located up top.

The back of the device is where things get interesting, with the Mi A1 sporting a dual camera setup. The configuration is the same as that of the Mi 6 — a primary sensor augmented by a secondary telephoto lens — but Xiaomi is using different imaging sensors.

The positioning of the dual camera to the top left corner coupled with Xiaomi’s decision to tuck the antenna bands at the top and bottom of the device means the Mi A1 has more than a passing resemblance to the OnePlus 5. There is a Mi logo and Android One signage at the bottom of the phone to inform the world that it isn’t in fact a OnePlus 5, and the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor also makes that abundantly clear.

The Mi A1 is Xiaomi’s best-looking phone in the budget segment thus far.

The fingerprint sensor is conveniently located such that your finger automatically rests on it, and it had no issues authenticating my fingerprints.

Switching over to the front, the first thing you notice is the bezels at the top and bottom, and if you’re picking up the gold color option, you’ll get a white front plate. The side bezels are narrow, which makes it easier to hold the phone, and the back button is in the wrong position for a phone running stock Android.

Xiaomi has a long history of offering decent LCD panels in its phones, and the situation is no different with the Mi A1. The 5.5-inch Full HD screen is one of the best in this segment, with excellent colors and viewing angles. The panel gets sufficiently bright that it isn’t an issue to view the contents on the screen under harsh sunlight.

Coming over to the hardware side of things, the Snapdragon 625 paired with stock Android makes the Mi A1 absolutely fly. You’re not going to notice any slowdowns or lags in everyday usage. It’s astonishing just how fluid the phone is at day-to-day tasks, whether it’s switching between apps, quickly launching the camera, or playing visually intensive games.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

Battery life

Battery life on the Mi A1 is excellent. I was initially worried that the 3080mAh battery wouldn’t last a day, but I consistently got a day and a half’s worth of usage out of the battery.

Even on days when I was on cellular data throughout, I managed to get up to four hours of screen-on-time and overall battery life exceeding 20 hours. To put that into context, that’s nearly double what I averaged on the Pixel XL in similar conditions.

The one downside is the lack of a fast charging option. The Mi A1 tops out at 5V/2A, and it takes nearly two hours to fully charge the phone.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Nougat

Software

The software is what sets the Mi A1 apart from every other Xiaomi phone in the market today. The Chinese manufacturer teamed up with Google to offer the Mi A1 as a part of the Android One initiative, which means that for the first time, we’re getting to see a Xiaomi phone with stock Android.

Google’s first attempt with Android One failed miserably due to a combination of several factors. The phones were underwhelming and didn’t stand out in the entry-level segment where they were positioned, and Google didn’t do enough to advertize them to the masses. By partnering with Xiaomi, it is addressing those setbacks: the Mi A1 is one of the best-looking phones in the budget segment, and Xiaomi utterly dominates the mind share in markets like India, which ensures the phone gets plenty of visibility.

The software experience on the Mi A1 is on par with the Pixels and Nexus devices.

As for the software experience itself, it is in line with what you’d get on a Pixel or Nexus device. There’s a swipe up gesture to access the app drawer, Google Now occupies the left-most pane, and all interface elements are unchanged from stock Android.

The phone runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the box, and has the August 1, 2017 security patch. You get all the features built into Nougat, including split-screen multitasking, in-line notification replies, app shortcuts, granular controls for Do Not Disturb, and more. Then there’s the ability to pull down the notification shade by swiping down on the fingerprint sensor, à la Pixel. There’s also a gesture to quickly launch the camera by double pressing the power button.

Overall, it’s a refreshing change to use a Xiaomi phone with stock Android. MIUI certainly has a lot to offer, but purists looking for an uncluttered experience finally have a device they can call their own.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

Software updates

The only unknown when it comes to the software side of things is the update situation. Previous Android One devices have received updates directly from Google, but that will not be the case with the Mi A1. As the phone features a dual camera setup, Xiaomi has bundled its own Mi camera app instead of Google Camera. Xiaomi also pre-installed the Mi Remote app, which lets you use the IR blaster to control your TV, air con, or set-top box.

As a result of these additions, Xiaomi will be in charge of software updates for the Mi A1. The brand is committing to quick updates, and Google has stated that the phone will receive Oreo before the end of the year. Furthermore, the Mi A1 will be one of the first devices to pick up the Android P update next year.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

Camera

The Mi A1 has two 12MP cameras at the back: the first is a wide-angle lens with 1.25-micron pixels and f/2.2, and the latter is a telephoto f/2.6 lens with 1.1-micron pixels that offers 2x optical zoom. The tagline for the Mi A1 is, “Flagship dual camera,” with Xiaomi alluding to the fact that the phone has the same camera configuration as the Mi 6.

Although Xiaomi is using different imaging sensors, the image quality you get with the Mi A1 is on par with that of the Mi 6, at least in daylight conditions.

Xiaomi Mi 6 cameraXiaomi Mi A1 camera

Mi 6 on the left, Mi A1 to the right.

Xiaomi Mi 6 cameraXiaomi Mi A1 camera

Xiaomi Mi 6 cameraXiaomi Mi A1 camera

Xiaomi Mi 6 cameraXiaomi Mi A1 camera

The Mi A1 managed to hold its own next to the Mi 6, and the phone outdid its costlier sibling in a few scenarios. That said, the Mi 6 is currently on a beta MIUI build whereas the Mi A1 is running a stable version of Android 7.1.2 Nougat.

The camera app itself should be immediately familiar if you’ve used a Xiaomi phone in the past. You get toggles for filters and easy access to various shooting modes, which include panorama, tilt shift, a square mode for Instagram, and others. There’s also a toggle for enabling the watermark, with resulting images featuring a “Shot on Mi A1” watermark in the bottom left corner.

Other options include the ability to switch between the primary imaging sensor and the telephoto lens via the 2x button, toggles for HDR, flash, portrait mode, switching between photo and video modes and the front and rear cameras. And yes, it still tries to guess your gender and age when you’re taking selfies.

Portrait Mode works in a similar fashion to what we’ve seen on the Mi 6, with the camera blurring out the background to put the subject in focus. The mode needs plenty of lighting to work, and while the camera does a decent job in terms of blurring the background, it has a tough time delineating the edges.

Photos shot in daylight have plenty of detail, but those taken in low-light conditions tend to be very noisy. The 5MP front shooter is similarly decent for taking selfies. The camera on the Mi A1 isn’t groundbreaking, but it is plenty capable considering the price point the device is targeting.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

Xiaomi Mi A1 Bottom line

Xiaomi seems particularly intent on building out market share, and to that effect the brand has priced the Mi A1 very aggressively. The ₹14,999 price is astounding when you consider what’s on offer with the device: sleek design, great display, clean software experience, dual cameras, and all-day battery life.

The software experience in particular is the standout feature of the Mi A1. One of the main reasons for Motorola’s success in this segment was because of its reliance on an uncluttered user interface, and by teaming up with Google, Xiaomi is able to offer a similar experience to its customers.

Should you buy it? Without a doubt

The Mi A1 is the most uncompromising phone in the budget segment today. We’ve seen some great devices debuting in the market this year, notably the Redmi Note 4 and the Moto G5 Plus, and as an overall package, the Mi A1 handily beats both devices. For ₹14,999 you’ll be hard-pressed to find a phone that offers quite as much for your money.

Xiaomi is once again leveraging its flash sales model for the Mi A1, which means that you won’t be able to go to Mi.com and purchase the device whenever you want. The sale kicks off every Tuesday at 12 p.m., but if you don’t want to wait, you always have the option of going to a Mi Home store and purchasing the device. Xiaomi is also making the phone available at over 600 partner stores.

It isn’t the easiest process to get a hold of the Mi A1, but the device itself is well worth it.

Xiaomi Mi Yeelight – Quick Look and integration with Google Home

I’m currently on a bit of a bent with automating my home lights, integrating them in with Google Home. To date I’ve installed Philips Hue, LiFX and now Xiaomi Mi Yeelights.

After installing a few of these bulbs I’ve found that cost is key. Finding a well priced, decent Wi-Fi connected light bulb that I can connect to my home which then offers Google Home integration is where the Xiaomi Mi Yeelight steps in. It’s regularly priced at between $12-$20 on sites around the internet so if you find a good deal you can outfit your home pretty cheaply.

The light I purchased is the ‘Original Xiaomi Mi Yeelight E27 8W White LED Smart Light Bulb’. There are multi-coloured Yeelight bulbs but I’m really not interested in anything other than white for the house.

I purchased through BangGood which I pointed to when the Yeelights first became compatible with Google Home. This prompted a couple of requests from readers on how long delivery took etc. from BangGood. So, my light arrived. It took 28 days from order to arrival on my doorstep.

I finally got around to installing it, and it’s now part of my home lighting setup and to be frank, it’s pretty darn good.

Hardware

There’s not much you need when you buy the Xiaomi Mi Yeelight, it has Wi-Fi built-in so you don’t need an additional hub on your network to make it all work. Simply plug it into your light socket and it’s a go.

There’s a rider there with the plug it in and go, the Yeelight is an E27 Screw Cap connector, so if your house is using the B22 Bayonet Cap connector in your house as I am you’ll need an adapter.

For those who do need an adapter, Ikea sells the ‘KOPPLA‘, a B22 to E27 bulb converter for $2.99 for a pack of 2 which will let you plug the bulbs in with no issues. Or if that’s a bit much you can of course try random eBay sellers.

So, the bulbs are smart bulbs, they operate at a colour temperature of 2700K, which Xiaomi describes as being ‘the best balance between warm light and brightness’. For me it’s a bit yellow, I prefer a more stark bright white light which I get from the LiFX bulb, but the Yeelight is pretty good. It’s an 8W globe with an estimated 25000 hours of usage on it, so it should last a fairly long time.

They’re rated at 600 Lumens, which isn’t the brightest but it’s good enough. For reference, Philips Hue bulbs are about 800lm while LiFX are around 1,000lm or more depending on the bulb you buy.

Overall I was pretty happy with the bulb itself, it’s a little yellow for my liking but that’s not a huge issue and it’s decently bright. The Yeelight os also quite well made, it feels solid enough though not overly so.

Setup

The setup is fairly easy. I first setup the Yeelight using the Yeelight app on Google Play. Once you open the app you’ll be prompted to setup an account with Xiaomi. You’ll find several options for servers to use in the app, I went with Singapore as it was the closest to Australia – but feel free to try out some other options. The setup was fairly simple and English the whole way through so pretty impressive.

After adding my single Yeelight to the app, I was quickly turning it off/on, dimming/brightening smoothly. But of course the end-game is getting this light integrated with my current automated home lighting thanks to Google Home.

Adding in Yeelight Actions require the connection to my Xiaomi account, I entered these details in….and it failed. There seems to be some issue with Google Home and Yeelight Actions for me as it kept telling me it couldn’t connect my account. But, it seems something went right, because when you checked the connected accounts it was connected, sitting right near the Hue and LiFX accounts connected. I unlinked my Yeelight Actions account,re-linked and everything went smoothly this time.

After that, it’s as easy as assigning the Yeelight to a room in the Google Home app.

Wrap

I have to say I’m a bit of a fan of these bulbs. I love my LiFX but the price for new bulbs can get expensive if they’re not on-sale. Hue is great, and bulbs are pretty decently priced, but you do have to have their hub installed. For my money I think I’ll be investing in some more of these Xiaomi Mi Yeelights.

Where to get them

If you’re like me, you want these cheap. The best two places for the Yeelight appear to be GearBest and BangGood who both compete on price. Every time I’ve purchased from either I’ve found discounts by simply searching on Google, so I definitely recommend you do that. The GearBest deals are also often bolstered by additional discounts by ordering through their app, so make sure you take that into account as well.

Note: The links above are affiliate links, you pay no more by using them and we get the benefit of some cash to put towards better coverage.

 

Samsung vs Xiaomi offline store fight: Retailers get hurt as Samsung-Xiaomi war intensifies

KOLKATA: Samsung is said to be unhappy with two leading retail chains for promoting rival Xiaomi’s smartphones with store-front signage and in-store branding as its battle with the Chinese company for control of the retail channel intensifies.

The two companies have been trying to dominate the retail space since July when Xiaomi, till then focussed only on e-commerce, stepped up efforts to rope in leading offline stores as preferred retail partners.

Officials of the two retail chains refused to comment due to the sensitivity of the matter.

An email sent to Xiaomi India did not elicit any response. Samsung India, too, did not respond to an email.

“Samsung is trying to sort out the issue with the two retailers ahead of the festive season,” an industry executive said without wanting to be named.

This comes at a time when several neighbourhood cell phone stores are teaming up to take Samsung to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for not supplying handsets for almost two months after they tied up with Xiaomi, three industry executives said. They will approach the CCI arguing that Samsung and its distributors are not allowing them to do business with other brands, impacting their business, the executives said. About 300 retailers in Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Haryana, Indore, Lucknow, Kanpur, Gujarat and Kolkata have been affected after they signed up with Xiaomi as its preferred retail partner, they said.

The owner of a cellphone store in Delhi said the retailers took legal opinion and decided to approach CCI after Samsung and its distributors categorically told them there will be no supplies till they stopped selling Xiaomi smartphones, which already account for 35-40 per cent of their business.

Retailers get hurt as Samsung-Xiaomi war intensifies

“In fact, Xiaomi is helping the affected retailers with advice and additional business support. This is a good opportunity for Xiaomi to get retailers’ confidence, now that it is betting big on brick-and-mortar retailers to grow in India,” one of the executives quoted above said.

The CEO of a retail chain said Xiaomi has informed retailers that it will support them by changing its business strategy. The Chinese smartphone maker is introducing its new models like Mi A1 and Mi Max 2 in offline stores along with their online launch, as compared to its earlier strategy of launching them online first.

Xiaomi India managing director Manu Jain had recently tweeted that the company’s offline sales have grown 10 times since January after it roped in retailers as preferred partners, and around 20 per cent of the sales now are offline. He also tweeted that all those offline retailers who have joined hands with the company have reported massive jump in traffic and sales.

As per Hong Kong-based market tracker Counterpoint Research, Samsung is the smartphone market leader in India with 24.1 per cent share for the April-June period, followed by Xiaomi at 15.5 per cent.

After Xiaomi and Motorola, HTC to launch a new Android One version of U11 Life

We don’t know exactly what is happening in terms of Google’s Android One program, but a lot of major smartphone brands are now gearing up to launch Android One smartphones in the near future.

After Xiaomi and Motorola, HTC to launch a new Android One smartphone

Recently we saw a new series smartphone launch from Xiomi and the company did introduce the Mi A1 which is an Android One smartphone. Following that we also reported that Lenovo sub-brand Motorola was also planning to introduce its first Android One smartphone (modified X4) in the United States. And now we’re hearing about another major company HTC that is also heading in the same direction.

Well, Twitter user LlabTooFeR has tipped that HTC is aiming to launch an Android One version of its unreleased HTC U11 Life smartphone (also known as Ocean Life). And it is said that the smartphone will feature similar designs and specs, but the Android One model, as usual, will come with stock Android on board. Moreover, the post notes that inbuilt HTC apps will not come pre-installed on the Android One variant. Interestingly, the smartphone will run on Android Oreo with Sense 9.0 A1 UI on top.

Popular tipster Evan Blass has also posted an image of the smartphone and it pretty much looks like the standard HTC U11 Life. The two phones will most probably feature the same design language and the only big difference could be the software that runs inside.

Talking more about the phone, HTC U11 Life is expected to be launched later this year as a mid-range smartphone. The smartphone is suggested to come with a 5.2-inch full HD (1080p) display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset, 16-megapixel cameras both at the front and rear, IP67 certification, Bluetooth 5.0, 2600mAh battery and the company’s unique Edge Sense and USonic technology.

In any case, it is quite surprising what smartphone manufacturers are up to these days. All we can say is that the brands want to make sure that they have a product in almost every smartphone category that is out there.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 now official with bezel-less 5.99-inch display, 12MP camera

It’s been just under a year since Xiaomi first introduced the Mi Mix, a bezel-less device that essentially started this newfound push for smartphones minimal bezel.

Now Xiaomi is back with that device’s successor, officially introducing the Mi Mix 2 today. The handset follows a similar design philosophy, using a bezel-less design that places as much of your focus on the display as possible, even as it forces the front-facing camera into an interesting position.

The flagship Mi Mix 2 features all of the specifications one would want, including a 5.99-inch 18:9 IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2160×1080, which also features “Sunlight Mode” and “Reading Mode” to help find the optimal settings when in those situations. It also boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB of RAM, and variants that include 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of built-in storage. There is no option for expandable storage, though.

Around back, there’s a 12-megapixel camera and a fingerprint sensor, and on the bottom there’s a USB Type-C port. There’s a also 5-megapixel front-facing camera that’s situated in the bottom bezel of the phone, and the battery measures in at 3400mAh. The Mi Mix 2 supports 43 different LTE bands, has a dual nano-SIM slot, and is running Android 7.1.1 Nougat under Xiaomi’s proprietary MIUI 9 user interface.

As far as availability goes, details on that will come out soon. Pricing has been revealed for China, where the Mi Mix 2 will go on sale first. There, the phone will cost ¥3299 ($505 USD) for the 64GB option, ¥3599 ($550 USD) for the 128GB model, and, finally, ¥3999 ($610 USD) for the 256GB model.

One last thing to note: There is a Special Edition Mi Mix 2 which features a unibody ceramic design. It also has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage, and it’s priced at ¥4699 ($670).

What do you think of the Mi Mix 2?

Xiaomi Takes Aim at Apple With New MacBook Pro and iPhone X Rivals

Chinese company Xiaomi today held an event in Beijing, where it unveiled new products that will rival the MacBook Pro and iPhone X.

First up was the new Mi Notebook Pro, with a fully metal enclosure that looks virtually identical to Apple’s latest MacBook Pro in Space Gray.


Mi Notebook Pro is equipped with a 15.6-inch display with narrow bezels, a full-sized backlit keyboard, custom Harman Infinity speakers with Dolby Atmos sound, and seven ports: USB-C, data-only USB-C, dual USB 3.0, full-sized HDMI, a 3-in-1 SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The notebook is equipped with up to Intel’s new eighth-generation Core i7 quad-core processor, up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card, and 256GB of SSD storage. It will run Windows 10 Home Edition out of the box, with support for Windows Hello fingerprint authentication.

Mi Notebook Pro pricing ranges from about $850 to $1,075 based on current exchange rates, which is under half the price of the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro, but The Verge found it only has a 1080p display.

Next up was the Mi Mix 2 smartphone, which has a nearly edge to edge 5.99-inch display on the front of the device, beyond a small bottom bezel or “chin” that is 12 percent slimmer than the original Mi Mix.


Mi Mix 2 is equipped with a 64-bit Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with four-axis optical image stabilization, and a rear fingerprint scanner. An earpiece speaker is hidden along the top edge, while the front-facing camera is housed in the bottom bezel.

Mi Mix 2 will likely ship with Xiaomi’s MIUI operating system, based on Android. Pricing starts at about $500 at current exchange rates.

Like other Xiaomi products, the Mi Notebook Pro and Mi Mix 2 will be available soon in China, followed by other global markets. The devices will likely be available through resellers only in the United States.

Other announcements included a special ceramic edition of the Mi Mix 2 and a new Mi Note 3 phablet with dual cameras.

Xiaomi’s event took place just one day before Apple’s first-ever event at the brand new Steve Jobs Theater at its new Apple Park headquarters.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 officially announced: Bezel-less design, refined

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 has landed! Stay tuned as we bring you all the details over the following days and hours. We will be updating our Mi Mix 2 coverage regularly, so tune in.

Xiaomi shocked the world when it first introduced the nearly-bezelless Mi Mix back in October of last year, and since then, the design has absolutely taken the world by storm. Many flagships released in 2017 have sported a new streamlined design language with minimal bezels and a slimmer footprint, and it’s become evident that the industry is shifting towards all screen, all the time.

It’s been almost a full year since Xiaomi announced their phone though, and they’re ready to take the next step in the battle for smartphone design domination. With so many other competitors on the market stealing their limelight, can the Mi Mix 2 line retain its lead in the design innovation department? We’ll leave that for you to decide, but for now, here’s everything you need to know about the new Xiaomi Mi Mix 2.

A note from the editor: Xiaomi is releasing the Mi Mix 2 in two versions: a regular one and a Special Edition with extra memory and a more luxurious design. We will highlight the differences as they come into discussion.

A familiar, luxurious design

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 looks quite similar to its predecessor, with a 5.99-inch 2160 x 1080 (FHD+) display encased by a 151.8 x 75.5 x 7.7 mm aluminum alloy frame and a ceramic back that is curved on four sides. As an accent, both the standard and the Special Edition feature an 18K gold-plated ring around the camera.

The phone sports the trendy aspect ratio of 18:9 and weighs 185 grams, down from the 209 grams in the original model.

The chin of the device has been shrunk by 12 percent, and the result is a more visually balanced design. Xiaomi has also tweaked elements like the call speaker and the proximity sensor, which are now placed in the top side of the phone.

Key specs

The Mix 2 will be powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor, putting it up to par with many of the other flagships currently on the market today. It sports 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM and storage options of 64, 128 and 256 GB. With a well-sized battery of 3,400 mAh, we’re thinking this thing should be able to last you quite a bit more than a solid work day. And with Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 technology built right in, you’ll be able to juice up in no time.

There is a fingerprint scanner in the same location as last year, encased into the back of the device, but sadly we won’t be getting a headphone jack this time around. Xiaomi is introducing Bluetooth 5.0 into this model however, so you should get the best wireless audio experience available today. If you want to go wired, there is an USB Type-C port in the bottom of the device, so you can use that for charging or wired audio.

Fewer megapixels, larger pixels

The rear camera sports a 12 MP sensor, down from the 16 MP in the original Mix, but utilizes large 1.25μm pixels to capture more light. There is also 4-axis optical image stabilization in this camera, meaning you should be able to get clear photos and nice stable video. With a 5-piece f/2.0 aperture lens, you’ll also be able to get some nice depth of field out of this camera, though rivals like the Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30 offer better specs in this area. And though the bezels on the device are very fashionable, the Mi Mix 2 bucks the 2017 trend with only one lens on the back of the device. Still, it can record 4K at 30 fps and 720p at 120 fps.

The front-facing camera is in the same place as last year, at the bottom of the face of the device, but comes in a bit smaller to make more room for the screen. This camera shoots at 5 MP, and can record 1080p video calls with real-time beautify technology. It’s also got a selfie countdown and face recognition technology, so you’ll always be able to snap the shot exactly when you want to.

A familiar interface… updated

Xiaomi is using MIUI 9 for this device, which just entered its third round of open beta. This is quite similar to the old OS but with a variety of new features and optimizations, so you’ll be getting the latest the company has to offer on the software front. MIUI 9 offers features like multi-window and quick reply and is based on Android 7.0 Nougat. Though no news of an Android 8.0 Oreo update has been announced, be sure to check back to see if the company decides to update the device in the future.

A special edition for those who want more

If you’re the kind that wants to go all out, Xiaomi is offering a special edition of this phone, with 8 GB of RAM (vs 6 GB on the standard) and 128 GB of storage. It has an 18K gold coating surrounding the camera and the fingerprint sensor rim, and uses ceramic over the entire body of the device instead of the aluminium in the standard model.

Use it anywhere

You still might be hard-pressed to find the Mi Mix 2 in your area, but Xiaomi has added global bands to the device to allow it to be used anywhere. This means our friends who were craving the original model will be able to enjoy everything Xiaomi has to offer, though they might have to import it.

Dive deeper

Interested in reading more about the Mi Mix 2? We have more details coming your way soon.

  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 full specs We’ve rounded up all the specifications of the Mi Mix 2 (standard and Special Edition). Spoiler: there are a few features that competitors offer and the Mi Mix 2 does not.
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 price and availability details When, where, and for how much? We’re answering the essential questions about the Mi Mix 2 availability.
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 hands-on – coming soon!

Details regarding price and availability will be coming in the near future, but until then stat tuned to Android Authority to get the latest information as soon as it hits.

Are you interested in the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Select Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus and Motorola smartphones get Android 8.0 Oreo custom ROMs

Android 8.0 Oreo was unveiled on August 21. Following the same, a few smartphone makers such as BlackBerry, Nokia, HTC and Sony confirmed that their devices will be upgraded to the latest iteration of the operating system.

Select Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus phones get Android 8.0 Oreo custom ROM

The Android 8.0 Oreo will be pre-installed in some of the upcoming flagship smartphones. Also, those smartphones launched in 2015 or earlier will mostly not receive the Android Oreo update. But there are custom ROMs those can be installed unofficially so that users of such phones can get to relish the goodness of the latest version of Android.

XDA Developers comprises of the biggest community collection of the custom ROMs for Android 8.0 Oreo. Those at the community are constantly updating the devices that have the AOSP Oreo and Lineage OS 15 ROMs on a regular basis. Some ROMs may not function in the same way as the stable ROMs.

Also read: OnePlus 5, 3 and 3T to get Android 8.0 Oreo public beta by September end

The Asus ZenFone 5, Motorola Nexus 6, LG Nexus 5, OnePlus One, Sony Xperia SP, Xperia TX, Xperia T and Xperia V, Xiaomi Red mi Note 3 (Snapdragon variant), Mi 3, Mi 4, Mi 5, Mi Max, Samsung Galaxy S6, and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 are some of the devices that are ready to get the AOSP Oreo, Even the OnePlus 5 will get the same on an experimental basis.

The Lineage OS 15 ROM is available for models such as ZenFone 2 Laser, ZenFone Selfie, LeEco Le Max 2, HTC One M8, One M8 Dual SIM, Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus, Moto G, Moto X (2014), Moto E (2015), Moto G (2015), Moto G5 Plus, OnePlus X, OnePlus 2, OnePlus 3 and 3T, Sony Xperia M2, Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4, Mi 5S, Mi 5S Plus, Mi 4C, Redmi 3 and Yu Yunique.

Also read: Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus users to get Android Oreo update soon

The stable version of the update is now being rolled out to select devices such as the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6X, Pixel C, Pixel and Pixel XL. The first ones to be preinstalled with the latest version of the OS will be the upcoming Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. These smartphones are rumored to arrive with a slew of new features those will not be included in the existing iteration of Android 8.0 Oreo.

Led by Xiaomi and Apple, wearable product current market grows 10.3%, heading to ‘mass current market product’

The wearable product current market, led largely by smartwatches, grew 10.3% 12 months more than 12 months in the next quarter, according to research agency IDC. And most likely far more importantly, the agency hinted that the category is now poised to increase into a “mass market” product.

“Smartwatches recorded double-digit 12 months-more than-12 months growth, with a great deal of that increase attributable to a increasing amount of models aimed at precise current market segments, like the vogue-mindful and outside lovers in addition to the technophile group, decreased rate points and a slowly and gradually-warming reception from individuals and company consumers alike. Element in how smartwatches are getting steps to turn out to be standalone devices, and far more applications are getting offered, and the smartwatch slowly and gradually turns into a far more acceptable mass current market product,” mentioned IDC’s Ramon Llamas, research manager for firm’s wearables team, in a release.

Which is probable welcome information to the nation’s wireless community operators, which have worked to open new lines of enterprise further than smartphones. At just one place carrier executives experienced pinned their hopes on the growth of mobile-capable tablets as a way to derive far more revenues from current smartphone entrepreneurs, but the relative slowdown in pill gross sales seems to have snuffed all those expectations. Now, while, operators like AT&T and Verizon are turning to other devices, which include smartwatches and other wearables, as a probable source of additional revenues.

Even so, the wearable current market continues to be relatively small—and the wide bulk of the devices now never include mobile connections. But that may well adjust in the coming months and a long time Apple is commonly anticipated to release an LTE-capable model of its Look at product later on this 12 months.

“The changeover toward far more clever and characteristic-filled wearables is in full swing,” mentioned IDC’s Jitesh Ubrani in the firm’s release. “For a long time, rudimentary health trackers have acted as a gateway to smartwatches and now we are at a place where by brands and individuals are graduating to a far more advanced product. Preceding specialized niche options this sort of as GPS and additional overall health tracking abilities are rapidly getting staples of the modern day smartwatch. Just a 12 months back only 24.5% of all wearables experienced embedded GPS though now that amount has reached just about 41.7%.”

As for wearable vendors, IDC rated China’s Xiaomi at the major of the listing with 13.4% of the worldwide current market by means of 3.1 million shipments in the next quarter, largely in the lower-conclusion sector. “Though the Mi Band lineup was the most preferred, Xiaomi also caters to the increasing current market of kids’ devices and not too long ago transported its initial pair of clever sneakers beneath the Mijia manufacturer. Shipments for the sneakers were immaterial through the quarter, while IDC anticipates this to gradually increase as Xiaomi gains traction in the clothing/apparel industry,” IDC wrote in its release.

Apple arrived in next by means of its Look at product, garnering 13% of the worldwide current market on estimated shipments of 2.3 million.

“Sales of Apple Look at were up more than 50% in the June quarter, and it really is the amount just one advertising smartwatch in the planet by a incredibly extensive margin,” Apple CEO Tim Cook dinner boasted through the company’s modern quarterly meeting get in touch with with analysts, according to a Looking for Alpha transcript of the celebration. “Apple Look at is possessing a beneficial impression on people’s overall health and each day life and motivating them to sit a lot less and move far more. With options like crafted-in GPS and waterproofing, Apple Look at Collection 2 is the best companion for hiking, running and swimming.”

The remainder of the major five worldwide wearable vendors involves Fitbit, Garmin and Fossil, according to IDC.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 review: Bigger is better

With a 6.44-inch display and a massive 5300mAh battery, Xiaomi’s latest phablet is the ideal device for consuming multimedia on the go.

Last year’s Mi Max was Xiaomi’s first attempt at a phone with a screen size over 6 inches. The phone wasn’t the company’s first phablet, however, with the 5.7-inch Mi Note making its debut back in 2015. While the Mi Note was a flagship device, the Mi Max was targeted at the budget segment and primarily catered to those looking to consume multimedia on the go.

And the plan worked — Xiaomi sold over 3 million units of the Mi Max over the course of the last year. To understand why there’s a market for a device that’s almost the size of a tablet, you need to know that for millions of Indians, a phone is their primary gateway to the internet. As such, customers tend to prefer a device with a large screen, sort of a portable all-in-one that allows them to watch videos and movies, play games, and read books on the go.

Widespread rollout of 4G with the launch of Jio — which gave away unlimited data to hundreds of millions of customers for free — boosted the country’s cellular data consumption, and healthy competition in the budget segment made smartphones affordable. Easy availability of 4G combined with the rollout of video streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video made it possible for consumers to stream videos on the go for the first time, and that ultimately led to more interest in large-screened devices.

Retailing for just ₹16,999, the Mi Max 2 offers incredible value for money. Does the device have what it takes to be the ideal multimedia phone? Let’s find out.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 review

About this review

I (Harish Jonnalagadda) am writing this review after using the Mi Max 2 for two weeks in Hyderabad, India on Jio’s 4G network, with usage spread across two devices. The phone picked up a stability update with bug fixes two days into the review period, and is currently running a MIUI 8.5 build based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. It is on the May 01, 2017 security patch. The device is an Indian retail unit provided to Android Central for review by Xiaomi India.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Specs

Category Spec
Operating System MIUI 8.5 based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Display 6.44-inch IPS LCD, 1920×1080 (324 ppi)
Gorilla Glass 3
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Octa-core 2.0GHz Cortex A53
14nm
GPU Adreno 506
RAM 4GB
Storage 64GB
Expandable Yes
Battery 5300mAh
Charging USB-C
Quick Charge 3.0
Water resistance No
Rear Camera 12MP (Sony IMX386), f/2.2
1.25-micron pixels, Dual LED flash
4K @ 30fps/720p @ 120fps video
Front Camera 5MP, f/2.0
1080p 30fps video
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.2
NFC, IR blaster
Security One-touch fingerprint sensor
SIM Dual Nano SIM
Dimensions 174.1 x 88.7 x 7.6mm
Weight 211g

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 review

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Hardware

The first-generation Mi Max was utilitarian, and its design reflected that. However, that isn’t the case with the Mi Max 2. With 2.5D curved glass at the front and smooth flowing curves round the back, along with a unibody anodized aluminum build, the phone certainly has an upmarket look.

The design is also consistent with other Xiaomi phones launched this year, but the Mi Max 2 isn’t just a larger version of the Redmi Note 4. While it has the same finish, particularly in the matte black variant, the antenna bands have been moved to the top and bottom of the phone, giving it a cleaner look at the back. The phone will be sold in a matte black color option in India, which is a smart move by the company as the black version certainly looks much more enticing than the gold model.

The power and volume buttons are located to the right, and the speaker is located at the bottom. There’s a secondary speaker tucked into the earpiece that adds to the soundstage, and the configuration is similar to that of the HTC U11. The speaker combination gets sufficiently loud, and it doesn’t get distorted at high volumes.

Unlike the Mi 6, the Mi Max 2 offers a 3.5mm jack, which is located at the top of the phone. Infrared sensors have been a mainstay on Xiaomi phones for several years now, and that hasn’t changed with the Mi Max 2, allowing you to control your TV, air conditioner, or set-top box with the phone. There’s also a fingerprint sensor located at the back, and its location just beneath the camera sensor makes it easy to access with your index finger when holding the device one-handed. The sensor itself is fast to authenticate, and I haven’t had any issues with it. Considering the screen size, however, Pixel-style gestures for bringing down the notification shade would’ve been great.

Samsung managed to fit a 6.3-inch screen in the form factor of a 5.5-inch phone with the Galaxy S8 Plus, but there’s no such bezel-less display on offer with the Mi Max 2. This is a big phone, and you notice it from the moment you switch on the display. The 6.44-inch screen uses an LCD panel, like most Xiaomi phones, and while colors aren’t as saturated as what you’d find on AMOLED, there’s plenty to like here.

You can hold the Mi Max 2 in one hand, but you’re not going to be able to use it one-handed.

The device gets sufficiently bright to be viewable in direct sunlight, colors are accurate, and viewing angles are excellent. You can adjust the contrast levels, and there’s also the option to toggle sRGB mode. In short, this is the closest you’re going to get to a tablet-style form factor while still retaining the ability to make and receive calls. The large screen is great for viewing video and playing games, and the dual speaker configuration makes it an enjoyable experience.

The curves at the back and the sleek 7.6mm profile make the Mi Max 2 easier to hold, but you’re not going to be able to use it one-handed. Thankfully, MIUI allows you to shrink the size of the screen down to a more manageable size — you can choose between 4.5 inches, 4.0, or 3.5 inches.

The Mi Max 2 is powered by the Snapdragon 625 and comes with 4GB of RAM, along with 64GB of storage. The Snapdragon 625 does a good job of crunching through everyday tasks, and while you’ll notice the odd stutter in visually demanding games, you won’t notice any slowdowns in browsing or when it comes to viewing videos.

Battery life

While the screen size is the same as last year, Xiaomi managed to cram an even larger 5300mAh battery into the chassis. The battery on the Mi Max 2 is in fact larger than that of the Mi 5000mAh Power Bank, and Xiaomi fit in a screen and the rest of the internal hardware in a chassis that’s thinner at 7.6mm (the Mi Power Bank comes in at 9.9mm). The battery combined with the large screen makes for a potent combination, particularly if you’re interested in viewing a lot of multimedia content.

Xiaomi touts 18 hours of video playback, 19 hours of reading time, 10 days of music playback, and 9 hours of gaming with the Mi Max 2. That’s in line with what I’ve seen in the two weeks I used the Mi Max 2 — the phone easily lasts two days on a full charge with moderate use, with screen-on time exceeding 10 hours consistently. This is tablet-class territory, and the Mi Max 2 is in fact better than most 7-inch tablets when it comes to battery life. And you won’t look as weird taking calls on the Mi Max 2.

The battery life on the Mi Max 2 is nothing short of astounding.

Standby time is similarly excellent, and even if you’re one to use cellular data throughout the day, you’re not going to notice a sharp decline in battery life. More importantly, the Mi Max 2 offers Quick Charge 3.0 over USB-C, allowing you to charge up to 68% of the battery’s capacity in just over an hour, or enough juice to last an entire day.

As always, you can always maximize battery life by limiting background apps, and MIUI will give you suggestions based on your usage patterns to eke out the most out of the 5300mAh battery. That said, unless you’re streaming video throughout the day or gaming non-stop for over eight hours, you’re not going to run out of battery on the Mi Max 2 any time soon. Finally, Xiaomi noted at the launch event that the Mi Max 2 beat out the Nokia 3310 when it comes to battery life.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 review

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Software

Like the Mi 6, the Mi Max 2 is running the latest build of MIUI 8.5 based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The update is slated to roll out to Xiaomi’s older devices shortly, but it’s great that the Mi Max 2 is running Nougat out of the box.

While it’s great that the Mi Max 2 comes with Nougat, the experience hasn’t changed all that much from Marshmallow. For instance, there’s no way to restore apps from your Google account when setting up the device, with Xiaomi instead relying on its own Mi Cloud service. If you’ve used a Xiaomi device in the past, you’ll be able to restore content and settings stored in the Mi Cloud onto the Mi Max 2. You do get the option to choose between Swiftkey or Gboard when setting up the phone.

The Mi Max 2 is the first Xiaomi phone in India to run Nougat out of the box.

However, you do still get all the usual bells and whistles — you can run two apps simultaneously, there’s a built-in video editor in the gallery, and you get an audio recorder as well as a QR reader. You can also take scrolling screenshots, and use a three-finger gesture to take a screenshot, much like OxygenOS. Quick ball also comes in handy, allowing you to launch apps with ease.

MIUI has thousands of themes that let you customize every facet of the interface, and with the Mi Max 2 Xiaomi is rolling out a new theme that gives you an enhanced version of Quick ball through which you can launch up to 21 apps directly from the lock screen. The phone also has a multi-window mode that allows you to maximize its screen real estate. It differs slightly from the way multi-window works on “pure” Android, but you will be able to run two apps simultaneously on your device.

Then there’s a blue light filter, which prevents strain on your eyes when viewing the screen at night. The feature is dubbed Reading mode, but unlike what you get on the OnePlus 5, it doesn’t turn the screen monochrome — it alters the color temperature of the display to warmer hues. Given the screen size of the Mi Max 2, it would’ve been ideal had the device offered a similar monochrome mode for reading text.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 review

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Camera

The Mi Max 2 uses the same primary camera sensor as the Mi 6 (Sony’s IMX 386). Xiaomi used different imaging sensors in each of its devices last year, which led to vastly varying results. This time around, the brand is reusing sensors to make the camera quality consistent across devices in the same segment.

That said, there’s no OIS in the Mi Max 2. The phone takes detailed images in daylight conditions, and Auto HDR makes a noticeable difference. However, shots in low light or artificial lighting conditions have a lot of noise. Furthermore, the phone takes a few seconds to process images, so you won’t be able to take a series of shots in a hurry.

The camera in the Mi Max 2 is a definite step up from the first-gen model, but the performance in low-light conditions isn’t quite there with the likes of the Mi 6.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 review

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Bottom line

Xiaomi has managed to carve out a niche for itself with the first-gen Mi Max, and with the Mi Max 2, the brand has refined its model for the ultimate phablet. The all-metal anodized aluminum chassis gives the phone a premium feel, and the 5300mAh battery fundamentally changes the way you use your phone.

Xiaomi launched four devices in the country this year — the budget Redmi Note 4, the entry-level Redmi 4A, the Redmi 4, and now the Mi Max 2. What’s consistent across all four models is great battery life, but the Mi Max 2 takes things to a whole new level.

What’s also consistent across all of Xiaomi’s 2017 models is the aggressive pricing. Launching for just ₹16,999 and offering 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, the Mi Max 2 definitely punches above its weight. There’s no mention of when the Mi 6 will make its debut in India, but Xiaomi has effectively sown up the budget segment with the launch of the Mi Max 2, offering a selection of devices that cater to different market needs.

See at Amazon India

If you’re interested in picking up the Mi Max 2 outside of India, you’ll have to resort to sites like GearBest, where the device is available for $249.

See at GearBest

Update: Updated in August 2017 with links to Amazon India and additional details on multi-window mode, which is now available.