Xiaomi made headlines earlier this year when it was revealed to be joining Google’s Android One program – which meant that its next phone device would ship with a stock Android experience with the latest version of the OS installed, and would continue to be updated over the next two years.
That’s a huge deal for the Chinese gadget maker, which is now the largest smartphone brand in India. It subsequently launched the Mi A1, a $232 (Rs. 15,000) dual-SIM device that’s meant to rival a wide range of budget handsets not only with its hardware, but also with timely updates to its bloat-free Android experience.
With such a wide range of devices available at this price point, it’s hard to make a mark and satisfy everyone – but that’s Xiaomi’s forte, and so I swapped my daily driver for an A1 over the past three weeks to see if it’s all that.
The 5.5-inch A1 isn’t a particularly remarkable looking phone, especially now that there are several bezel-less options on store shelves these days. That said, it’s not a bad looker when you consider the alternatives available at around the same price, including the Moto G5s Plus, the Nokia 6 and low-end Samsung Galaxy models.