Who would have thought, among all the brand new Android smartphones that have been revealed recently, the one to garner probably the most hype is a cheap little mid-range entry from Xiaomi. It’s called the Mi A1 and there are a lot of reasons why this phone is THE phone for Android purists to look out for.
It represents a relaunch of the Android One program and it means putting clean, buttery stock Android — designed to run on crap hardware — in phones that don’t suck at prices people like you and I can actually afford.
It’s exciting but with phones at this price point, it’s all about that RRP so it’s natural that the one question on everyone’s mind is: How much? Well, while the Malaysian launch is literally just around the corner, it appears Lazada has jumped the gun a little and revealed the official pricing for this handset.
One of our readers @nuwardm (thanks!) tweeted us this screenshot of the Lazada product page for the Xiaomi Mi A1 and it appears that the handset will be priced at RM1,099. I searched high and low for the source link but I couldn’t find anything so it probably has been removed by now. Still, based on the text and photos, it does look quite legit. Besides, Lazada has been known to jump the gun in the past.
Now on to the actual number: RM1,099. I’m grimacing here because I really wanted it to be below RM1,000. I would have loved an RM999 price tag but deep down, at the back of my head, I sort of knew that that was just wishful thinking.
Still, priced at RM1,099, it’s still right up there in the bang-for-your-buck list. To recap, you get a 5.5-inch Full HD display, a Snapdragon 625 14nm processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable internal storage. It, along with the 3,080 mAh battery, is all wrapped up in a nice metal body that gives you OPPO vibes — which is a good thing.
You also get a dual-camera system similar to the one on the Mi 6, sans optical image stabilisation, so you get to do sexy things like portrait mode and zooming and whatever else you can think of. But, the biggest appeal of this smartphone besides its low price is the software.
Since it’s part of the Android One programme, you get a really nice clean stock Android experience with only one or two Xiaomi apps preinstalled — namely the camera app because Google doesn’t have dual-camera support. This also means that Google has committed to at least two years of software support (that should mean two new versions of Android) including Android Oreo and being first in line for Android P next year.
Redmi Note 4
For RM1,099, you’re looking at some tough competition, but in true Xiaomi fashion, it’s not really a competition. To me, I think its biggest rivals are the Redmi Note 4 and the Nokia 6. Its Redmi cousin poses perhaps the biggest threat as it’s similarly spec-ed — barring the lack of a dual camera — but is more affordable at RM949 and has a bigger battery.
The Nokia 6 used to have the edge over its Chinese rivals in the software department, however, I personally prefer the Mi A1’s version of stock Android a little more than Nokia’s. Still, the Nokia 6 is definitely the better-built smartphone and it does come with some nice Dolby Atmos stereo speakers which are a steal at RM999. Unfortunately, its Snapdragon 430 processor leaves a lot to be desired.
Slotting in at just above the Redmi Note 4 yet undercutting its RM1,199 rivals, I honestly think the Mi A1 is a great deal and I’d be willing to pay a little more for what I think is the superior software experience. Maybe you’re a MIUI fan and if that’s the case you’re probably better off with the Redmi Note 4 unless you want the dual cameras. I also think that the Snapdragon 625 is frugal enough that I’ll be able to get great battery life from it despite the lukewarm 3,080 mAh cell.
Either way, the final choice is up to you. For now, you can read our first impressions of the handset to learn more. Our full review is coming really soon, though, so definitely stay tuned for that as we dive into the juicy details.
Despite how convincing this is, I would still like to emphasise that this hasn’t been officially confirmed, so take it with a grain of salt. I will not be responsible for any heart breaks if it turns out to be more expensive, though you can thank me for setting your expectations lower if the price is actually cheaper than RM1,099. I jest, of course, please don’t come after me with pitchforks.
In the meantime, what do you guys think of the Mi A1 at RM1,099? Would you buy it? Let me know in the comments below.
UPDATE: The Mi A1 will be available for pre-order in Malaysia on 16 September 2017.