The experience is over #MiExplorers, which allowed me to participate at the forefront of the official presentation of the Xiaomi Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite, held in Madrid. So it's time to talk to you about the new device that embraces the project Android One, so no frills at the software level but a focus on performance even at the photographic level. So let's find out together Xiaomi Mi A2 in our review.
The luck of having participated in the event in Madrid was that he could immediately put his hand to the new smartphone, so much so that ours Simone CEO, has carried out theunboxing of the sales package directly from the airport, while he was returning home, and the content is broken down as follows: smartphone, silicone cover soft smoky color, battery charger with European plug and 5V / 2A output, cable for charging and transferring data USB Type-C, spillo for removing the SIM cart, quick manual and finally adapter Type-C / Jack from 3.5 mm for earphones.
Many certainly remember the "old" We are A1 from which the curved lines and the design in general are taken up giving a general premium balance thanks to a body entirely made of metal in which the bands for the antennas are inserted in an almost artistic way, in the upper and lower profiles. A decidedly elegant look that comes interrupted at the back by a fingerprint sensor and a dual rather protruding room, so going to rest Mi A2 on a flat surface, the movements "dancers" of the situation will be unfortunately present. Fortunately the everything is solved with the adoption of the supplied cover which partly also helps in relation to the slipperiness of the terminal.
Quickly talking about the fingerprint sensor digital I can say that I found it always reactive and precise but above all I found perfect positioning on the body, almost flush with it. Unfortunately this is limited to the unlocking function only, in fact, lack of functionality dedicated to it as the shot of a photo or gestures, such as lowering the notification curtain. in conclusion the first limits of Andoid's stock experience immediately surface.
But back to the design of the Xiaomi Mi A2, this consolidates with dimensions of 158,7 x 75,4 x 7,3 mm for a weight of 168 grams while the profiles are decidedly rounded giving the feeling of having a good quality construction device in your hands. And right on the profiles we find on the right the power button and the volume rocker also made of aluminum, on the upper hand instead the seat is located according to microphone for the reduction of environmental noise and the IR transmitter. The main microphone, the entrance, is located symmetrically in a symmetrical way Type-C for charging with OTG support and that through adapter Supplied will allow you to convey the sound using your favorite headphones. Also at the software level, just like in MIUI, we have the possibility to adjust some parameters according to the type of Xiaomi earphones and / or headphones inserted, but whether you use the function or not, I can say that the sound is really good.
And the sound has a good performance even from the ssystem peaker next to the Type-C input, although some shortcomings on the low tones are quite evident while the volume level is very generous, even too much at least at the level of notifications. Finally on the left profile we find the cart for SIM, for the exact two in nano format. And here we find a big limit, in fact there is no possibility to expand the internal memory via micro SD, which considering the version from 32 GB is a disaster. Indeed of the 32 GB available at the first 13,78 GB boot will be occupied by the operating system, therefore, on balance, just under 20 GB remain available to the user. At the SIM level both can take advantage of 4G connectivity but not simultaneously, with support for 20 bandwidth, but to be honest I did not find the signal reception to the maximum. In fact, I have repeatedly seen a signal almost dormant standby, which therefore also limited the receipt of notifications, the latter delivered all together with the awakening of the display. On the other hand, reception of both incoming and outgoing calls with a more than discrete audio output was good.
On the other hand, the speed at sea is good, especially if the module is used WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac dual band (2.4 / 5 GHz) with support al WiFi Direct, But also the Bluetooth 5.0 it was efficient with both the speaker, earphones and Mi Band 3, as well as the GPS with quick fixes and zero uncertainties. And for those looking for it, I tell you it is absent the NFC sensor and the FM radio, not even taking advantage of the trick reported for MiA2 Lite.
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But let's talk about the display, which does not yield to the fashion of the moment, in fact there is no trace of the notch and this I know will make the happiness of many. Xiaomi Mi A2 adopts a IPS panel from 5,99 inch format 18: 9 with Full HD + resolution (2160 x 1080 pixels), 403 PPI, contrast ratio 1500:1 and glass processing in 2.5D. The color rendering of the panel is definitely of a good level, perhaps the colors are slightly vivid but nothing annoying, indeed the opposite. Excellent viewing angles, as well as the backlight scissors ensures good visibility even under direct sunlight. However, the incorrect polarization of the display must be reported which therefore will limit the use with polarized sunglasses, as the screen will only be visible in landscape mode. It is also available Night mode and the Ambient display, which will activate the screen when receiving notifications but without the possibility of interacting with them. A function that I personally have not appreciated at all and which I find quite useless since on the front of the A2 Mi there is also a monochromatic LED which performs the same function.
This is located in the upper frame of the display where the headset capsule, the selfie camera, a LED flash to improve the performance of shots in low light conditions and the various proximity and brightness sensors, the latter quite reactive but set down. In the lower frame we find no physical key as these are integrated with the display, but no possibility to hide them to fully exploit the surface of the screen, perhaps exploiting the gestures (if not with solutions of tere parts). Another obvious lack of respect for MIUI.
And since we have mentioned it several times, that is MIUI, for those coming from the company's proprietary interface, what you will find on Xiaomi Mi A2 could be a blow to the heart. In fact they are too many shortcomings that now you list: Dual Apps, Second Space, App Lock, Full Screen Gestures, Double Tap on screen etc .., calibration of color temperature and contrast for the display, possibility to record the screen or calls and the real Unlock Face. Why did I use the term true Unlock Face? Because the one provided by Android One is more of a hassle than a convenience, in fact not only this recognizes me even if I keep my eyes closed but on balance does not make me access directly to the Home, if not also making a swipe up on the display.
I understand that those who approach an Android One device, particularly appreciate the streamlined experience provided by the software, which in the case of Mi A2 is based on Android 8.1 Oreo and June security patches. In fact, I applaud him, because after just over a week I have already received a software update that updates the safety patch at the 5 on August 2018 as well as correcting small bugs, which I personally did not find in my period of use. For the rest there is not much to say, maybe nothing, because Android One on balance reduces the user experience to a minimum that will necessarily have to use third-party apps. So already with Mi A2 Lite I was not satisfied with the software much less I am with Mi A2, putting me in serious difficulty on recommending it, because a Xiaomi without MIUI means putting a series of sacrifices and compromises on budget.
Fortunately at a performance level we are safe thanks to the excellent processor provided by Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 660, octacore to 14 nm with Kryo 260 structure with maximum clock up to 2.2 GHz which is joined by the Adreno GPU 512, 4 GB of dual-channel RAM memory of the LPDDR4X type and as mentioned before 32 GB of memory and MMC 5.1 not expandable (there are also variants 4 / 64 GB and 6 / 128 GB). All this translates into absence of slowdowns or lag of any kind: all operations are carried out smoothly, no delay in opening the app and even at gaming level, experiential satisfaction is guaranteed even with the likes of Real Racing 3 and PUBG, returning good graphic details and no particular overheating. The only thing that makes your nose turn up is Widevine certification of the L3 type, which will limit the use of multimedia content on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and similar, to 480p.
Ma Xiaomi for the A2 Mi seems to have focused a lot on photographic and video performance, a quality that often hangs the scales on the purchase of a smartphone rather than another. And in this case Xiaomi succeeds in the enterprise, equipping Mi A2 with a dual camera on the rear composed of a Sony IMX486 primary sensor from 12 megapixel, opening f/ 1.75 and pixel surface from 1,25 μm to which one is coupled second optic from 20 megapixel with sensor Sony IMX376, opening f/ 1.75 and pixel surface from 2.0 μm. To notice that the auxiliary optics does not perform telephoto function but will be used to give shots with a really effect bokeh effect (sorry for the pun) capturing more details but at the same time will allow you to capture more light and then give brighter photos in low light conditions, exploiting the technique "Pixel Binning 4 in 1". In detail, the Binning technique does nothing more than combine the signal collected by multiple pixels of the sensor itself to compose a sort of "super pixel" capable of simulating the behavior of a larger pixel.
I must say that I was particularly surprised by the performance of this dual camera: shots in portrait mode decidedly professional although in some circumstances there are smudges, while the more traditional photos are rich in detail but above all the color rendition is faithful to the original and becomes a pleasure to take pictures in combination with the filters made available by software, which turns out to be the classic one we are used to with other Xiaomi terminals. We also find theAutomatic HDR while at the video level we can perform Slow Motion and Time Lapse or record with resolution up to 4K is 30 fps but if we want to take advantage of stabilization at the EIS digitle level we have to go down to Full HD at 30 fps, which seems to do its job well. The audio captured seems perhaps too emphasized towards the voice of the "director" and little towards the sound of the environment but overall convinced me, reminding everyone that we are always talking about a smartphone and not a professional machine.
But I have mentioned the technique of "Pixel Binning 4 in 1", that is, four pixels of the same color tone are taken to compose a super pixel of the same color. Well we can see the difference between a normal shot and one with this technique using the manual mode that will allow us to decide with which optics to shoot. Although there is background noise, the shots returned with little light are impactful. One thing that I did not understand is the fact that the company asserts for Mi A2 to a dual AI camera, but personally I have not found functions expressed by artificial intelligence, if not tangible ones like the semantic segmentation.
On the front we can instead benefit from an optics with Sony IMX376 sensor from 20 megapixel, aperture f/ 2.2 and pixel surface from 2.0 μm. Also in this case we find the technique of "Pixel Binning 4 in 1" that in combination with the LED flash, you can get good shots at night. We also find the automatic HDR but also the Portrait mode, with very good results even in low light.
Finally, there remains the aspect linked to autonomy that on Mi A2 is guaranteed by one battery from 3010 mAh, a value that seems to be of little importance but that in practical use allows you to arrive safely in the evening, getting around 3 hours of active display. Values that perhaps indicate little, because I repeat everything depends on the actual use of the device, in fact in some situations I managed to get only 1 now and 44 minutes of active display with only 6,5 hours of use. So in a nutshell, Xiaomi Mi A2 will guarantee you a classic day of use without problems, my values are completely unpacked because I use a lot of WiFi tethering that decimates the batteries of each device, considering that with the supplied charger you will get the full of energy in about 1 now and 50 minutes, but 3.0 Quick Charge is supported.
There is no doubt that between Mi A2 Lite and Mi A2 is the latter that I would recommend, being better optimized both at the software level and in general with respect to the younger brother. Xiaomi's proposal for the Android One project is realized with one equlibrated smartphone and efficient enough in every situation. In addition, the photographic performance and the display yield are truly quality, making it perhaps one of the best in its price range. However the software limitations are many, not to mention theabsence of memory expansion via micro SD, definitely essential in the version from 32 GB, which at this point I think will remain on the shelves to take dust and that's enough unless there is a drastic price drop.
On balance A2 could be called a best buy, but in the Android One scenario, because in the smartphone market the competition is really ruthless and given the official prices to which the device is proposed, perhaps this title is a bit to lose effectiveness. Honestly, I do not understand why Xiaomi focuses so much on the Android One project and simply does not implement a globalization plan through MIUI, immediately designing a smartphone with support for the 20 band and Global software. If you are still convinced of the purchase, you are advised to do so at the store Gearbest.com, which manages to offer this terminal and the younger brother at advantageous prices.
As for Mi A2 Lite I express my dissent at the software level for Xiaomi Mi A2. The Android One project seems to limit the potential that this terminal has in dowry, but if you really are lovers of a clean interface, slim (too much) and purely stock, then Mi A2 could for you be a real best buy ... but maybe because you do not know MIUI yet.
- PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPARTMENT