Top critical review
Competent Android One smartphone with a few major flaws(and they are not what you think)
14 October 2018
Overall rating 3.5/5 cant give 3.5 stars so 3* rating.
I bought this in the Amazon sale for 13.5k so for that price its a very competent smartphone but it has some major drawbacks at regular MRP that stops it from being a perfect mid ranger. Drawbacks mentioned under cons.
Now you might be thinking by reading the previous statement that aha, we know what they are, but no reader they are not what you think. I am not taking about the missing micro sd slot or headphone jack.
Vs Nokia 7 Plus
I bought this phone because someone stole my Nokia 7 plus. I had lived with a same spec phone for 5 months and let me tell you the A2 is a way better phone in terms of performance and smoothness. The 7 plus from day 1 always stuttered, froze and had janky animations. Even after multiple updates the 7 plus was not a smooth performer. So performance is a plus. The A2 performs as a SD660 phone should.
7 plus had better battery life. Yes 7 plus has a bigger battery but battery drain under load was also less on the 7 plus.
Phone supports Quick charge and I have the qc3.0 charger so I can take advantage of fast charging feature. Standard supplied charger is a 10W charger. Even with screen on the fast charging keeps working unlike the 7 Plus and some other phones.
Build quality on Nokia 7 plus is better but that also costs more. A2 is well built as well but the Nokia is better. A2 is slippery AF, the back is super smooth.
Display is better on A2 since it has no jelly effect(which the Nokia had) and the calibration is a waaaaayyy better compared to Nokia 7 plus which has an awfully high white point and terrible RBG & grayscale performance. Brightness is about the same.
1) A2 has adequate battery life. 5PM topups are required if you use all the features of the phone. This is not an all day phone.
2) No widewine L1(has L3) certification means no FHD Netflix and Amazon prime. You are stuck at 480p. This is really bad, my 5 year old Xperia Z3 has Widewine L1. This is just penny pinching where a manufacturer should not penny pinch.
3) No LDAC support even though this is an Oreo feature. I tested using Sony wireless headphones which support LDAC.
4) Pathetic vibration motor.
5) No Hybrid sim slot. For 2 sim users like me this is not a deal breaker since we know what we are getting into but no micro sd slot is a turnoff for many.
6) No IP certification. Yes I know its a mid range phone & I'm not expecting IP68 but IP54(Splash proof) IMHO is a must on all phones above 10K.
7) Only USB 2.0 support. its 2018 manufacturers 3.0 only cost 15-20 cents more to implement.
8) Does not support Pixel camera mod, Nokia 7 plus supported it.
Snappy performance, its nearly SD835 fast. I tested using PC mark and the Work 2.0 scores are within 10%. My other phone has SD835.
QC4.0 support and backwards compatible with all versions of Quick Charge.
USB Type C.
Above average cameras, competent for the segment.
When you buy a smartphone you are looking for the complete experience and this phone does not provide that in a few key areas like the lack of widewine L1 and LDAC support. I have been aware of widewine L1 b4 the pocofone controversy because unlike Netflix, Amazon prime supports only a handful of Samsung, Apple & Sony devices for 1080p & HDR playback and even if your phone has widewine L1 unless the phone is Amazon certified you will not get 1080p playback in the prime video app. So the first thing I tested was the DRM info and this phone lacks widewine L1 which is a bummer.
I can understand the lack of aptx since that requires additional royalties to qualcomm and the A2 being a midranger I can see why Xiaomi chose to not provide aptX or aptx HD but no LDAC, come on there is no headphone jack on this device so the least Xiaomi could have done is enable a feature that is baked into the Oreo OS to at least provide the best BT audio codec.
Considering the sharp fall is data rates and the rise of streaming video services which a ton of users use its baffling that Xiaomi chose to omit 2 really important features which are so important to really enjoy streaming services
This is a phone that has some very strong points like, Android One, fast smooth performance, support for QC4.0 but then has huge drawbacks which I have mentioned previously along with the missing 3.5mm jack and no hybrid slot support.
Who should buy the Mi A2: Someone who is looking for a fast snappy performing phone and values stock Android and 2 years of guaranteed updates over features like 3.5mm jack, SD card slot and marathon (7-8 hr SOT) battery run times..
aptX HD & AAC bluetooth codecs have been added with a software update.
Still no widewine L1
IMO its still a great buy at the current price. Go for the 6/128 if you can stretch your budget. More RAM is well more.