Aweek ago, Xiaomi said that it would launch a new Redmi smartphone in India. Some reports suggested that it was the Redmi 5A, the successor to the Redmi 4A, which launched in India in March. Those reports turned out to be true: On Thursday, Xiaomi has officially took the wraps off the India-bound variant of the Redmi 5A, an entry-level budget smartphone that doesn’t break the bank.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Redmi 5A.
Redmi 5A Hardware
The Redmi 5A, which slots just below the Redmi 4 in Xiaomi’s ever-expanding product portfolio, isn’t new. It launched in China in October, and it’s cut from the same cloth as the Redmi 4A, which is to say that it shares the same plastic materials, dimensions (140.4 x 70.1 x 8.35mm), weight (137 grams), 3.5mm headphone jack, and micro-USB port. The only differences are the Redmi 5A’s battery capacity, new dual SIM/microSD slot, and newer software — it’s powered by MIUI 9 out-of-the-box, based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat. All the rest of the specifications are the same.
Redmi 5A Specifications
That said, the Redmi 5A’s specifications aren’t bad for a budget phone. The Redmi 5A packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425, a 28nm SoC with four ARM Cortex-A53 cores and an Adreno 306 GPU, and a 5-inch HD (1280×720) display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 296-pixel density (PPI). The phone’s available in two models: One with 2GB of RAM with 16GB of storage, and one with 3GB of RAM with 32GB of storage.
Both models have a microSD card slot which supports up to 128GB of expandable storage. And both have a 13MP rear camera with a f/2.2 aperture, 1.12μm pixels, 5P lens, and phase detection autofocus, and a 5MP front-facing camera with a f/2.0 aperture.
The Redmi 5A sports a 3000mAh battery, which is a bit smaller than its predecessor (the Redmi 4A had a 3120mAh battery). Xiaomi says that the battery is rated for 8 days of standby time and 7 hours of video playback, and that it charges up to 5V/1A.
Rounding out the phone’s internals are sensors including an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor, and an array of connectivity options: 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth v4.1, and GPS.
Redmi 5A Availability and Pricing
The Xiaomi Redmi 5A comes in Dark Grey, Gold and Rose Gold colors. Its price in India starts at ₹5,999 (~$93) for the 2GB RAM and 16GB storage variant. The 3GB RAM and 32GB storage variant will cost ₹6,999 (~$108), and the first five million units of the 2GB RAM and 16GB storage variant will be sold at ₹4,999 (~$77), which makes the device the cheapest Xiaomi smartphone in India for the time being. It will be available on December 7 at 12 p.m. on Flipkart and Mi.com, as well as Xiaomi’s Mi Home Stores. It will then be made available at offline retailers including Mi Preferred Partners.
13MP rear camera with f/2.2 aperture, 1.12μm pixels, 5P lens, and phase detection autofocus
5MP front-facing camera with a f/2.0 aperture
Our take: The Redmi 4A has proven to be one of Xiaomi’s bestsellers, and it seems likely that the Redmi 5A will follow in its footsteps. There’s a negligible difference between the two, but Xiaomi doesn’t have much competition in the sub-$100 price segment.
The ₹1000 discount is a clever idea, as it practically guarantees the 2GB/16GB Redmi 5A will gain a foothold right away. The buyers of the first five million units will get it at a cheaper price than Chinese customers, which is a testament to Xiaomi’s persistence.
When the competition in the smartphone market is so stiff, a manufacturer has to be at their A game in order to even survive, much less succeed. It is only surprising then when we hear about cases where a device’s hardware capabilities are suppressed with software by the manufacturer itself. For instance, Motorola for some reason decides to include a notification LED on their devices but then disables it by software. At least Sony has a reason as to why it disables the fingerprint reader on their smartphones in the US. Xiaomi’s first entry into a completely new series by the company, the Xiaomi Mi A1 has a somewhat similar problem Well, it is not really a problem per say as much as a confusing move.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 is a great device and your only decent option if you’re looking for a vanilla Android experience and fast updates at very low prices. The device is also capable of supporting Android’s Night Light feature as well as the Camera2 API. For some reason though, those are disabled by default. Now you probably know or can at least make a guess about Night Light. It is basically a Night Mode that can be activated from the quick settings.
Camera2 API (Application Programming Interface), on the other hand, is something more important. You’re probably aware how Android devices were just plain bad compared to iPhones when it came to the camera department. Because until Android 4.4 Kitkat, the standard API to access the camera functionality embedded in the OS was very limited. Manufacturers did try to get around and provide the best camera experience they could. Which is why if you’ve only been using skinned versions of Android, you’ve probably never experienced the lack of settings like manual exposure. Third-party app developers, unlike manufacturers, had no other option but to use the limited tools provided to them.
With Android 5.0 Lollipop though, things changed (enter: the so-called Camera2 API). The Camera2 API introduced by Google in Android 5.0 allowed developers better access to more advanced controls of the camera. These include settings like manual exposure (ISO, shutter speed), focus, RAW capture etc.
Different levels of Camera2 API
This is where the second part of the problem arises. While most devices running Android Lollipop and above have it enabled, the degree to which it is enabled varies. There are four levels of Camera2 implementation: Legacy, Limited, Full and Level 3.
Legacy is as good as disabled since only features from the Camera1 API are made available.
Limited as you can guess means only a limited number of Camera2 API features are available.
Full, as obvious, means all the Camera2API features are available for developers.
Level 3 adds some bonus, more advanced features such as RAW capture on top of those available in full.
Depending on the support level on your device, certain camera apps will work on your device or they won’t. Apps such as Filmic won’t while apps like Lumio Cam will work partially, or fully depending on the level of support.
That was quite a class. But at least now you know why the Camera2 API is important if you are a camera person.
Magisk Night Light + Prop Mod
XDA developer sooti came up with a Magisk module that can enable the aforementioned features among other things on a Xiaomi Mi A1. Since it is a Magisk module you will have to be rooted via Magisk On the Plus side, you can still install OTA updates and this does not break the SafetyNet. Here’s a list of things this Magisk module can do straight from the developer.
Enables Night light
Adds EIS to prop file
Enables slow motion in GCAM (Google Camera, thanks to @simonsmh)
Disables horrible noise cancellation during video recording
Forces HAL 3
Pixel Blue Accent
Pixel animations (when soft key enabler is installed and enabled)
Soft Key Enabler disables hardware keys and hardware key backlight and enables on-screen soft keys.
Last week, Xiaomi today launched a new series of smartphones with the Redmi Y1 being the first handset to launch under it. The Redmi Y1 is essentially a rebranded Redmi Prime 5A which Xiaomi is launching under a new name in the country to address the selfie-centric market.
With the Redmi Y1, Xiaomi is following a different strategy. The handset is primarily meant for offline markets and tier 2 and tier 3 cities. It has even hired Katrina Kaif as the brand ambassador for the phone for marketing purposes.
Q) What are the full specifications of the Redmi Y1?
Connectivity: LTE, Dual-SIM, GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, microUSB
Battery: 3080mAh non-removable
Others: MIUI8.5, Android 7.1.1 Nougat, Upgradeable to MIUI 9
Q) Does the Redmi Y1 feature a metal construction?
A) Yes, the Redmi Y1 features a unibody aluminium build.
Q) Is the battery of the handset removable?
A) No, the rear panel and battery of the Redmi Y1 are not removable.
Q) What kind of SIM card slot does the phone have? Can I use two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time?
A) The Redmi Y1 features a dedicated dual-SIM card slot. It is among the very few Xiaomi handsets launched in India with dedicated dual nanoSIM slots. It also features a dedicated microSD card slot.
Q) Does the Redmi Y1 support 4G SIM cards on both SIM slots?
A) Yes, the Redmi Y1 supports 4G SIM cards on both its SIM slots. However, you can only have one SIM connected to a 4G network at any given time.
Q) Does the Redmi Y1 come with an IR blaster?
A) Yes, the Redmi Y1 features an infrared blaster that you can use to control other electronic appliances around you using the Mi Remote app.
Q) Is the display on the Redmi Y1 protected by Gorilla Glass?
A) The 5.5-inch 720p IPS display on the Redmi Y1 is protected by Corning’s 2.5D Gorilla Glass.
Q) How many variants is Xiaomi selling of the Redmi Y1? And what are their prices?
A) Xiaomi has launched the Y1 in two different variants. The base variant comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage and is priced at Rs 8,999, while another variant comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage and costs Rs 10,999.
Q) Does the Redmi Y1 feature a fingerprint scanner?
A) Yes, the Redmi Y1 features a fingerprint scanner located at its rear.
Q) Can one record slow-motion videos on the Redmi Y1?
A) No, the Redmi Y1 is not capable of recording videos in slow-motion. It can, however, record videos in Full HD resolution at 30fps.
Q) Which version of Android does the handset run on?
A) Android 7.1.1 Nougat.
Q) Does the Redmi Y1 support LTE and VoLTe networks? Will a Reliance Jio SIM work on the phone?
A) Yes, it does support LTE and VoLTE out of the box. Unlike many other phones, the handset will also work with a Reliance Jio SIM out of the box. The Redmi Y1 also supports Band 5, which will be used by many Indian operators in the future.
Q) Does the Redmi Y1 support native video calling?
A) Yes, the Redmi Y1 has built-in support for native video calling. You will not have to use the Jio4GVoice app for video calling on Reliance Jio network.
Q) Is Quick charging supported on the Redmi Y1?
A) No, it does not. The handset does come bundled with a 2A charger though.
Q) How much free storage space does the Redmi Y1 has out of the box?
A) The 32GB variant has around 22GB of free storage space, while the 64GB variant comes with around 51GB of storage space.
Q) Can you uninstall or disable pre-installed apps on the handset?
A) Yes, you can uninstall or disable some pre-installed apps on the Redmi Y1, but not all.
Q) Are the capacitive keys on the Redmi Y1 backlit?
A) No, the capacitive keys on the Redmi Y1 are not backlit.
Q) What contents do you get inside the retail box of the Redmi Y1?
A) You get the phone, a 2A charger, a USB cable, SIM ejector tool, and some regulatory papers. No case, screen guard, or earphones are bundled with the phone.
Q) Does the handset support USB OTG?
A) Yes, the Redmi Y1 supports USB On-The-Go. This allows you to directly connect pen drives, external hard disks and more using an adapter to the device.
Q) When does the Redmi Y1 go on sale and where?
A) The Redmi Y1 goes on sale online exclusively on Amazon India andMi.com from November 8. It will also be available in offline stores, Mi Home stores, Big Bazaar, and Mi authorised partners. You can buy the Redmi Y1 on Amazon from here.
Thanks to the excellent budget smartphones it has been launching consistently in India, Xiaomi has been dominating the smartphone market in the country. This is despite the marketing blitz from the likes of Oppo and Vivo who have plastered their ads in almost every nook and cranny of the country.
However, not everyone is fond of Xiaomi’s heavy MIUI skin. While I personally recommend their devices to almost everyone, I can’t imagine using MIUI for more than a few days at a stretch. It is not that MIUI is bad or suffers from any performance issues, it is just that I prefer how stock Android behaves and functions.
Then, on the other end of the spectrum is Google. The company tried to revolutionise the budget smartphone market in India a few years ago with its Android One program. The company partnered with many local Indian OEMs, gave them a set of specifications to build a phone around, and then launched those devices running a stock build of Android. These handsets were promised speedy OS updates, with their stock Android experience being hailed as a bonus. Despite Google’s earnest efforts though, the Android One program failed to take off in India.
Now, Google is re-launching the Android One program in India and this time it has a formidable ally in Xiaomi. The two companies have silently worked together since the last one year on the Mi A1, an Android One handset meant not just for India but for other international markets as well. Learning from its past mistakes, Google is not focusing on the lowest end of the smartphone market this time around as well. Instead, the Mi A1 is a more expensive budget smartphone.
The partnership will benefit both companies. Xiaomi’s popularity and reputation mean the Mi A1 might just turn out to be the most popular Android One handset sold till date, while Google’s name will help Xiaomi sell phones in developed smartphone markets like Europe and US.
Enough about the program and the partnership, though. Everything depends on how good the Mi A1 is. Let’s find that out in our review.
Build Quality, Design, and Display
Let’s get the first thing out of the way. The Mi A1 is sold in China as the Mi 5x running MIUI 9. Everywhere else, the Mi 5x will be sold as the Mi A1 under the Android One brand running a stock build of Android Nougat.
Xiaomi knows how to make budget phones — In fact, I think very few companies can make budget phones as well as Xiaomi, and it is evident here as well. The rear design of the Mi A1 might be a blatant copy of the iPhone 7 but then it also has the same impeccable build quality to go along with it. Like Apple, Xiaomi has pushed the antenna lines at the very top and bottom edges to give the rear a clean look.
The rear placed fingerprint scanner on the Mi A1 does help give away its identity, otherwise, from a distance, most users would just end up confusing the Mi A1 for an iPhone 7. The budget price does mean the Mi A1 is not water-resistant like the iPhone 7 whose design it so closely resembles.
From the front, the Mi A1 looks just like any other Xiaomi — or Chinese OEM — phone for that matter. The 5.5-inch Full HD display of the device is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3, with capacitive navigation keys — in reverse order, no less — sitting below it. Despite being an Android One handset, Google let Xiaomi launch the Mi A1 with capacitive keys in the reverse order. There are no options to customise the capacitive keys in the OS as well so there’s not much that you can do here. As a consolation prize, the keys are at least backlit in nature so you can at least see in the dark when you are pressing them.
The 5.5-inch Full HD display at the front is as good as LCD panels can get in this price range. It has great viewing angles, decent brightness levels, contrast, saturation, and sunlight eligibility.
Software, Performance, and Battery Life
The Mi A1 runs on a stock build of Android 7.1.2 Nougat. Xiaomi does not preload any of its app on the device, though it does give users the option to download three of its apps while setting up the device.
Being an Android One device, you get an almost pure Nougat experience on the Mi A1. Almost though. To take full advantage of the dual-camera setup on the device, Xiaomi preloads its own camera app on the device. Similarly, there are a few other minor software tweaks to take full advantage of the hardware.
An important point to note here is that Google is not the one who will be rolling out OS updates for the Mi A1. That onus lies with Xiaomi, though the company is promising speedy Android updates. It has already rolled out the September security patch for the handset, with Oreo slated to be released within the next couple of months.
Inside the Mi A1 is Qualcomm’s excellent octa-core Snapdragon 625 chipset running at 2GHz. The S625 has found its way inside a bunch of smartphones this year thanks to its excellent combination of power and battery life.
Thanks to the combination of the Snapdragon 625 chipset and stock Android, the Mi A1 runs buttery smooth. The performance of the handset can easily rival many other flagship phones in the market which cost more than twice the A1. Even when pushed hard, the Mi A1 does not break into a sweat — something which cannot be said for every other mid-range device out there.
With a 3080mAh battery and a power efficient Snapdragon 625 chip, the Mi A1 easily lasts through a day of heavy use and still ends up with anywhere between 20-30% of battery left.
The Mi A1 comes with a dual-camera setup at its rear. The 12MP sensors at the rear are the same one as Xiaomi has used on the Mi 6, though their performance is not similar due to a weaker ISP and other compromises that Xiaomi has had to inevitably make to keep the price of the device in check. The primary 12MP shooter is paired with an f/2.2 aperture lens while the secondary 12MP 1-micron telephoto lens features an f/2.6 aperture. The dual-camera setup on the Mi A1 allows Xiaomi to offer a Portrait mode on the device.
Xiaomi devices have always had a subpar camera which sadly stands true for the Mi A1 as well. Its dual-camera setup remains one of its weakest points. While it is a step up in terms of performance when compared to the Redmi Note 4, the quality of photos especially the ones taken in low-light leave a lot to be desired.
At least the Portrait mode is usable, though again only when there is sufficient lighting. Otherwise, photos taken at 2x zoom from the secondary telephoto lens mostly turn out to be a blurry mess.
There is heavy competition in the budget mid-range segment in the Indian smartphone market. However, Xiaomi has managed to hit a home run with the Mi A1. This is particularly impressive since the company’s previous mid-range in the same price band, the Redmi Note 4, was also a winner and has been selling like hot cakes in the country.
While the Moto G5s Plus is a formidable competitor to the Mi A1 especially with its camera setup, the Mi A1 wins overall thanks to its promise of speedy Android updates, performance, battery life, and excellent build quality. If you are an average user who does not care about camera much, the Mi A1 should sit right at the top of your wishlist.
The first-generation Mi Mix was awe-inspiring, and with its successor, Xiaomi is looking to retain that ‘wow’ factor while making the device accessible to a wider audience.
Xiaomi made the rest of the smartphone industry stand up and take notice with the Mi Mix. The phone’s all-screen front with a 91.3% screen-to-body ratio and ceramic construction made it stand out, but with Xiaomi opting to sell the device primarily in China, most consumers had to resort to third-party options to get their hands on the Mi Mix.
Thankfully, that’s changing with the Mi Mix 2. The phone will be making its way to over 30 markets where Xiaomi currently has a presence, and with 42 LTE bands onboard, you’ll be able to use it on most carriers around the world. Xiaomi also made a few design tweaks to make the phone more accessible, including trimming down the size of the screen, and switching back to an earpiece that actually works.
The price is what makes the Mi Mix 2 that much more enticing: the base variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage retails for the equivalent of $500 in China, and Xiaomi introducing it at the same price in other regions. Let’s find out if the Mi Mix 2 is able to differentiate itself from the rest of the phones in this segment.
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac MU MIMO, 2×2 MIMO LTE with VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.0
FDD-LTE: Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/27/28/29/30
TDD-LTE: Band 34/38/39/40/41
TD-SCDMA: Band 34/39
WCDMA: Band 1/2/3/4/5/6/8/9/19
CDMA EVDO: BC0, BC1, BC6, BC10
GSM: Band 2/3/5/8
One-touch fingerprint sensor at the back
Dual nano-SIM slot
151.8 x 75.5 x 7.7mm
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Hardware
The Mi Mix 2 looks a lot like its predecessor, and that’s a good thing. The first-generation Mi Mix was stunning to behold thanks to its all-screen display, and we’re treated to a similar design this time around. The Mix 2 has razor-thin bezels on three sides, leading to an immersive display that’s ideal for multimedia consumption.
There’s a chin at the bottom that houses the 5MP front camera and the notification LED, with Xiaomi noting that the bottom bezel is now 12% thinner than that on the Mi Mix. Xiaomi used a piezoelectric acoustic driver last year, but switched to a standard earpiece that’s located just above the display this time around. The earpiece itself is decent enough, and you shouldn’t have any issues for voice calls.
The Mi Mix had a crazy 91.3% screen-to-body ratio, but the large 6.44-inch display made it difficult to use the phone one-handed. With the Mi Mix 2, Xiaomi decreased the screen size to a more manageable 5.99 inches, making the phone more conducive to one-handed usage. The fact that it is an 18:9 display means that the phone is quite tall, and you’re not going to be able to reach all corners of the display.
The Mi Mix 2 is unlike any other phone available today.
Whereas the Mi Mix was blocky at the back, its successor has smooth edges and rounded corners, resulting in a much better in-hand feel. The design at the back is relatively unchanged from the Mi Mix: there’s an 18-carat gold accent around the camera sensor, and the “Mix designed by Xiaomi” tagline is still laser-etched onto the back. Xiaomi is once again using a ceramic back, but the mid-frame is made out of aluminum. There’s a single speaker located at the bottom of the phone, and a USB-C charging port next to it. There’s no IR sensor on the phone, and you’re not going to find a 3.5mm jack either.
Bezel-less phones like the Essential Phone and the iPhone X have a notch or cutout at the top to accommodate the front camera module. Xiaomi, meanwhile, decided to move the camera to the bottom right corner of the phone, and in doing so the top of the Mi Mix 2 is seamless and not marred by any cutouts.
The first-generation Mi Mix also sported the front camera at the bottom of the screen, but this time around Xiaomi is using an even smaller imaging sensor, and the area around the lens is blacked out. That said, the same problems that plagued the first-generation Mi Mix are back with the Mi Mix 2: the position of the front camera makes it incredibly awkward to use, and more often than not, you’ll end up getting a weird chin-first angle when taking selfies. The camera app tells you to invert the phone to take selfies, which isn’t ideal. While it works for the default camera app, there’s no way to change orientation in apps like Duo.
The defining feature on the phone is the all-screen front, and while Xiaomi would have fared better with a QHD panel, the FHD+ display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 is really good. It doesn’t get as saturated as the AMOLED panels on Samsung’s phones, but it is one of the best LCDs you’ll find in the market today.
Colors reproduction is accurate, and if you’re looking for punchier colors, there’s an option to adjust the color temperature in the settings. The phone gets sufficiently bright for outdoor usage, and you can reduce the brightness all the way down to 1nit for viewing the screen at night.
There’s also a dedicated reading mode that acts as a blue light filter. Where things get less fun is when watching videos. With the 18:9 format still not standard, you’ll see letterboxing at either side of the display when watching videos on the Mi Mix 2, which deters from the experience. Samsung has negated this by offering a stretch-to-fit feature on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, which stretches out videos to fill the entire screen. There’s no such option on the Mi Mix 2.
The Mi Mix 2 is powered by the 10nm Snapdragon 835, and the base variant of the phone comes with 6GB of RAM. Xiaomi is making three storage configurations available: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB (the model I’m reviewing). The 64GB model is available for what amounts to $500 in China, but you’ll have to shell out close to $570 to get your hands on a unit from reseller sites.
As you’d imagine from a phone that has the latest hardware available today, the Mi Mix 2 absolutely blazes through anything you throw at it. I haven’t noticed any slowdowns yet, and with MIUI 9 providing much-needed optimization for the UI elements, you won’t feel like the interface is bloated (which was definitely the case with MIUI 8).
Xiaomi rolled out its first global phone last year in the Mi Note 2, with the phone featuring support for 37 LTE bands in total. The company is doing the same once again with the Mi Mix 2, offering 42 bands in total. That means that you’ll be able to use the Mi Mix 2 on most carriers around the world, making it a much more enticing option for those looking to import the device.
Aside from the annoyances with the front camera, the Mi Mix 2 is a well-thought-out phone that certainly looks much better when compared to the likes of the OnePlus 5. Xiaomi is also offering a limited edition model crafted out of unibody ceramic that comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage. The phone will be available in black and white color options, and it looks absolutely stunning. You can clearly make out the difference between the ceramic and the aluminum mid-frame on the regular version, but the ceramic unibody edition has a seamless design that’s evocative, particularly in the white color option.
If you’re looking for a phone that stands out, then the unibody ceramic edition is the one to get. The phone will be incredibly hard to get a hold of, however, and at $720 it costs considerably more than the regular version.
Xiaomi phones are known for their battery longevity, and the Mi Mix 2 is no different. I easily got a day’s worth of usage out of the 3400mAh battery consistently, even on days when I was using cellular data throughout. I routinely averaged screen-on-time in excess of five hours. And when you do need to top up, the phone has Quick Charge 3.0.
There’s a lot to like in MIUI 9, but it is very buggy in its current iteration.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Software
The Mi Mix 2 runs the latest version of MIUI 9, which is based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat. MIUI 9 has a lot of new additions, but the user-facing ones are (for now) limited to the Chinese ROM. If you’re buying the phone from a reseller like GearBest, you’ll get the global ROM pre-installed, which comes with the Play Store and Google’s suite of apps out of the box.
Xiaomi was one of the first brands to fully embrace a theming engine, and in MIUI 9 the engine is much better. You’ll be able to change every facet of the user interface with themes, and there are hundreds of different theming options available from the Mi Store. Then there are the MIUI mainstays: an easy-to-use one-handed mode, Quick Ball shortcuts on the screen, Second Space, Dual Apps for running two instances of an app simultaneously. Xiaomi also introduced a split-screen mode, and it works just as you’d imagine — select Split Screen from the multitasking pane, and drag apps into the top and bottom halves of the screen.
One of the main highlights in MIUI 9 is system-wide optimization, which makes the UI feel much more responsive. If you’re used a Xiaomi device running MIUI 8, you’ll immediately notice the difference. That said, MIUI 9 does not bring any visual changes, and the notification shade in particular needs to be overhauled. Although the new panel with the integrated toggles made its debut in MIUI 8 (Xiaomi had a ghastly two-pane layout in MIUI 7), it looks dated. And although the phone is running Nougat, you lose out on features like inline replies and actionable notifications.
Then there’s the issue of receiving notifications. For some reason, the Mi Mix 2 would not show incoming Slack notifications, and there’s no way to expand notifications in the lock screen. The global ROM is still in beta, and there’s a long way to go before we get to a finished build. However, with a global launch slated for next month, these issues should be resolved in forthcoming updates.
Xiaomi continues to deliver weekly updates with bug fixes and stability tweaks, and hopefully notification-related problems will be ironed out before the phone makes its way outside of China. I’ll update the review once a stable version of MIUI 9 is available for the Mi Mix 2.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Camera
This year was defined by dual cameras making their way into phones across price points, and while Xiaomi rolled out dual rear cameras in the Mi 6, the company is sticking to a single shooter with the Mi Mix 2.
The primary 12MP imaging sensor itself is the same as what we’ve seen on the Mi 6, and it similarly offers 4-axis OIS and the ability to record 4K video at 30fps. And like the Mi 6, the camera on the Mi Mix 2 does a great job in daylight conditions, but it loses out on detail in low-light scenarios.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Bottom line
The Mi Mix 2 has the same fundamentals as its predecessor: an all-screen front with virtually no bezels on three sides, and a ceramic body. By shrinking the screen size down to 5.99 inches, Xiaomi has created a device that’s easier to use on a day-to-day basis.
The fact that the Mi Mix 2 has global LTE bands makes it an easy recommendation if you’re looking for a sub-$600 phone that manages to stand out. The same caveats as before apply though: you’re not going to see any after-sales support in markets where Xiaomi doesn’t sell phones, and if this is your first Xiaomi purchase, it’ll take you awhile to get used to MIUI. If you’re willing to put up with that, the Mi Mix 2 is a fantastic phone for the price.
The Mi Mix 2 is officially available in China and India, and if you’re looking to pick up the device from another country, your best bet is to go through a reseller like GearBest. You’ll have to shell out $559 for the variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage.
LG will reportedly manufacture OLED displays for Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo. The OLED displays are said to be shipped by early 2018.
LG is the second largest manufacturer of OLED panels in the world and according to a report by Business Korea, the South Korean company will soon start supplying its OLED panels to Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo. We can hope to see the above-mentioned companies using LG’s new OLED panels in their upcoming flagship smartphones.
About 20 to 30 percent of the small and mid-sized LG OLED displays have already been ordered by the above-mentioned companies and the company is said to start shipping the OLED displays in early 2018. LG has been using its OLED panels on its smartphones for quite some time now. Both of LG’s flagships this year, the LG G6 and LG V30 will come with FullVision OLED screen
With the launch of the iPhone X, Apple has also adopted the OLED display whereas Samsung has been using OLED panels in its smartphones from quite some time. Samsung’s flagships Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus and the recently launched Galaxy Note 8, all featuring an AMOLED display.
A recent report confirms that Google’s upcoming flagship smartphone, the Pixel 2 XL will be manufactured by LG.
OLED displays are less power consuming than traditional displays and result in longer battery life for smartphones. OLED displays have significantly better refresh rate compared to LEDs or LCDs. OLED panels also support the Always-On feature as seen on the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Android One phones have never been the type to get most of us around these parts very excited because we’re all about high specs, high-end finishes, and the unfortunate high price tags to match. But Android One wasn’t built for us either. Nope, Android One was built for the next billion, the user in areas of the world where a $100 phone is all that’s necessary and likely all that’s affordable.
Today, that changes a bit as Google partners with Xiaomi to offer a new Android One phone called the Mi A1. It’s by no means a low-end $100 phone and instead matches up quite nicely with phones like the Moto X4 (#notmymotox), only its price tag falls a couple of hundred dollars under. In fact, this phone sure looks like one you and I might enjoy in the US should our budget tighten up for a bit.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 comes in three colors (black, gold, and pink), features a full metal body, big 5.5-inch FHD display, 3080mAh battery, 3.5mm headphone jack, fingerprint sensor, and USB Type-C port. It also runs a Snapdragon 625 processor with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage while shooting photos with a dual 12MP camera setup.
Oh, it also runs stock Android, has the Google Assistant, and will see timely updates over two years. Google says that the Mi A1 will get Oreo before the end of 2017 and most definitely an update to Android P next year.
All of that costs about $233. That’s nuts. I kind of want one. Too bad Google and Xiaomi didn’t announce any US plans.