❤ Xiaomi Mi A3

 

 

Xiaomi Mi A1 was quite the booster for the whole Android One program and paved the way for a fruitful partnership between Xiaomi and Google. The Mi A2 was a significant but controversial upgrade that eventually cemented the Mi A1 as the ultimate deal. And now, the Mi A3 is trying to right all the wrongs and reach for the top once again.

 

 

 

 

 

The Android purists can now enjoy the vanilla Google experience on a Super AMOLED screen. There is new Snapdragon chipset promising blazing-fast gaming performance. Then a trending triple-camera should allow you to snap some great pictures day and night. And finally, the large 4,030 mAh battery inside should help you do all these things for many, many hours on.

 

 

 

 

The Xiaomi Mi A3 introduces a new glass design, departure from the sturdy but somewhat outdated metal shells. And the Mi A3 still likes to keep it as safe as possible as evident by the choice of Gorilla Glass 5 for both the front and the back.

The camera is probably the most interesting new bit, now featuring a 48MP primary shooter and an 8MP ultrawide-angle snapper. The third eye is a depth sensor, which may seem useless, but we are always in for a surprise in them portraits.

 

 

 

 

Xiaomi Mi A3 specs

 

  • Body: Plastic frame, Gorilla Glass 5 front and back;
  • Display: 6.01″ Super AMOLED, 1,560x720px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 286ppi;
  • Triple rear camera: Wide – 48MP f/1.8, 1/2″, 0.8µm pixel size, PDAF; Ultrawide – 8MP, f/2.2, 1.12µm pixel size; Depth sensor – 2MP, f/2.4; 2160p@30fps.
  • Front camera: 32MP, 0.8µm pixel size, f/2.0; 1080p/30fps video recording.
  • OS: Android 9 Pie; Android One.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665: octa-core CPU (4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver), Adreno 610 GPU.
  • Memory: 4GB of RAM; 64/128GB storage; hybrid microSD slot (uses SIM2)
  • Battery: 4,030mAh Li-Po (sealed); 18W fast charging.
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM; LTE-A, 4-Band carrier aggregation, Cat.15/13 (800Mbps/150Mbps); USB-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 5.0
  • Misc: Under-display fingerprint reader; single down-firing speaker; 3.5mm jack

 

Xiaomi is indeed righting those wrongs by bringing the audio jack back! And the microSD slot! And FM radio! And the larger battery is indeed a wish come true.

The elephant in the room, the 720p screen, definitely stands out and not in a good way. It’s been a while since we worked on such a low-res screen, let alone a PenTile AMOLED. But let’s stay positive and give it a fair chance, shall we?

Unboxing the Xiaomi Mi A3

The Mi A3 retail box contains what you’d expect from a mid-ranger’s bundle – a USB-C cable, a 10W charger, and inside the paper compartment there is a dark gray silicone case.

 

 

 

 

It’s worth noting that while the Mi A3 supports 18W (Quick Charge 3.0), Xiaomi is not shipping the phone with a QC3-compatible charger. Those are not that expensive anymore, though, so it’s not that of a biggie.

A lot of Chinese phones usually have a screen protector pre-applied in the factory but the Mi A3 is not among those. It does come with Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both sides and we can understand why Xiaomi decided against a having a protector.

 

 

Design

The Xiaomi Mi A3 is your typical glass-sandwich smartphone with a solid plastic frame, well protected thanks to the two Gorilla Glass 5 pieces. And while it looks like any other device of such build, the Mi A3 is a major Mi 9 lookalike. Those are enough reasons to call it of premium looks and build, even though its price suggests otherwise.

 

 

Xiaomi Mi 9 next to the Mi A3

 

 

 

So, the front is the place for the Mi A3‘s most controversial feature – the Super AMOLED screen of HD+ resolution and a waterdrop-like notch. The panel has curved corners, as usual, but the thing is completely flat, and we like it this way better.

The notch houses the new 32MP selfies camera, while the tiny top bezel has a grille for the earpiece at the center and a couple of invisible sensors on the left.

 

 

 

 

We will discuss the HD screen soon, but at first glance the colors look lively and the contrast seems excellent. But we noticed some pixelization on solid backgrounds and all text is jagged because of the PenTile matrix arrangement.

Finally, the chin is unusually big, especially for an OLED panel, but we can live with that on a cheap phone. At least everything is protected by a Gorilla Glass 5 and we always appreciate a high-end glass on a budget handset.

 

 

 

 

And before we flip the Mi A3, there is one premium feature at the front that is easy to miss – the under-screen fingerprint scanner. It seems to be identical to the optical one we experience on the Mi 9T, meaning it is almost as responsive and fast as a conventional one. The sensor lights up the moment you touch the screen; it scans your finger and unlocks in an instant.

The back also uses a Gorilla Glass 5, but this time around it’s bent towards its edges. Having such subtle curves is a familiar design concept – one that makes the Mi A3 look and feel slimmer than it actually is, but this also takes a huge toll on the grip.

 

 

 

 

The triple camera is humping quite a lot at the top left corner. It contains the 8MP wide-angle shooter, the 48MP primary snapper, and the 2MP depth sensor. The single LED flash is flush outside of this formation. Quite expectedly such a big hump makes the A3 wobble quite a lot when left on a flat surface, but that’s the occupational hazard we guess.

The back of the Mi A3 is yet another reminder of the Mi 9. The Mi A3 is available in these coolly named hues – Kind of Gray, Not just Blue, and More than White. Remind you of some Pixels, maybe?

 

 

Xiaomi Mi 9 next to the Mi A3

 

 

We have the Not just Blue one and it’s quite stunning when the glass is not covered in fingerprints (very rarely). The glass may be dark bluish, but it catches and reflects light in different ways, and also it is one big smudgy mirror. And we have to agree with Xiaomi, it’s hard to name these mesmerizing colors and the Not just Blue suits this one a lot (despite being a clear nod to Google’s names for the Pixel colors).

The plastic frame is also painted in Not just Blue and has a very glossy finish. It is also quite curved, so abandon all hopes for a good grip on the Mi A3. If you don’t use a case, then using the A3 with extreme caution is highly advised.

 

 

 

 

The hybrid SIM slot is on the left of the said frame, and it can either take two nano-SIM cards, or one SIM and one microSD. Xiaomi has indeed listened to the complaint and it brought back the memory expansion slot.

 

 

 

 

The top of the frame has a couple of surprises, too. The 3.5mm audio jack makes a return and there is also an IR blaster next to it.

 

 

Xiaomi Mi A3

 

 

The bottom has a single loudspeaker, the mouthpiece, and a USB-C port.

 

 

Xiaomi Mi A3

 

 

The Mi A3 measures 153.5 x 71.9 x 8.5 mm, which is 5mm shorter and 3mm narrower than the Mi A2, which also had a 6″ display but one of a different aspect ratio and thicker bezels. The A3 weighs 174g, about 8g heavier than the Mi A2 and A1.

The Mi A3 is a great-looking smartphone with premium and solid build, but almost non-existent grip. That’s the widespread mantra even among the flagships though, so we can’t really blame Xiaomi for following the current trends and bringing what’s considered premium.

 

 

 

 

We’d suggest grabbing a thin transparent case that will solve the grip issues, while preserving the captivating looks.

Display

Let’s start with some good news – Xiaomi has switched to Samsung-made AMOLED panel for the Mi A3. The Mi A1 and Mi A2 both had IPS LCD screens, which were good, but not OLED good.

 

 

 

But the Mi A1 and Mi A2 both had 1080p screens, while the Mi A3 downgrades the resolution to 720p. The actual resolution is 720 x 1,560 pixels (19.5:9 aspect) or 286ppi density. This could have been fine, but the PenTile OLED matrix isn’t suited for low-res screen because it has less subpixels than a regular RGB display and pixelization and jagged texts are occasional. The Galaxy S III kickstarted the use of PenTile AMOLEDs and even this 2012 smartphone had higher pixel density at 306ppi.

 

 

 

 

So, did we notice pixelization? Yes, especially on solid colored backgrounds. What about jagged text? All the time? Are those deal-breakers? It depends!

 

 

 

 

Indeed, the low-res AMOLED suffers because of the PenTile matrix, but it’s quite easy to get used to not see the tiny spikes on the letters and the dotted backgrounds. We are not saying you have to do it at all costs, but you really can. And then you can reap the benefits of the lower 720p resolution such as flagship-grade gaming performance across all modern games. How about that?

We are not sure why Xiaomi opted for a 720p display, but by doing so it made the Mi A3 a gaming phone on the budget. And we can very well live with that.

The screen has a decent brightness for an OLED panel of 363 nits. Unfortunately, the Mi A3 runs vanilla Android instead of MIUI (like its Mi CC9e doppelganger) and this means it lacks High Brightness Mode. So, even in the brightest of days, the Mi A3 won’t light up more than 363 nits, not even in Auto Brightness mode.

The minimum brightness we measured was 14.9 nits – which is uncomfortably bright. It’s quite disappointing to see such result as almost all phones we have tested in recent years go as low as 1-4 nits.

 

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Xiaomi Mi A3 0 363
Xiaomi Mi A2 0.277 420 1516
Xiaomi Mi A1 0.351 551 1570
Xiaomi Mi 9T 0 449
Xiaomi Mi 9T (Max Auto) 0 646
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE 0 444
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE (Max Auto) 0 637
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 0.358 479 1338
Realme X 0 448
Realme 3 Pro 0.285 508 1782
Sony Xperia 10 0.362 549 1517
Huawei P30 Lite 0.39 480 1231
Huawei P30 Lite (Max Auto) 0.413 501 1213
Nokia 7.1 0.377 490 1300
Nokia 7.1 (Max Auto) 0.465 600 1290
Samsung Galaxy A50 0 424
Samsung Galaxy A50 (Max Auto) 0 551
Google Pixel 3a XL 0 451

 

Xiaomi is promising 102.7% coverage for the NTSC color gamut and we can confirm this. The color accuracy, however, isn’t that splendid with an average deltaE of 4.9. Most of the blue hues we measured turned out punchier than they should be, and thus all whites and grays have a minor bluish tint, but still, it’s a good enough presentation.

Battery life

The Xiaomi Mi A3 is the first A-series specimen to be powered by a 4,030mAh Li-ion battery, about 35% larger than the cells inside the Mi A1 and A2.

The Mi A3 supports Quick Charge 3.0 and if you use a compatible 18W charger, it will fill about 45% of a depleted battery in 30 mins. A full charge would require about 100 mins.

The Mi A3 ships with a 10W charger though and it recharges from 0 to 28% in 30 mins, while a full charge takes about 150 mins.

The Mi A3 posted a top-notch endurance rating of 101 hours and great scores across the board. The screen-on times are outstanding – we measured 12 and a half hours runtime in our web browsing test and north of 21 hours in our video playback test.

The standby performance was about the average, not as great as on MIUI-booting phones as those have some additional app battery-saving options running by default.

 

 

 

 

Speaker

There’s a single bottom-firing loudspeaker on the Mi A3 but it is quite loud and scored an Excellent mark on our test. The output turned out very pleasant – the sound is rich and deep and we didn’t hear any high-pitched notes, so we’d give it an excellent mark as well.

 

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Realme X 67.9 73.5 80.4 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy A50 68.9 71.3 82.7 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi 9T 70.6 74.8 81.2 Very Good
Huawei P30 Lite 71.5 73.8 83.1 Excellent
Xiaomi Mi A3 74.1 74.3 81.9 Excellent
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 69.8 71.5 90.5 Excellent
Realme 3 Pro 67.5 73.8 90.5 Excellent
Xiaomi Mi A1 74.0 73.9 90.4 Excellent
Google Pixel 3a XL 79.3 77.1 91.1 Excellent
Xiaomi Mi A2 89.5 72.2 89.8 Excellent
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE 86.2 79.0 87.0 Excellent

 

Audio quality

The Xiaomi Mi A3 delivered the expected clear output with an active external amplifier although it could only do so at average volume levels.

Then things got worse as we plugged in our standard headphones. Volume plummeted to way below average, frequency response got shaky, while stereo crosstalk rose an average amount. We also recorded some intermodulation distortion adding up to a performance to forget.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Xiaomi Mi A3 +0.02, -0.01 -93.7 90.7 0.0015 0.0098 -93.0
Xiaomi Mi A3 (headphones) +0.53, -0.22 -90.6 88.8 0.0048 0.302 -50.8
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE (headphones) +0.02, -0.13 -93.0 92.8 0.0051 0.118 -57.4
Xiaomi Mi 9 +0.02, -0.01 -93.9 93.1 0.0015 0.0066 -91.9
Xiaomi Mi 9 (headphones) +0.05, -0.04 -92.6 93.5 0.0026 0.072 -58.7
Asus Zenfone 6 +0.03, -0.01 -85.8 86.8 0.0012 0.014 -76.2
Asus Zenfone 6 (headphones) +0.05, -0.01 -81.1 82.7 0.0068 0.059 -52.0

 

 

Vanilla Android Pie

Since it’s part of the Android One family, the Xiaomi Mi A3 boots a clean Android OS install and, of course, it’s rocking the latest Android 9.0 Pie version.

 

 

 

 

There is the Pie notification shade, quick toggles area, the Pie task switcher and its multi-windows capabilities, and even the list of recent apps in the task switcher that can be expanded to reveal the full app drawer.

The launcher does also include an optional Google feed screen on the far left and lends itself to a certain degree of customization, like editing number or rows and columns and toggling things like notification dots, app suggestions and home screen rotation.

There’s only one pill-like button in the center – tapping it once takes you to the home screen, a swipe up brings out the recent apps menu, swiping to the left acts as a back button while swiping to the right quickly switches back to the last opened app. The quick switch works pretty well which is not always the case with Android implementations. You can also go with Android’s default navigation that includes a back button and the pill-shaped key.

You can unlock the phone via the optical under-display fingerprint scanner. The reader is very quick to set up and works snappily after that. The accuracy is superb, too, and overall, it’s great for your daily unlocking.

You can also set up face unlock in addition to it – it’s equally fast as the Mi A3 wakes up the moment you pick it up, but not as secure. Note that the face unlock option may not be available in all regions.

Music, Movies, Files, Drive – everything is handled by Google’s default apps. There is FM radio support and app on the Mi A3. You can also install the Mi Remote app from the Play Store to use the IR blaster on top of the phone.

Performance and benchmarks

Xiaomi Mi A3 is the first smartphone we meet to be powered by the Snapdragon 665 chipset. It’s a minor upgrade over the Mi A2’s Snapdragon 660 chip but given the lowered resolution we expect wonders in gaming.

So, the new Snapdragon 665 chip is based on the more efficient 11nm manufacturing process compared to the 14nm Snapdragon 660. It has the same processor as the S660 – an octa-core Kryo 260 CPU with 4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold (Cortex-A73 derivative) & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver (Cortex-A53 derivative). Well, almost the same – the high-performance Kryo cores are actually clocked 200MHz lower than the same on the Mi A2’s S660.

There is a new Adreno 610 GPU, which isn’t more powerful than the Adreno 512 inside the old 660 chip but should deliver similar performance for 20% less battery.

The Snapdragon 665 has a new DSP and a new ISP for 48MP camera support. Its modem is the same as on the S660, though.

Now, let’s run some benchmarks, shall we?

 

 

 

 

The single core performance is nothing to phone home about – it’s on par with other A73-based cores, but the score is a bit down from the Galaxy A50 and Redmi Note 7 due to the lower CPU clock.

The Mi A3 is plenty fast and delivers about the same performance as its price bracket peers. It is a very dependable performer thanks to its Snapdragon 665 chip and that HD screen. It’s as great for gaming as it is for daily operations and browsing the social media.

We didn’t notice any hot spots around the Mi A3 even when running those benchmarks for longer duration and there was no throttling at all. Overall, the A3 offers great performance for the class and nobody should be experiencing major hiccups whatever the tasks at hand. And it also turned out to be a great gaming device on the budget, which may win some new fans to the series.

A familiar triple camera

The Xiaomi Mi A3 has a triple-camera on its back, but only two of the snappers are active shooters. Just like the Mi 9T, the Mi A3 main camera has a huge 1/2″ 48MP sensor behind f/1.79 26mm lens that spits out 12MP images. On top of it, is the 8MP (1/4″) snapper behind f/2.2 13mm lens for ultrawide-angle shots. And below the main snapper is the 2MP sensor behind an f/2.4 lens for capturing depth information when shooting in portrait mode.

 

 

 

 

The 48MP sensor sits is behind an f/1.79 lens and is not stabilized. In fact, none of the snappers features optical stabilization. The main sensor has 0.8µm pixels, the ultra-wide snapper has 1.12µm pixels.

The default camera app is lifted from the latest version of MIUI. Swiping left and right will shuffle through the camera modes, and you will find additional settings in the tab above the viewfinder including option to shoot in 48MP. It lets you adjust some settings like beautification, HDR, AI, video mode, and picture quality. The usual 0.6x/1x/2x toggles are on the viewfinder itself, though the 2x is a simple digital zoom.

Night Mode is also available on the Xiaomi Mi A3 for those long-exposure hand-held shots when light is limited.

Manual mode is available too, and you can even use it to shoot in 48MP.

Image quality

The 12MP images you’d get by default from the main camera show high level of detail and true-to-life colors. The contrast is excellent, while the dynamic range is notably wide. The images are sharp but not over-sharpened and overall those are among the better 12MP daylight photos we’ve seen to date with the only visible issue being the moire fringes on the second photo below.

There is a dedicated 48MP mode if you want to shoot in 48MP. It does save the picture in full resolution, but the detail is nothing that special and you can notice various smudged areas and artifacts.

There isn’t a benefit of shooting in 48MP and then manually resizing down to 12MP either – you won’t get more detail or sharper image. And saving in 48MP is a slower and costly task – one image eats about 30MB of your storage.

There is a 2X zoom shortcut on the viewfinder even though the Xiaomi Mi A3 doesn’t come with a telephoto snapper. If you shoot in this 2X mode, you will get a digitally zoomed and cropped picture.

We snapped some 8MP images with the ultrawide-angle camera. Its per-pixel quality is much lower than the main camera, but the colors are still nice, and noise is present only in areas of uniform color.

If you opt for automatic lens correction for the ultrawide-angle photos, then some pictures may have noticeable corner softness.

Xiaomi has an AI toggle, which is a simple scene recognition and it doesn’t do much. But it can offer suggestions for which camera you should use in some scenes, so if you are new to this multi-camera stuff, you might what to give the AI a try.

Now, let’s see how well those cameras fare in the dark. The photos from the regular camera turned out fine. Despite the f/1.79 aperture the Mi A3 often fails to capture bright enough exposures. The lack of optical stabilization forces it to keep shutter speeds above 1/14s and compensate with higher ISO. Higher ISO brings in more noise, which is then processed and sometimes it leads to reduced levels of captured detail overall.

The Night mode (takes about a second or two to shoot) makes a difference by being able to get the proper exposure even in the darkest environments. The result is nicely balanced, and subjects look a bit more detailed. It’s not the best implementation we’ve seen, but it works a lot faster than, say, Huawei’s.

The 12MP resulting images don’t quite have the same per-pixel detail as the daylight shots and are quite soft obviously, but they are not too bad either and much better than you’d achieve with the regular shooting mode at night.

You can use the 48MP mode in low-light, too. The native 48MP photos lack noise reduction and once you resize them to 12MP they sometimes may look a bit more detailed. This won’t solve the dark exposure, of course, but can help capture more detail. We would still recommend using the Night mode to save yourself the hassle of downloading to a PC, using an app to resize it, save, repeat.

The photos from the ultra-wide-angle camera are quite bad as it wasn’t meant to be a night shooter. The noise reduction is very aggressive, and the exposure is often quite dark. Add to that the overall softness and lack of detail, and you get 8MP nighttime images which are not very attractive.

Once you’re done with the real world samples, head over to our Photo compare tool to see how the Xiaomi Mi A3 stacks up against the competition.

Portraits

The quality of the portraits taken with the rear camera of the Mi A3 is dependent on the light conditions. When the light is enough you will be rewarded with some great portrait shots – detailed, with excellent subject separation and convincing faux blur.

Selfies

The 32MP selfie camera turned out to be an excellent shooter. There is enough detail, the colors are nice, and the images are sharp enough. Sure, you have a limited range for the focus sweet spot, but with enough leeway to cover the different arm lengths and those who prefer closeup shots.

Video recording

The Xiaomi Mi A3 captures video up to 4K @ 30fps, and all other common modes are available – 1080@30fps and 1080p@60fps. It seems at first that you can capture in these resolutions with both cameras, but you can’t really. The ultrawide-angle snapper records only 1080p clips at 30fps, no matter what resolution you’ve picked up from the selector.

Slow-mo video are available – 1080p @120fps and 720p @240fps.

Let’s talk about the main camera. The video bit rate is 40-42Mbps in 4K, about 20Mbps in 1080p at 30fps or 60fps. Audio is recorded in stereo with a 96Kbps bit rate.

The 4K videos are sharp and detailed, pretty great for the class when you examine them from closely. The noise is kept reasonably low. Contrast is excellent, color rendition is quite nice and true to life, and the dynamic range is decent. Overall, we are happy with the 4K footage.

The 1080p capture at 30fps is excellent across the board – resolved detail, contrast, colors, dynamic range.

Unfortunately, the detail in the 1080p videos shot at 60fps is halved making those looked jaggy, if not pixelated.

 

 

 

 

 

The videos from the ultrawide snapper have a bit warmer color rendition and the dynamic range is lower. The 1080p videos at 30fps taken have less detail than the ones from the main snapper though they are still very much usable.

 

 

 

 

 

The 2X toggle is also available in video recording. In 4K you will get an obvious digital zoom with soft picture and unimpressive detail. If you are shooting in 1080p the zoomed videos are as excellent as shooting at normal range, a benefit of having such a high-res sensor.

 

 

 

 

 

EIS is available only when shooting in 1080p at 30fps. The digital stabilization does a great job smoothing the camera shake at the expense of minor loss of FoV.

 

 

 

 

 

Wrap-up

The Xiaomi Mi A3 was a highly anticipated successor after the Mi A2 disappointed a lot of Mi A1 fans by dropping features such as the audio jack, the memory expansion, and the FM radio support. Indeed, the Xiaomi brought all these back for the Mi A3 and even put a much larger battery.

The premium build, the OLED screen and its under-display fingerprint scanner, the improved camera and the modern chipset were all very thoughtful picks for a rather budget phone. But a compromise had to be made somewhere for these numerous niceties and the screen absorbed the whole cost-cutting thing.

 

 

 

 

The Super AMOLED screen is of low 720p resolution and its PenTile matrix makes the already pixelated picture look even worse. The screen is no good for long reading or browsing, as many people will find the jagged text unpleasant.

What the screen is great for is video playback and gaming as most of the users won’t notice the individual pixels on busy pictures. But we are not sure that many people will be buying the Mi A3 for its gaming framerates or video playback prowess. Usually, a phone is a daily driver first and then an entertainment device. Whilst the Mi A3 have it backwards and this limits its potential customers by a lot.

The competition

Xiaomi is selling the Mi A3 as Mi CC9e in some markets in Asia, such as China. The only difference is the launcher – the CC9e boots the latest MIUI 10. But thanks to Xiaomi‘s proprietary MIUI the CC9e enjoys much brighter screen when necessary.

Then there is the fact that Xiaomi already has a better phone than the Mi A3 – the Mi 9 SE. The Mi 9 SE costs about €30 over the Mi A3 and runs MIUI, but will offer a 1080p HDR AMOLED, a faster chipset, and an additional telephoto camera to its main 48MP and ultrawide 13MP snappers.

The Galaxy A50 is also a very interesting competitor. The A50 has a larger and of higher resolution Super AMOLED with an under-screen fingerprint reader, equally capable chipset, the same battery, and a triple-camera of similar capabilities. By having a much better screen for just minor cash over the Mi A3, the Galaxy A50 is a major threat and probably a better deal.

The Huawei P30 Lite also have a 1080p screen even though it’s an LCD one. It offers similar performance and same triple-camera, and excels in battery life, too. The P30 Lite price is close to the Mi A3 and it’s one very beautiful smartphone, but it has EMUI instead of vanilla Android.

Finally, if Android One is a must, you may want to check the splash-resistant Motorola One Vision. It has a 6.3″ IPS LCD screen with a punch-hole selfie camera. Its Exynos chip performs as well as Mi A3‘s Snapdragon and its battery is large enough, too. The One Vision has a 48MP primary cam at the back with a depth sensor but lacks an ultra-wide one.

 

 

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE • Samsung Galaxy A50 • Huawei P30 lite • Motorola One Vision

 

 

The verdict

There are plenty of good devices in Mi A3‘s price bracket and the A3 fits rather well in there. But it is not the best one and we can hardly pick it as the top choice. It will be the best match for some, but the 720p screen easily makes the Mi A3 more of a niche device as it is best suited for gaming and videos instead of browsing and reading.

 

 

 

 

The Xiaomi Mi A3 has gotten so many things right that we are beyond conflicted at the end of this review. The screen is one of the most important features on a smartphone and the Mi A3 has the right panel but the wrong resolution. And then it goes to ace every test we’ve put it through. We can’t call it a winner, that is certain, but it is truly unique in both good and bad ways.

We have one advice for every person interested in the Mi A3. Don’t write this phone off until you’ve seen its screen in the store and decide whether the low resolution is an eyesore for you or not. It deserves at least that much.

Pros

  • Dual Gorilla Glass 5 design, attractive paintjobs
  • Large OLED screen
  • Fast and accurate under-display fingerprint scanner
  • Excellent battery life
  • Very loud speaker
  • Dependable performance, great for gaming
  • Android One
  • Great all-round camera experience on all three snappers, day and night, photo and video
  • Excellent selfies
  • 3.5mm jack, microSD, FM radio, IR blaster

Cons

  • The 720p resolution is TOO LOW for PenTile AMOLED of that size
  • Missing sunlight brightness boost in Auto Brightness Mode
  • The audio output quality is not that good