Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Xiaomi Mi A2 launched in India with Snapdragon 660 for ₹16,999 ($248)

The Xiaomi Mi A1 was Xiaomi's first Android One smartphone. It was first launched in India in September last year, and it made its way to other international markets as well. With its successor, Xiaomi is following a different launch strategy. The company first made the Xiaomi Mi A2 and the Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite official in Spain, and the phones are already available in quite a few countries. Now, Xiaomi has launched the Mi A2 in India, while opting not to bring the cheaper Mi A2 Lite.

The Xiaomi Mi A2 is a mid-range smartphone, and it's positioned higher than the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in the company's device portfolio. With specifications such as the capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 system-on-chip, 5.99-inch Full HD+ display, and dual rear cameras, the Mi A2 competes with phones such as the Honor Play, Nokia 7 Plus, and the Oppo F7. Its full specifications are noted below:

Xiaomi Mi A2 – Specifications at a glance

Xiaomi Mi A2 and Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite Android One smartphones specifications, pricing, and availability
Xiaomi Mi A2 Specifications
Dimensions and weight 158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm, 166g
Software Android One – Android 8.1 Oreo
CPU Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 (4x 2.2GHz Kryo 260 Performance cores + 4x 1.8GHz Kryo 260 Efficiency cores); Adreno 512 GPU
RAM and storage 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage / 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage
Battery 3,010mAh, Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0; Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 exclusively for Indian variant
Display 5.99-inch Full HD+ (2160×1080) IPS LCD with 18:9 aspect ratio
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB Type-C (USB 2.0), Dual Nano SIM slots
Bands GSM: Band 2/3/5/8
HSPA: Band 1/2/4/5/8
TDD-LTE: Band 38/40
FDD-LTE: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B20
Rear cameras 12MP primary camera with Sony IMX486 sensor, f/1.75 aperture, 1.25μm pixels
20MP secondary low-light camera with Sony IMX376 sensor, 1.0μm pixels, f/1.75 aperture
Video recording up to 4K, EIS for video recording
Front-facing camera 20MP with Sony IMX376 sensor, f/2.2 aperture, uses pixel binning to simulate 2.0μm pixels

At the Mi A2 India launch event, Xiaomi India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain stated that Xiaomi has 60 percent market share in the online smartphone market, and 20 percent share offline. He also said that the company has sold 10 million units of phones in the last quarter.

The Xiaomi Mi A2 is made of unibody aluminium like its predecessor, which differentiates it from the construction of the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The antenna bands are hidden at the top and bottom, and the fingerprint sensor is placed on the back of the device. The dual cameras are placed vertically like the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 system-on-chip. For reference, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 636 SoC, which is a lower-end variant of the Snapdragon 660. The Snapdragon 660 features four Kryo 260 cores clocked at 2.2GHz (based on Cortex-A73) and four Kryo 260 cores clocked at 1.8GHz (based on Cortex-A53). The cores are paired with the Adreno 512 GPU, which is more powerful than the Adreno 509 of the Snapdragon 636.

There are two configurations of the phone launching in India: 4GB of RAM paired with 64GB of storage, and 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage. The 6GB RAM variant will be available at a later date, however.

The Mi A1 had 12MP + 12MP rear cameras, with a primary wide-angle camera and a secondary camera with a telephoto lens. The Mi A2, on the other hand, goes with a dual camera module. It no longer has a telephoto lens, which means that 2x optical zoom is no longer available. Instead, the secondary camera is aimed to take better photos in low light.

The phone has a 12MP primary camera with the Sony IMX486 sensor, 1.25μm pixels, and an f/1.75 aperture. The 20MP secondary camera has a Sony IMX376 sensor, 1.0μm pixels, and the same f/1.75 aperture. It uses pixel binning to combine four pixels into a single pixel for brighter photos, similar to implementations from other device makers. Users can use the secondary camera in manual mode, but the camera combines output from both cameras in auto mode. The Mi A2 also has auto HDR. The secondary camera comes useful for Xiaomi's implementation of portrait mode as well. The front-facing camera has a 20MP Sony IMX376 sensor with an f/2.2 aperture.

The dual camera setup also comes with AI detection for over 200 scenes, and has 12 different portrait modes. The AI supposedly learns over time to achieve better detail as well.

The phone does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is a strange and inexcusable decision in our view. In the box, the company provides a 3.5mm-to-USB-C adapter. Xiaomi did not provide any reason for removing the headphone jack either. There is no increase in battery capacity from the Mi A1, and the phone also does not have an IP rating for water resistance. Therefore, we fail to understand the company's decision here.

The list of missing specifications also includes NFC. The Mi A2 does retain the IR blaster like past Xiaomi devices.

The Mi A2 is powered by a 3,010mAh battery—significantly smaller than the 4000mAh battery of the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The efficient nature of the Snapdragon 660 SoC should help for battery life. The software is the highlight of course, with stock Android 8.1 Oreo. This naturally means that it has Project Treble support, and unlocking the bootloader should also be significantly easier as users don't need to apply for permission from Xiaomi.

In terms of software, the Mi A2 comes with Xiaomi's camera app. The company also pre-loads its File Manager, Feedback app, as well as the Mi Drop file-sharing app. The default gallery app is Google Photos, and there is no extra bloatware.

Pricing and availability

The Xiaomi Mi A2 will be available in two variants in India. The 4GB RAM/64GB storage variant costs ₹16,999 ($248) in the country, and will be available via Amazon India and Mi.com. Users can pre-order the Mi A2 via Amazon and Mi.com on August 9 at 12PM IST. The device will be available for sale starting August 16. It will also be available via offline retailers as well. 

Xiaomi also stated that the 6GB RAM/128GB storage variant would arrive in India soon. The company didn't provide pricing and availability details, however.

Launch offers include 4.5TB additional data from Jio,



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