Xiaomi Mi A2 Review



Xiaomi’s arrival on the US market is still a chimera in 2018, but its latest releases reveal that the large Chinese company is ready to tackle a much, much-broader global audience.

The fresh new Xiaomi Mi A2 is the perfect example of this – an affordable smartphone that seemingly embodies the perfect marriage between capable hardware and the intuitiveness of Google’s clean Android software.

Almost sounds too good to be true, but is there a catch? Join me as we untie this intricate knot!

Design


Let’s make one thing clear from the get-go: the Mi A2 is a well-designed phone. There are just a few things preventing it from being the new yardstick on the mid-range market.


Xiaomi has definitely gone a long way as far as design goes, and it looks as if this knowhow has successfully trickled down from the more premium lineups all the way down to the Mi A2. Its velvety-smooth metal body feels much sleeker in the hand than the intriguing price tag would otherwise suggest. Combined, both the clean, slim design and the smooth metal finish make for a device that’s a joy to hold and use.

Look high and low but you won’t find a 3.5mm audio jack – it has been sacrificed to keep the footprint of the Mi A2 as thin as possible. At least a dongle is included in the box.

There is a fingerprint scanner at the rear of the phone, placed at a very convenient spot. Notable is the addition of a USB Type-C port on the device – Xiaomi’s affordable mid-rangers these days are usually donning an archaic microUSB port. There’s also an infrared blaster at the top of the phone also deserving a mention – this staple of most Xiaomi phones comes in very useful, but we will come back to that one later.

Xiaomi Mi A2

Xiaomi Mi A2

Dimensions

6.25 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches

158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

Motorola Moto G6 Plus

Motorola Moto G6 Plus

Dimensions

6.3 x 2.97 x 0.31 inches

160 x 75.5 x 8 mm

Weight

5.89 oz (167 g)

Nokia 7 plus

Nokia 7 plus

Dimensions

6.24 x 2.98 x 0.38 inches

158.38 x 75.64 x 9.55 mm

Weight

6.46 oz (183 g)

Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)

Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)

Dimensions

5.87 x 2.78 x 0.33 inches

149.2 x 70.6 x 8.4 mm

Weight

6.07 oz (172 g)

Xiaomi Mi A2

Xiaomi Mi A2

Dimensions

6.25 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches

158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

Motorola Moto G6 Plus

Motorola Moto G6 Plus

Dimensions

6.3 x 2.97 x 0.31 inches

160 x 75.5 x 8 mm

Weight

5.89 oz (167 g)

Nokia 7 plus

Nokia 7 plus

Dimensions

6.24 x 2.98 x 0.38 inches

158.38 x 75.64 x 9.55 mm

Weight

6.46 oz (183 g)

Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)

Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)

Dimensions

5.87 x 2.78 x 0.33 inches

149.2 x 70.6 x 8.4 mm

Weight

6.07 oz (172 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


The hardware buttons of the Mi A2 provide tons of feedback and are quite clicky, even excessively so. Some might find them a bit annoying, but I vastly prefer them to their polar opposites – those disgusting mushy ones.

Display


The Xiaomi Mi A2 employs a large, 6-inch IPS LCD display up front, boasting a resolution of 1080 by 2160 pixels. I reckon that even in this day and age, it’s more than enough for most people, including myself.

Overall, the display itself is good but has a few caveats. On the upside, it has nice contrast, sufficient maximum and excellent minimum brightness, as well as good viewing angles. However, while colors are fairly accurate for the most part, the white balance has a noticeably blueish tint, which makes up for a rather cold screen that’s not quite pleasing to the eye.

If you’re used to vivid displays, the Mi A2 will immediately strike you as bit drab and lacking any punchiness. I got used to it after a day or two, but one of the things I actually miss is MIUI’s display mode calibrator tool, which allows you to calibrate the display to your own heartfelt content. No such thing is present on the Mi A2 as it’s powered by pure Android, which means you’re stuck with the not-so-impressive default color calibration.

Hardware and performance


Admittedly, my day-to-day usage has certainly been tainted by the super-snappy Snapdragon 845 chip that powers my daily driver, and switching to the Mi A2 for the purposes of this review felt like a noticeable regression in terms of performance. Of course, the humble octa-core Snapdragon 660 chipset inside the Mi A2 isn’t really meant to match the flagship performance of a Snapdragon 845, and I was perfectly aware of what I was getting myself into.


With that in mind, the Mi A2 performs admirably.

Surely, it would lag here and there, especially if you try to do too many things at once. For example, I had to endure irritating stutters in the Instagram app, but I am not entirely convinced that was the Mi A2’s fault. Light gaming is okay, but load up a heavier game like PUBG or the Fortnite beta and you will be up for a timely awakening.

The 4GB of RAM and the 64GB of on-board storage feel perfectly adequate to me and are as much as you would expect in the Mi A2’s price segment. There’s no microSD card slot.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 129177
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 88775
Nokia 7 plus 140880.5
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 76303
JetStream Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 53.205
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 28.143
Nokia 7 plus 53.716
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 56.335
GFXBench Car Chase on-screen Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 8.5
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 5.3
Nokia 7 plus 8.6
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 5.53
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 14
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 9.5
Nokia 7 plus 14
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 9.3
Geekbench 4 single-core Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 1622
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 884
Nokia 7 plus 1636
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 1517.66
Geekbench 4 multi-core Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 4650
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 4171
Nokia 7 plus 5847.5
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 4408.66

Interface & functionality


This is the second Android One device Xiaomi has released so far, and similarly to the Mi A1, Google is directly responsible for the software support of the phone. Just like any other Android One device, this one is guaranteed to receive software updates for two years directly and monthly security patches for three years directly from Google. The Xiaomi Mi A2 launched with Android Oreo, and aside from Android Pie, it will most certainly receive get a taste of next year’s Android Q as well.


Now, while the Mi A2 ships with pure Android on deck, it has a sprinkle of pre-loaded Xiaomi apps – Feedback, Mi Drop, File Manager, Mi Remote, a slew of stock MIUI wallpapers… and that’s about it. Aside from those, the software experience is as vanilla as it gets, with hardly any custom setting that's not present in clean Android. Surely, it’s lacking in terms of features and functionalities when compared to almost any custom Android build, but to many, including myself, that’s a feature of its own. Surely, Xiaomi’s custom take on Android, the so-called MIUI interface, has a bevy of nifty features that’d be useful to the regular user, but to each their own. As the Mi A2 is geared more towards a more global audence, it makes perfect sense for Xiaomi to drop its own interface in favor of a better-known one.

Remember that infrared sensor at the top? It is super useful – controlling all of your house electronics with the phone and not fumbling around with three or more remote controls is one of modern life’s minor lifehacks.

When it comes to unlocking the device, users can rely on both the super-snappy fingerprint scanner at the back and the face unlock feature. Have in mind that the latter is not a custom ordeal but part of Google’s own Smart Lock feature, which is already present on a large trove of Android devices. It’s very convenient, but not as secure as those 3D face-scanning ones.

One thing I hated about the phone is the LED notification light. Unlike almost any other Android device out there, the Mi A2 has a single-color notification light that lights up in white for anything, be it from low battery to a WhatsApp notification and an email, which is extremely user-unfriendly. Its pulse is also kind of stuttering and slow to update, further making up for the bad experience in this aspect.

Another thing I sorely missed on the Mi A2 was the fingerprint swipe gesture, which would expand the notifications/quick settings shade on most Android phones.

Multimedia


Тhere is a single down-firing loudspeaker of the Mi A2, and it’s not that good in terms of audio quality. Sure, it gets pretty loud, but crank it up over 80% and you will be subjected to a ear-piercing loudness distortion. The audio sounds tinny, the base is hollow, and overall, I wouldn’t recommend enjoying your favorite TV shows or listening to music on the loudspeaker.

Overall, the video-watching experience is average at best, but that’s to be expected from just about any device of the same price category. The display won’t wow you in any way as it does its job with as little fanfare as possible – there’s no HDR or video-enhancing feature on board. But still, it gets the job done.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 0.23
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 0.99
Nokia 7 plus 0.38
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 0.53
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 76
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 79
Nokia 7 plus 78
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 78

Camera


The camera performance of the Xiaomi Mi A2 pleasantly surprised me.

Boasting a dual rear camera comprised of a main 12MP Sony IMX486 sensor with an f/1.75 aperture and a secondary 20MP Sony IMX376 sensor with f/1.75 aperture, the Mi A2 is very adequately geared to meet all of your photographic expectations. The interesting bit here is that the secondary rear camera is not only used to enhance low-light photos and for depth information, but also for pixel-binning, combining four pixels into one. At the front, we have a potent selfie camera that is adorned with a 20MP Sony IMX376 sensor and a wide-ish f/2.2 aperture.


It should be noted that on the software front, the Mi A2 ships with Xiaomi’s MIUI camera interface, which is slightly more feature-rich than the one you’d get with the Google Camera. It comes with a ton of shooting modes besides the standard photo/video one: Panorama, Time-lapse, Manual mode, Slow motion video, Tilt shift, Handheld Twilight mode for ultra low-light situations, and a few other niche ones. Overall, the camera app should easily cover most of your needs, however specific and intricate they might be.

Image quality


In good lightning, you’d be forgiven if you mistake a Mi A2 camera sample for one made with a much more expensive device, and rightly so – the camera produces very pleasing images that have enough sharpness and saturation to make them pleasing to the eye but not excessively overdone. The HDR feature is smart enough to kick in when it’s needed, helping the camera alleviate the pain of burned highlights and pitch-black shadows most of the time. Surely, sometimes the automatic HDR would decide it isn’t needed, resulting in a slightly less usable picture, but this only happened once or twice to me.

Just like you might imagine, the Mi A2 has AI-assisted portrait mode that does a good job at producing appealing portraits. Just like many phones out there, it is prone to mistakes when it has to blur a more complex background like leaves, branches, and flowers, but does a very good job against a more uniform backdrop. It should be noted that the portrait mode has some slight beautification enabled by default - it smoothens the skin, fixes the picture’s tone, and removes blemishes and imperfections.

Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 1.9
2.2
918
614
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 2.15
2.40
860
1072
Nokia 7 plus 1.9
2
1146
971
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 1.8
1.8
620
499

Selfies, on the other hand, are pleasing to look at, but they tend to look a bit softer in lower-light situations and lack any distinctive sharpness. The selfie flash feature is definitely very nice to have, but I found it a bit too weak

Video quality


The Xiaomi Mi A2 shoots 4K and 1080p videos at 30fps and is also the first mid-range Xiaomi device to shoot 1080p videos at 60fps right out of the box. Videos are electronically stabilized in all modes except for 4K@30fps. For the most part, videos at either resolution turn out okay, with 4K naturally having much more detail, though one very annoying issue I had with the videos is that there is too much focus-hunting involved a bit too often. While it’s true that the device is super-quick to readjust its focus point, the focus-hunting in many shooting scenarios could ruin your video.


Battery


What the Mi A2 lacks in performance, it makes up in terms of efficiency. It has a modest 3,010mAh battery in the trunk, but this one lasts a while. To be exact, it endured for 7 hours and 23 minutes in our custom battery test. This result can be traced back to the Snapdragon 660, which turns out to be quite the efficient chipset and seems like a worthy successor of Xiaomi’s BFF, the Snapdragon 625, the previous uncrowned king of efficiency.

In my experience, the Mi A2 would last me for a full work day before requiring a top-up, averaging between 5 and 6 hours of screen-on time. I hardly ever played any games on it and largely used it for browsing the web, a little bit of Reddit, a little bit of Instagram, and listening to Spotify for hours.

Fully topping the battery takes 107 minutes, and that is similar to the Samsung Galaxy S9 in terms of rapidness. No fast charging solution here, and the supplied wall charger is a 5V/2A one.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 7h 23 min (Good)
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 10h 34 min (Excellent)
Nokia 7 plus 9h 46 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 9h 15 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Xiaomi Mi A2 107
Nokia 7 plus 113
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 97

Conclusion


Unlike most Xiaomi devices that mainly target the Chinese and Indian markets, the Mi A2 is geared towards a much wider global release – the phone will be up for grabs in many countries across Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East & Africa. The USA is traditionally not present, but denizens of Colombia and Mexico will be able to get this one.


While pricing varies by market, I’d say the phone carries a very adequate price tag. You will generally be able to get a Mi A2 at your local retailer for the following prices, though be advised that prices vary between different regions and even retailers in the same country:

  • 4GB RAM + 32GB storage: 249 euro
  • 4GB RAM + 64GB storage: 279 euro
  • 6GB RAM + 128GB storage: 349 euro

Overall, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better deal on a device with pure Android that boasts a similarly capable camera and comes with such a well-rounded hardware package, not to mention the software support that’s on par with the Android flagships out there.

Even though the Mi A2 has its flaws, I find it somewhat hard to judge the phone for them given what a nice value-for-money device you’re getting your hands on. If you can look past the not-so-accurate display and the lack of a 3.5mm audio jack or a microSD card slot, both of which are still regular features of mid-range devices, then you’re in for a tasty Android treat that wouldn’t break the bank.

Would I use this one as a personal phone instead of a flagship? Sure thing – I don’t feel that the phone is lacking in any area that’s important to me, and I reckon this would be the case for many other Android fans.

The Xiaomi Mi A2 is solid two thumbs up!

Pros

  • Good design
  • Excellent mid-range performance
  • Adequate battery life
  • Pretty good cameras, both rear and front
  • Fast fingerprint scanner
  • Smooth and intuitive stock Android interface
  • USB Type-C port

Cons

  • The display could use better color and contrast adjustments
  • No microSD card slot & 3.5mm audio jack
  • The LED notification light is annoying

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

User Rating:

9.0
3 Reviews

FEATURED VIDEO

29 Comments

1. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Con: The LED notification light is annoying. Lol that's funny, stupid f**king notification light right.

5. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

It's good enough that this phone got notification light, many smartphones didn't even have it, lol.. Same goes to other cons - Color adjustment? Pretty sure you can adjust it in setting - MicroSD and 3.5mm jack? iPhone also didn't have it but you never write it as cons.. (same goes for pixels, and many other smartphones)

6. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

It's good enough that this phone got notification light, many smartphones didn't even have it, lol.. Same goes to other cons - Color adjustment? Pretty sure you can adjust it in setting - MicroSD and 3.5mm jack? iPhone also didn't have it but you never write it as cons.. (same goes for pixels, and many other smartphones)

2. Papa_Ji

Posts: 836; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

The reason why people in India and China are not buying highly overpriced apple iCraps. MI A2 ~220$ Poco F1 ~ 300$ Note 5 pro 200$

3. jellmoo

Posts: 2562; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

I really feel like the lack of NFC should be mentioned.

27. luis.aag90

Posts: 272; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

Yup, also 32GB storage is not enough for the base model if it doesn't have a Micrp SD slot.

4. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

This is a great balanced phone but it is priced too high (at least in my country); it has exactly the same price as Galaxy A5 and is 50€ cheaper than the A8, but you lack NFC, AMOLED, quick charge inside the box, headsets, Samsung's kind of support, Knox (for the ones that need that) and access to a lot of soft that Samsung provides its clients (s-health, kids corner, theme store etc). It is a great phone, but too expensive (omg, Xiaomi too expensive, that's a first).

8. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Too expensive? lol.. It's literally the cheapest smartphone with SD660 right now.. And are you talking about A5 (2017)? (since they didn't release A5 this year) and I don't think that phone will ever get Android P. (And the charger included here is as fast as the one included in A5's box, both are 5V/2A charger)

9. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Samsung Exynos 7 Octa 7880 has a double bandwidth and uses HMP. I don't know which is better in terms of speed, I'm sure the Android One device is going to get better support (although I find the software in One products to be a bit rudimentary - they don't even come close to what Samsung has to offer), but I know that for me this device is not worth the same money Samsung is asking for a AMOLED and NFC device.

15. Marcwand3l

Posts: 426; Member since: May 08, 2017

The A8 is 100$ more expensive man. And Samsung's mid-range phones are ridiculously overpriced. The only thing going for them it's the screen but just the screen is not enough.

19. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

A8 was exactly €50 more than A2 when I have written the message. I agree that Samsung's phones (both high and mid range) are overpriced when compared to other brands (thinking about Huawei or 2y old iPhones which, from where I stand, are more capable than any mid range and they will have better support) but that tells me that a similar priced phone from Xiaomi is waaaay overpriced.

16. Marcwand3l

Posts: 426; Member since: May 08, 2017

Also NFC in Romania is pointless. You can just put your card under the phone's case and it will act like you would do mobile payments with your phone. It's quite ingenious and funny at the same time.

20. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

In the iPhone NFC is only used for payments but in Android phones there are lots of other usage scenarios; of course you have other possibilities and the feature is not a "must", but I thought I should mention it.

7. dr_fajardo12

Posts: 134; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

Battery

10. Einstein333

Posts: 146; Member since: May 22, 2012

How can a phone with such a short battery life get a total 8.5 score? Battery life is one of the most critical points to many of us

12. drifter77

Posts: 400; Member since: Jun 12, 2015

True. For me, battery is my number one concern when buying a new phone.

17. Marcwand3l

Posts: 426; Member since: May 08, 2017

Wait do you actually believe that the battery test on phonearena is in any way accurate?

22. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

On GSMarena test, it beat iPhone8, and just 3% short compared to iPhoneX, it's not that bad.

11. kotan24

Posts: 311; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Guys! This or the nokia 7 plus? I need a back up phone foe when I travel overseas this coming December. Thanks.

13. jellmoo

Posts: 2562; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Obviously check the bands for your travel, but for me I'd go with the 7 Plus. Expandable storage, much better battery life, headphone jack and NFC are all good selling points.

14. kotan24

Posts: 311; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

I’ll check on that, thanks!

18. Marcwand3l

Posts: 426; Member since: May 08, 2017

It's also 130 euros more. Great deal.

23. jellmoo

Posts: 2562; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

In Canada, the current price difference is $90 CAD. Granted, this is grey market as neither one is officially available here. For me, the pros I listed above are well worth the $90. If your main criteria is cost savings above all though, then obviously go for the less expensive option.

21. japkoslav

Posts: 1497; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

This only proves that Xioami Note series is just superior in every aspect. Better battery, speakers, 3,5mm jack, SD cards, IMHO even better software support etc.

24. wesley.

Posts: 209; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

The new website's mobile view blocks out other phones battery life in the graph

25. sanha2202

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 07, 2018

Your comment is awaiting moderation This product comes with number of problems. Forget Rs. 17000 this phone not also deserves Rs. 7000. Buy a sumsung phone of Rs. 6000 that is 100 times better than Mi A2. I have ordered Mi A2 phone from MI registered website on Thursday sale at 12 pm. Which I received from Bluedart on Friday evening itself. And i started using this phone from 11:30 pm of Friday night that too for an hour only. Problem 1: You wont believe the next day thrice I charged my Mi A2 phone because the battery was quickly going down. Even after charging 100% I used my watsapp for half an hour and the battery went back to 85, 75 then 60%. Shocking this is not even happening with my 4 years old sumsung phone. Problem 2: My phone started hanging. I havent even taken all the data in my phone yet and it started hanging. Problem 3: While sleeping i keep my data network off so to avoid notifications. I slept for one hour and then noticed that the Mi A2 new phone was heating so badly. I thought it will just blast. I had to quickly switch off the phone. It was sooo damn heating. It is super shock that the new model is giving these many problems. I paid Rs. 16999 and such stupid phone. I had escalated this issue in MI customer service team but they are not ready to accept it, they denied to give me a replacement. Forget about replacement now i a want my money back. I want the refund. But there is nobody to help me in this. I humbly request others to not waste your money. Please do

26. japkoslav

Posts: 1497; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Oh noes a faulty device, that never happened before!

28. sanha2202

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 07, 2018

I am raising this issue from past 12 days. But no customer executive is ready to give the solutions. After every 3 minutes without using the phone the battery goes 1% down. I have sent them several screenshots but they are not ready to accept it. 17000 for this phone is a waste. 4000 is what this Mi A2 worth.

29. japkoslav

Posts: 1497; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

:-DDDD
Mi A2
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 2160 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 20 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Octa-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3010 mAh

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.