Xiaomi Redmi A1 is the company’s latest entry-level smartphone and is the poster boy of the Redmi A series. It has a starting price of Php 3999; And after the promotion period, it will be offered at Php 4299 SRP. There are many interesting things with this device, for one it is powered by a capable MediaTek Hello A22 chipset and runs on Android 12 Go version.
We know Xiaomi as a company that offers good hardware at a very affordable price point of view and the Redmi A1 is no exception. I took the smartphone for a spin and checked out what its promising specs sheet has to offer. Join me in this quick review of Redmi A1.
Just like Xiaomi’s other entry-level phones, the Redmi A1 features a basic candy bar design with a waterdrop notch on the front panel. The phone’s backing uses a leather-like material that easily resists fingerprints; However, there is no denying the fact that it is made of polycarbonate plastic. With these, the handling and ergonomics of the device are quite good. We have the black color path; If that’s not your cup of tea, you can choose between light green and light blue.
Being in this category, I was quite surprised that the device has a good build quality. This 192-gram device has a unibody design and does not creak when parts of the phone are pressed together. Placement of ports and buttons is normal – power button and volume rocker on the right; SIM tray with dedicated microSD card slot on the left; MicroUSB port, microphone, 3.5-mm audio jack are at the bottom; and the loudspeaker at the top.
The rear panel houses a dual camera setup. I am surprised that a phone of this price has two cameras There is an 8MP main sensor and a depth sensor; These cameras also come with an LED flash.
This 9.1-mm smartphone features a 6.52-inch display with HD+ 1600 x 720p resolution and a standard 60Hz refresh rate. It also has a touch sampling rate of 120Hz and a peak brightness of 400 nits. Display quality is passable; Colors are washed out but contrast is fine. I think the display is good enough for a budget phone.
I did several sessions of YouTube and Netflix streaming. The handset has a Widevine L3 certification for SD viewing, but it does very little in my experience. It’s okay to use the phone outdoors, just don’t put it under direct sunlight as clarity deteriorates. For a casual streaming and content consumption, the display can offer a good overall experience.
Other basic tasks are handled well by the MediaTek Helio A22 chipset coupled with 2GB of RAM. The phone is generally everything you’d expect for an entry-level device, but it could be smoother than most of its peers. This is due to software optimization which we will discuss later in this review.
If you plan to store more multimedia files on this phone, you’re in luck. Redmi A1 supports up to 1TB expandable storage on top of 32GB native ROM. The smartphone can also run popular games like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang using the lowest refresh rate and smooth graphics settings; The game is quite playable without generating heat on the back of the phone.
Nothing to complain about with mono speakers at this price. It shoots decent audio but can get tin-ish at extreme volume levels; With that, I recommend you use headphones to consume content via wired (yes, it has a 3.5-mm audio jack) or wireless. The phone comes with dual SIM slots, supports 4G LTE connectivity and even VoLTE.
It is also worth noting that the Redmi A1 does not come with a fingerprint scanner but you can use face unlock instead of biometrics.
Xiaomi has tagged the Redmi A1’s 8MP primary camera as “AI Lens” which means it can intelligently configure shooting conditions and improve color treatment. The camera takes good pictures in a well-lit environment with enough detail and color.
The shutter speed is fast, but the sensor struggles to focus on subjects – you have to be patient to get a good shot. Quality degrades in low light and the sensor can overexpose some bright parts of the frame. Dynamic range and contrast may be a bit lacking but the overall performance of the camera is good at this price point of view. On the other hand, the 5MP front camera works well in creating selfie shots for social media use.
Xiaomi Redmi A1 is powered by Android 12 Go version. This forked version of Android is made to cater to phones with modest hardware. With this, Xiaomi has left MIUI in the cutting room to give way to smoother experience and better performance for entry-level phones. As a result, the Redmi A1 has faster app launches, easier app sharing and more privacy features than its contemporaries. Android 12 Go version offers better battery management which reflects the phone’s longer battery life.
Talking about the battery, the Redmi A1 packs a 5000 mAh battery which is quite common for entry-level smartphones these days. Battery life can easily last for a day and extend to another day with fair to moderate use. The device is rated with 10-watt charging so the phone is expected to fully charge in over two hours.