With the help of Xiaomi and the original Mi A1, Google was able to revive the Android One branding. The Mi A2 was a bit of a misstep as it missed out on a number of key features for a smartphone in this price range — a headphone jack, microSD card slot, and shipped with a meager 3000mAh battery.
Xiaomi and Google are fixing all the wrongs with their third generation Android One handset, the Mi A3. Keeping up with the times, the Mi A3 has a very trendy design that’s in line with what we have seen in phones of this price range from Honor and Xiaomi itself. What’s impressive is that despite its lower price tag, the Mi A3 uses Gorilla Glass 5 panels at the front and back.
Apart from the trendy design, Xiaomi has also included all essentials this time around: a headphone jack, microSD card slot, and a big 4,000mAh battery. This is perhaps the only smartphone series in the world which has reintroduced the headphone jack after ditching it.
Perhaps the only compromise Xiaomi and Google has made with the Mi A3 this time around is the display. While the Mi A3 does pack a 6.08-inch Super AMOLED panel, it has an HD+ resolution. This is lower than what other smartphones in this price range offer.
In my quick time with the device though, I could not really make out that the display was an HD+ panel and not an FHD one. Whether the HD+ display is a bummer or not is something that will only be clear as I spend more time with the phone.
On the positive side, you are getting an in-display fingerprint scanner on the Mi A3 which is still a rarity among phones in this price range. I am yet to try out the scanner so I will reserve my judgment on it till my review.
In terms of performance, the Mi A3 packs a newer Snapdragon 665 chipset. That’s not the most powerful mid-range chip around but should be still good enough especially since the phone runs a stock build of Android 9.0 Pie. It does ship with faster UFS 2.1 NAND which is going to make a bigger difference.
The triple-camera setup at the rear of the Mi A3 is an interesting one. The 48MP Sony IMX486 sensor has made its way into a bunch of phones with varying price points this year and it also does duty on the Mi A3. The telephoto sensor from the Mi A2 is gone, replaced by the 8MP ultra-wide angle shooter. The latter is definitely going to be more useful and a right step from Goole and Xiaomi here. Lastly, there is a 2MP depth sensor that should be useful for portrait photos.
It will be interesting to see how the Mi A3’s camera fares against Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note 7 Pro which also comes with a 48MP primary rear camera. The front 32MP selfie camera has also been used in many selfie-centric phones so it will be interesting to see how it has been turned to perform on the Mi A3.
The Mi A3 is not as revolutionary of a device as the original Mi A1. However, it does fix a lot of the missteps that Xiaomi and Google took with the Mi A2. To know how the Mi A3 fares in real-life use and whether that HD+ display is a downgrade or not, you will have to wait for our full review.