Xiaomi Mi A3 Review

10 August 2019, 02:43:42

Xiaomi Mi A3 Review

OS, UI and software

Xiaomi Mi A3 runs on Android One which in this case is a vanilla Android 9.0 Pie. This means you get pure Android experience with all default features. The Lock Screen contains a time/date widget with no shortcuts (by default) to selected apps. If you set up a fingerprint sensor, a corresponding animation will appear on the Lock Screen. The default unlock type is a simple swipe. On the Home Screen, the time moves to the top left corner in the status bar and the upper half of the screen provides information about the day of the week and the date. The lower half lists a Google folder with apps, a Mi folder with two apps (Mi Store and Mi Community) as well as a row with four favourite apps. Below them, there's the Google search box. The bottom is occupied by the onscreen navigation which consists of a small bar that serves as a Home button and a Back arrow that appears only when needed. If you touch and hold the "home button" you will activate Google's voice assistant. The navigation bar cannot be customized or replaced by any other type of navigation.

A swipe to the right opens the Google app showing the latest news by default. If you pull up the navigation bar from the bottom of the Home Screen, you will access the page with all apps listed in alphabetic order with an app search box on top. Desktop shortcuts are supported. The Task Manager is a default Android 9 Pie one. It lists the apps horizontally and for each, you can access the information page or enter the split-screen mode. No app locking and what's more inconvenient - there isn't a button to close all apps at once. The Widgets menu contains a choice of widgets, wallpapers and home screen settings. The latter is about activating/deactivating the Google App and Notification dots, allow home screen rotation or not, etc. The Notifications and Quick Settings are in their default Android 9 design and functionality, so are the Volume and Power off menus.
Xiaomi Mi A3 arrives with a full package of Google apps for Android: Calendar, Chrome, Drive, Duo, Files, Gmail, Google, Keep Notes, Maps, News, Photos, Play Music (two versions - for free and with a subscription), Play Store, YouTube. Only the very basic Android apps are present - Phone, Contacts, Messenger, Clock, Calculator. The Camera app is slightly tweaked and there's a non-stock Radio app. Xiaomi has added its Mi Store and Mi Community app. The Feedback app is available only as a sub-menu in the System settings.
The System Settings resemble the ones on MIUI versions but contain fewer options. The menus are topped by a settings search bar and begin with the Network & Internet and the Connected Devices menus which manage the device's connectivity options, including Wi-Fi settings, Bluetooth, Wi_Fi Display, Mobile Hotspot and Tethering, connections to other devices, SIM cards, mobile data usage and mobile networks, etc. The Apps & Notifications menu is quite extensive and in addition to managing the apps and notifications, it also manages the emergency alerts and has a shortcut to managing your screen time. The Display menu contains the standard brightness level bar, night mode, adaptive brightness and ambient display toggles, system font and display size, a choice of screen savers and wallpapers, etc. The Night Light mode can be scheduled. There's no AOD. The ambient display feature means that when you get a notification the screen will turn on. The Device Theme menu allows you to choose from a light, dark and default theme but this feature is not working. The Sound settings offer nothing new, so does the Storage menu which contains a Free Up Space option and a Storage Manager toggle.
Security & Location allows you to create and manage fingerprint IDs, face ID, set a screen lock and privacy protection password as well as set up your lock screen. It begins with the usual Google Play Protect, Find My Device and Security Update. This menu is followed by the Accounts one ad after that - by the Accessibility one. The Mi Services is something new for vanilla Android but typical for MIUI. These are two toggles that are turned off by default - for participation in the User Experience Program and for automatic Sending of Diagnostic Data.
Digital Wellbeing is one of the latest Google features for Android. It aims to help you "find a balance with technology that feels right for you." This feature gives you insight into your daily digital habits - how often you check your phone and how frequently you use different apps. When you have that information you can manage your time more efficiently and schedule via the Dashboard the time you should spend with a select app or feature, Wind Down, etc. Here you also get convenient shortcuts to managing the notifications and the DND settings that can be found in the Sound menu as well. The Digital Wellbeing menu is followed by the standard Google one for managing specific services and preferences, the System menu for setting up your language(s) and keyboard, back up and reset, manage users, and check for updates. The About Phone menu contains the standard information about the basic specifications and software version of the model. Finally, there's the Feedback feature which allows you to send your feedback directly to Xiaomi.

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