Xiaomi Mi A1 Review

21 October 2017, 15:10:10

Xiaomi Mi A1 Review
The device has been provided by LightInTheBox.com. You can buy it here.

OS, UI and software

Xiaomi and Google have partnered for creating this device that is designed and made by Xiaomi and software-powered by Android. Usually, Android One is considered the purest Android. It has all the latest versions and stays secure at all times while featuring all Google services. In order to use a large part of them, including free storage at high quality, you must have a registered Google account, which is free of course. Android One phones are optimized for Google Assistant in regions that support this service. They also are bound to frequent updates and have Google Play Protect which automatically finds and disables threats. Xiaomi Mi A1 arrives with Android 7.1.2 Nougat and is bound to receive Android 8.0 Oreo update. Actually, the manufacturer and Google promise that you will receive a minimum of 2 years of OS upgrades. The Lock screen on Mi A1 contains shortcuts to the Voice search and Camera apps. The Notifications and Quick settings appear by default on it. A swipe up and you land on the Home screen, which has a Voice search bar, a Google services folder, Feedback, Photos, and Play Store, along with a docked row of applications that contains the Dialer, Messenger, Gmail, Chrome and Camera apps. A swipe right gives you access to the Google app, which you can customize to show information according to your preferences - weather data, news, recipes, etc. A swipe up from the Home screen opens the full list of onboard applications. All of them are listed on one page in alphabetic order, with a search bar above them. You can access the Task Manager by tapping on the Menu button. It tiles the apps vertically, contains a clear-all button and supports split-screen mode.
The Notifications and Quick settings have an entirely stock Android N design. The Quick Settings contains all the standard toggles with a good list of additional ones in the Edit option, the User management menu and a shortcut to the System Settings. From the latter, you can activate the System UI Tuner. A long touch on an empty space on the Home screen brings up the Widget menu with a choice of wallpapers, widgets and launcher settings. These are two toggles - for activating/deactivating the Google app and for enabling/disabling home screen rotation.
Android One smartphones have the smallest number of applications on them and most of those are Google's services - Calendar, Chrome, Drive, Duo, Gmail, Google, Maps, Photos, Play Games, Play Music, Play Store, YouTube. The rest of the applications are default Android ones - Phone, Messenger, Contacts, Calculator, Clock, Downloads. There isn't even a File Manager. However, a Feedback app has found its place on board.
The Settings menu is as straightforward as it can be. It starts with a list of suggestions and continues with the Wireless & networks group of settings. From here you can manage your SIM cards, data usage, cellular networks, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. The Device group of settings comes second and allows you to manage the display, sounds, notifications, apps, storage, battery, memory, users and gestures. The Display menu contains only the very basic features - adaptive brightness, brightness level, ambient display toggle, wallpapers, font and display size, etc. The Notifications menu allows you to manage them individually for every app on board as well as manage their appearance on the Lock screen. The Sound settings are the default ones with ringtones, volume sliders, vibrations, DND. They also contain Cell Broadcast settings for emergencies, including ETWS. The Apps management is the default Android N one with permissions and special access features. The Users management includes not only options for adding other users of the phone with corresponding rights but also emergency data and contacts.
The Gestures menu contains two toggles only. The first is about checking your notifications by swiping down your finger on the fingerprint sensor on the back. The second is about quick access to the camera by clicking twice the power button. The third group of settings is called Personal and lets you manage your location, security and fingerprint(s), accounts, languages, keyboards, backup and reset. All these features are stock Android Nougat ones. The Security menu allows you to set an unlock type, add/rename/delete a fingerprint ID (up to 5 can be stored), activate smart lock features, including face recognition, encrypt your phone, etc. From the Languages & input menu, you can set more than one primary language and set usage of a physical keyboard when needed. The last group of settings is called System and from there you can set the date and time, schedule power on and off, use accessibility features and printing services, check the System UI Tuner (if activated) and the About Phone data. There's a Mi Services menu as well, which contains two toggles: for automatic sending of diagnostic data and for joining the user experience program.

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