This ultra-thin smartphone is an excellent combination of Xiaomis hardware and Google's unmodified Android Oreo/Android One operating system out of the box. Unlike many, Xiaomi has not adopted the fancy all-glass rear or the notch display. Instead, the A2 sports an aluminium unibody, a 5.99 inch full HD+ screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio, and thick bezels on the top and the bottom. Protected by 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 5, the screen looks bright with deep blacks. In spite of the big display, the curved edges at the rear make it easy to hold. The thin side panel houses the volume key and the power button on the right, the SIM tray on the left, the IR blaster on the top and the Type C charging port and the speaker grill at the bottom. Interestingly, A2 has done away with the headphone jack as Xiaomi has bundled an audio connector in the box. However, the company never bundles earphones with its smartphones.
Setting up the phone took only a few minutes and I was greeted with a clean user interface. That is not surprising as an Android One device only comes with Google Services and apps along with a few other essential apps, as per Google's specifications. To use the IR blaster for controlling appliances, I had to instal the Mi Remote app from the Play Store and it worked flawlessly even with my 10-year-old LG air conditioner and six-year-old Philips LCD TV. It seems Xiaomi has been listening to consumer feedback and increasing the database of supported devices.
Mi A2 is a camera monster and captures great images. Bokeh images shot using the dual-camera set-up (12 MP+20 MP) at the rear can be taken in Portrait mode by keeping the subject within 2.5m range. It senses ambient lighting and switches between the cameras as the 12 MP one is ideal for normal lighting and the other for low light. The lenses can also be switched manually. The 20 MP front camera uses artificial intelligence to detect faces and blurs the background, even in low light. Plus, access to AI Beautify 4.0 within the Portrait selfies removes marks and blemishes from the face, resulting in perfect images.
In terms of performance, this device can handle e-mail, video streaming, (basic) image and video editing, and gaming with ease. Even while playing games such as Asphalt racing or Battle Warship, there was no frame loss or any sign of lag. Under the hood, it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 octa-core processor and has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. The phone has scored 132123 on AnTuTu benchmark. Being an Android One device, Mi A2 will receive a timely Android 9 Pie update, most likely towards the end of this year. The A2 version launched in India supports Quick Charge 4.0 and the 3,000 mAh battery onboard easily lasts a day.