The Xiaomi A1 Is The First Good Android One Phone

Android One is an essential version of Android, a bloatware-free version of the software curated by Google and designed with only the Mountain View giant’s most necessary apps pre-loaded. The first not-terrible-and-basic phone to launch with Android One is from Xiaomi, and it’s a mid-range 5.5-inch handset that looks more interesting than its circa-$300 price tag suggests it should.

Android One includes all the good Google trimmings like the Google Assistant and unlimited Google Photos storage, and the software behemoth also says it’ll get the same quick updates as its Pixel and Nexus devices. But the raison d’etre of Android One is different to the-best-of-Google-in-a-phone Pixel; it’s almost targeted at developing markets, with a combination of simple streamlined software and compelling hardware.

Thus, enter the Xiaomi A1. Its feature-set suggests a lot about the kind of entry-level Android phones we’ll be seeing around Australia in the near future, I think; it’s particularly interesting that the A1 has dual rear cameras — something generally restricted to mid- and higher-tier phones like the Oppo R11, OnePlus 5 and flagships like the iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung’s new Galaxy Note8.

Beyond that, it’s standard middle-of-the-road Android phone fare; a 5.5-inch 1080p LCD, fingerprint reader on the back, 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, and a 3080mAh battery for that reasonably energy efficient Qualcomm octa-core Snapdragon 625. The Xiaomi A1’s INR 14,999 price tag converts very roughly to around $300 in our patriotic true blue Aussie dollars. [Xiaomi]