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Xiaomi Mi A3 review: more capable than you might think

Xiaomi Mi A3 review: more capable than you might think

The Xiaomi Mi A3 comes on the market at a list price of £185 in the UK. It's a device that immediately fascinates for its design but that raises some questions when you look at the display that, on paper, offers a resolution limited to only HD+. Can it really be considered a limit? The answer in our review!

 

 

 

Rating

Good

  • Camera
  • Battery life
  • Android One software
  • Headphone jack

Bad

  • Display resolution
  • Fingerprint reader
  • No NFC

Available online for less than 200 quid

Xiaomi Mi A3 is available on the market at the list price of £185. It's a phone that is easily suitable for the back to school market in an attractive price range. In the purchase package the brand provides, in addition to the charger and USB-C charging cable, a soft silicone case.

 

A compact smartphone

The design gap between flagship, mid-range and low-end devices is no longer as wide as it was a few years ago. Now even the cheapest devices are embracing the trends of the moment and show off elegant and ergonomic designs. Obviously there are compromises in the materials, certifications, the quality of the finish and features offered, but the Xiaomi Mi A3 also immediately makes a good impression.

A smartphone with a compact design
AndroidPIT Xiaomi Mi A3 Back
An elegant body with a smooth and clean shell / © AndroidPIT

With its body of 153.48 x 71.85 x 8.47 mm weighing 173.8 grams it can be considered a compact smartphone. The curves in the corners and in the body make it ergonomic, it is easy to handle with one hand and the slightly protruding photo compartment does not disturb when the smartphone is placed on a table.

Two physical keys on the right, an infrared port and headphone jack return along the top edge. There is a slot for two SIMs or a SIM and microSD comb on the left, a mono speaker and a USB-C port along the bottom.

AndroidPIT Xiaomi Mi A3 Port
The Mi A3 offers a USB-C / © AndroidPIT

The Gorilla Glass 5 glass body houses the triple camera in a traffic light design at the top left, while the redesigned Xiaomi logo can be seen at the bottom. The screen is equipped with a dewdrop notch in the middle that houses the front camera. Too bad about the not so thin bezel at the bottom. The Mi A3 does not offer IP68 certification but this is a common shortcoming for phones in this price range. it is, however, made of glass and metal, unlike other competitors such as the Realme 5 Pro.

AndroidPIT Xiaomi Mi A3 Case
The Mi A3 with the supplied cover / © AndroidPIT

An AMOLED display with integrated fingerprint reader

The most questionable point of the Xiaomi Mi A3 is the 6.08-inch screen that offers a resolution in HD+ of 720 x 1560 pixels resulting in a density of 283 ppi. The HD+ resolution weighs heavily when you look at other mid-range competitors that go further and when you see individual pixels.

The fingerprint reader is not as powerful as it should be.

The Chinese brand integrates an AMOLED panel (with PenTile matrix) that offers excellent contrasts and a good representation of colors even if sometimes they are a bit saturated. It is not always easily readable under direct sunlight either. The maximum brightness is not bad but the minimum should be lower.

AndroidPIT Xiaomi Mi A3 Notch
An AMOLED panel but the resolution is just HD+ / © AndroidPIT

The screen of the Mi A3 hides the integrated fingerprint reader which, during my test, had several problems in the recognition of the recording of my fingerprint. I found it more convenient to use the 2D face recognition, available through the front camera housed in the notch, or even a PIN. The Mi A3 offers an Ambient Display function that wakes up the screen when you receive new notifications and does and it even still has a notification LED.

Android One for a Stock Android experience

The Xiaomi Mi A3, as the branding reminds us, runs Android One and Android 9 Pie . Having an Android One smartphone means guaranteed updates and taking advantage of a Stock Android version without bloatware. The touch of Xiaomi and its MIUI does not disappear completely (the unlocking by face recognition is one example), but it is almost imperceptible. In addition to the services of Google and the Xiaomi camera app, pre-installed you will find the FM Radio.

Updates are guaranteed for two years with Android One

The experience on the Mi A3 is so fluid and fast and for those who love Android stock and few loud customizations, the Mi A3 is an absolute pleasure to use. Those who love the features added by Xiaomi on MIUI will not find them here.

AndroidPIT Xiaomi Mi A3 Handheld
Goodbye bloatware! / © AndroidPIT

Snapdragon 665 and 4GB of RAM

The Xiaomi Mi A3 houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 octa-core processor (4 Cortex A73 cores at 2.0GHz and 4 Cortex A53 cores at 1.8GHz) supported by Adreno 610 GPU, 4GB LPDDR4X RAM and 64GB UFS 2.1 internal storage expandable via microSD. What does that mean in everyday use?

The smartphone runs smoothly, the transition between screens and between apps is no problem. But if you play games that test the performance more you'll have to first have a little bit of patience when launching the games. You'll notice occasionally some lag and the absence of a dedicated gaming mode. For the rest of normal usage, the Mi A3 does not do badly at all.

Good general performance but a pity for the absence of NFC

Xiaomi Mi A3 benchmark test results

  3DMark Sling Shot Extreme (3DMark Sling Shot Extreme) 3DMark Sling Shot Vulkan

3DMark Sling Shot

3DMark IceStorm Extreme Geekbench 5 (Single/Multi) PassMark
Memory
PassMark
Disk
Xiaomi Mi A3 1084 1050 1765 23440 315 / 1420 12755 68123
Realme 5 Pro 2091 1980 2990 28541 321 / 1498 12595 67088
Nokia 8.1 1830 1745 2673 28942 - 12454 51940
Dramas Notes 7 1356 1304 2065 26482 - 12833 51462

In terms of connectivity, the Xiaomi Mi A3 offers LTE up to 450 Mbps, Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 5.0. But there is one big absentee that I would call unjustified: why not offer NFC now that contactless payments are increasingly widespread In terms of reception and audio, the Mi A3 is doing well, even the maximum volume is high enough. And if you want, you can always use your wired headphones.

Xiaomi Mi A3 camera

Xiaomi Mi A3 integrates a triple camera on the back consisting of:

  • 48-megapixel f/1.8
  • 8-megapixel, wide-angle, f/2.2
  • 2-megapixel, depth of field. f/2.4
AndroidPIT Xiaomi Mi A3 Camera
Three cameras on the body of the Mi A3 / © AndroidPIT

To take 48-megapixel photos you must first select the dedicated function from the camera settings, otherwise you will take 12-megapixel photos. The camera app, designed by Xiaomi, offers portrait, night, video, short video, panorama and pro modes. With a tap you can activate HDR, AI or apply filters and adjustable beauty effect of intensity. Even 2x digital zoom is available.

The Mi A3 does a good job with photos when the light conditions are good: both in terms of contrasts and details. I know, this sentence accompanies many of our reviews but the fact is that the brands are optimizing smartphones even in the middle-range and at entry-level, being able to offer good results even on the camera side at low prices.

As you can easily imagine, evening shots lose quality and you can see it from blurred subjects and loss of detail. With night mode you can partially smooth out this loss by giving more detail and better lighting the scene. Considering the price of the device, the camera does a good job on the whole even if the shot is not lightning fast.

Xiaomi dedicates a 32-megapixel f/2.0 camera to selfies that captures colors beautifully and also the blur effect with portrait mode is not bad.

A great battery

The Xiaomi Mi A3 integrates a 4,030 mAh battery that offers excellent autonomy. You'll get more than one day of battery life without any problems, two under moderate use. In this case, the HD+ screen undoubtedly gives you a hand. There is support for fast charging 3.0 but you will need an 18W charger, not included in the box. To charge the Mi A3 with the supplied charger you will need about two hours and twenty minutes.

Xiaomi Mi A3 technical specifications

Dimensions: 153.48 x 71.85 x 8.47 mm
Weight: 173 g
Battery size: 4030 mAh
Screen size: 6.08 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 1536 x 720 pixels (279 ppi)
Front camera: 32 megapixels
Rear camera: 48 megapixels
Flashlight: LED
Android version: 9 - Pie
User interface: Stock Android
RAM: 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Number of cores: 8
Connectivity: LTE, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0

Final verdict

Xiaomi wanted to dare by offering on the Mi A3 an AMOLED screen with an integrated fingerprint reader under the display and I would have preferred a Full HD resolution and a classic fingerprint reader but the courage and desire to innovate must be rewarded in a price range like this.

Overall, if you consider the design, the Stock Android experience and therefore the lack of bloatware, the excellent battery life offered, the overall performance and quality of camera shots, the Mi A3 is a good device, and considering that you can find it for under 200 pounds, I can only recommend it.

The important thing is that you don't have high expectations on the display side (if you can, take a look at the display in the shop to get an idea) and that you don't need NFC!

 

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