Scale settings for entry-level smartphones
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that Xiaomi has had a big impact on the mainstream smartphone market in India. A category that was previously overlooked in favor of affordable, mid-range and premium smartphones has now breathed new life since the arrival of Xiaomi. Xiaomi’s Redmi range of smartphones is known to offer incredible specs for the price along with striking design features. The Redmi A1 is no different. Priced at just Rs 6,499, we had to see for ourselves what one of the most affordable smartphones in the market has to offer. Here is our Redmi A1 review.
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Redmi A1 review: Design and display
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Inside the box you will find a smartphone, a 10W power adapter, a micro USB cable, a SIM card ejector tool and a quick guide. Out of the box, this is by no means a compact smartphone. With dimensions of 164.9 x 76.8 x 9.1 mm, the Redmi A1 is comparable in size to mid-range smartphones. When you hold the phone in your hand, it doesn’t feel like one of the cheapest on the market. Perhaps it’s a sign of how far the entry-level category has come.
The overall design has been pared down and kept simple. The back panel is made of plastic and has a textured surface that is very pleasant when holding the phone in the palm of your hand. The dual cameras are housed in a small square unit at the top right of the rear panel along with a dual LED flash. The Redmi A1 is available in three colors – Light Green, Light Blue and Black. We used the light green variant for this review, and the rustic color goes well with the smartphone’s minimalist design.
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The micro USB port and 3.5mm headphone jack are located at the bottom of the phone. On the driving side you will find the volume rocker along with the power switch. The SIM card slot finds its way to the left. The speaker grille is located at the top of the phone. There is no fingerprint sensor on the device.
The Redmi A1 also boasts a 6.52-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 700 x 1600p. A lot of people upgrading from a feature phone are looking for a big display, and the Redmi A1 doesn’t cut it. Redmi could have easily provided a smaller display while slightly upping the other specs, but went for a 6.5-inch screen size.
The display is quite satisfactory if you want to watch SD content on it. There’s a ceiling that the display hits fairly soon, and there’s not much more you can get out of it. We watched content on YouTube, Netflix and Hotstar and the results were on par with an entry-level smartphone. Nothing extra, but great for the price.
The display also has a refresh rate of 60 Hz and a maximum brightness of 400 nits. The scrolling experience is decent, but the haptic feedback was pretty dialed down. You may need to spend some time customizing your phone to resolve this.
Redmi A1 review: Performance and cameras
Redmi A1 is powered by MediaTek MT6761 Helio A22 processor. This processor provides decent performance when it comes to basic tasks like browsing the internet, video calling, using navigation and more. The storage space offered is 32 GB along with 2/3 GB RAM option. We used the 32GB + 2GB model for this review.
One thing to note is that the Redmi A1 runs on Android 12 GO, an operating system specially designed by Google for low-end smartphones. You will hardly find traces of MIUI on this OS. The user interface is pretty clean and apart from Facebook Lite there are no bloatware apps on the phone.
The smartphone is also equipped with PowerVR GE8320 GPU and we tested it by playing some light games like Candy Crush, Subway Surfers and Clash Royale. After we were satisfied with the performance of the smartphone, we played Garena Free Fire Max on it. While there were some expected lags, the phone performed well and provided a satisfying gaming experience. You won’t get the smoothest controls or high-quality graphics on the Redmi A1, but that’s to be expected from a smartphone at this price point. In the Geekbench test, the smartphone scored 140 points in the Single-core test and 501 points in the Multi-core test.
The Redmi A1 gets a 5,000 mAh battery that lasts a long time on a phone with minimal hardware and a worn OS. The smartphone easily lasted two days of moderate usage that included taking pictures, watching almost two hours of content each day, texting on WhatsApp, browsing the web and listening to music. More conservative use can easily push the battery backup to 3 days. The 10W charger can fully charge a smartphone in less than 3 hours.
In terms of cameras, the Redmi A1 offers an 8MP primary shooter along with a depth sensor. You also get a dual LED flash housed in the rear camera unit and a 5MP selfie camera in the waterdrop notch on the display.
The rear camera unit works well in well-lit conditions, but it definitely doesn’t do the job in low light. We won’t hold it against the Redmi A1 as no other entry-level smartphone can provide this feature. The pictures we took in natural daylight turned out pretty well. Colors were vibrant and the camera did a pretty good job of capturing substantial detail. However, images of objects taken in direct sunlight seemed a bit overexposed and we were not able to make out the sky in the background at all.
The Redmi A1 can also record 1080p videos at 30 frames per second from both the rear and front cameras. You can also record time-lapse videos. There is also an option to upload a “Short Video” which is basically available for recording videos to be uploaded to TikTok or Instagram. The front 5MP camera captures decent selfies without adding artificial effects, which is a good thing. Overall, we were quite happy with the camera performance considering this is an entry-level smartphone.
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After a week of thorough use, the Redmi A1 held up quite well. We would strongly recommend this to buyers who are switching from a regular phone. Xiaomi has managed to squeeze in all the basic features that buyers expect from an entry-level smartphone without compromising on performance. At Rs 6,499, the Redmi A1 could be an ideal buy.
The display could have been a little smoother
Micro USB charging
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