You can currently get the Xiaomi Redmi A1 for €79 at Saturn at the Xiaomi Flash Sale. You can find out what you can expect from the cell phone in the test and in the video.
Do you still remember the Xiaomi Mi A1? A Xiaomi smartphone without MIUI, but only with pure Android? The series was unfortunately buried with the Mi A3, but now it is being brought back to life with the Xiaomi Redmi A1. The Redmi A1 is also the cheapest current Xiaomi smartphone. But the hardware seems a bit too familiar to us.
Xiaomi Redmi A1 Review, Specs & Price
- Technical details of the Redmi A1
|Xiaomi Redmi A1|
|screen||6.52 inch IPS LCD display (1600 x 720p)|
|processor||MediaTek Helio A22 Quad Core @ 2 Ghz|
|graphics chip||PowerVR GE8320|
|Internal memory||32GB, expandable|
|front camera||5 megapixels|
|connectivity||Micro USB, GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n|
|features||Headphone jack, 3-in-1 SIM|
|operating system||Android 12|
|Mass weight||16.49 x 76.75 x 0.9cm / 192g|
A 720p display is sufficient!
On the front there is a 6.52″ HD+ IPS LC display with a refresh rate of 60 Hz. The touch sampling rate is therefore 120 Hz, the resolution is limited to just 1600 x 720p. HD+ resolution is one of the typical adjustment screws for low-budget smartphones, and this is also the case here.
There is no need to deny that 1080p is better, but 720p is absolutely sufficient. It is of course noticeable with YouTube videos and also with the app launch, since the icons are presented large here. Otherwise, you can actually overlook the difference in everyday life.
At 400 nits, the brightness is bright enough, but not bright enough for strong sunlight. This will be noticeable in the summer, but the maximum exposure is more than bright on a cloudy sky. The viewing angle stability then looks poor, slightly slanted viewing already causes a decreasing display. However, the color display is strong and rich in contrast enough. The 60 Hz refresh rate is now so unusually low that it is noticeable during use. 90 Hz would be an absolute exception in this price range.
At 192 g, the cell phone is relatively heavy for the dimensions of 164.9 x 76.75 x 9.09 mm. The bezels of the screen measure 4mm on the sides and 7mm on the bottom, giving it a somewhat frozen feel. The back texture is said to be reminiscent of leather and the Redmi A1 is available in black, blue and green. The back is almost reminiscent of a toy smartphone, otherwise the workmanship is better than the price would suggest. However, there is no IP rating for water protection.
Redmi A1 with 5 year old processor!
Xiaomi opts for the MediaTek Helio A22 processor , which worked in the Redmi 6A, for example, and can only offer four cores with a clock frequency of up to 2 GHz. The chip is now almost five years old. In my opinion, this is not up-to-date, especially since this is a quad-core. Although the software is designed for weak hardware, modern and stronger chips in a similar price segment have appeared in recent years. Especially since a two-year-old Redmi 9A already has a more powerful octa-core processor.
There are also 2/3 GB of RAM and 32/64 GB of mass storage, and at least the storage can be expanded with a microSD card. However, it is only a slow eMMC memory, with the RAM at least LPDDR4X is used. If you have the choice, you should go for the 3 GB RAM version.
The weak multitasking can be annoying in everyday use since hardly anything survives in the cache. App starts sometimes take a few seconds, as does closing apps. The lack of speed when taking photos can mean that you miss the moment. In addition, there were repeated app restarts.
Although it is quite possible to play smaller games like Temple Run with the Redmi A1, it even runs smoothly. But this is also a smaller game, more demanding 3D titles like Asphalt or Call of Duty Mobile are practically not playable with it. In the Geekbench 5 benchmark, the Redmi A1 also achieves what is probably the lowest score that I have seen so far.
So what is the Redmi A1 good for? For theoretically everything that is pre-installed: messaging, telephoning, surfing and organization such as a calendar or alarm clock. Even for social media apps, especially on the creator side, this is not enough performance.
Not even dual band WiFi
The Redmi A1 surprises in terms of connections. Because you rarely see that dual-band WiFi with 5 GHz is not supported. Instead, you have to be satisfied with a frequency of 2.4 GHz. There is also GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BDS and Bluetooth 5. LTE Band 20 is also on board, but not 5G. There is a hybrid SIM slot with space for two nano SIMs and a microSD card.
The 3.5 mm jack for headphones on the underside is also pleasing. On the other hand, you have to be satisfied with the sound from the mono speaker on the top. It is badly positioned, the sound is mid-weighted, but not overdriven. In return, you have to be satisfied with a relatively low volume.
There is a dual camera on the back, whereby only the main sensor with 8 MP resolution is suitable for taking photos. With a ƒ/2.0 aperture, it is not quite as bright, and there is also an additional lens with a pixel arrangement of 248 x 328p. So it’s just a gimmick and is only supposed to suggest that it’s a dual camera – too bad. At least 1080p videos at 30fps are possible with the main camera.
The same applies here as with tablets: the photos are okay if all the prerequisites are right. This is sufficient for snapshots or scanning documents, but in difficult situations or with moving objects the results are blurry and hardly usable. This also applies to the 5 MP front camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture.
A no-go for 2022
Xiaomi doesn’t exactly skimp on the battery capacity of an impressive 5,000 mAh. In conjunction with a 720p display and low performance, the battery life is good at almost two days, even if the chip is not efficient. Of course, you can also force the battery to its knees in one day with a lot of gaming or GPS navigation, but the standby consumption is very low. It is charged with the supplied charger with 10W power and only via cable, of course not wirelessly.
However, it is cheeky that Xiaomi really still installs a micro-USB port in the Redmi A1. Innovation for everyone really looks different. The standard is long outdated and I can’t imagine that USB-C would be such a cost factor that would make a difference in the RRP. The smartphone was released in November 2022, so the life cycle will definitely go into 2023. Well, what Apple has to follow must also be followed by Xiaomi, so from 2024 we will probably no longer see a micro-USB. Nevertheless: This is just as absurd as the useless 2 MP sensor.
No MIUI: Xiaomi Redmi A1 with Stock Android
The “A” definitely stands for Android, with the participation in the Android One program Xiaomi has already done without the in-house MIUI operating system in the past with the Xiaomi Mi A1. Instead, like many Nokia devices, there’s a pure Android experience. This should also be given to the Xiaomi Redmi A1.
The pure Android, so-called “stock Android”, is virtually not adapted and runs as Android 12. No additional functions and hardly any adjustments. But this is Android Go, which is specially designed for entry-level smartphones.
Xiaomi services only have Mi videos and themes, otherwise you see very little from Xiaomi. Third-party software comes from Audible and LinkedIn, otherwise it’s system apps and the Google Services. The Play Store is certified and the SafetyNet test is also passed, but there is no Widevine Level 1. With a 720p display, the lack of FullHD streaming isn’t that bad either.
Android Go is more resource-efficient than “normal” Android. The pure stock Android finish suits a Xiaomi smartphone very well. Although it is only Android 12, the security patch is unfortunately only from August. I wouldn’t count on updates here either, that was a bit better with Android One. In return, you get direct integration of Google Lens and Translate in the app switcher, which can be handy.
The control center is also almost reminiscent of Pixel devices, thanks to Material You-Design the color scheme follows your own background image. A top or mid-range smartphone with stock Android from Xiaomi would be interesting for the future.
Conclusion: buy Redmi A1?
Actually, much less is not possible. The Xiaomi Redmi A1 does as little as possible, with the equipment the Redmi 6A was already built in 2018. The claim is almost the same: low budget at any price. With an RRP of €109.99 and mostly €99.99 on offer, the Redmi A1 serves at most as a transitional, second or children’s smartphone in order to be accessible. Even social media apps push the cell phone to the limit. I find compromises such as the design or the 720p display fair for the price, but the processor, RAM and the micro-USB port are not at all. There would have been more.
Nevertheless, the Xiaomi Redmi A1 is probably still a limited recommendation if the budget is under 100€. If it works somehow, take the 50€ more for the Redmi Note 11 in your hand. You get three or four times the power. Nevertheless, we are happy that Xiaomi is doing something for the A series again, not everyone is a MIUI fan. Xiaomi Redmi A1 Review.