Xiaomi Mi A1 (Android One) is a cheaper version of Google Pixel and Pixel XL – and it may come to Kenya

Xiaomi Mi A1 is the newest member of the stunted list of Android One phones – phones that are aimed at bringing the pure Android experience to the budget market.

Unlike OEMs such as Xiaomi, Tecno Mobile, Infinix Mobility, Samsung, HTC, LG and many others that tweak the original Android experience to give it something custom, Google phones are based on the purest form of Android right from the box. This version of Android runs the way Google intends it to and not the way some other company wants it to, but that’s the beauty of Android.

If you want to experience pure Android here in Kenya, your options are limited. There are some retailers still selling the Google Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, but good luck getting either phone. Even though the Google Pixel and Pixel XL can easily be purchased on platforms such as Jumia, the pair’s asking prices of Ksh 75,499 and Ksh 96,499, respectively, are absurd for phones that will be replaced in a month’s time.

One advantage of using pure Android OS is timely software updates. Google phones alongside the few Android One phones on the market are usually ahead of the game when it comes to software updates. However, the story is not always true when it comes to the latter. For instance, I have been using a General Mobile 4G Android One phone for close to a year now and even though the phone is already running Android 7.1.1 Nougat, the security patch level is still dated May 2017.

Xiaomi is known for its heavy customization of Android with the MIUI skin, but the new Xiaomi Mi A1 has no such customizations. Instead, it uses software that is designed by Google and nothing has been tampered with. The device is here to give you an experience that stays fresh all the time with new OS upgrades once Google makes them available, just like the Pixel family.

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Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One

The focus on previous Android One phones was only on bringing the pure Android experience to developing markets, but with the new Xiaomi Mi A1, much closer attention has been paid to other essential aspects of a modern day smartphone, among them the camera, battery and performance specs. The major highlight of the Mi A1 is the dual 12MP camera that combines a telephoto lens and a wide-angle lens, similar to the Xiaomi Mi 5X, Mi 6 or the newly released Xiaomi Mi Note 3.

Where the telephoto lens captures the main image, the second wide-angle lens takes care of the depth of field measurement, with the end result a perfect photo that’s worth sharing with friends. The telephoto lens can also support up to 2x optical zoom alongside up to 10x digital zoom, much like the Galaxy Note 8 and Apple iPhone 7 Plus. The front, on the other hand, gets a 5MP sensor for selfies.

In terms of other specs, the Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One has a 5.5-inch display screen with a Full HD resolution and 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on top. Under the hood, the phone has a decent Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor clocked at 2.0GHz and paired with an Adreno 506 GPU and an impressive 4GB RAM. For the storage, the Mi A1 has 64GB with room to expand it, something you won’t find on the Google Pixel or Nexus phones.

To keep the Mi A1 Android One phone alive is a 3080mAh battery unit that supports fast charging technology. Even though the phone comes with Android Nougat out of the box, it has already been confirmed that it will receive Android 8.0 Oreo before this year ends. So far, the only phones that have received the update are the Google Nexus and Pixel devices. Interestingly, the new Android One phone will also be among the first to receive the OTA update to Android P, which makes it even better.

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Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One price in Kenya

In terms of pricing, the Xiaomi Mi A1 has a price tag of Rs 14,999 in India, which should translate to about Ksh 25,000. At launch, the Chinese OEM confirmed that the Mi A1 will start selling in India this week (September 12) and sooner than later, it will be released in more than 40 markets across the globe.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One

Some of the confirmed markets include Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Poland, Russia and Mexico. We are also adamant the phone will be making its way to Kenya, even if it happens unofficially. Jumia has previously sold other Android One phones and hopefully, the retailer will also stock the latest member of the family.

Keep following and we’ll let you know when the Mi A1 Android One is available for purchase.

Hillary Keverenge

Still working on my bio. Meanwhile, you can trust me, I'm a tech-savvy dude. Android is bae.