Xiaomi today announced its latest mid-range device, the Mi A2 in India. It is an Android One smartphone and is the successor to the Mi A1, the company's first phone to ship without MIUI. It comes with several upgrades over the predecessor, including an 18:9 display, a more powerful processor and advanced cameras.
In India, the Mi A2 competes with its Chinese counterparts such as the recently announced Honor Play and the Huawei Nova 3i. Even though the Nova 3i and Honor Play are from the same company, Huawei, the two devices are priced similarly and compete for the same mid-range market share.
Another interesting aspect to note about the Mi A2 is that it is Xiaomi's latest attempt at increasing the prices of its budget/mid-range smartphones by offering the latest hardware.
The Mi A2 has adopted the design of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, one of the most popular devices from the company. Even though it is based on the Mi 6X launched earlier this year, the Mi A2 is similar to the Redmi Note 5 Pro in many areas. It does, however, come with a refined design on the back, along with rounded corners. This makes the Mi A2 look a lot more elegant, easier to hold than the Redmi Note 5 Pro courtesy of 7.3mm edges.
Coming to the first Huawei smartphone in this comparison, the Honor Play looks a little more similar to the Mi A2 instead of the Huawei Nova 3i. It has similar antenna lines on the back and a dual camera setup, although the LED flash has been pushed below the camera module. It also looks a bit more subdued when compared to the glossy and striking Nova 3i, giving it a slightly more conservative yet decent look.
The Huawei Nova 3i, on the other hand, is quite opposite to the Mi A2 and the Honor Play. It has a striking glossy back in the Iris Purple color, but the Black and the White color variants are comparatively subdued. It does have a similar camera and fingerprint setup on the back, though. However, the antenna lines are not visible - instead, you can notice them on the two sides of the phone.
The Mi A2 is the lightest of all the three phones, at 168 grams. The Honor Play comes in at 176 grams while the Nova 3i weighs 169 grams.
The Xiaomi Mi A2 comes with a 5.99-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD display (2160 x 1080 pixels) with Gorilla Glass 5 protection on top. Like most smartphones these days, it has an aspect ratio of 18:9. On the other hand, the Honor Play and the Nova 3i both feature a 6.3-inch IPS LCD display with a notch on top. Both the phones also feature the same resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, resulting in an aspect ratio of 19.5:9.
Not everyone may prefer a notch display on their smartphone, especially while consuming content like videos or playing games. However, it does seem like notches are here to stay. If you don't like them, though, you may want to consider the Mi A2 instead.
While the Mi A2 has emerged strongly in most of the aspects you look for in a smartphone in this price range, the one area where it faces very tough competition is performance. Xiaomi has used an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset in the Mi A2, with a clock speed of up to 2.2 GHz and an Adreno 512 GPU. For comparison, it is the same chipset used in more expensive smartphones like the Nokia 7 Plus.
The Honor Play, though, blazes past both the Mi A2 and the Nova 3i when it comes to performance. It comes with the company's flagship chipset, Kirin 970, with 4 Cortex A73 cores clocked up to 2.4 GHz and 4 Cortex A53 cores. Graphics duties are handled by the Mali G72 MP12 GPU, and the smartphone comes with a dedicated GPU Turbo feature that boosts performance while conserving battery.
The Nova 3i comes with a mid-range Kirin 710 chipset with clock speeds of up to 2.2 GHz and Mali G51 GPU.
When it comes to pure performance, the Honor Play is the clear winner with perhaps the Mi A2 and the Nova 3i fighting it out for the second spot.
The camera department is where the Mi A2 makes a comeback in this comparison. The smartphone features a 12MP + 20MP dual camera setup and Xiaomi has used Sony sensors (hopefully there's no sensor lottery as can be the case with some Xiaomi smartphones). The rear cameras come with a wide f/1.75 aperture, a big improvement over the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Xiaomi also announced that it is using Qualcomm's AI engine for its portrait mode, alongside Beautify 4.0. On the front, the Mi A2 comes with a 20MP Sony IMX376 sensor with support for pixel binning, which should improve image quality to some extent.
The Honor Play and the Nova 3i come with 16MP + 2MP cameras on the rear, with a f/2.2 aperture and a single LED flash. On the front, though, the Honor Play comes with a 16MP camera while the Nova 3i features a 24MP + 2MP dual camera setup, aimed at taking on the likes of Oppo and Vivo by targeting the selfie-centric audience.
The Mi A2 lags behind the other two smartphones with a 3,010 mAh battery, but Xiaomi has tried to make up for it by including support for Quick Charge 4.0. It is worth noting that India is the only market where Xiaomi has included QC 4.0 support via the USB Type C port on the Mi A2. Coupled with the power efficient Snapdragon 660 chipset, the Mi A2 should still last a day of normal usage.
The Honor Play comes with a 3,750 mAh battery and support for fast charging along with an 18W charger. The Nova 3i comes with a 3,340 mAh battery and support for fast charging with the bundled 10W charger. While the Honor Play comes with a USB Type C port, the Nova 3i comes with a regular micro USB port.
The Xiaomi Mi A2 has been priced at ₹16,999 for the 4GB + 64GB variant and comes in four color options - Black, Blue, Gold and Rose Gold. The phone will be available for pre-order starting tomorrow exclusively on Amazon India. The price of the 6GB variant will be revealed in the near future, according to the company.
The Honor Play is priced at ₹19,999 for the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant and ₹23,999 for the 6GB RAM + 64GB storage variant. It is available exclusively from Amazon India in Midnight Black and Navy Blue color options.
On the other hand, the Huawei Nova 3i with 4GB RAM + 128GB internal storage is available for ₹20,990 exclusively from Amazon.