If you’ve long forgotten about Google’s Android One initiative, well, it’s not your fault. The plan to offer pure Android on low-cost phones was meant for developing nations, so you may never have seen one if you live in the US or the UK. 

But the Android One family just got a new member: Xiaomi’s Mi A1. The metal-bodied phone was announced today in New Delhi, India, and will hit 40 countries, including India, Russia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico, later this month.

Priced at 14,999 Indian Rupees, which converts to roughly $235, £180 and AU$295, the A1 is an inexpensive way to get a pure Android experience. Unfortunately, the phone is unlikely to be made officially available in the US — though it won’t be too hard to find one through an online reseller.

The fingerprint sensor is located at the rear.


Aloysius Low/CNET

Spec wise, the A1 is a lot more powerful than most Android One phones. It packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, while most of its Android One competition run on slower Snapdragon 400-series chips. It also sports two 12-megapixel rear cameras, similar to the ones found on Xiaomi’s flagship Mi 6, which offer 2x optical zoom as well as portrait mode. 

But if you’re thinking that Xiaomi came up with a completely new phone from scratch, that’s not exactly the case. The A1 is actually known as the Xiaomi 5X in China, but now repackaged for the global market.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it’s a sweet phone for its price. And if you’ve hated the fact that Xiaomi’s phones run Xiaomi’s custom MIUI, the good news is that the A1 is all Android with none of the distractions (except for the camera app, which is from Xiaomi).

Quick specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
  • 5.5-inch full-HD (1,920×1,080 pixels) display
  • 4GB RAM, 64GB onboard storage
  • 3,080mAh battery
  • Dual-SIM support



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