Xiaomi Mi A3 In 2020 Review - Is The Display A Deal Breaker 2020

Hey guys, it’s Eric here and this is my Xiaomi Mi A3 review. I have been using it for about a week now. First off, a really quick unboxing. You have an envelope that houses your sim ejector tool, Warranty card, User guide, You get full support for all the 4G/LTE networks available here. A Smokey TPU case.
I guess we’d never have to worry about this one turning yellow. You have your device wrapped in plastic. Let’s take out the stickers on the front and on the back. This is the Kind of grey color, it also comes in not just blue and more than white, uhhh It does sound a bit like Google Pixel’s nomenclature which is a weird way of Xiaomi telling us its Android One competition. 

You get a standard 10 watt charger and a USB type C cable. Not quite as generous as they were with the Redmi Note 8 Pro perhaps to keep the price down. Let’s take a look at the design. It’s a classic glass and plastic sandwich. Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and back. Relatively thin bezels. Feels pretty good in the hand and easy to grip, not slippery at all. Huge fingerprint magnet though. I love the size of this guy, it’s not as big as the average sized phone like the Infinix S5 here and not as small as the iPhone 11 Pro, Sweet in the middle yes. It is perfect for one hand typing. 

However, using 2 hands to type will feel a little bit cramped if your hands are bigger than my average sized hands. You get 3 cameras with flash, a 48 megapixel main shooter, an 8 megapixel ultra wide lens, and a 2 megapixel lens for depth sensing. Camera bump is a lil raised but not that big a deal coz it appears flush with the case on. Also, even though it looks grey on camera, everyone I asked about the this color thought it was black. On the front, you have a 6.09 inch HD+ Super AMOLED display with 19.5 by 9 aspect ratio. 

On top of the display you have that water drop notch that houses a 32 megapixel camera, an earpiece and a notification LED. The fingerprint sensor is situated underneath the screen. Sounds great but it is kinda slow like slower than your typical fingerprint sensors on the back of your phone. I still think it’s a step in the right direction and we can only expect faster under display fingerprint sensors on midrange phones in the future. Not that it’s any consolation but the less secure face unlock does its thing pretty fast when the lighting is good. On the left you have a hybrid sim tray that holds 2 SIM cards or 1 SIM and 1 SD Card. 

On the right you have a power button and volume rocker. On the top you have your IR blaster, a 3.5millimeter headphone jack and a Microphone On the bottom you have a single speaker and a USB type C port. Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room being that HD+ display because not only does its predecessor, the Mi A2 Lite come with a FHD+ display but every other Xiaomi phone in this class comes with a FHD+ display. I don’t know the reason for this but we’ve seen other brands like Samsung do this on the Galaxy A30s, tecno with the Camon series and Infinix with the S series. It is still an AMOLED display so the colours really pop more than any LCD panel but when you take a closer look at it, you can see more details on the 1080P display. Now with your naked eye, you have to go dangerously close to see any kind of difference and you most certainly cannot tell the difference at arms length. 

You know that flickering thing that sometimes happens in a recorded video of a laptop screen or Television? That is what you’re seeing right now, It is not pixelated at all with your naked eye. However, sunlight legibility of the Mi A3 display is below average, all that crispiness goes out the window under direct sunlight and you have to set it to max brightness to see what you’re doing. This makes adaptive brightness a bit of an annoyance, you just go ahead and turn that off. Overall, I can live with the HD display because the one major downside is not being able to watch YouTube videos in 1080P and that’s not something I do on my phone very often. On the software side, Mi A3 shipped with stock Android 9 Pie coz it’s on the Android One program. Settings are bare essentials, no option to hide the notch but you get reading mode and always on display. You get very little bloatware right out the box and you can delete them. You actually have to download the Mi Remote app for free on play store if you wish to use that IR blaster. You got dark mode on here but it does not turn any of your notifications dark, not as feature rich as what you get on MiUI 11 which is like my favourite UI of all time. One thing missing that I often use is the screen record functionality. The one good thing about Android One phones is early updates and Xiaomi India tweeted about Android 10 coming in mid february so fingers crossed for that one. I got the 64gig storage variant with 4gigs of RAM and you get about 49gigs of available storage. As for the performance, this uses the Snapdragon 665 CPU clocked at 2.0ghz. Same one on the Redmi Note 8. I haven’t reviewed that one yet but I’d say it’s pretty much like the experience I got on the Nokia 7.2. I would have said Redmi Note 7 but the Note 7 had the occasional lag and got a bit warm while multi-tasking. Mi A3 runs cooler, is lag-free and real smooth with everyday social media apps, surfing and multimedia stuff. The single speaker is loud enough and here’s how it compares to the Huawei Y9s speaker.When it comes to gaming, As usual I played PUBG on default settings which is balanced graphics and medium frame rates. Sadly, you can’t get up to HD graphics. Gaming on this guy is actually pretty decent. I did not feel any lags or frame drops or heating issues while playing PUBG. Gaming on a small screen might take some getting used to as the buttons start to feel like they’ve been moved if you’re coming from a bigger phone, meanwhile everything is just smaller. The 4000mAh battery on this guy lasts a whole 2 days of my regular light to medium use but for the purpose of testing the battery endurance, I did a lot of social media and 4 hours plus of gaming all on WiFi. It got me over 11 hours of screen on time with 15% left to spare. It is not surprising considering the fact that it’s a small AMOLED 720P display. I’m pretty certain this will get you more than a full day of use. It took me 1 hour and 56 minutes to charge from zero to 100% with a 3rd party 18 watt charger, not the 10watt one that came with it. The Mi A3’s camera is pretty feature rich, you get slow mo, time lapse and night mode. 

By default the primary camera takes 12megapixel shots but you can get in the settings and change that.You can see a clear difference but the 48 megapixel shot is about 18MB in size and I just don’t see myself using it often. Images came out looking pretty sharp outdoors with a tiny bit of overexposure. The portrait shots have a really good sense of depth. Same can be said about the selfie camera. Now I’m thinking that’s melanin glow because the sun is setting i don’t know. Let’s introduce GCAM Version 7, an adaptation of Google pixel 4 camera to be precise, I’d be leaving a link to the exact one I used in the pinned comment. GCAM is crispy and more detailed outdoors but indoors, the default camera actually does look better in some scenarios. Something GCAM does really well that even the iPhone 11 Pro doesn’t is the selfie night mode. Surprisingly Night mode on the default primary camera looks a lot sharper than what the GCAM Primary camera shot.It shoots videos in 4K with image stabilisation turned on in this footage. Even though I am a big fan of compact phones, Xiaomi Mi A3 isn’t offering you everything you want in a smartphone, media consumption and gaming are certainly more enjoyable on the Redmi Note 8 series but what it promises is a very clean user experience without annoying ads, Android 10 and 11 update at least, picture quality that makes your friends regret using devices without GCAM support and of course battery life that you usually don’t get on compact phones. Overall, this follows Xiaomi’s usual pattern of giving you more value than you’re paying for and I got more satisfaction using this guy than I did on the Redmi Note 7 which I was quite impressed with last year. The Mi A3 is priced at 58,000 naira which converts to 160 US dollars for the 64gig variant and the 128gig variant goes for 66,000 which converts to $185 US dollars. I’d be leaving my affiliate link in the description should you wish to shop on Jumia. 

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