As far as value-for-money budget phones go, Xiaomi’s Redmi A1 seems to tick all the boxes: good looks (rounded corners, easy-on-the-eye colorways), comfy in the hand (ergonomic, slim), large display (6.52″ HD+ is plenty big), lasts a long time (5,000mAh battery for up to 22 hours video playback), includes a 10W fast charger in the box, features decent cameras for the price (8MP dual rear cams + 5MP selfie), supports expandable storage, takes in dual SIM cards, and comes with an efficient processor for daily app switching routines (Mediatek helio A22). And the price: only P4,499. An early bird promo even cuts that price to only P3,999.

Redmi A1 review, specs, price

Redmi A1 Full Specs

Display: 6.52-inch 2.5D curved LCD screen w/ HD+ 1600 x 720 resolution at 269 ppi
CPU: 2.0GHz 12nm Helio A22 quad-core processor
GPU: PowerVR GE8300
ROM: 32GB eMMC 5.1 expandable via microSD card slot up to 1TB
Back Camera: 8MP f/2.0 + Auxillary lens + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5MP f/2.2
Battery: 5,000mAh w/ 10W charging
OS: Android 12 (Go edition)
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11/b/g/n (2.4GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, FM Radio, OTG, GPS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, proximity
Others: Face unlock, Colors: Black, Light Green, Light Blue
Dimensions: 164.90 x 76.75 x 9.09 mm
Weight: 194 g
Price P4,499
Promo Price P3,999

Here’s everything that comes in the box.

Redmi A1 review, specs, price

There’s no comes with-earphones, a gel case, or a screen protector, but it’s hard to complain: it’s such a great-for-videos battery stamina package (about two days on moderate usage, social media, and video binging).

Other practical features include the clean and lightweight Android 12 and MIUI 12, Wi-FI direct, hotspot (for sharing Internet connection with another device , such as your laptop, or a loved one’s phone), Blueooth 5.0 (for smooth pairing and connection with other devices such as earphones, speakers, and keyboards), dual SIM capability, OTG (for connecting external devices such as flash drives), face unlock, a scratch-resistant display. The back of the phone has this slight texture that’s good enough for grip and doesn’t get much slippery when wet with sweat. Also, the phone gets up to two years of security updates.

Redmi A1 review, specs, price

The cameras are good enough and clear enough when there’s plenty of light (as expected of a decent budget phone), but isn’t as fast shooting and the pic are not as sharp or vivid (as expected of a budget phone), but there can be enough storage for every photo and video you take on the phone or download on it (and for apps, too) due to the expandable storage (just buy a micro SD card). The SIM tray, by the way, has three slots – 2 for nano SIMs, 1 for the micro SD card. So you can fit them all there. The camera UI and default photo editor are quite basic and easy to understand.

The limits having been mentioned, the display is usable for outdoor use despite glaring sunlight. That HD+ display is also good for watching videos on social media and YouTube (or of videos saved on the device), as the built-in speaker is loud enough for watching. With the comes-with FM Radio, you also have a pocket radio if you’re not subscribed to Spotify.

Redmi A1 review, specs, price

The performance – launching apps and switching between them – is decent, even though on paper the device only has 2GB RAM. That’s because the 2.0GHz 12nm Helio A22 quad-core processor works with the 2GB RAM plus up to 2GB Memory Expansion, and the latter uses the internal storage to augment the phone’s processing needs.

Phone calls are good. The person on the other end can hear me clearly and I can hear her just as clearly despite me walking on a noisy street. While the charging port is an old micro USB 2.0, it does mean that you don’t need to buy the latest Type C cables, as your old ones will work just fine.

Below are some sample photos taken with the Redmi A1’s rear and front cameras.

The Final Word

If you need a smartphone without the fancy features of higher spec’d phones, if your lifestyle requires great battery life because you’re always on the road, if you’re often on social media and love to post and respond to friends, if you’re a budget-tight student who must rely on a phone for online classes, and if you want something that works out of the box, then the Redmi A1 is a clear and practical purchase.

The savings you enjoy can go to other needs, or supporting items, such as wired or wireless earphones/speakers, a Bluetooth keyboard (for students), a selfie light or phone stand for video calls, and so on.

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