Xiaomi is launching a followup device (actually, followup devices) to the well-received Xiaomi Mi A1: the €249 ($290) Mi A2 and €179 ($209) Mi A2 Lite. Just like the Mi A1, these are stock Android devices under Google’s Android One brand, and they’re getting a wider release than Xiaomi devices normally get.
Xiaomi’s blog says the phones are headed to “40 markets around the world, with availability starting late July.” The A1 had a similar “40 market” release, and while none of those countries was officially the United States, it was very easy to grab one on a site like Amazon.
Let’s start with a big spec sheet:
|Xiaomi Mi A2||Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite|
|STARTING PRICE||€249 ($290)||€179 ($209)|
|OS||Android 8.1 Oreo||Android 8.1 Oreo|
|DISPLAY||5.99-inch 2160×1080 LCD (18:9)||5.84-inch 2160×1080 LCD (19:9)|
|SOC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
Adreno 512 GPU
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Adreno 506 GPU
|RAM||4GB or 6GB||3GB or 4GB|
|STORAGE||32GB, 64GB, or 128GB||32GB or 64GB, + MicroSD|
|CAMERAS||Rear: Dual 12MP + 20MP
|Rear: Dual 12MP + 5MP
|EXTRAS||Fingerprint reader||Fingerprint reader|
The specs and design are kind of all over the place with these two devices. The more expensive Xiaomi Mi A2 has a traditional rectangular screen, a smaller battery, USB-C, no headphone jack, and no MicroSD slot. The cheaper phone has a bigger battery, a MicroSD slot, a headphone jack, old-school MicroUSB, and a notched display. Both have pros and cons, and regardless of the price it’s honestly hard to pick a favorite here. It would probably make more sense to have a phone that follows all the controversial 2018 smartphone design trends (a notched display without a headphone jack) than one with a more traditional design.
Typically, the headphone jack snatchers have stayed away from non-flagship devices, but the Mi A2 is one of the rare lower-end devices that doesn’t come with a 3.5mm port. I’ve seen some in the industry claim that removing the headphone jack makes room for as much as 500mAh of battery, but Xiaomi isn’t offering any benefits over last year’s jack-equipped Mi A1. The two phones are similar in size, but the M2 actually has a slightly smaller battery (3000mAh versus 3080mAh). Removing the headphone jack seems to be a pure downgrade.
Both devices have aluminum bodies, rear fingerprint readers, IR blasters, and on-screen navigation buttons. Both of these devices are based on skinned Xiaomi devices—the A2 is a Mi 6X, while the A2 Lite is a Redmi 6 Pro—and neither one has NFC, which is not very popular in China. As members of the Android One program, both phones ship with stock Android and an up-to-date build of Android 8.1 Oreo. They should also have the typical Android One update lifecycle, which is two years of major updates and monthly security updates for three years.
If you’re looking to spend more than the base price, there are also lots of storage and memory upgrades. The A2 starts at €249 (~$290) for the base model with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, or you can double the storage for the €279 (~$325) 64GB model. The highest-end A2 is €349 (~$408) for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Remember, the A2 storage isn’t expandable, so plan for the future. The A2 Lite starts at €179 (~$209) for 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, with a single higher-end 4GB/64GB model for €229 (~$267).