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Android One: Xiaomi Mi A2 vs Mi A1 (and Nokia 7 Plus)

chrisk

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I just picked up the Mi A2 yesterday (4GB/64GB version). I'm sending my A1 to my dad so I picked up another Android One device for me to mess with and use as a backup.

The Nokia 7 Plus was tempting, but it's $500 and as a secondary device for me, I could not pull the trigger on something more than $300 range.

I used the Mi A1 off and on for the past year and I can say this after playing with the Mi A2 for 24 hours:

Pros of the A2:

- The camera is def better on the A2 in poor lighting situations. Outside I didn't notice too much. HDR is better on the A2 as well. I dare say that it is fairly close to the 2XL I have...

- I'm getting better 'reception bars' on the A2 on Bell Mobility in my area. I googled this last night and it seems that the A2 has better band support for NA. That said, I didn't measure reception at all and didn't really have any problems with the A1, but its worth mentioning anyways. Maybe I'll get a chance to try an app like LTE Discovery etc. to see whats really going on.

- Loving the large screen on the A2. I don't like the navigation buttons on the A1 and with the Pixel 2XL as my daily driver, I hated moving to the A1 and the backwards capacitive navigation.

- August security patch installed right away.

- Battery seems better on the A2, but no big difference TBH.

- all of my PD chargers here and my quick charge 2.0 chargers seem to charge the A2 in rapid mode. This did not work on my A1.

- (speculation) The A2 has project treble support, so I think that major updates for the A2 will come faster. It is not clear if the A1 has treble...some say yes, others no, etc.

Cons of the A2 vs the A1

- No SD card is disappointing. I actually would have considered the A2 Lite as it has the SD card slot, but the Lite version uses Microusb charging port which made me avoid it. I can't wait for the microusb ports to die off and USB C is the standard port. I would never buy a phone these days with the older port.

- The IR Blaster software that came with the A2 does not work properly for me.

- no 3.5mm jack on the A2.

Things that seem the same on both:

- performance...the A1 has held up really well for the time I have had it, and the A2 is no snappier. But both are pretty good IMO.
- Speaker (pretty good for me on both)
- wifi reception (not as good as other phones in my house)
- screen quality (if you like IPS then these are both good phones, with similar colour shift)
- outdoor visibility (not that great on either)

A2 vs the Nokia 7 Plus (my 2nd choice)

- No IR blaster on the Nokia
- Camera is reported to be better on the A2 vs the Nokia
- Bigger battery on the Nokia
- Nokia has SD card slot and NFC, and a 3.5mm jack.


Recommendations

Who should get the Nokia 7 Plus: If you can find the Nokia 7 Plus on sale I would take a long hard look at it, as its a pretty feature-rich Android One phone that ticks off all the boxes I think. If it had the IR blaster I might have pulled the trigger anyways. If you are in the $400-$500 range and want Android One, this is the best option for most I think.
edit: as Lowfat pointed out, the Chinese version of the Nokia 7 Plus is a better fit for Canada...see here for some info on band capability: https://www.kimovil.com/en/frequency-checker/CA/nokia-7-plus

Who should get the Mi A1: Right now, you can get the Mi A1 for about $200 which is a great deal IMO if you are on a tight budget and/or want something to mess around with. I think that the majority of A1s you buy in Canada has the charger for Europe, while the global version of the A2 came with a NA charger (that was not quick charging). Factor that into the price I guess. But the A1 has held up well for me and my wife who used it, and for $212 on Swiftronics (or cheaper elsewhere) it is an incredible device for the tight budget.

Heck, even as a universal remote in your living room that has an SD card and a bunch of apps for controlling chromecasts, etc. it is a good deal.

Who should get the A2: The A2 is selling for $340 on Swiftronics right now which is where I got my device. If the camera is your priority, and/or you want the bigger screen with the on-screen navigation, then get the A2. It has also not been clear if the A1 has project treble support, while the A2 does...this should mean more timely update support for the A2, but the A1 has gotten updates most months. Ditching the 3.5mm jack was not a big deal for me, as I'm already living the dongle life with my 2XL.
 
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JD

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Hmm, I thought the Nokia 7 Plus didn't support NA bands? I thought only the Nokia 6 (2018)/6.1 had a NA variant?

I really wish OnePlus would join Android One too, I think that would be a near perfect "Nexus" replacement.
 

JD

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That's the "old" Nokia 7 Plus right?

Just noticed Amazon.com will ship the new 7.1 to Canada: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HD2X91Q, so $400USD total. Not too bad...a tad cheaper than B&H.

And Moto/Lenovo is bringing the One to the US on Nov 11, so that should also give another choice for us up here.
 

chrisk

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That's the "old" Nokia 7 Plus right?

Just noticed Amazon.com will ship the new 7.1 to Canada: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HD2X91Q, so $400USD total. Not too bad...a tad cheaper than B&H.

And Moto/Lenovo is bringing the One to the US on Nov 11, so that should also give another choice for us up here.
Yep.

I was just reading about the Moto One....too bad the Power version of it is not coming...I really wish that more phones came with larger batteries in conjunction with efficient chipsets. Battery life should be a primary selling feature advertised to the masses on more phones.
 

JD

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I'm just glad to see more Android One phones coming to North America.

It's really how Android phones should have been from the get go, I think Android would of had a much better rep if it was a more consistent user experience. That's probably why people stay with iPhones, they know how to use it and know it won't change drastically when getting a new model as their old phone likely is running the same iOS version as their new phone will.
 

chrisk

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Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
7,542
Location
GTA, Ontario
I'm just glad to see more Android One phones coming to North America.

It's really how Android phones should have been from the get go, I think Android would of had a much better rep if it was a more consistent user experience. That's probably why people stay with iPhones, they know how to use it and know it won't change drastically when getting a new model as their old phone likely is running the same iOS version as their new phone will.
Agreed on all points. It's frustrating to know that companies like Samsung have to delay their OS updates so that they can get their own software working with said updates. While I'm sure that folks like many of the OS customizations (ie. theme engines) I think timely updates from Google would be a more popular choice.
 

On2wheels

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613 Ontario
Have you guys or anyone here with an A1 (or any phone with the same snapdragon 625 cpu) done the Android Pie update? How is performance/battery life with Pie? My A1 is now eligible for the update but I'm hesitant to do it, from stories of worse battery life.
I'm also concerned that Xiaomi is pushing 9 to the A1 simply as marketing to keep selling the phone, when the chipset can't handle it as well. Hopefully some real work benchmarks show the difference.
 

chrisk

Folding Captain
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
7,542
Location
GTA, Ontario
Have you guys or anyone here with an A1 (or any phone with the same snapdragon 625 cpu) done the Android Pie update? How is performance/battery life with Pie? My A1 is now eligible for the update but I'm hesitant to do it, from stories of worse battery life.
I'm also concerned that Xiaomi is pushing 9 to the A1 simply as marketing to keep selling the phone, when the chipset can't handle it as well. Hopefully some real work benchmarks show the difference.
I updated the A1 and gave it to my dad so I can't say what my experience would have been.

My experiences over at XDA for this phone was that the community there is 'interesting.' I would take the update myself, as that's the main reason for getting this phone. But I can see the 'if it ain't broke' method side of things too.
 

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