Xiaomi is gearing to launch the Mi A2 Android One phone in India on August 8. As exciting as the Mi A2 is – we’ve been using the phone for a week now and you can read our first impressions here — Xiaomi maybe looking towards a whole different strategy with the phone in question. I have absolutely no doubt that the Mi A2 will be all about offering high-end features at rock-bottom prices, in typical Xiaomi fashion, but its loyalties will probably lie elsewhere.
Xiaomi is not going to bring all the memory configurations of the Mi A2 to India, the company has confirmed to India Today Tech.
The base version that ships with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage isn’t coming to India which leaves us with the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, and 6GB RAM and 128GB storage configurations. This invariably means that buying a Mi A2 will be more expensive than the Mi A1, and because the base version of the Mi A2 is not coming to India, buyers in the country will have to shell out even more.
The Mi A2, to recall, has been launched in Europe at a starting price of 249 Euros (roughly Rs 20,071) for the base version with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage going all the way to 349 Euros (roughly Rs 28,131) for the top-end version with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. The 4GB RAM and 64GB storage version has meanwhile been launched for 279 Euros (roughly Rs 22,489).
We can expect Xiaomi to price the Mi A2 even more aggressively than what it will cost in Europe, and the company has confirmed to India Today Tech that it is looking to do just that when the phone arrives in India on August 8, but it’s better the average buyers prepare themselves for the worst case scenario.
India will have to shell out more to get their hands on the Mi A2 and with the option of the Mi A2 Lite not available for buyers here, it won’t be easy for Xiaomi to justify even the slightest of trade-offs that its new phone would be bringing to the table. The Mi A2 comes with two small, yet noticeable trade-offs.
— The Mi A2 does not ship with a headphone jack and instead gives you a dongle in the box to connect your headphones. This means that you’ll have to keep that dongle safely by your side at all times if you listen to a lot of music. Also, you will not be able to charge the phone and listen to music simultaneously. While the Mi A2 makes a classic case for promoting wireless headphones, question is, will Xiaomi’s target audience be comfortable with it?
Xiaomi has built a name for itself in India by selling value for money devices. The Mi A2 is also a value for money device, but the lack of a 3.5mm jack is a compromise that buyers will have to contend with. Xiaomi told me that the jack was removed in favour of sleeker design. Xiaomi has made sleek phones with big batteries in the past but the thing about the Mi A2 is that it measures almost the same as the Mi A1 (in thickness and in weight) but ships with a smaller battery and no headphone jack. That’s something to think about.
— Xiaomi has been quite vocal about how it likes to give India the option of a dedicated micro-SD card slot for storage expansion, because that’s what buyers in India want. Many of its popular phones come with dedicated slots for two SIM cards and a micro-SD. The Mi A2, on the contrary, does not support expandable storage. You can say that the Mi A2 will give you unlimited high-quality storage through Google Photos. There’s also Google Drive and Google Docs. All these features will come bundled with the Mi A2 because it’s an Android One phone. But what if someone doesn’t want to do that? What if someone wants to store all their data on their phone itself?
The Mi A2 has good-quality cameras. Both front and back. But the lack of storage expansion means there’s a slight cache to it. While 64GB internal storage should suffice, buyers will have to spend more money and get the 128GB version if they’re looking for more. That’s added investment. Will Xiaomi’s target audience be comfortable with it?
Slowly and gradually as I have been spending more time with the Mi A2, things are starting to get clearer. With the Mi A2 clearly heading towards the Rs 20,000-Rs 25,000 price bracket, you can say that it’s more than just another mid-tier phone for the company in question.
It would be wrong to say that the Mi A2 is a Mi Mix 2 replacement but with Xiaomi lacking a compelling flagship phone in India at this point of time, it does help fill the void to an extent. And the Mi A2 has both the hardware and the looks to back the premium that Xiaomi is going to ask for it. It may not end up beating the OnePlus 6 in raw performance, but it’s got all the ingredients — and stock Android — to get close. Dangerously close. But the one real compelling feature would surely be its cameras.
That’s what Xiaomi is probably gunning for with the Mi A2. It’s probably looking to take on the OnePlus 6. That it would be available for as low as around Rs 20,000 would then become its biggest USP.
While Xiaomi may have a plan and a method with the Mi A2, it is only time that will tell if it can outsmart OnePlus and its crazy affordable OnePlus 6. With its greatness and also some of its shortcomings.