Xiaomi’s presence in the smartphone business has been cemented and is one of the key phone makers in the world after the likes of Samsung, Huawei, and Apple. It has also invested in the idea of sub-brands that target different groups (for instance, there is the Redmi that for budget buyers), which is probably successful because other companies such as Huawei have been doing the same thing.
A couple of days ago, the Chinese technology company announced camera-focused devices under the Mi CC model – a sort of collaboration with Meitu. It was rumoured that the Mi CC9e was going to be the template for the Mi A3, which is what happened following its announcement today.
For housekeeping purposes, the Mi A line of devices is under the Android One umbrella, meaning they ship with stock Android, with guaranteed updates 3 years after release. Xiaomi launched the Mi A1 about two years ago. It was quickly followed by the Mi A2 that was loved by a lot of people, although it lost some points by dropping some necessities like the headphone socket.
The new Mi A3 does not bring a lot to the table as such: its 6.1-inch display maxes out at HD+ (both the Mi A1 and A2 had 1080p screens), although this time around, it is an OLED panel that offers better colour reproduction and a generally good day to day experience.
A Snapdragon 665 keeps the lights on against Mi A2’s S660. Storage options are capped at 64 GB and 128 GB with a slot for micro USB expansion.
While the Mi A2 and A1 were not bad in terms of optics for the price, the Mi A3 takes the standards set by its older siblings a little further with tri-cam system with a 48 MP primary sensor, an 8 MP ultra-wide cam and a 2 MP for depth information.. This array of sensors is, however, not new because there are tens of budget offerings that ship with it, especially with the 48 MP Sony or Samsung sensor that has been quite popular in 2019.
It is worth noting that the Mi A3 has brought the headphone port back, which is literally music to the ears of a lot of people. The fingerprint sensor is tucked under the display as it has been the case with many 2019 offerings.
It is possible Xiaomi will bump the price of the Mi A3 across its markets as the base model will start at KES 25,000 or more. That is quite a lot to ask for when the Kenyan market is filled with other alternatives, some of which bring more features than the Mi A3.
By the way, Xiaomi did not announce a Lite version of the device.
Finally, we have come to learn that purchasing these phones make a lot of sense a few months down the line. Online retailers have a series of promotions, like last year’s Jumia sales that saw massive price cuts for Xiaomi handhelds like the Mi A2. The question is whether the Mi A3 will maintain its allure – and we suspect it will because the Mi A2 managed to do so even for groups that snagged a piece in 2019.