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Xiaomi Redmi A1: Get this phone if…

If I had to think about one of the biggest draws of Xiaomi devices, it’s the brand’s push to offer value-packed affordable devices. And its new budget-friendly Xiaomi Redmi A1 hopes to continue that tradition with a refreshing look.

Xiaomi Redmi A1 on top of books

You need an affordable smartphone

But before we get into that, we can’t ignore its biggest green flag: affordability. Its standard PHP 4,499 (around USD 77) is already an enticing price for first-time, young smartphone users but also the casual user who doesn’t need the latest or greatest. Xiaomi is sweetening the deal, though. The Xiaomi Redmi A1 will be available at PHP 500 (~USD 9) off or PHP 3,999 (~USD 68) to be exact, starting October 29 until November 13.

The company plans to offer a free Bluetooth speaker for those who can’t get it during the promo period. But that will only be available until supplies last.

You want that fun Xiaomi Redmi A1 design

I mentioned this in my first look, and I can’t help but mention it again. The Redmi A1 is one of my favorite looks for a budget phone this year. The Light Blue option we have is easy on the eyes, similar to the Light Green it also comes in. There’s also a Black option, but I’m definitely more partial to the pastel-colored options.

The back is covered in this leather-like back, which means it’s not a fingerprint magnet. It makes it extra grippy, which is handy since the phone doesn’t come with a jelly case.

You aren’t a demanding user

You must manage your expectations when using an entry-level phone like the Xiaomi Redmi A1. I’m not sure who still needs to be reminded of this, but here’s one anyway.

The Redmi A1 runs on a MediaTek Helio A22 with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. If you want a memory boost or extra storage, this phone gives you options. There’s memory expansion under the System options in Settings. It can give you up to an extra 2GB of RAM, which it takes from your storage. But you can recoup that through the dedicated microSD slot on this phone. That should give you better performance, but don’t stack it against pricier and more capable phones.

It won’t speedily switch between apps, but it does have something I want to see on more Xiaomi phones. The Xiaomi Redmi A1 runs on Android 12 Go Edition, a pared-down version of Android. While it won’t have all the bells and whistles of the regular Android operating system, it does mean these phones can run smoother. And I can see that here. I like that the interface is stock Android and there are minimal pre-installed apps on the phone. (Xiaomi can still take out a few if I’m honest.) The default apps are all Google, so you don’t have to deal with duplicates.

This is the type of phone that will recommend you use the “lite” versions of your favorite social media apps. But you can still use the regular ones if you’d prefer them.

You consume content for hours on end

While the Xiaomi Redmi A1 isn’t the snappiest device, its pared-back specs combined with its large 5,000mAh battery make it a great device for content consumption. You can get a full day or more of watching, reading, or listening on this phone. The solitary speaker is a bit of a letdown volume-wise, but put in a pair of wired earphones or connect a Bluetooth speaker/earbuds and you’re good to go.

It typically took me under three hours to fully charge this phone. But at least the stretches between charging times are longer than with more demanding handsets.

Final thoughts on the Xiaomi Redmi A1

The Xiaomi Redmi A1 gives a fresh look to a segment that prioritizes function over form. It can work for the style-conscious user working on a tight budget.

This phone can work for students who need a device for online classes, catching up with friends online, and watching their favorite content. It can also work for budget-conscious adults who use their phones for a bit of social media, messaging, calls, and some online surfing.

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