Mi A2 Review

- Introduction -
- Physical features -
- Audio -
- Display -
- Bootloader unlocking -
- Repairability -
- Custom ROM & Kernel Availability -
- Other issues -
- Conclusion -

Introduction

The Mi A2 - a successor to the A1 that actually feels like a downgrade.

Physical features

The A2 feels forgettably fine (again, like the A1).

On the top section, there's the secondary mic & an IR blaster, which you could use to control anything that needs a remote. I didn't really bother with this, but it's an addition nonetheless.

On the bottom, USB-C port flanked by 2 pentalobe screws, which in turn are flanked by the primary mic & speaker.

Left section contains only the dual SIM tray.

Right section is home to the volume & power buttons.

Front side is reserved for the5.99' 18:9 LCD, front camera, & earpiece. Below the screen also lies the 3 capacitive buttons - which can't be remapped & defaults to Recents > Home > Back.

The back holds rear cameras & fingerprint scanner.

For materials, Gorilla Glass 3 covers the front display, with aluminium covering the back, sides, & the buttons.

Audio Quality

The Mi A2 is an USB-C-only device, so there's no dongle testings yet for now (mostly because I didn't receive the headphone dongle the A2's supposed to come with).

The speaker's quality is fine enough, despite being a mono.

Display

The 5.99' 18:9 LCD display is fine enough for daily usage & is kinda visible out in the sunlight at max brightness.

Bootloader unlocking

The bootloader unlocking process is foolproof & simple : plug PDA to PC, enable OEM unlocking & USB debugging in stock OS' developer options & fastboot oem unlock in fastboot. No connecting to internet (if you have the adb/fastboot tools ready).

Repairability

Disclaimer : I haven't actually opened up the A2 yet, so this review is based on the video linked on the bottom of this section.

The A2's repairability seems somewhat reminiscent of a metal-backed iPhone, as the display is held on by clips instead of adhesives. Once the display is off, the components are located in the back shell. The USB-C port is in the daughterboard (which is common nowadays), & the volume & power buttons connect via contact pins.

Wit Rigs' teardown video

Custom ROM & Kernel Availability (as of 25/5/2021)

Custom ROM availability on the A2 leaves a bit to be desired, with the only ones worth using being Lineage & crDroid (and CarbonROM if they count). ArrowOS is also available, even though it's a "Community" build that won't receive Nightly / Weekly updates. In addition, the A2 is officially supported by CalyxOS, if anyone's interested in using it.

As for custom kernels, there's essentially none.

Other issues

Here are some common issue I have with the A2 :

Conclusion

As it stands, the A2 has the worst hardware package I've used. However, there's official support for Calyx, if you're using it.

Personally, I see no reason to recommend the A2, unless you're in a desperate need of a PDA.

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