Xiaomi continues to release models at a speed that no other manufacturer seems to be able to follow, the strategy is clear, they want to take up space. The advantage for the consumer is that he can have a large number of telephones in all price ranges. The disadvantage is that you no longer understand what these models correspond to and which one to choose. The Xiaomi Mi A3 stands out from other models by its operating system. Unlike other models using MIUI 10, the Xiaomi Mi A3 uses Android One which is considered the purest Android experience. Luckily, this is not the only difference, the Mi A3 has an AMOLED display, it is very rare in this price range and it uses a Sony photo sensor where Xiaomi usually uses a Samsung sensor. All that remains is to test it!

Official website: Mi.com

My test, your questions

How are my tests different from others on the web?
- I buy the devices with my money most of the time, price is just as important as it is for you!
- I keep the devices at least a few weeks (sometimes more) to see what they are worth in real conditions.
- I answer (when possible) questions to help you decide before you buy
- My blog is available in 6 languages: French, Dutch, English, German, Spanish and Italian.
- I don't live off my blog, nobody pays me to do these tests, I'm completely independent.
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Other tests:
Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite test, review and price
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro test / review and price - 2 Comment(s)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 test, review and price - 2 Comment(s)
Huawei Y6 2019 test, review and price
Xiaomi Mi A3 test, review and price - 2 Comment(s)
Meizu Note 9 test, review and price - 12 Comment(s)
Umidigi S3 Pro test, review and price - 24 Comment(s)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 test, review and price - 14 Comment(s)
Umidigi F1 test, review and price - 4 Comment(s)
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite test, review and price - 25 Comment(s)

Price Xiaomi Mi A3 US / UK / World

I bought my Xiaomi MI A3 from Darty in France. I usually buy my phones directly in China but the price in China was higher than the promotional price at Darty, it doesn’t happen very often and it saves me from having to wait for delivery and possibly pay customs fees.


The links below are advertising links that allow me to buy the tested material in complete neutrality. If you like the work done on this blog, you can support me by buying through these links. It will cost you absolutely nothing, you will always benefit from the best prices.
130 USD - (2019-11-17 11:24) (Unlocked, Grey) Xiaomi Mi A3 Dual Sim | 64GB | 4G - (Geekbuying.com - CN)
130 USD - (2019-11-17 11:24) (Unlocked, White) Xiaomi Mi A3 Dual Sim | 64GB | 4 - (Geekbuying.com - CN)
130 USD - (2019-11-17 10:51) (Unlocked, White) Xiaomi Mi A3 Dual Sim | 64GB | 4 - (Geekbuying.com - CN)
130 USD - (2019-11-17 11:49) (Unlocked, Blue) Xiaomi Mi A3 Dual Sim | 64GB | 4G - (Geekbuying.com - CN)
130 USD - (2019-11-17 11:06) (Unlocked, Blue) Xiaomi Mi A3 Dual Sim | 64GB | 4G - (Geekbuying.com - CN)
144.76 USD - (2019-11-16 22:52) Xiaomi Mi A3 Smartphones 4 Go de RAM + 64 Go de RO - (Cdiscount - FR)
145.84 USD - (2019-11-16 22:52) Xiaomi Mi A3 6.088 pouces AMOLED 48MP Triple camé - (Cdiscount - FR)
148.99 USD - (2019-11-17 10:42) Global Version Xiaomi Mi A3 MiA3 4GB 64GB Mobile P - (Aliexpress - CN)
148.99 USD - (2019-11-17 09:33) Global Version Xiaomi Mi A3 MiA3 4GB 64GB Mobile P - (Aliexpress - CN)
149.96 USD - (2019-11-16 14:45) In Stock Global Version Xiaomi Mi A3 MiA3 4GB 64GB - (Aliexpress - CN)
153 USD - (2019-11-17 10:42) Global Version Xiaomi Mi A3 64GB ROM 4GB RAM (Offi - (Aliexpress - CN)
153 USD - (2019-11-17 09:33) Global Version Xiaomi Mi A3 64GB ROM 4GB RAM (Offi - (Aliexpress - CN)
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Time line

03/08/19: delivery
04/08/19: unpacking, screen test, performance test
05/08/19! test audio, wifi

Why this phone?
I completely missed the Xiaomi Mi A2 released last year while this phone was a great success. I didn’t want to make the same mistake again with the Mi A3, so I bought it as soon as it was released in France. The Mi A3 comes out at a price level equivalent to the Redmi Note 7 at its release but it has a slightly different positioning despite many similarities. It will be interesting to see if he will be able to beat the Redmi Note 7 in this price range.

Test content
I test the phones according to a pre-established structure (see below) to provide you with as much information as possible. Unfortunately, this takes a long time. Some tests like network performance tests take several days and for camera tests I sometimes have to wait until the weather is favorable to take pictures in good conditions.

I am therefore obliged to publish test results step by step, so I invite you to come back if the test is not complete at the time of your visit.

Unpacking

The box of the Xiaomi Mi A3 is slightly different from the other Xiaomi I tested. It is slightly higher and you can see the phone on the box while the boxes of the other models do not show any picture of the phone. In the box we find the usual components for Xiaomi: the phone, a soft plastic protective shell, a needle to open the SIM drawer, a small manual, a charger with its USB-C cable and a pair of headphones.

 
Xiaomi Mi A3
Lenght (mm)153.5159.2
Width (mm)71.975.2
Thickness (mm)8.58.1
Weight (g)174186
Jackyesyes
USB typeType CType C
USB norm2.02.0
Infraredyesyes

First configuration

As the Xiaomi Mi A3 runs on Android One, I was wondering if the configuration process would be different but outside the boot logo the process is exactly the same as on the other Xiaomi models. The configuration starts with the choice of language followed by the configuration of your profile. As with other phones, you can retrieve an existing Android profile, but if you choose this option, you will have to wait until all your applications are downloaded to your new phone.

Finishes


I started testing smartphones in early 2018 and at that time most phones between 200 and 250 euros had a pretty basic finish with a matt plastic back. Things have changed a lot in a year and a half, most phones have turned to a smooth and reflective surface giving a more premium look to the phone. The Mi A3 perfectly follows this trend by offering a perfectly smooth surface and reflecting light in many ways. This type of surface is more pleasant to the touch but makes fingerprints much more visible.

Back

On the back of the phone, there is the triple photo sensor, an LED flash, the Xiaomi brand and some indications specific to the phone or the camera. The triple photo sensor is located at the top left as on most phones. This time the sensor does not come out very strongly as on the Redmi Note 7.

Top

At the top is a Jack connector, an infrared port and a small hole whose use I don’t know.

Sides

On one side is the power button a little above the middle of the phone followed by the usual volume buttons. These buttons are made of hard plastic and come out sufficiently to be found by touch. On the other side, there is the SIM drawer that can accommodate 2 SIM cards or a memory card with a SIM card.

Bottom

The Mi A3 has a USB type C port (the cable is supplied) and 2 grids for sound output but in reality, the sound only comes out of one grid (the one on the right).

Screen

The screen occupies 82% of the available space, it is not the best smartphone in this category but it remains very correct. The borders are thin on the sides but at the bottom of the screen the border is quite large. The front camera is embedded in a notch in the middle of the upper edge of the screen. There are other models that do better but that doesn’t mean that the Mi A3 is bad, I would rather say that Xiaomi made a conservative choice.

While taking pictures of the device I noticed that the screen reflected the light in an unusual way. We can see on some pictures that there is a big difference in colour between the screen and the edges. This difference is not as pronounced on the other phones I have tested. I don’t know what that means, but it will probably have an influence on the use of the screen in direct sunlight.

The Xiaomi Mi A3 does not bring anything new in terms of finishing, it just takes what is done on other phones and does it well.

3G/4G support>

The Xiaomi Mi A3 covers the majority of frequencies in Europe, it even covers the B28, which will delight Free and Bouygues customers in France because this frequency is often neglected by the Chinese.

3G frequencies: B1,B2,B4,B4,B5,B8
4G frequencies: B1,B2,B3,B4,B5,B7,B8,B20,B28,B38,B40

Which frequencies are used in Europe?

3G : B1 (2100), B2 (1900), B5 (850), B8 (900)
4G : B1 (2100), B20 (800), B3 (1800), B38 (TDD 2600), B4 (1700/2100 AWS 1), B40 (TDD 2300), B5 (850), B7 (2600), B8 (900), B28 (700)

It is of course always necessary to check the specific frequencies of your provider because some European wireless carriers use different frequencies (but these cases are rare). Please note that the frequencies indicated below were valid at the time of writing this article, they will not be updated, so I cannot guarantee that they are correct.

I have added a few other European countries so that you can check the countries where you go on holiday, if the local operator does not support the same frequencies, you may no longer have a network.

BE
4G Proximus: 2100Mhz, 1800Mhz, 2600Mhz, 800Mhz
3G Proximus: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

4G Orange: 2600Mhz, 1800Mhz, 800Mhz
3G Orange: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

4G Base: 2600Mhz, 1800Mhz, 800Mhz
3G Base: 2100Mhz

FR
4G Orange: 2600Mhz, 1800Mhz, 800Mhz
3G Orange: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

4G SFR: 2600Mhz, 2100Mhz, 1800Mhz, 800Mhz
3G SFR: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

4G Bouygues: 2600Mhz, 2100Mhz, 1800Mhz, 800Mhz, 700Mhz
3G Bouygues: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

4G Free: 2600Mhz, 1800Mhz, 700Mhz
3G Free: 2100Mhz, 900Mhz

ES
Movistar 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Movistar 3G: 2100, 900

Orange 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Orange 3G: 2100, 900

Vodafone 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Vodafone 3G: 2100, 900

Yoigo
Yoigo 4G: 1800
Yoigo 3G: 2100

DE
E-Plus 4G: 2600, 800
E-Plus 3G: 2100

O2
O2 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
O2 3G: 2100

T-Mobile
T-Mobile 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
T-Mobile 3G: 2100

Vodafone
Vodafone 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Vodafone 3G: 2100

IT
Tre 4G: 2600, 1800, 1500, 800
Tre 3G: 2100, 900

Telecom Italia 4G: 2600, 1800, 1500, 800
Telecom Italia 3G: 2100, 900

Vodafone 4G: 2600, 1800, 1500, 800
Vodafone 3G: 2100, 900

Wind 4G: 2600, 800
Wind 3G: 2100, 900

CH
Salt Mobile 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Salt Mobile 3G: 2100, 900

Sunrise 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Sunrise 3G: 2100, 900

Swisscom 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Swisscom 3G: 2100, 900

NL
KPN 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
KPN 3G: 2100

Tele2 4G: 2600, 800

T-Mobile 4G: 2600, 2100, 1800, 900
T-Mobile 3G: 2100, 900

Vodafone 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
Vodafone 3G: 2100, 900

UK
Three 4G: 1800, 800
Three 3G: 2100

EE 4G: 2600, 1800, 800
EE 3G: 2100

O2 4G: 1800, 800
O2 3G: 2100, 900

Virgin Mobile 4G: 2600, 1800 B9, 800
Virgin Mobile 3G: 2100

Vodafone 4G: 2600, 2100, 1!00, 800
Vodafone 3G: 2100, 900

Network performance

 
Xiaomi Mi A3
3G frequenciesB1, B2, B4, B5, B8B1,B2,B4,B5,B6
4G frequenciesB1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B20, B28, B38, B40B1,B2,B3,B4,B5,B7,B8,B20,B38,B40
5G frequencies//
//
GPSA-GPS, Beidou, GLONASS, GPSA-GPS, Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS
Wifi802.11a, 802.11ac, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11n 5GHz802.11a, 802.11ac, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11n 5GHz
BluetoothBluetooth 5.0 LEBluetooth 5.0 LE
SAR (head)0.3010.591
SAR (body)1.0971.274
VoLTEyesyes
Wifi calls/yes
NFCnono

Signal 4G
The ability to pick up the network correctly is essential for a telephone but it is only very rarely measured. To measure a phone’s ability to pick up the network, I make a large number of measurements on the same cells to be able to compare phones under similar conditions. The signal is measured in dBm, a value of -90dBm indicates a worse signal than -70dBm. The signals can vary from -40dBm (excellent signal) to -140 dBm (poor signal). These measurements are taken under real conditions and not in a laboratory.

On the graph below, I compare 2 phones on the same cells to see which one picks up the network best. The phone that receives the best network reception is the one that occupies the most space.

To measure network performance, I collect the signal strength in dBm of each cell during my travels. All measurements are performed under the same conditions to be able to compare results across multiple phones. The strength of the signal obtained by a telephone gives an indication of its ability to receive the network well. The final result gives you an unscientific indication of the reception quality of each phone. These results could be different on another network or under different conditions. To fully understand the signal value, a signal of -95 dBm indicates average reception while a signal of -60 dBm indicates a very good signal.

Umidigi F1
Average signal : -96.79 dBm
Number of measurements performed : 298

Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
Average signal : -94.89 dBm
Number of measurements performed : 403

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
Average signal : -91.45 dBm
Number of measurements performed : 528

Umidigi S3 Pro
Average signal : -97.13 dBm
Number of measurements performed : 1200

Samsung Galaxy S10+
Average signal : -97.96 dBm
Number of measurements performed : 1445

Redmi Note 7
Average signal : -97.01 dBm
Number of measurements performed : 1430

Xiaomi Mi A3
Average signal : -95.95 dBm
Number of measurements performed : 1199

Huawei Y6 2019
Average signal : -95.60 dBm
Number of measurements performed : 1586

Redmi Note 8 Pro
Average signal : -95.92 dBm
Number of measurements performed : 1599

Meizu Note 9
Average signal : -96.68 dBm
Number of measurements performed : 937

I have made more than 1000 measurements with the Xiaomi Mi A3 and I obtained an overall average of -95.95 dBm over all the measurements. With this score, the Xiaomi Mi A3 ranks 3rd among the devices tested. It therefore offers a good performance.

If I compare its performance with the Redmi Note 7 by isolating the cells common to both devices, I obtain an average score of -96.47 dBm for the Mi A3 and a score of -97.89 dBm for the Redmi Note 7. This score confirms the first, Redmi Note 7 was rather at the bottom of the table in terms of network capture and this is confirmed by isolating the common cells.

The graph below shows the comparison between the two devices. The best device should have the largest number of measurements close to the center.

Download / mobile
The Xiaomi Mi A3 offers a very good performance in 4G downloads. I got a download speed of about 150 Mbps and an upload speed of 60 Mbps. These are very good performances, they are of the same level as those of the Mi 8 Lite that I tested last year and that no device had managed to exceed so far.

Wifi signal
When the Xiaomi Mi A3 is near my router, I get an average signal of -40dbm, not the best score I got but it is in the upper average. I then moved away from the router to measure the signal at the same place as the other phones tested and I get an average score of -74dbm. Here too, the Mi A3 offers an average performance.

After many weeks of testing, I found something interesting for this phone. I had taken a Samsung Galaxy S10+ with the Xiaomi on my last trip to Scotland. Every day I connected to another wifi network and every day I noticed the same thing. The Xiaomi Mi A3 found far more networks available than the Samsung. When the signal is weak, the Xiaomi always displays the network while I no longer see it on the Samsung. I also had a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 at my disposal and here too, the Xiaomi found more networks than the Samsung. It therefore seemed that when it comes to wifi reception, the Xiaomi has much better reception of networks with a weak signal than the Samsung.

Download / Wifi
The Mi A3 is compatible with 5Ghz routers and this allows it to achieve higher speeds than phones that are not compatible with this frequency. In download, I got 125Mbps and in upload I am limited to 22Mbps by my ISP. This speed will allow you to do almost anything you want such as streaming in HD for example but know that Redmi Note 7 offers even better performance where I easily exceed 200Mbps.

GPS signal
To test the quality of the GPS signal I use the Offline Maps application and I do the same train trip in pedestrian mode. Why? In pedestrian mode, GPS does not artificially correct the signal to make it stick to the road, it has no reference, so you can see the real position.

The GPS signal received by the Xiaomi Mi A3 is good, the device is located on the rails most of the time with a very small deviation when it deviates from it. The orientation is incorrect, but I noticed that it is incorrect at low speed because when the train accelerates, the device corrects the orientation without me having to move the device.

Battery life

The Xiaomi Mi A3 has a 4030 mAh battery, it’s a curious value. The battery will allow you to last between 2 and 4 days depending on your use. At almost equal capacity with the Redmi Note 7, the Mi A3 will offer you a little more autonomy. Why? I think the gain in autonomy comes from the screen. The screen and CPU are the biggest battery consumers, Xiaomi has chosen a screen with a lower resolution and brightness, so I guess this explains the increase in battery life.

 
Xiaomi Mi A3
Capacity40304000
Fast chargingyesyes
Max charging W1018

Audio quality

To test the quality of the phone’s audio output, I connect the device’s audio output to a measuring tool, then play sounds on all frequencies and measure the differences between the original sound and the sound produced by the phone.

 
Xiaomi Mi A3
Frequency Respons+0.02 / -0.05-0,3333333333
Noise Level-92.5-90,7
Dynamic Range89.990,6
THD (%)0.0031110,00135
Intermodulation Distortion0.010,01
Stereo Crosstalk-88-89,2

Frequency Response
This test is intended to test the device’s ability to correctly reproduce all frequencies. The white line in the middle of the graph is the ideal situation and the other colors come from tests on different phones. A deviation from the reference line indicates a deviation from the ideal situation. To see good sound at all frequencies, it is therefore necessary to get as close as possible to the reference line

The Xiaomi Mi A3 offers a very similar performance to the Redmi Note 7 except on low frequencies where the Mi A3 is closest to the standard. Overall the Mi A3 offers good reproduction of all frequencies, it is quite close to the reference, it deviates a little in the low frequencies and in the high frequencies but these frequencies are most of the time imperceptible for the human ear.

Dynamic Range
This test is designed to test a phone’s ability to play sounds at different volume levels. Here too, the white curve is used as a reference and therefore the phones must be as close as possible to it.

The Mi A3 offers good performance from in the low frequencies and joins the Redmi Note 6 for higher frequencies. Both devices are quite far from the standard but this is the case for all devices. The Mi A3 offers a slightly above-average performance with some differences in high frequencies.

Noise Level
This test aims to identify whether the device under test is capable of reproducing sounds without too much noise. A high score indicates a low parasite rate, a lower score indicates a higher presence of parasites.

The Mi A3 has a good sound reproduction without noise, it even comes very close to the reference from 1khz. It achieves a slightly higher performance here than the Redmi Note 7

The Xiaomi Mi A3 offers a good overall sound performance, it ranks a little above average. To find better, you have to pay more, the Samsung Galaxy s10+ does better in all categories.

Performance CPU / GPU

 
Xiaomi Mi A3
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 665Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
GPUAdreno 610Adreno 512
RAM memory4 GB3 - 6 Gb
Storage memory64 Gb32 - 128 Gb
Max memory card256 GBMax 256 Gb

The Xiaomi Mi A3 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 CPU that should deliver performance equal to or even better than the Redmi Note 7 but this is not reflected in the Antutu performance score where I get 139716 points while the Redmi Note 7 goes a little over 140,000 points. In this price range, the Meizu Note 9 has the highest score with almost 180,000 points. It is especially in terms of memory performance that the Mi A3 stands out from the other Xiaomi. Memory performance has always been a shortcoming on the Xiaomi I tested, but the Mi A3 outperforms the Redmi Note 7.

Benchmarks
With 3Dmark I also get lower scores than Redmi Note 7. This confirms that the Mi A3 should not be purchased for performance. Should that stop you from buying it? Not unless you’re a gamer. With this level of performance, the phone is perfectly smooth to use.

 
Xiaomi Mi A3
Antutu - global139716143242
Antutu - CPU6340566553
Antutu - GPU3122530755
Antutu - UX3473538930
Antutu - MEM103517004
3DMark - OpenGL10791354
3DMark - Vulkan10411299

Gaming
According to the benchmark with Antutu, the Xiaomi Mi A3 should not be very powerful for games and yet when I launched PUBG Mobile, I was able to choose the highest graphics mode. A priori, this is not normal but the explanation is very simple. The Mi A3 has a 720p display, so the phone must manage significantly fewer pixels than a 1080p device. This allows the Xiaomi Mi A3 to offer a high level of graphics and good in-game performance.

All the manufacturers rushed into the race to get as many pixels on a screen as possible, but in the end, I wonder what good it would do. Yes I see a difference between a Samsung 4k screen and the Xiaomi 720p screen but on a screen of this size, the difference is not very important. The Xiaomi Mi A3 may not be a performance benchmark, but the choice of the 720p allows it to achieve a higher level of graphics than most other devices in this price range.

Camera test

The Xiaomi Mi A3 is equipped with a triple Sony IMX 582 sensor at the rear offering a focal length of 4.71mm, a wide angle sensor at 1.66mm and a 2x zoom. Sony sensors are generally used in high-end phones, Samsung sensors are more often found in this price range. Which one is the best? In theory the Sony sensor gives better results but it all depends on the processing in the phone. I tested the Umidigi S3 Pro with a Sony IMX 586 and it performed worse than the Redmi Note 7 with a Samsung sensor.

Photo quality

 
Xiaomi Mi A3
Resolution - front4812
Sensor - frontSony IMX582 Exmor RSOmnivision OV13855
Resolution - back948
Sensor - backN/ASamsung S5KGM1
Video resolution2160p4k
//
//
//

Default application
The default photo application provided with Android One is almost the same as the one provided with MIUI 10. The camera offers the following modes: short video, video, photo, portrait, night, panorama, pro. Each mode has its options such as HDR for photos. The Mi A3 offers a little less possibilities than the other Xiaomi models, but this should not affect you.

It is possible to select the rear sensor directly on the screen, so you can switch from one sensor to another with a single click. The 48 million pixel mode is accessible in automatic mode while it was reserved for pro mode on some devices.

Indoor (studio)Photo
The Xiaomi Mi A3 is equipped with a triple Sony IMX 582 sensor at the rear offering a focal length of 4.71mm, a wide angle sensor at 1.66mm and a 2x zoom. Sony sensors are generally used in high-end phones, Samsung sensors are more often found in this price range. Which one is the best? In theory the Sony sensor gives better results but it all depends on the processing in the phone. I tested the Umidigi S3 Pro with a Sony IMX 586 and it performed worse than the Redmi Note 7 with a Samsung sensor.

The default photo application provided with Android One is almost the same as the one provided with MIUI 10. The camera offers the following modes: short video, video, photo, portrait, night, panorama, pro. Each mode has its options such as HDR for photos. The Mi A3 offers a little less possibilities than the other Xiaomi models, but this should not affect you.

It is possible to select the rear sensor directly on the screen, so you can switch from one sensor to another with a single click. The 48 million pixel mode is accessible in automatic mode while it was reserved for pro mode on some devices.

EXIF: ƒ/1.79 1/307 4.71 mm 100 ISO

I always start my photo tests with a studio test using my son’s toys as a background. The first observation is the same as with many devices I have tested, the level of brightness is not high enough. The studio is properly lit to obtain a white and uniform light, I find here the same lack of brightness as on many other devices.

The depth of field is quite limited but in the sharpness area, the sharpness is very good, we can clearly see the small dust that has settled on the hood of the police car. The colors are also correct while often I get colors too saturated in the studio.

If I take the same picture with the x2 zoom, I get this

EXIF: ƒ/1.79 1/263 4.71 mm 100 ISO

I see that the camera uses the same focal length as for normal vision. It is either a bug or a digital zoom compared to normal view. I don’t see any differences with the previous picture, so it would indicate that it is the same sensor and that the zoom is a digital zoom. To be absolutely sure I hid the middle sensor with my finger and I can see that for normal view and zoom, only the central sensor is used. It’s a bit of a shame because a real 2x lens would probably have made it possible to get better pictures with the zoom.

The 1.66mm focal length is impressive because it is impossible to take a picture in the studio without seeing the edges of the studio.

EXIF: ƒ/2.2 1/234 1.66 mm 100 ISO

The angle is huge, it will allow you to capture objects close up without having to move away. The depth of field is a little more important than on the basic optics. I don’t see any fundamental differences in colour and sharpness. The software processing layer probably plays a role here.

Outdoor photography (sun)

I took advantage of a circuit in Scotland to test the Xiaomi Mi A3 camera and after taking a few hundred photos, I can now form a clearer opinion of the quality of the sensor.

When I started taking pictures, I had the impression that they were all under-exposed because they looked very dark on the screen. In fact, it was the backlighting that gave me this bad impression because the photos are not under-exposed. The backlighting does not give the photo its full potential.

I tested the automatic mode (with HDR, without HDR, without HDR, with AI, without AI, without AI) and I also did some tests in pro and night mode. Under good conditions, the camera does quite well. The photos are very clear and the dynamics are good, I didn’t encounter any big problems with over and under exposed areas. Depending on the use of HDR or AI mode, the results can vary quite widely and unfortunately not always in the right direction.

HDR has the advantage of smoothing out differences in brightness when there is a big difference between sky and ground but it sometimes exaggerates the treatment, clouds are sometimes too contrasting. With AI mode (artificial intelligence), sometimes the result is good, sometimes it’s just the opposite. I tested it because it had to be done, but on all the devices I have tested so far, I have always had to disable this mode because it gives too unpredictable results.

With or without processing, the photos produced by the Sony sensor are slightly too hot and lack a little saturation. I found the same thing with the Sony sensor on the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite. Unlike Xiaomi under MIUI, it is not possible to adjust the saturation before taking pictures. These small defects can be fixed in the photo application using a filter or the basic editing tool.

When conditions are good, the Xiaomi Mi A3 is able to produce good photos. I still have a Samsung Galaxy S10+ in my pocket to compare but that’s not very fair with the Xiaomi because about 800 euros separate these two phones. The Samsung is better in all conditions but the opposite would not have been normal.

Outdoor photo (cloudy)

When the sun is shy, the differences in brightness increase and we often obtain photos that are too dark. In automatic mode, the Xiaomi Mi A3 does well when there are large differences in brightness, but as with photos under the sun, the color temperature is too hot and can spoil some photos if the brightness is too low.

The HDR sometimes saves the situation, the night mode can also be useful in broad daylight to force the recomposition of a photo from several photos taken at different exposures.

HDR can produce photos that are technically incorrect but not unpleasant to look at. It is all a matter of personal choice. Purists will disable HDR, others will be able to impress their friends with surrealist clichés.

When the light decreases, if you stay in automatic mode, the camera will favour a low ISO level to avoid the grain but will have to reduce the shutter speed. This is a choice that works for static scenes where nothing moves but if you photograph moving objects or people, they will be blurry. To avoid this problem, you will need to switch to pro mode where you can force a higher shutter speed.

Photo in low light (inside / night)

I have not yet had the opportunity to take night photos outdoors (mainly because of the weather), so I will start this section with photos taken indoors in conditions similar to night photography. I went to Harry Potter Park near London, the scenery is quite dark and you can see that the Xiaomi Mi A3 is again trying to keep the ISOs in a comfort zone at the expense of shutter speed.

Overall I find that the color reproduction is good but the shutter speed is too slow to get very sharp shots by hand. Overall the picture looks correct but if you look closely the contours of the objects and characters are blurry. The camera is perfectly capable of mounting in ISO to avoid this problem but in automatic mode it favors ISO. The only way to fix this is to switch to manual mode and force a faster shutter speed.

The Harry Potter studio photos are all between 600 and 1300 ISO, the noise is visible but not too loud.

The photo application has a night mode like most Xiaomi. This night mode combines several photos taken at different exposures to obtain a night shot rich in detail. This process works perfectly on the Redmi Note 7 and it also works very well on this model. You can also use this night mode in the middle of the day when conditions are difficult, the result is sometimes surprising but sometimes so exaggerated as to deviate significantly from reality.

Video quality

As for each of my tests, I start with a video made in the same place and under more or less the same conditions to be able to compare the quality and stabilization with the other devices. The quality of the 4k video is good, the image is smooth, the focus is fast and the image is quite sharp. The Xiaomi Mi A3 offers good visual performance. However, the stabilization is not very good because even with the stabilization option enabled, my steps cause significant shaking on the video.

Normal video
I took the following video in the Highlands in Scotland. The wind was very strong, large clouds covered part of the landscape. The original video was recorded in 4k but depending on your connection, the quality could be degraded.

The sharpness of the video is good, you can see all the grass twigs moving very well. The sensor adapts fairly quickly to changes in light conditions but will inevitably overexpose the sky when the scenery is dark, but as soon as the sky occupies a larger surface, we very quickly see the clouds taking shape. It is quite clear that the device calculates the percentage of dark areas over light areas and gives priority to one or the other according to dominance. The transition is visible but fast. Lateral scanning is also done in a fairly natural way.

Even if the conditions for this video are not ideal, the Xiaomi Mi A3 and its Sony sensor do a good job.

Video in low light
For this second test, I made a video in low light in the Harry Potter Studio Park in London. These are not conditions equivalent to a night video but I have not yet had the opportunity to do a night test.

What you don’t see on the video is that I was surrounded by many people who also wanted to film the scene, so I was pushed several times and it shows on the video. The video is not very well stabilized, the shaking is very visible. I took a video at the same time with a Samsung Galaxy S10+ and you hardly see the effect of the shaking.

The digital noise is much more visible on this video than the previous one, but overall, it is still quite acceptable. On the video taken with the Samsung at the same time, I have much more digital noise. The sound of the attraction is quite powerful but it is very well reproduced by the Xiaomi. Apart from the stabilization problem, I find that the Xiaomi delivered a good result.

Here is the video made with the Samsung at the same time:

The stabilization is much better but I find that the video quality is better on the Xiaomi.

Screen quality

 
Xiaomi Mi A3
Size (inch)6.096.3
Resolution720x15601080x2340
Ratio19:05:0919:09:00
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 5Corning Gorilla Glass 5
TypeAmoledIPS LCD
Surface (%)8281.4
dE White6.66,9
dE Red7.73,5
dE Green9.51,1
dE Blue2.52,3
dE Yellow5.72
dE Cyan9.74,7
dE Magenta1.61,6
Contrast60000:01:00/
Max brightness350433,473

To test the screen I use a colorimetric probe that will measure the accuracy of the colors on a screen as well as other parameters to see if a screen is able to accurately reproduce an image. Why is this important? A bad colorimetry will deteriorate the quality of your images, they will sometimes be too bluish or too reddish.

The Xiaomi Mi A3 has an AMOLED display. In principle, this technology offers much better contrast results than LCD/IPS displays. It is quite rare to find a phone equipped with an AMOLED display in this price range, AMOLED displays are mainly used for high-end phones.

The results of the screen test with a probe are quite disappointing because the colorimetry of the screen is not very good and cannot be corrected in the phone settings. On the graph we see that the screen shows a significant difference on the green and a smaller difference on the reds and blues. What this means is that for all colours using green, the displayed colour will deviate from the standard. Overall, the phone has a dE of 6.6, the Redmi Note 7 does much better here.

The colorimetry is not correct, the contrast is excellent, the black is really black unlike LCD/IPS type displays.

Xiaomi made a rather curious choice in terms of resolution. While most phones have a resolution of 1080p, the Mi A3 only has 720p. This is probably an economic choice because, as I wrote above, an AMOLED display is not often found in this price range and it implies sacrifices.

This test reveals that technically speaking, the Mi A3’s screen is not as good as some LCD/IPS, but what is the reality? I have sidelined a Samsung Galaxy s10+ and the Xiaomi Mi A3. The Samsung has the best screen on the market (at the time of writing this test), it has a dE of 2 versus a dE of 6.6 for the Xiaomi. Is there a big difference? See for yourself below:

A normal user will probably not see any difference. The Samsung’s screen is better, it offers much more detail, more accurate coloring and sharper contours. Samsung is a device sold for almost 1000 euros while the Xiaomi is a little above 200.

Brightness
I measured a brightness of 352 cd/m² on the Xiaomi Mi A3, I obtained 446 cd/m² with the Redmi Note 7. The Xiaomi Mi A3 lacks brightness compared to the Redmi Note 7. This is the phone with the lowest brightness I have been able to test so far. How can this be a problem? When the ambient light is strong, the screen must be able to provide sufficient brightness to be readable. If you use the Xiaomi Mi A3 in direct sunlight, for example, you will not be able to easily read the screen.

Android

The Mi A range runs on Android One while the rest of the Xiaomi range runs on MIUI. What are the differences? Here is a video illustrating the main screens:

Main screen
The main screen consists of the basic applications for the phone and a special folder for Google applications (Gmail, Youtube, Maps,…). Xiaomi has only installed one application (Mi Community) whereas there are usually a large number of applications provided by the manufacturer. The usual search engine is also present. The central button is used to launch the Google Assistant or to go back to the home screen, the small arrow on the left is used to go back. The entire home screen is configurable.

A left
The screen on the left is composed of information feeds that are built according to your interests.

A right
The screen on the right (and the following ones) is used to place your most common applications rather than searching for them in the complete list.

Upwards
The notification screen is very similar to the one found on all Android phones.

Downwards
The downward movement is done in two steps. A first downward movement gives access to the list of open applications, you can either switch from one application to another or close them. A second movement gives you access to the complete list of applications on the phone. This list is accompanied by a search engine. You will notice that the font used is not optimal because we can’t read the names of the applications.

The experience offered by Android One is good and I didn’t have any problems using it. However, I prefer MIUI because this version of Android offers many features not available in Android One. I am thinking in particular of the possibility of correcting the screen’s colorimetry, which would have allowed the Mi A3 to correct part of its color problem. I am also thinking of video screen capture tools that are very useful for me to test a device. Notifications in bubbles are also not present on Android One. None of this should stop you from enjoying the phone to the full, but if you’re used to MIUI (and you like it), you’ll probably have a problem with Android One.

Bugs encountered

I have not encountered bugs or any issues.

Accessories

[accessories type=”smartphone” product=”xiaomi-mi-a3″ lg=”en”]

Xiaomi Mi A3 compared to others

Here is a ranking of the different results obtained through my tests. A score of 1 indicates a very poor performance while a score of 6 indicates an exceptional result. The score is a subjective measure, the ranking, on the other hand, is most of the time derived from a measure

Battery life
Umidigi F1 : 5
Umidigi S3 Pro : 5
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 4.5
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 4
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 4
Redmi Note 7 : 4
Meizu Note 9 : 4
Honor 8x : 4
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 4
Huawei Y6 2019 : 3.5
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 3

Processor power (CPU)
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 6
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 5.3
Meizu Note 9 : 5
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 4.5
Redmi Note 7 : 4.5
Honor 8x : 4.5
Umidigi S3 Pro : 4.5
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 4.4
Umidigi F1 : 4
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 3.5
Huawei Y6 2019 : 2

Graphics chipset power (GPU)
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 6
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 5.3
Meizu Note 9 : 5
Umidigi F1 : 4.5
Umidigi S3 Pro : 4.5
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 4
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 4.1
Redmi Note 7 : 4
Honor 8x : 4
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 3.5
Huawei Y6 2019 : 2

Display quality
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 6
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 4.5
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 4
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 4
Redmi Note 7 : 4
Meizu Note 9 : 4
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 3.8
Honor 8x : 3.5
Umidigi S3 Pro : 3.5
Umidigi F1 : 3.5
Huawei Y6 2019 : 3

Photo quality
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 6
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 5.3
Redmi Note 7 : 5
Meizu Note 9 : 5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 4.5
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 4.3
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 4
Honor 8x : 3.5
Umidigi S3 Pro : 3.5
Umidigi F1 : 2
Huawei Y6 2019 : 2

Video quality
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 5
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 4.8
Redmi Note 7 : 4.5
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 4.5
Meizu Note 9 : 4
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 4
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 3.5
Honor 8x : 3
Umidigi S3 Pro : 3
Umidigi F1 : 2
Huawei Y6 2019 : 2

Finishing quality
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 5.5
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 5
Umidigi S3 Pro : 5
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 4.5
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 4.5
Honor 8x : 4.5
Redmi Note 7 : 4.5
Meizu Note 9 : 4.5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 3.5
Umidigi F1 : 3.5
Huawei Y6 2019 : 3.5

Wifi performance
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 5.5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 5
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 5
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 5
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 4
Redmi Note 7 : 4
Meizu Note 9 : 4
Umidigi F1 : 3.5
Umidigi S3 Pro : 3.5
Huawei Y6 2019 : 3.5
Honor 8x : 3

Download speed 4G
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 5
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 5
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 4.5
Honor 8x : 4
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 4
Meizu Note 9 : 4
Redmi Note 7 : 4
Huawei Y6 2019 : 3
Umidigi S3 Pro : 3
Umidigi F1 : 2.5

Signal quality
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 4
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 4
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 3.8
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 3.8
Huawei Y6 2019 : 3.8
Meizu Note 9 : 3.5
Redmi Note 7 : 3.5
Honor 8x : 3.5
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 3
Umidigi S3 Pro : 3
Umidigi F1 : 3

Supported frequencies
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 5
Umidigi F1 : 5
Umidigi S3 Pro : 5
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 4.5
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 3.5
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 3.5
Redmi Note 7 : 3.5
Meizu Note 9 : 3.5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 3.5
Honor 8x : 3.5
Huawei Y6 2019 : 3

Audio quality
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 5
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 4.5
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 4.5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 4
Redmi Note 7 : 4
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 4
Umidigi S3 Pro : 3.5
Meizu Note 9 : 3.5
Honor 8x : 3
Umidigi F1 : 3
Huawei Y6 2019 : 3

GPS quality
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 4
Redmi Note 7 : 4.5
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 4.5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 4
Honor 8x : 4
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 4
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 4
Umidigi S3 Pro : 4
Meizu Note 9 : 3.5
Umidigi F1 : 3.5
Huawei Y6 2019 : 3.5

Ease of use of the operating system
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 5.5
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 5
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 5
Redmi Note 7 : 5
Umidigi S3 Pro : 4.5
Meizu Note 9 : 4.5
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 4
Honor 8x : 4
Umidigi F1 : 4
Huawei Y6 2019 : 3.5

Final score
Samsung Galaxy S10+ : 69 / 84
Redmi Note 8 Pro : 66.5 / 84
Redmi Note 7 : 59 / 84
Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite : 59 / 84
Xiaomi Mi A3 : 58.9 / 84
Meizu Note 9 : 58 / 84
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : 57.5 / 84
Umidigi S3 Pro : 55.5 / 84
Honor 8x : 52 / 84
Umidigi F1 : 49 / 84
Huawei Y6 2019 : 41.3 / 84

Conclusion / Review / Opinion

When I started using the Xiaomi Mi A3, I had the feeling that the device wasn’t going to get a good score and I didn’t really understand its positioning in the Xiaomi range. After a few weeks of use, I began to understand the interest in this model. When I establish my final score, I do it step by step, so I don’t know in advance what the final score will be. I was surprised to find that the Xiaomi Mi A3 gets a score equivalent to the Redmi Note 7 when I thought it was less good. How to explain the score? Simply by the fact that the Xiaomi Mi A3 obtains an average score without being bad for several tests and it manages to stand out where the Redmi Note 7 had weaknesses.

I see that the quality of the screen is discussed on many forums and specialized sites. Yes, it’s true, the colorimetry is not accurate and it is visible but on the other hand, the contrast is much better than most devices in the same price range. The contrast brings a real benefit to the use, the blacks are really black and this brings more depth to the photos. The screen is therefore technically less good (hence the score) but in use, I find it rather interesting.

The Sony sensor of the Xiaomi Mi A3 is able to do very good things, see for yourself some of my photos. Unfortunately, the default setting is not good on 2 points: color temperature and ISO priority. The pictures are therefore a little too warm but this can be corrected by the phone and when the light is not strong enough, the camera favors ISO instead of shutter speed. I think it’s a real shame because it forces the user to do something with the pictures to get the best out of his camera while with other cameras, you don’t have to do anything.

The Sony sensor allows you to take beautiful 4k videos as long as you don’t move too much because the stabilization is insufficient to compensate for the vibrations but in this price range, I haven’t yet found a phone that can properly absorb the vibrations.

Strengths:
[+] small size and easy handling
[+] good network sensitivity (4G and wifi), good download performance also
[+] very good screen contrast
[+] sharpness of photos and videos
[+] autonomy
[+] good GPS performance (except for orientation)

Negative points:
[-] colorimetry
[-] default camera settings
[-] insufficient screen brightness in full sunlight
[-] mandatory to go through the task manager before accessing applications