With the Mi A2, Xiaomi aims to fill up the gap between ₹15,000-₹25,000 price bracket. Announcing the Redmi Note 5 Pro way ahead in the year, the company has created a momentum of sorts in the sub-₹15,000 budget segment which now feels overpopulated. The only silver lining being the countless options for consumers to choose from, the best one being the Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Xiaomi’s Mi A2 is a different beast altogether. Building upon the success of its predecessor and riding along the Redmi Note 5 wave, the Mi A2 isn’t even priced like the A1. The series has ventured into the sub-₹20,000 price range and raises the question as to how it provides the value for your hard earned moolah. This comparison will weigh the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro simply on what they have to offer on paper.
Both the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro feature similar build with their aluminum chassis and are difficult to tell apart at first glance. That is until you hold both the smartphones in your hand. The Mi A2 is fairly thin than the Redmi Note 5 Pro at 7.3mm and weighs 166 g. The latter is thin at 8.1mm and weighs 181 g.
The smartphones also share similar looks which is why there is no external design cue to differentiate between the two. Of late, most of the Xiaomi smartphone look eerily similar to each other which is fine. The company seems to be working on different aspects of smartphones to boost the experience rather than investing time on fixing something that isn’t broken.
Like the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the Mi A2 also jumps the bandwagon into what has become the standard of a modern smartphone design - the 18:9 aspect ratio display. The Mi A2 features a 5.99-inch full HD+ (2160 x1080 pixels) IPS display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and is topped with an added layer of Gorilla Glass 5.
With a bigger display, these phones offer a larger screen estate for users to take control of while keeping the regular chassis size. It also allows for a more rich video watching experience or playing games.
Now here’s where things get interesting. The Redmi Note 5 Pro is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset with an octa-core Kryo 260 CPU, all eight-cores clocked to 1.8GHz. This is accompanied by Adreno 509 as the graphics processor along with 4GB/6GB of RAM and an internal storage of 64GB which can further be expanded up to 128GB.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro also became the first smartphone to come with this processor. In our extensive time with the Note 5 Pro, rarely did we ever get lags or errors and even frame drops.
Xiaomi Mi A2, on the other hand, is powered by a Snapdragon 660 chipset which in many ways is far superior to the SD 636 on the Note 5 Pro. The SD 660 is the same processor that powers smartphones like the Nokia 7 Plus and the Vivo x21 which are much more expensive than the A2.
The Mi A2 also runs on stock Android 8.1 Oreo while the Note 5 Pro comes with MIUI 9 out-of-the-box. This particular aspect is one that is based on individual preferences. The A2 is Xiaomi’s second smartphone under Google’s Android One program and is promised to get upgraded to Android 9.0 Pie by the end of the quarter. The current build of Xiaomi’s MIUI 9 is based on Android 8.1 which brings many Indian-centric features to the Note 5 Pro. It is fast and churns almost anything we threw at it. However, the Mi A2 backed with the SD 660 takes the cake just because of sheer brute performance and features it has to offer.
For starters, the SD 660 chipset comes with an Artificial Intelligence Engine (AIE) that makes up the artificial intelligence based features on the phone. Next, the Kryo cores allow for up to 20% more performance than the previous versions and boost graphics to 30% while playing games. Throw in 4GB/6GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB of onboard storage and Xiaomi has created the perfect multimedia smartphone that caters to the common man.
Both the Xiaomi smartphones have very powerful camera hardware. The Redmi Note 5 Pro sports a 12-megapixel primary camera and a secondary 5-megapixel sensor for depth sensing that aid in portrait shots and enhances clarity of an image. The primary sensor has a f/2.2 aperture while the 5-megapixel camera has a f/2.0 aperture size. The rear cameras on the Note 5 Pro are supported by features like phase detect autofocus (PDAF), face recognition and electronic image stabilization (EIS) for video recording.
The A2, on the other hand, boasts of a 12-megapixel primary and a 20-megapixel depth sensing secondary camera with Sony IMX 486 and IMX376 sensors respectively. The rear cameras feature a wide f/1.75 aperture and work in tandem with the Qualcomm AI Engine to power the portrait mode, Beautify 4.0 and face recognition.
On the front, both the Note 5 Pro and the Mi A2 sport 20-megapixel selfie camera, the difference is in the kind of sensors. Redmi Note 5 pro uses a Samsung sensor while the A2 has a Sony IMX376 camera sensor which also supports pixel binning.
Due to the fact that we have not used the Mi A2 for a long period of time, we will reserve our judgment till we ourselves test the camera performance. However, it is safe to say that the A2 inherently comes with a better camera and with it, an expensive tag.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a 4,000mAh battery which is 1000mAh more than what the Mi A2 offers. The battery performance of the Note 5 Pro is just amazing and provides up to 19 days of standby time. On a single charge, with mid to high-level usage, the Note 5 Pro lasted us close to a day and a half.
That being said, the Mi A2 isn’t a bad deal with its 3,010 mAh battery as it supports fast charging via USB Type-C. Add this to the fact that the Kryo 260 cores on the SD660 are optimized for power efficiency, the Mi A2 should theoretically last for a day and then some. As we haven’t tested the Mi A2 for long, we will reserve the actual battery performance until we are able to gauge it ourselves.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro is already selling starting at ₹14,999 for the 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage variant and ₹16,999 for the 6GB RAM variant.
Xiaomi Mi A2 on the other hand has been launched in India for ₹16,999 for the variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage. Another variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage is also on its way to India and we expect it to be priced at ₹18,999.