UPDATE.. See Below Post #8 Who is Xiaomi? Xiaomi, is the world's most valuable privately held company, and its the third largest smartphone maker, selling 61 million handsets last year. But how do you pronounce Xiaomi? For me it's SHOW-MEE, but you may hear it differently here. Now let's get to the good stuff. All Xiaomi phones and tablets ship with their heavily customized version of Android they call MIUI. Lots of bloat, lots of stuff no one wants or needs. Never the less, Xiaomi still sold 61 million devices last year. Their success is primarily due to their excellent design, support and superior hardware components used. In September, Xiaomi announced their first Pure Android [Android One] device. The MI A1. DESIGN For the most part, Xiaomi does a far better then average job of designing and building phones. If you take a close look, you may notice their designs are not always original. The Mi A1 looks very much like the iPhone 7 Plus, and feels like a phone twice the price.It has the same antenna bands that run across the top and bottom, a rounded aluminum back, and dual cameras The A1 is just a bit` thicker than the 7 Plus, 7.3mm vs the 7 Plus at 7.1mm. One complaint I have with this phone is the captive navigation keys. Samsung and Asus have used them as well. They seem to be backwards compared to the Nexus and Pixel Pure Android devices. On the plus side, they do light up. On the left side of the phone we find the SIM card tray. The tray supports either 2 nano Sim cards, or one nano Sim and one micro SD card. I tested each setup and found switching between the SIM Cards and accessing the SD Card was smooth and seamless. The top of the phone has an IR blaster, another feature that we find on most Xiaomi phones. It seemed to work fine, but I just can't get use to using my phone to control my audio system. Though this device is Pure Android, Xiaomi did include 2 custom Apps. The IR Blaster and the Camera App. Xiaomi support tells me they are included as Google does not support these features in Android One at this time. The back of the A1 is Aluminum with a non fingerprint coating. The back hosts a fingerprint scanner which I found to be super fast. In addition the back hosts a dual camera and flash. The right side hosts the volume rocker and on/off button. On the bottom of the phone we find the speaker and the headphone jack. The bottom line, the A1 is a well built good looking device that targets the budget emerging markets. All though Xiaomi does make this market/country specific, the one I tested is the international version which will work on any US GSM Network. DISPLAY The A1 hosts a 5.5" 1080p IPS LED display. Don't expect the contrast and color that AMOLED screens deliver, but will say that the outdoor experience is acceptable. I had no issue reading content outdoors. BATTERY Everyone uses their phone differently, therefore battery life will differ. I consider myself a moderate user and did get 2 days out of the 3,000mAh battery. This is primarily due to the efficiency of the Snapdragon 625. Heavy users should get a day between charges. RECEPTION As stated above, phone manufactures provide country specific devices. Some manufactures like Apple and Xiaomi do provide global/international versions. As of this writing, the A1 is not sold by any US provider but can be ordered online. The A1 I tested worked perfectly on AT&T and TMO 4G networks. I did hit some dead areas as you will with any device. If you decide the A1 is for you and you live in the US, be sure to check your providers bands against the A1 international version. CAMERA The A1 has a dual 12mp camera on the back,. One is a 12MP wide-angle lens, and the other is a 12MP telephoto lens. I found the quality to be very acceptable. The camera App is provided by Xiaomi and does support an HDR mode. PERFORMANCE The A1 hosts the Snapdragon 625 chip-set, and delivers great performance for most tasks. Apps open in a flash, and multi-tasking worked smoothly due to the 4GB of RAM. Some 3D games did slow down a bit, but overall performance is acceptable. IMO, the Mi A1 is a very fast phone, that will deliver excellent performance for the average user. SOFTWARE & UPDATES If you haven't caught on yet, the MI "A1" is part of Google's Android One Program. The difference being that updates are not provided directly from Google but guaranteed to be within 2 weeks of Google's release. I received the latest Security Patch on December 7th and told the A1 will be upgraded to Android 8 by the end of December. Not much more to report as the software is just about identical to the Pixel and Nexus. THE BOTTOM LINE The Xiaomi Mi A1 is a great mid-range phone with awesome software and solid build quality., If you are in the market for an excellent entry level device, visit our friends at GearBest. It will be the best $229 you ever spent. SPECS 5.5" FHD display Optical zoom Dual camera Full metal body 4GB high- speed RAM Massive 64GB storage 3080mAh(typ) battery Rear fingerprint sensor High-quality sound Processor Octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, max 2.0GHz 14nm FinFET, high performance and power efficiency Adreno 506 graphics 650MHz Memory 4GB RAM 64GB internal storage Up to 128GB expandable storage (microSD) Camera & Video Dual camera Wide-angle lens 12MP 1.25μm f/2.2 26mm equivalent focal length 5-piece lens Two-tone flash Telephoto lens 12MP 1.0 μm, f/2.6 50mm equivalent focal length 5-piece lens 2x optical zoom PDAF phase focus Low-light photography enhancements HDR adjustment Panorama mode Continuous shooting mode Facial recognition function Front camera 5MP 1.12μm, f/2 Beautify with 36 smart beauty profiles Selfie timer Facial recognition Video 4K / 1080p / 720p video, 30 fps 720p slow-mo video, 120 fps Battery 3080mAh(typ) / 3000mAh(min)* 5V / 2A charging Reversible USB Type-C Display 5.5 inch (diagonal) LTPS FHD display 450nit brightness 1920 x 1080 resolution, 403 PPI 1000: 1 contrast ratio Connectivity & Wireless Nano SIM/MicroSD Supports 2.4/5G WiFi / WIFI Direct / WiFi Display Supports Bluetooth 4.2/HID 4G Supports VoLTE/4G/3G/2G on compatible networks Mode Band GSM B2, B3, B5, B8 UMTS B1, B2, B5, B8 FDD-LTE B1, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B20 TDD-LTE B38, B40 GPS Navigation & Positioning GPS AGPS GLONASS BEIDOU Sensors Infrared Ambient light sensor Gyroscope Hall sensor Accelerometer Fingerprint sensor Proximity sensor Multimedia MP4 M4V MKV XVID WAV AAC/AAC+eAAC+ MP3 AMR-NB/WB FLAC PCM Thanks to our friends at GearBest for providing the Xiaomi MI A1 test unit.