Lately, the smartphone market has seen a massive price increase due to the instability of the dollar market.
In the old days, we would have been able to buy the 4GB + 64GB version with Snapdragon 680 of Redmi 10C at Tk13,999. But those days are gone.
For some time, there weren’t many official smartphones that could be bought for just 10,000 or 12,000 takas that could handle daily tasks.
Fortunately, smartphone manufacturers have found a way to offer smartphones within this price range once again, such as Xiaomi’s Redmi A1 Plus.
The 3GB RAM and 32GB storage version of the Redmi A1 Plus currently costs Tk11,999 in Bangladesh.
Redmi A1 Plus is available in three colors in Bangladesh: light blue, light green, and black.
Weighing 192 grams, the 9.1mm thick phone has a screen-to-body ratio of 81.0%.
The placement of the buttons and headphone jack seemed fine to me, which surprised me as Xiaomi is well known for placing the headphone jack at the top instead of the bottom on budget phones.
However, not everything is good. The headphone jack was found at the bottom of the phone along with a micro USB port. Yes, not Type-C. Micro USB only.
I immediately felt like we were back in 2016. Xiaomi may have its reasons for putting in a micro USB port for charging and data transfer, but it was a big bummer for me. I don’t expect any decent device right now that needs to come with anything other than a Type-C port, no matter what price it comes at.
On the back of the phone, you’ll find a dual camera setup as well as a fingerprint reader.
The textured back provides a comfortable grip and hand feel while holding the phone in your hand.
Redmi A1 Plus comes with a 12nm Mediatek MT6761 Helio A22 chipset, which makes sense considering the phone is primarily focused on saving money.
However, Realme’s C30 smartphone has a Unisoc T612 chipset priced at Tk 10,000. Compared to that, Helio A22 barely holds its own when it comes to performance. Mainly because it only has four cores while Unisoc T612 has eight.
On the other hand, Realme 30 came with 2 GB of RAM while Redmi A1 Plus comes with 3 GB of RAM. I don’t mention RAM much in my reviews as most of the phones I review already come with 6GB or 8GB of RAM and it doesn’t make much of a difference. But when it comes to 2GB vs 3GB of RAM, it makes a big difference.
Redmi A1 Plus runs MIUI 12, which is based on Android 12 Go Edition. The Go edition is basically a lighter version of Android that offers basic services for low-end smartphones. We have previously seen Nokia make mistakes by putting the entire Android system in budget phones. But it is good to see that Xiaomi did not make that mistake with the Redmi A1 Plus.
When it comes to performance, let me tell you, you shouldn’t expect to play games with this phone. This is for regular use only. However, you can play lighter games like Subway Surfers or Temple Run.
When it comes to software, A22 is capable of running full versions of Facebook and Messenger. However, I will recommend using the light versions if possible. You will find a massive improvement in performance if you do.
Although it is a low-end smartphone, the Helio A22 chipset supports 4G internet.
Redmi A1 Plus comes with a 6.52-inch IPS LCD display that comes with 400 nits of typical brightness.
The smartphone’s resolution is locked at 720 x 1600 pixels and that’s a good move. I see no reason to put a 1080p screen in a smartphone like this and put additional pressure on the weak chipset.
The colors that the screen produces are quite usable, and that’s what one should expect from such a device. Although it is an HD+ display and A22 will be able to play 1080p videos, you may not get a satisfactory result when playing such videos. OTT apps like Netflix or Amazon Prime will block the highest playback resolution in SD (480p).
I really didn’t expect much from the camera. The phone comes with a dual camera setup with the main one being an 8MP wide sensor and the secondary camera being a 0.8MP QVGA camera. You don’t see these today.
Rear camera performance was decent considering the hardware the phone comes with. The 5MP front-facing selfie camera also captures some decent selfies.
Note that by decent I mean something you can store and look at. Don’t take this the wrong way and expect your selfies or photos to be sharp or social media ready.
When it comes to video, both the rear and front cameras support 1080p 30fps video recording. There is a time lapse feature within the camera app, but not slow motion. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting slow motion at this price.
Although it is a low-end smartphone, it comes with a massive 5,000mAh battery. So while you may have to sacrifice in other sections, you’ll get the most out of the battery department.
With an Android 12 Go edition running on the back, you can easily expect eight to ten hours of screen time on this battery capacity.
However, the loading speed is very slow. Using a 10-watt charger, this phone will take hours to fully charge.
So who is this phone for? In a word, for the grown-ups.
This phone will be an ideal option for the target audience who uses their smartphone mainly for calling. It can be a Facebook Messenger call or a normal phone call.
Redmi A1 Plus will be able to provide adequate support during occasional multimedia consumption, such as watching videos on YouTube or scrolling through the Facebook home page.
If you are a heavy smartphone user, you may want to consider buying this phone as an alternative device.
If you use an iPhone and need a cheaper Android device, primarily to access apps that aren’t available on the iOS App Store, you might want to consider buying one.
No matter what we say in the review, Xiaomi will be able to sell many units of this phone. Mainly because in the post-Covid “new normal” economy with inflation and price increases everywhere, this is a phone that will be able to provide everything a regular user needs and more without breaking the bank.