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30 September 2017

Xiaomi Mi A1 Review (Malaysia) - Dual-Camera & Photo Sample

Review-Xiaomi Mi A1 (Malaysia) Review - Dual-Camera & Photo Quality
【Review】 Xiaomi Mi A1 (Malaysia) Review - Dual-Camera and Photo Quality

Hello guys, as a DSLR photographer myself, I do like to try out new gadget gears especially when smartphone nowadays has better camera and they help us capture good photos in split seconds. Sometimes I don't want to bring along my heavy DSLR too, hence I always try new smartphone with dual-camera and this time. Instead of getting the Xiaomi 6, I have a unit of Xiaomi Mi A1 Smartphone with Dual-Camera to play with. I believe you guys are here, because you are as curious as I am regarding the Mi A1 camera and photos quality and also whether Android One OS is really good without the MIUI. 

What does Android One means?

With software designed by Google, Android One phones have access to Google's premiere security features, applications and innovations on your phone, such as free unlimited high quality storage with Google Photos.

What's inside Xiaomi Mi A1 box - unboxing MiA1
What's inside Xiaomi Mi A1 box - Unboxing MiA1

Let's unbox the Xiaomi Mi A1 that I got recently, it's quite simple inside, got the MiA1 phone on top and charger with cable below. A very simple manual and the SIM pin at the bottom of the innerbox. All this cost you  only RM1099 if you buy from Lazada MY official Xiaomi Store.


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Nice grip on Xiaomi Mi A1 even when without casing
Nice grip on Xiaomi Mi A1 even when without casing 

Xiaomi Mi A1 Dual Camera with LED Flash
Xiaomi Mi A1 Dual Camera with LED Flash

Xiaomi Mi A1 with AndroidOne OS that offer better Google Security and Services
Xiaomi Mi A1 with AndroidOne OS that offer better Google Security and Services

Xiaomi Mi A1 USB-C charging port and earphone jack
Xiaomi Mi A1 USB-C charging port and earphone jack

The first time I switch on Xiaomi Mi A1. The interface looks different
The first time I switch on Xiaomi Mi A1. The interface looks different
Today post is purely focusing on the camera and photo quality taken using Xiaomi Mi A1, you can check out the specification comparison between Mi6, Mi 5x and Mi A1 here.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Photo Samples and Photo Quality


Below are some photos taken using the Xiaomi Mi A1 Dual-Camera. Continue scroll down and you can click/swipe on the image to view more. I will add in more photos gradually so stay tuned. So far I don't think the blur-effect is perfect but I do think that with the budget of RM1100, this phone can deliver what a RM3000 DSLR offer when you frame your subject correctly.

Tips when using XIaomi Mi A1 Dual-Camera Stereo Mode (Portrait Mode with Bokeh Blur Effect):

On Xiaomi Smartphone, they call it 'Stereo Mode' instead of 'Portrait Mode' or 'Live Focus'. But overall they create the same effect, which is to achieve that blurly background and make your object stands out. Here's some photography tips when you use Mi A1 to take portrait photos with bokeh.

  1. To maximize the bokeh (blurness) of the background, keep your object within 2 meters away from the camera. If too far they might not see able to show the difference.
  2. Since Mi A1 dual-camera use the light to measure distance and differentiate object from background, it is best to use 'Stereo Mode' with adequate light. That's why it is easier when you shoot under daylight.
  3. Try to place your object with different color background so the AI technology will able to differentiate your object from the background better. For example, if you are wearing a green shirt, do not shoot near the green backdrop, choose something different than green.




Hi, this is #RBBunny. He love to bite the cables and recently sofa food is his favourite chew. He might not look as cute as his childhood but he is still our cutest member in the family. He look cutest when he eat fruits and the floor will be full of juice (especially grapes) Therefore we call RBBunny the "Juicer Bunny" too. This is what we do during the weekend. To give bunny a proper photoshoot #WHPdayoff #WeeklyFluff . . . In conjunction with #WorldAnimalDaywithMi finally #RBBunny appear on my Instagram again. Do you love bunnies too? . . . All photos #ShotonMiA1 at night and some of it was taken with the portrait mode. Let me know what do you think🐰🐇🐰 #XiaomiPhotography #MiA1 #xiaomiMY #FlagshipDualCamera #mobilephotography #bunniesworldwide  #rabbitstagram #bunnystagram #bunniesofig #bunniesofinstagram #bunnygram #WHPdayoff #boomerangoftheweek
A post shared by TianChad 田七🕴📸 (@tianchad) on


[Update 13 Oct 2017] As promised, here are tons more photos captured using the Xiaomi Mi A1 under different light conditions (bright day, backlight using HDR, night and low light, depth of field to create bokeh/blur background, daily things that can look different). To be honest, it does have some difficulty in having accurate focusing under very low light conditions (especially when doing timelapse). But with patience on this budget dual-camera smartphone, I am sure you can capture shots like this too. I just found out their "Timelapse" video mode are so much more customizable too, can shoot at different speed and up to 4K quality. Stay tuned for the video. I hope you enjoy the shots below and let me know your favourite/comment at the comment section below:

[Update 17 Oct 2017] The Time-lapse video using Xiaomi Mi A1 is finally out! Check this out:


Xiaomi Mi A1 Timelapse Video with sunrise, sunset, trains, vehicles and even rainbow!!
Those are trains by @myrapidkl 

Xiaomi Mi A1 create better depth of field with dual camera

Photo captured under low light condition using Xiaomi Mi A1. Remember to snap a few shots to prevent blur image. Especially when you are not using flash

Spotted this beautiful bird at Metal Bees Production house the other day
Tips: Press and hold the shutter button to continuous capture fast-moving object

Xiaomi Mi A1 - Shooting action under low-light condition

Xiaomi Mi A1 - Shooting action under low-light condition

Use the Stereo Mode (a.k.a. portrait mode) to make your object more standout

Use the Stereo Mode (a.k.a. portrait mode) to make your object more standout

Use the Stereo Mode (a.k.a. portrait mode) to make your object more standout
Below is the comparison between the 1x and 2x optical zoom with "Stereo Mode" switched on. The 2nd image looks better? Anyhow, I do notice that there's color difference between two images. One tends more to Red and the other one tends to be more Green. Nowadays all these can be color correct using Mobile Photo Apps like Snapseed, Lightroom and VSCOCAM easily



With dual-cam, you can make your birthday cake standout from the messy background

Captured using Xiaomi Mi A1 with HDR forced on

Captured using Xiaomi Mi A1 with HDR forced on, best when you are shooting sunset/backlight photo like this

Better food photo instantly without your DSLR because of dual-cam

Another example of shooting wide scenery vs Stereo Mode below that differentiate the object in focus from background
Compare to image above, which one do you prefer??


Shot this inside the dark Gua Damai, you can see insect resting on the mineral rocks formed after years

Batu Caves
Sometimes shooting with smartphone actually let you be more flexible in shooting creative angle. 


Normal shot that can clearly see your background

Can be turned into something like this when you use the dual-cam 'Stereo Mode'


Is Superman coming here to catch the thieves or rob the bank? 
Standing at the same place, use the 2x optical zoom to capture closer image.
Not sure whose car is that but it looks cool



You can always do closeup shot like this


I always like to shoot backlight photos. Notice that tiny green lens flare?

HDR mode switched on when shooting the sunset

My rabbit that became model of the day - #RBBunny

Close-up shot of bunny. Can still see details on his fur
It was hard to shoot my pet photo under lowlight condition because #RBBunny keep moving. If you have a rabbit too, give him a rub on his head until he feel comfortable and stay still for your photoshoot.


Another food photo with bokeh mode on. It could look better if you put an additional light from the side
*just use your friend's phone torchlight for extra light if they willing to join the fun*

When design worth standout from the crowd

A usual mix-rice dish also can look better in just one snap

Dual-cam technology nowadays still not perfect, but it helps you create better product image

Make your subject stand out from the background

Helps you focus on things that you want people to pay attention to

Statue like this has outlook that's too tricky for Xiaomi Mi A1 to track the Depth of  Field properly

But if you found the right composition (including the contrast with background), you can create better image like this easily

Another example of using the dual-camera to make thing stand out

Mirror on the wall

Fresh flower that deserve a portrait

Go to Starhill Gallery if you want to shoot this flower

Let's try to use this budget camera smartphone to shoot some luxury branded stuff

Want a new shoes?

Now I seldom bring out my DSLR whenever I am not working as the phone can help me create similar images with much lighter weight, AND more portable too

You can still adjust the brightness even when using the 'Stereo Mode' to change the final outcome

Now lets change the focus to these real orchid flowers

Noticed the imperfect blurriness at the top of the handbag?  Do you feel it is acceptable or not?

Let's choose the suitable bracelets for your wedding. You know which one I prefer

Low light photography of the fountain

When talking about low-light photography, I appreciate the fact that we can shoot with 'Manual Mode'.  So we can customize the focusing point with 'Focus Peaking' function that helps you get more accurate focusing. Adjust the White Balance when the object has tricky color. Or adjust the ISO when it is too dark/bright. 

The Manual Mode is good, but it would be more perfect if I can have exposure time longer than '1/15s'. With that I might able to capture smoother fountain photos or even shooting starry night. I am not sure if Xiaomi Mi6 has better camera so you may let me know if their shutter speed can be setting to longer period like 10 seconds or above.



A quick portrait of Boris Kariev (@kariev_7) when I met him at the MRT

It was a stormy night so I got this shot with thunder hiding behind the clouds. 

It will be much easier to capture photo like above if I can increase the shutter exposure more than 1/15 seconds. Then I can do light trail photography too.


All right, it's time to end the lengthy post. Featuring watch from @malayacompany
If I have give you confidence in getting the Xiaomi Mi A1 dual camera smartphone, feel free to purchase through the affiliate link below to show some support. You won't need to pay extra but Xiaomi x Lazada official store will give me a small token for refer the traffics.

Once again thank you for reading this post and I hope you like more personal photography review like this. Cheers! Don't be shy to follow my Instagram on @tianchad  




Buy now from Lazada MY Official Mi Store

Where to buy Xiaomi Mi A1 in Malaysia?


The Mi A1 is now available in Malaysia for RM1099 (4GB RAM + 64GB ROM). With a 5.5” FHD display, the Mi A1 is designed with users in mind to allow showing off beautiful portrait photography taken with its flagship dual camera (12MP wide-angle + 12MP telephoto, 2x optical zoom, 1.25µm large pixels). All this is powered by octa-core Snapdragon 625 and Pure Android, supplemented with a 3080mAh battery, and housed in a full-metal body.

Created by Xiaomi, powered by Google.

Get the your Mi A1 now, available on our official Mi Store on Lazada Malaysia (bit.ly/officialMiStoreLazada) and also at Mi Premium Reseller in  Queensbay Mall, Penang. Apart from the above, it is also available through our authorised retailers nationwide. Find your nearest in the list here : bit.ly/2yi6kIW

If you've decided to buy the Xiaomi Mi A1, make sure you buy it from authorized reseller as shown above. Mi A1 in Malaysia is distributed by Era International. To identify an original Mi Malaysia set with official warranty by Xiaomi Malaysia : Box is sealed with Global Version + EIN (Era International) sticker. Both identification need to be present.  - Official info click here

Mi A1 Box is sealed with Global Version + EIN (Era International) sticker. Both identification need to be present
Xiaomi Mi A1 Box is sealed with Global Version + EIN (Era International) sticker. Both identification need to be present

Where to Buy Xiaomi Mi A1 or Mi 5X casing and screen protector?

The first thing I got my new Xiaomi Mi A1 is to look for the casing AND screen protector. It was really hard to find casing for #MiA1 as the phone is very new to Malaysia market. After some google and helps from Xiaomi community, I found that both Xiaomi Mi 4X and Mi A1 has the same outlook hence they share the same phone casing and screen protector (or even tempered glass).

So if you wonder where to buy Xiaomi Mi A1 or Mi 5X casing and screen protector,  just search in Lazada/11Street/Shopee store for Xiaomi Mi 5X screen protector and casing. I got my casing through TaoBao and it arrive within a week++.

Since I got some extra case+screen protector for Xiaomi Mi A1/5X, if you are interested, email or PM me for pricing details =) Got three extra set to share with you guys




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