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Xiaomi Mi A1

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Xiaomi Mi A1 second take: For $215, it offers the best value of any Android smartphone right now

A couple of months ago, my brother in law came to me with a question: he needed an affordable $200-300 Android smartphone that he could purchase from the UAE or Lebanon and that would do the basics right. My ready-made answer in the category in the past few years has been Samsung's A/C/J series. You get nice hardware, decent software with less bloat nowadays, excellent after-sale support no matter which mom-and-pop repair store you stop at, easy accessory purchase, and it's super fast to sell it on when the time comes to part with your phone. But that's only because Samsung's presence in Lebanon is huge, LG's midrange devices are too costly for the features, Moto and HTC essentially don't exist, Nokia/HMD hadn't begun selling phones again yet, and Huawei started breaking into the market about a year or so ago.

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[Update: Released] Xiaomi still hasn't released the kernel sources for the Mi A1

Xiaomi's mixed record for releasing kernel sources continues, as the company has still not posted sources for the Mi A1. While Xiaomi has previously stated their internal goal for releasing kernels is "within three months," according to XDA-Developers, the Mi A1 is well past this mark, as it was released last September. With the apparent end of the Nexus device program, the Mi A1 would be a prime candidate for custom ROM development, in place of the 2+ year old Nexus 5X.

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Android 8.0 Oreo rolling out to Xiaomi Mi A1

The Mi A1 was the first Android One device from Xiaomi, meaning it ran completely stock Android. It turned out to be an excellent phone, and Xiaomi promised it would receive Oreo before the end of 2017. It looks like the company just barely delivered on that promise, because Android 8.0 is now rolling out to the device.

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TWRP adds support for Xiaomi Mi A1 and some Zenfone 4 models

Team Win Recovery Project, or TWRP for short, is just about the only custom recovery worth using in 2017. It does everything most people need, works on a massive number of devices, and can be themed. The last time we covered TWRP, it added support for the Pixel 2 and a few other phones. Now the recovery is officially available for some of ASUS' new phones, and Xiaomi's first Android One device.

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Xiaomi Mi A1 (Android One) review: Almost the perfect budget phone

Xiaomi phones always have the same problem. While the company's devices have generally great specifications and design for the price, the software experience is usually not very good. If you've read one of our Xiaomi device reviews, or used one of the company's phones yourself, you probably know what I'm talking about.

All of Xiaomi's phones and tablets ship with MIUI, a heavily modified version of Android that has countless problems. Some of these include Bluetooth connectivity bugs, terrible notification handling, and over-the-top power management that can outright break notifications for many apps. Jordan went in depth about MIUI's issues here, if you're interested in details.

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Xiaomi Mi A1 announced: Android One with great specs, affordable price, wide availability, and a promise of Oreo in 2017

We haven't heard a lot from Android One lately, but it seems that the program is catching on in several countries like Japan and Turkey. You can add India to that list, as well as several dozens other countries thanks to the announcement of the new Xiaomi Mi A1.

Xiaomi had teased a new "flagship dual camera" on Twitter a few days ago, and just like the rumors predicted, this is the Mi A1, the latest Android One (A1, geddit?) phone. And I have to say, Xiaomi pulled all the stops there. It's an impressive device for an impressive little price.

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