The Xiaomi Mi A1 ships in a plain-looking cardboard box with Android One logos all over. The contents are as basic: a USB Type-C cable and a 5V/2A charger. There are no headphones or a case included this time, but then again the 5X was missing those too.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 is as big as the Mi 5X and pretty much comparable to the majority of the 5.5-inchers out there. It measures 155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3mm, which is 4mm taller than the Redmi Note 4 but a bit thinner. It weighs as much as the Note 4 at 165g.
The Xiaomi Mi A1's design is both traditional and contemporary. The overall impression is indeed very familiar if you've seen and experienced the Mi 5X, Mi Max 2 and a bunch of Redmi Notes. We can't complain about the all-metal chassis - it is both premium-looking and sturdy-feeling.
The Mi A1 follows the company's new design, which gets rid of the plastic strips on the back. Now the whole phone case is made of metal and the company has adopted the new, less intrusive antenna lines. So, whatever color option you choose - black, gold, or rose gold - the Mi A1 will look fresh and stylish.
The 5.5" screen occupies most of the front and has a Corning Gorilla Glass for protection against scratches. The signature capacitive keys are below the display, featuring white backlighting for the button labels.
The rest of the Xiaomi Mi A1 is made of metal with a very pleasant matte finish. The antenna strips run along the top and bottom edge at the back. The fingerprint sensor sits comfortably in the middle, while the dual-camera module is budging in the left corner but has a nice glossy rim to make that a feature instead of a flaw.
The fingerprint scanner is always-on and very accurate. Upon tapping with a recorded finger it wakes and unlocks the Mi A1 in a flash.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 is a pretty handsome device, comfortable to handle and operate. It provides a reasonably secure grip not only because of its balanced weight distribution and matte finish, but also thanks to the chamfer where the screen meets the frame. Lastly, the build is well up to standard, solid and gap-free, so overall the Mi A1 has it all figured out when it comes to design and looks.
The Mi A1 looks like a typical Xiaomi specimen, even if it doesn't run MIUI. You'll spot the usual arrangement above the screen, where the earpiece is flanked by a notification LED, a bunch of sensors and the selfie camera.
The backlit capacitive keys - Task Switcher, Home, and Back - are below the 5.5" screen.
The hybrid SIM slot is the only thing to note on the left side - and it can either take two nano-SIMs or you can swap one of those for a microSD card.
The volume rocker and the power/lock key are on the left side of the Mi A1.
Just like the Mi 5X, the Mi A1 also comes with an IR blaster at the top. The noise-cancelling mic is nearby too.
The bottom of the Mi A1 has the USB Type-C port, the mouthpiece, the audio jack, and the loudspeaker.
The dual-camera is on the back, accompanied by a dual-tone flash. The fingerprint scanner is around too.