The Xiaomi Mi A3 is your typical glass-sandwich smartphone with a solid plastic frame, well protected thanks to the two Gorilla Glass 5 pieces. And while it looks like any other device of such build, the Mi A3 is a major Mi 9 lookalike. Those are enough reasons to call it of premium looks and build, even though its price suggests otherwise.Xiaomi Mi 9 next to the Mi A3
So, the front is the place for the Mi A3's most controversial feature - the Super AMOLED screen of HD+ resolution and a waterdrop-like notch. The panel has curved corners, as usual, but the thing is completely flat, and we like it this way better.
The notch houses the new 32MP selfies camera, while the tiny top bezel has a grille for the earpiece at the center and a couple of invisible sensors on the left.
We will discuss the HD screen soon, but at first glance the colors look lively and the contrast seems excellent. But we noticed some pixelization on solid backgrounds and all text is jagged because of the PenTile matrix arrangement.
Finally, the chin is unusually big, especially for an OLED panel, but we can live with that on a cheap phone. At least everything is protected by a Gorilla Glass 5 and we always appreciate a high-end glass on a budget handset.
And before we flip the Mi A3, there is one premium feature at the front that is easy to miss - the under-screen fingerprint scanner. It seems to be identical to the optical one we experience on the Mi 9T, meaning it is almost as responsive and fast as a conventional one. The sensor lights up the moment you touch the screen; it scans your finger and unlocks in an instant.
The back also uses a Gorilla Glass 5, but this time around it's bent towards its edges. Having such subtle curves is a familiar design concept - one that makes the Mi A3 look and feel slimmer than it actually is, but this also takes a huge toll on the grip.
The triple camera is humping quite a lot at the top left corner. It contains the 8MP wide-angle shooter, the 48MP primary snapper, and the 2MP depth sensor. The single LED flash is flush outside of this formation. Quite expectedly such a big hump makes the A3 wobble quite a lot when left on a flat surface, but that's the occupational hazard we guess.
The back of the Mi A3 is yet another reminder of the Mi 9. The Mi A3 is available in these coolly named hues - Kind of Gray, Not just Blue, and More than White. Remind you of some Pixels, maybe?Xiaomi Mi 9 next to the Mi A3
We have the Not just Blue one and it's quite stunning when the glass is not covered in fingerprints (very rarely). The glass may be dark bluish, but it catches and reflects light in different ways, and also it is one big smudgy mirror. And we have to agree with Xiaomi, it's hard to name these mesmerizing colors and the Not just Blue suits this one a lot (despite being a clear nod to Google's names for the Pixel colors).
The plastic frame is also painted in Not just Blue and has a very glossy finish. It is also quite curved, so abandon all hopes for a good grip on the Mi A3. If you don't use a case, then using the A3 with extreme caution is highly advised.
The hybrid SIM slot is on the left of the said frame, and it can either take two nano-SIM cards, or one SIM and one microSD. Xiaomi has indeed listened to the complaint and it brought back the memory expansion slot.
The top of the frame has a couple of surprises, too. The 3.5mm audio jack makes a return and there is also an IR blaster next to it.
The bottom has a single loudspeaker, the mouthpiece, and a USB-C port.
The Mi A3 measures 153.5 x 71.9 x 8.5 mm, which is 5mm shorter and 3mm narrower than the Mi A2, which also had a 6" display but one of a different aspect ratio and thicker bezels. The A3 weighs 174g, about 8g heavier than the Mi A2 and A1.
The Mi A3 is a great-looking smartphone with premium and solid build, but almost non-existent grip. That's the widespread mantra even among the flagships though, so we can't really blame Xiaomi for following the current trends and bringing what's considered premium.
We'd suggest grabbing a thin transparent case that will solve the grip issues, while preserving the captivating looks.