Xiaomi Mi A3 review

GSMArena team, 31 July 2019.

Display

Let's start with some good news - Xiaomi has switched to Samsung-made AMOLED panel for the Mi A3. The Mi A1 and Mi A2 both had IPS LCD screens, which were good, but not OLED good.

Xiaomi Mi A3 review

But the Mi A1 and Mi A2 both had 1080p screens, while the Mi A3 downgrades the resolution to 720p. The actual resolution is 720 x 1,560 pixels (19.5:9 aspect) or 286ppi density. This could have been fine, but the PenTile OLED matrix isn't suited for low-res screen because it has less subpixels than a regular RGB display and pixelization and jagged texts are occasional. The Galaxy S III kickstarted the use of PenTile AMOLEDs and even this 2012 smartphone had higher pixel density at 306ppi.

Xiaomi Mi A3 review

So, did we notice pixelization? Yes, especially on solid colored backgrounds. What about jagged text? All the time? Are those deal-breakers? It depends!

Xiaomi Mi A3 review

Indeed, the low-res AMOLED suffers because of the PenTile matrix, but it's quite easy to get used to not see the tiny spikes on the letters and the dotted backgrounds. We are not saying you have to do it at all costs, but you really can. And then you can reap the benefits of the lower 720p resolution such as flagship-grade gaming performance across all modern games. How about that?

We are not sure why Xiaomi opted for a 720p display, but by doing so it made the Mi A3 a gaming phone on the budget. And we can very well live with that.

The screen has a decent brightness for an OLED panel of 363 nits. Unfortunately, the Mi A3 runs vanilla Android instead of MIUI (like its Mi CC9e doppelganger) and this means it lacks High Brightness Mode. So, even in the brightest of days, the Mi A3 won't light up more than 363 nits, not even in Auto Brightness mode.

The minimum brightness we measured was 14.9 nits - which is uncomfortably bright. It's quite disappointing to see such result as almost all phones we have tested in recent years go as low as 1-4 nits.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Xiaomi Mi A3 0 363
Xiaomi Mi A2 0.277 420 1516
Xiaomi Mi A1 0.351 551 1570
Xiaomi Mi 9T 0 449
Xiaomi Mi 9T (Max Auto) 0 646
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE 0 444
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE (Max Auto) 0 637
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 0.358 479 1338
Realme X 0 448
Realme 3 Pro 0.285 508 1782
Sony Xperia 10 0.362 549 1517
Huawei P30 Lite 0.39 480 1231
Huawei P30 Lite (Max Auto) 0.413 501 1213
Nokia 7.1 0.377 490 1300
Nokia 7.1 (Max Auto) 0.465 600 1290
Samsung Galaxy A50 0 424
Samsung Galaxy A50 (Max Auto) 0 551
Google Pixel 3a XL 0 451

Xiaomi is promising 102.7% coverage for the NTSC color gamut and we can confirm this. The color accuracy, however, isn't that splendid with an average deltaE of 4.9. Most of the blue hues we measured turned out punchier than they should be, and thus all whites and grays have a minor bluish tint, but still, it's a good enough presentation.

Battery life

The Xiaomi Mi A3 is the first A-series specimen to be powered by a 4,030mAh Li-ion battery, about 35% larger than the cells inside the Mi A1 and A2.

The Mi A3 supports Quick Charge 3.0 and if you use a compatible 18W charger, it will fill about 45% of a depleted battery in 30 mins. A full charge would require about 100 mins.

The Mi A3 ships with a 10W charger though and it recharges from 0 to 28% in 30 mins, while a full charge takes about 150 mins.

The Mi A3 posted a top-notch endurance rating of 101 hours and great scores across the board. The screen-on times are outstanding - we measured 12 and a half hours runtime in our web browsing test and north of 21 hours in our video playback test.

The standby performance was about the average, not as great as on MIUI-booting phones as those have some additional app battery-saving options running by default.

Xiaomi Mi A3 review

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating above denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Xiaomi Mi A3 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so that our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritty. You can check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Speaker

There's a single bottom-firing loudspeaker on the Mi A3 but it is quite loud and scored an Excellent mark on our test. The output turned out very pleasant - the sound is rich and deep and we didn't hear any high-pitched notes, so we'd give it an excellent mark as well.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Realme X 67.9 73.5 80.4 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy A50 68.9 71.3 82.7 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi 9T 70.6 74.8 81.2 Very Good
Huawei P30 Lite 71.5 73.8 83.1 Excellent
Xiaomi Mi A3 74.1 74.3 81.9 Excellent
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 69.8 71.5 90.5 Excellent
Realme 3 Pro 67.5 73.8 90.5 Excellent
Xiaomi Mi A1 74.0 73.9 90.4 Excellent
Google Pixel 3a XL 79.3 77.1 91.1 Excellent
Xiaomi Mi A2 89.5 72.2 89.8 Excellent
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE 86.2 79.0 87.0 Excellent

Audio quality

The Xiaomi Mi A3 delivered the expected clear output with an active external amplifier although it could only do so at average volume levels.

Then things got worse as we plugged in our standard headphones. Volume plummeted to way below average, frequency response got shaky, while stereo crosstalk rose an average amount. We also recorded some intermodulation distortion adding up to a performance to forget.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Xiaomi Mi A3+0.02, -0.01-93.790.70.00150.0098-93.0
Xiaomi Mi A3 (headphones)+0.53, -0.22-90.688.80.00480.302-50.8
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE (headphones)+0.02, -0.13-93.092.80.00510.118-57.4
Xiaomi Mi 9+0.02, -0.01-93.993.10.00150.0066-91.9
Xiaomi Mi 9 (headphones)+0.05, -0.04-92.693.50.00260.072-58.7
Asus Zenfone 6+0.03, -0.01-85.886.80.00120.014-76.2
Asus Zenfone 6 (headphones)+0.05, -0.01-81.182.70.00680.059-52.0

Xiaomi Mi A3 frequency response
Xiaomi Mi A3 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • Silky

Most of the guys here are just haters, and brand junkies. You can't share your opinion about a phone you don't possess. If you don't like it, don't buy it. But don't ruin the experience for every body else who would like to purchase this phone. If yo...

  • Aunik

Why xiaomi A3 price is higher than redmi note 8

  • frank

the camera is better than most flagships.this is a great camera phone.the 48 mpx mode clearly show much more detail than the 12.the guys from the gsmarena review wrote fail.one if not the best 48mpx camera implementation of a phone.