My fellow lowly grepas, September has come—the month of the mobile tech announcements. It’s that time of the year when Verge super-cuts are bittersweet, at least to us who won’t be able to afford much of what presenters flash on the stage.

The Samsung Note 8 just rolled out, and on comes next is the iPhone 8, inarguably the most anticipated phones of the year. The trouble: they cost a lot. $1,000 (around 45-50k PHP). Say goodbye to both phones. Forever. Or at least until a new phone-of-the-moment comes along and with it the repeat of this vicious cycle.

But who says we have to? Along the fringes are brands like Xiaomi, who is now pushing for a phone called Xiaomi Mi A1. A1 doesn’t stand for the 2000s boy band of the same-name—which disappoints me, truly—but “Android One”. Mean, the phone will run a completely “stock” Android operating system. Mean: the experience will be clean; the phone will be faster than average; and the updates will be, at least according to Google itself, “timely”.

Check out the Mi A1 in the gallery below, and bask in the glory of its hyper-cheap but seemingly durable hardware, a clear full HD display, and, while it still exists, a headphone jack.

Under the hood, the Mi A1 boasts a decent Snapdragon 635 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal memory, and a 3,080 mAh Li-Ion battery. The Mi A1 has a 12MP f2.2 rear-facing dual camera with phase detection autofocus and a 5 MP one at the front. It has a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and uses USB type-C.

How the Mi A1 performs in the real world is still up in the air, but looking at the spec sheet, the phone looks like it can be quite the contender. At $235, it’s most definitely competitively priced and the host of features that comes with it makes it a more sensible buy.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is currently available in 40 markets, excluding, at the moment, the Philippines’. I’m certain there are importers who will bring the phone to our islands, so keep your eyes peeled on our site. We’ll holler when the Mi A1 becomes available.


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