Xiaomi’s first smartphone with near-stock Android software is set to go on sale in India next week for about $234. But if you’re interested in buying a Xiaomi Mi A1 and having it shipped to the United States, Gearbest has you covered.

The online retailer is taking orders for less than $245, and the price includes free shipping. There’s just one thing to keep in mind: you probably won’t be able to use this smartphone as, well, a smartphone in the US.

That’s because Gearbest is selling the international version of the Xiaomi Mi A1. It lacks support for most of the network bands used by US wireless carriers, so you’re unlikely to have much luck using the Mi A1 with AT&T, or T-Mobile, and Sprint and Verizon are pretty much non-starters.

That said, if you’re looking for an iPod touch-like portable media player/camera/handheld game system/WiFi web browser, you could do a lot worse than this $245 device.

Xiaomi’s Mi A1 is an Android One device, which means that not only does it ship with near-stock Android 7.1 Nougat software, but it’ll get regular security and feature updates including an update to Android 8.0 Oreo by the end of the year.

The device features a 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a fingerprint sensor, and a 3,080 mAh battery that’ll probably give you pretty long battery life if you’re not using mobile data at all. And if you do happen to travel to a country where the Mi A1 works as a phone, you can always pop in a SIM card when you need it.

While stock Android software is one of the Mi A1’s defining characteristics, the other is probably the dual camera system on the back of the phone. It’s not exactly common to find dual cameras in phones in this price range, and Xiaomi’s version shoots 12MP photos and includes a 2X telephoto lens allowing you to get a bit closer to the action without relying on digital zoom.


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14 replies on “You can buy a Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One phone for $245 (but probably shouldn’t… maybe)”

  1. I just bought one of the global versions from an American seller on eBay. Confirmed it works on T-Mobile 4G. Pulls about 35mbps down and about 14 up.

  2. This article is not very accurate. It is understandable since the online information is confusing and sometimes purposefully inaccurate.

    However as a US T-MOBILE customer I can confirm it is 4g compatible. Plus it has an Oreo update.

    For the cost, this is a much better and more updated option than the Moto Z2 play at double the cost.

    You can’t find a better phone with pure stock Android supported directly from Google for less.

    1. It is not. That is – it will work for phone calls and SMS and 3g data – but 4g LTE won’t work at all. 3g is super slow.

  3. Too bad you can’t just set your own frequencies on smartphones (or auto-find usable frequencies) like you can with wireless microphones.

  4. Weird, is it really not compatible? It has all global GSM bands and HSPA+ bands aswell.
    I’m not sure about 4G, but I think it might even be compatible with some carriers, it has a wide asset of LTE bands.

  5. 1. You should be more careful with such titles as you have readers which are not from the US… and bought this phone today… from Gearbest…

    2. You can get 10% off the price by using GB10% code.

    1. Banggood and Geekbuying also have discounts where you can get it for below or around $220.

    1. Not sure how much to trust that chart. AT&T hasn’t been doing 2G since Jan. Ask me how I know. 🙂

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