Review-E-Mania > Android 9.0 - Pie on the Mi A1

With the release of Android Pie for Google Pixel Devices, it didn't take long for the developer community to get a working build ported for the Mi A1. With very few bugs, users of this budget Xiaomi device can now experience the goodness of Pie.
Here's a review of Android 9.0, after 3-4 days of medium-heavy usage (and the nav-bar enabled) on the Mi A1.





First Impressions

Upon first boot, you'll be welcomed by a home screen that looks clean and slim. Swipe up, and you'll have the recent apps. Swipe up again, and you have a screen showing all apps installed.

Swipe down the notification bar and you'll be greeted by notification cards with a rounded edge and incorporating material design. It looks beautiful, to say the least.

The settings menu seems much more colorful and organized than Oreo



Gesture Navigation

Android Pie changes the way one navigates in Android. Instead of a navigation bar with three buttons, you only have one pill-shaped button. 
Swipe up to see recent apps and swipe sideways on the pill to switch between your recent apps. This works on any screen.


Adaptive Battery

On the day of installing Android Pie, I noticed that I got the same battery life as I did on stock Android Oreo 8.1. 
I expected the battery life to go down as I installed more apps, and used the phone more.

Surprisingly, the opposite of what I expected happened. Adaptive Battery, a feature introduced in Android 9.0 Pie kicked in. Using Machine Learning, this feature learns with time what apps you use, at what times, and wake them up in an energy efficient manner when required.
I noticed standby time has improved dramatically over Oreo.

Yep, the generation of AI is here. Right in your hand.




Adaptive Brightness

I'm a person to keep my brightness on manual mode. And that is precisely what I aimed to do after the update (unofficial update, but whatever). 

I had read about the Adaptive Brightness feature on Android Pie, and I thought of giving it a try, just for review purposes.
And god I'm addicted. 

Adaptive Brightness learns how you control your brightness in different lighting conditions and adjusts it accordingly, instead of just on the basis of what it was programmed to be in that amount of flux.

Yep, AI again.

And damn it's my favorite feature in Android 9. 
You walk into a dark room, and the phone slides your brightness into lower than what it normally would because you like it that way.
You walk into a medium lit room and the brightness is exactly how you would like it. 

It feels so personal and amazing it's like a bond with your phone. Maybe I'm getting too cheesy but yeah... That's Artificial Intelligence for you.




App-Actions

Android Pie is an OS that you must have realized is built on the foundation of learning what the user wants. App actions are one of them.

Open the screen showing all apps, and you will find buttons suggesting you activities to do based on your preferences and your routine.
Time to leave for college every morning at 8? You'll find an action suggesting you open navigation before you leave. 
It's amazing, honestly and I can't wait to use my phone more so that it can suggest more stuff to me.




Zoom-in text

The very helpful feature of iOS that magnifies text for you when you select it is finally here on Android. 
It's quite useful to select text precisely and I wonder how I managed without it.


Rotate Lock

One of the coolest and most desirable little features of Android Pie is the rotate lock button. 
It happens so often that we just want to lie down on our bed and watch a movie, and the phone has a hard time figuring out if your screen is vertical or horizontal. 
It's irritating when it happens, and it happens a lot. Which is why Google introduced a rotation lock button on the navigation bar. 
When the accelerometer detects rotation, a new button appears on your navigation bar to lock rotation in portrait or landscape, whatever you want. Saving you the hassle of disabling rotation and enhancing your movie watching experience.



Changes to Ambient Display

When your Ambient display informs you of any new notifications or you just wake it up to check the time, you now get weather information, as well as your battery percentage, shown on the display for you. Small change, but I a really underrated one.




A New Volume Slider

Instead of a bar appearing at the top of your screen when you want to adjust volume, now a popup appears on the right side of the screen.
This popup allows you to control media volume as well as put the phone on silent or vibrating mode.

I personally still prefer the older volume slider as it offered much more flexibility for adjusting the ringer, alarm and notification volume. But that's just my take on it.
Certainly not deal-breaking.




A new power menu and Lockdown mode

When you press the power button now, you'll be greeted with more than just the conventional Switch off and restart.
You have a screenshot option integrated right into the power menu, a button in case of emergencies which finds your location and calls an emergency number, and a button for lockdown.
(Hint: You need to enable lockdown in settings before you see it here)
Lockdown mode is great for when you want to enhance your phone's security, and want to disable fingerprint, face unlock, and other less-secure options quickly.
Just press it, and your phone will only unlock when you enter your pattern or pin. 



Some extra Pie goodness

Android Pie is one big upgrade over Oreo. And many additional small goodies have been subtly added to improve the way you use and interact with your phone.
When you keep swiping notifications of a particular app and never interact with it, your phone stops showing them to you altogether.
You can now connect up to 5 Bluetooth devices together.
Android remembers your volume preference for each Bluetooth device.
There's a new accessibility menu, hotspot turns off automatically if no device is connected.
There is much more to Android Pie, like App Slices which Google claims will be 'released later this fall'.




Conclusion

With the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence in an Operating System, Google has really stepped up in the race leaving iOS and Windows Phone (Who even uses that!?) marginally behind it.
Android Pie is much more personal and understanding than a phone can be expected to be. I feel it's one of the most significant Android upgrades, and I really hope it rolls out to many more devices as soon as possible.

In short: You'll be loving it!






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