Android 11 on the Xiaomi Mi A1 via POSP: Not perfect, but good enough
Xiaomi Mi A1 might seem like a dead handset and — at least for those who would never mess with unofficial ROMs — this is true. On the other hand, there is an entire aftermarket world waiting to be discovered. This weekend, I decided to start my trip with a ROM based on Android 11 that has a rather long name — Potato Open Source Project — but is shortly known as POSP.
Those who do this for the first time should be patient and take it slow. Before reaching the "download and install the new ROM" part, a Xiaomi Mi A1 owner that still runs the official Android 9 Pie ROM with the August 2020 security patch should go ahead and install TWRP recovery on their handset. Since this is not a guide, I will jump straight to the pluses and minuses of the Android 11-based POSP firmware that I am currently running on my Mi A1.
Without further ado, these are my picks:
- Positive: Highly customizable interface (I love the custom volume panels, icon shapes, as well as the awesome QS panel tweaks), double-tap to wake/sleep the display, January 5 security patch, aptX support, Dirac Sound.
- Negative: Center app doesn't work at all, the Camera app included in the ROM is ridiculous (the one present in the latest Firefox OS nightly build that I have on my ZTE Open C is more advanced), there are no additional wallpapers included, a few more icon shapes would have been welcome (or at least the chance to create and use custom ones).
The most interesting part with this ROM (and others, apparently) is that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 is not supposed to offer aptX support. On the other hand, I tried it with the UGREEN HiTune and it worked like a charm. I am talking about a difference in sound quality that can be easily heard and not some theoretical gain.
In terms of sound quality, I must also add a few words about Dirac Sound. Enabling this sound enhancement technology brings more depth to the entire audio experience on both headphones and the phone's speaker, but without damaging any area of the sound spectrum.
These being said, I'll leave you with some screenshots and a video that show Android 11 in action on my old Xiaomi Mi A1 thanks to the people behind POSP. Just remember that the comments section is all yours because I am waiting for suggestions on which ROM to try out next.