A facile generic strategy of solid-state reaction under air atmosphere is employed to prepare LiNi0.8Co0.15Al0.05O2 layer structure micro-sphere as cathodes for Li-ion batteries. The impurity phase has been eliminated wholly without changing the R-3m space group of LiNi0.8Co0.15Al0.05O2. The electrochemical performance of LiNi0.8Co0.15Al0.05O2 cathodes depend on the sintering step, temperature, particle size and uniformity. The sample pre-sintered at 540 °C for 12 h and then sintered at 720 °C for 28 h exhibits the best electrochemical performance, which delivers a reversible capacity of 180.4, 165.8, 154.7 and 135.6 mAhg−1 at 0.2 C, 1 C, 2 C and 5 C, respectively. The capacity retention keeps over 87% after 76 cycles at 1 C. This method is simple, cheap and mass-productive, and thus suitable to large scale production of NCA cathodes directly used for lithium ion batteries.