Xiaomi might not be well known in the West, but it’s popular in many Asian countries. It was the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer by market share in China last year, according to Counterpoint. It beat Apple by one percentage point. Xiaomi is doing even better in India, where it overtook Samsung in the last quarter of 2017 to become the top smartphone vendor in the country — although Samsung disagrees.
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Xiaomi’s success is attributed to its smartphones that offer great price/performance ratios. In this post, we take a look at a few of the best Xiaomi phones, keeping you up to speed on high-end, mid-range, and budget devices.
Best high-end smartphone: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
When it comes to the best Xiaomi phones, the recently launched Mi Mix 2S sits at the top of the pack. Not a whole lot has changed between Xiaomi’s latest flagship and its predecessor, the Mi Mix 2, in terms of design. The Mi Mix 2S retains the gorgeous all-screen front, the solid ceramic build, and the awkwardly placed front-facing camera found on the chin below the display.
However, the Mi Mix 2S has received upgrades in key areas to help it stand out from its predecessor and to make it a worthy competitor in the 2018 flagship space. The Mi Mix 2S comes with the customary specifications upgrade and now features a Snapdragon 845 processor under the hood. The RAM remains the same, at either 6GB or 8GB, but the iteration with 8GB of RAM packs double the built-in storage at 256GB.
Another big change is in the camera department, with the Mi Mix 2S coming with a dual rear camera setup where the secondary camera is a telephoto lens. This allows Xiaomi to introduce a portrait mode with the Mi Mix 2S, with the camera also utilizing AI to better cut out subjects in the background.
The Mi Mix 2S is definitely one of the best Xiaomi phones around and can be considered one of the best flagships of 2018 as well. However, one point of consternation remains the fact that Xiaomi insists on keeping the display at a Full HD resolution, while every other flagship feature Quad HD screens.
The Mi Mix 2S is priced at 3,299 Yuan (~$519.99) for the base 6GB RAM and 64GB storage version and goes all the way up to 3,999 Yuan (~$630.32) for the model with 8GB of RAM and 25GB of built-in storage. The Mi Mix 2S is currently available only in China, but will likely make its way to markets like India and in Europe soon. If you do plan to import it, keep in mind that only the highest-end model supports global network bands.
- 5.99-inch IPS LCD display with 2,160 x 1,080 resolution, 403 ppi
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- 6/8GB of RAM
- 64/128/256GB of onboard storage, not expandable
- Dual 12MP + 12MP rear cameras, 5MP front-facing camera
- Non-removable 3,400mAh battery
- Android 8.0 Oreo
- 150.9 x 74.9 x 8.1mm, 191grams
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
The Mi Mix 2 get bumped down to the honorable mentions with the launch of the Mi Mix 2S. The Mi Mix 2 comes with a design that is similar to its newer sibling. It sports the same 5.99-inch display with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,080 pixels, the older Snapdragon 835 chipset, and same 6GB or 8GB of RAM. The only real difference between the devices is that the Mi Mix 2 comes with only a single rear camera and ever so slightly larger bezels. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 remains one of the best Xiaomi phones if you aren’t adamant on the latest and greatest, and is currently available in more markets as well, including India and Spain. While not officially launched in the US, the global version of the Mi Mix 2 is available on Amazon as well.
Xiaomi Mi 6
The Xiaomi Mi 6 was announced in April 2017 and sports a 5.15-inch Full HD display, the Snapdragon 835 chipset, and 4 or 6GB of RAM. It’s equipped with a dual-camera setup featuring a 12MP wide-angle sensor and a 12MP telephoto lens that offers 2X lossless zoom. The device has a gorgeous design with a curved glass back and stainless steel frame. It packs a 3,350mAh battery that should get you through the day without a problem and sports a fingerprint scanner on the front. It doesn’t have a headphone jack, which might be a deal breaker for some. It’s available in China as well as Spain but wasn’t released in the U.S. The Mi 6 was one of the best Xiaomi phones last year.
Best mid-range smartphone: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 (China) / Redmi Note 5 Pro (India)
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, also known as the Redmi Note 5 Pro in India, is one of the best Xiaomi phones around in the mid-range category. It’s actually no surprise that the Redmi Note 5 Pro has proven to be one of the most popular smartphones in India since its launch, courtesy of a price point that is far cheaper than what the device’s specifications and features would suggest.
Speaking of specifications, the phone comes with a 5.99-inch Full HD+ display and is Xiaomi’s first mid-ranger to come with an 18:9 display aspect ratio. Under the hood is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor backed by 4 or 6GB of RAM. The device comes with a dual rear camera setup and an impressive 20MP front-facing shooter that should keep all the selfie lovers happy. Keeping everything running is a large 4,000 mAh battery.
Now, we do have to address Xiaomi’s penchant for confusing nomenclature. This device is known as the Redmi Note 5 in China and the Redmi Note 5 Pro in India. However, there is also a Redmi Note 5 in India, which is basically the Redmi 5 Plus (mentioned below) in China and Spain.
In China, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is priced at 1,399 Yuan (~$220) for the 4GB of RAM iteration, while the version with 6GB of RAM is priced at 1,699 Yuan (~$268). In India, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is priced starting at 14,999 rupees (~$223), with the 6GB of RAM model priced at 16,999 rupees (~$253).
- 5.99-inch IPS LCD display with 2160 x 1,080 resolution, 403 ppi
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
- 4/6GB of RAM
- 64GB of on-board storage, expandable via microSD up to 256GB
- Dual 12MP + 5MP rear cameras, 20MP front camera
- Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
- Android 7.1.2 Nougat
- 158.6 x 75.4 x 8.1mm, 181grams
Xiaomi Mi Note 3
The Mi Note 3 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD display, is powered by the Snapdragon 660 chipset, and has 6GB of RAM. One of its biggest features is the dual-camera setup on the back, which has a 12MP wide-angle sensor and a 12MP telephoto lens offering 2x optical zoom. The Mi Note 3 also sports a 16MP sensor with what Xiaomi calls an Adaptable AI Beautify mode. The mid-ranger also packs a 3,500mAh battery, has an IR blaster on board, and supports facial recognition. The 64GB variant retails for RMB 2,499 (around $395), while the 128 GB version goes for RMB 2,899 (around $460). Xiaomi is also selling a fancier blue version that’s slightly more expensive at RMB 2,999 (around $475) and only comes with 128 GB of storage. It’s a difficult device to get outside of China, but the Mi Note 3 is one of the best Xiaomi phones around.
Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
The Redmi 5 Plus made its debut in December and sports a 5.99-inch Full HD display with the popular 18:9 aspect ratio. I wouldn’t call it bezel-less, but it does have a higher screen-to-body ratio than its predecessor. The handset is powered by the Snapdragon 625 chipset and comes with either 3 or 4GB of RAM. It packs a 4,000 mAh battery, is equipped with a 12MP primary camera, and has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The Redmi 5 Plus also features a beautiful metal body that’s available in four colors: blue, gold, rose gold, and black. It’s only available in China for now, but will likely make its way to India and a few other Asian countries somewhere down the line. Those in the US and Europe will have to go the import route to get it. It is also known as the Redmi Note 5 in India, and is one of the best Xiaomi phones in the country.
Best budget smartphone: Xiaomi Mi A1
The Mi A1 is Xiaomi’s first Android One smartphone. This means it runs a stock version of Android, without the company’s MIUI skin on top, which makes it one of the best Xiaomi phones around for a lot of people.
Although it’s a budget device, it still packs more than enough power under the hood for the average user. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 625 chipset and comes with 4GB of RAM. The handset sports a 5.5-inch Full HD display and is also equipped with a dual-camera setup on the back featuring a 12MP wide-angle sensor and a 12MP telephoto lens that offers 2x optical zoom.
The Mi A1 comes with a 5MP selfie snapper, a metal body, and a 3,080mAh battery that supports fast charging thanks to a recent update. It also offers 64GB of expandable storage, a fingerprint scanner, and Android Nougat that can be upgraded to Oreo.
The smartphone is already available in many countries including India and Spain. It wasn’t officially released in the U.S., but you can still get it on eBay for $235.
- 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, 403 ppi
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB of on-board storage, expandable up to 128 GB
- Dual 12MP rear cameras, 5 MP front camera
- Non-removable 3,080mAh battery
- Android 7.1.2 Nougat
- 155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3 mm, 165 g
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Xiaomi Redmi 5A
Xiaomi unveiled the Redmi 5A in Nov. 2017 and sold more than a million units in less than a month. The successor to the popular Redmi 4A is equipped with a 5-inch HD display and powered by the Snapdragon 425 chipset. It comes in two variants: one with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage and the other with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The Redmi 5A also packs a 3,000 mAh battery, sports a 13MP primary camera, and runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat with Xiaomi’s MIUI skin on top. It’s available in a few markets, including India and Spain.
Xiaomi Redmi 5
This is a smaller and less powerful version of the Redmi 5 Plus. The affordable device comes with a 5.7-inch HD+ display, which means it has an aspect ratio of 18:9. You’ll find the Snapdragon 450 chipset under the hood along with 2, 3, or 4GB of RAM. The handset packs a 3,300mAh battery, has a 12MP camera, and sports a metal body. It also features a fingerprint scanner located on the back. Like the Plus model, it’s only available in China for now and comes in blue, gold, rose gold, and black.
These are the best Xiaomi phones in our opinion, although there are plenty of other great models available. Have we missed any major ones? Let us know in the comments!
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