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Best Xiaomi Phones 2020 – Tech Advisor

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It might not be familiar to you, but 10-year-old Xiaomi is the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor. It has a range of high-quality yet affordable phones within its flagship Mi and budget Redmi lines, and is very often unbeaten on value for money.

Since November 2018 Xiaomi has officially sold its phones in the UK via the official Mi Store, but it is still cheaper (and often easier when they are new) to import them from China, using sites such as GearBest and Geekbuying

Best Xiaomi Phone Reviews 2020

The latest Xiaomi phones are often announced in China and India long before they come to Europe and the UK. This can mean there is some difficulty in obtaining review samples at the time of the initial launch.

We do our best to source these phones to test as soon as we can, often leaning on Chinese importers and foreign colleagues, but sometimes this isn’t possible. 

1. Xiaomi Mi 10 – Best Overall

2. Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite – Best Value 5G Phone

Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite

3. Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite – Best Mid-range Option

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite

4. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S – Best Battery Life

Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S

5. Xiaomi Redmi 9 – Best Budget Option

Xiaomi Redmi 9

6. Xiaomi Black Shark 3 – Best Gaming Phone

Black Shark 3

7. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G – Best Value Flagship

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G

8. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro – Best Performance Budget Option

Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro

9. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 – Solid Budget Phone

Xiaomi Redmi Note 9

10. Xiaomi Mi A3 – Best Xiaomi Phone Running Android

Xiaomi Mi A3

Current Xiaomi phone line-up

Xiaomi’s flagship phone is the Mi 10, which was announced globally in March, and is now on sale in the UK from £799. This is more expensive than previous Xiaomi flagships, largely because it has 5G as standard. If this is a little over budget, you can also buy it through GearBest at lower cost.

A slightly higher-spec version known as Mi 10 Pro has also been confirmed, and is visible at the UK Mi Store but not yet available to buy, while a slimmed-down Mi 10 Lite with mid-range specs went on sale in the summer. All three support 5G connectivity.

These aren’t the only flagship-level smartphones in Xiaomi’s line, with the Mi Mix line also deserving of such status. The latest here is the Mi Mix Alpha, a revolutionary phone with a wraparound display – but it’s phenomenally expensive and unlikely to ever go into mass production. Instead, the older Mi Mix 3 and Mi Mix 3 5G slider phones remain on sale, and at crazy prices for flagships.

The Mi Note series comprises phablets with big screens, high-capacity batteries and decent cameras. Current models include the Mi Note 10, which was the world’s first 108Mp cameraphone, the Mi Note 10 Pro, which simply has extra RAM and storage and a slightly tweaked camera, but is not officially available in the UK, and the 64Mp Mi Note 10 Lite.

Lastly we come to the A series, with the latest in the line the Mi A3. These are budget- to mid-range phones that run Android One rather than Xiaomi’s own custom Android interface, MIUI 12.

Current Redmi phone line-up

In January 2019 Xiaomi spun off sub-brand Redmi, though Redmi phones are still very much thought of as Xiaomi phones, and it is still the case that the Redmi line is Xiaomi’s budget brand.

The Redmi 9 has now been confirmed in the UK, alongside the Redmi 9A and Redmi 9C. You’ll also find Redmi Note 9, Note 9S and Note 9 Pro phablets, which have larger screens.

If you want even better value still, check out the Best Xiaomi Deals.

Xiaomi has two other spin-off brands: Black Shark for gaming; and Poco, with the recently announced F2 Pro and X3 NFC.

Should I buy a Xiaomi phone from China?

As we noted further up in this feature, we often turn to GearBest and Geekbuying for shipping us Xiaomi phone samples, and you will almost always find cheaper prices at these outlets than at the official UK Mi Store. We would recommend either site for purchasing these phones, but with two caveats:

First, make sure you buy Global ROM models and you’ll get access to full Google services and an English-language interface out of the box. Even Chinese ROM Xiaomi phones run full Android, albeit with the MIUI 11 user interface (which you can avoid only by buying a Mi A-series phone), but they are a headache to set up even when you know what you’re doing. We’ve explained how to install Google Play on a Xiaomi phone here.

Second, if you’re buying from China you should take into account that your consumer rights are different to when you buy within Europe, and that should something go wrong you’re going to find aftersales support more difficult. Delivery times will also be longer, though there are usually free and expresss shipping options. You may also be asked to pay import duty upon arrival to the UK, which is calculated at 20% of whatever value is printed on the shipping paperwork.

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