There are too many Xiaomi phones, and that makes them hard to recommend


A friend recently asked me for buying advice, which is quite common considering that I write about technology for a living: “which phone should I buy, the Xiaomi Mi 10T or the Poco F3?” “.

I haven’t tested any of these phones, but have tried the Mi 10T Pro, Poco F2 Pro, and enough other Xiaomi phones, and obviously know how to read a spec list and our own reviews. So I dived into our blanket to compare the two, and checked the prices, to see which one was better.

The phones are very similar. Not only did they cost the exact same price on Amazon when I checked, but their screens are almost identical, their processors are too similar to have any noticeable performance differences, and they have the same software. Even the differences, like slightly different camera resolutions or battery sizes, won’t be really noticeable to the average smartphone user.

So which phone did I recommend to my friend? Although this is obviously not my answer, I was very tempted to answer “I have no idea”. The phones are too similar for one to be better than the other, even though my friend is looking for one thing in particular in a new handset.

This does speak to a larger issue though, something I have noticed on Xiaomi phones recently. The brand has flooded the market with its devices, and it’s nearly impossible to determine which (if any) to buy.

For Xiao-me?

Xiaomi Poco F3

(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you are asking yourself “Does Xiaomi really have so many phones?” ” – Well yes. In the last twelve calendar months – say, since August 2020 – there have been 17 launches in the UK (where I live).

In the Mi series alone, there have been the Mi 10T Lite, Mi 10T, Mi 10T Pro, Mi 11 Lite, Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Then there are the Redmi 9T, Redmi Note 9T, Redmi 9C, Redmi 9C NFC, Redmi Note 10 5G, Redmi Note 10S, Redmi Note 10 Pro, Poco X3 NFC, Poco X3 Pro, Poco F3 and Poco M3 Pro 5G.

That’s not counting phones like Mi 11T series, Mi Note 11 series, Redmi 10 series, Redmi Note 11 series and Mi 12 series that we expect in the coming months. Additionally, there’s the Black Shark 4 and Black Shark 4 Pro, which technically come from one of Xiaomi’s sub-brands. And luckily, I don’t need to go into the myriad of other phones launched in other regions as that would complicate matters further.

And breathe. That’s a lot of phones, more than we’ve been able to assess. And, at least for Mi Lite, Redmi, and Poco phones, they all occupy the same high-budget, low-to-mid-range price market, so they have similar prices and specs.

So how can anyone recommend one cheap phone after another? To answer this question, it is worth mentioning the importance we place on these phones in the first place.

Good is not good enough

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

In the budget and mid-range phone markets, good isn’t enough. There are so many phones scrambling for your attention (and companies fighting for your money), the devices have to be really awesome in a particular department to be worth recommending. As a result, it’s really hard to get excited about handsets that are just plain “good”.

Take, for example, the aforementioned Redmi Note 10 Pro. It stands out from the crowd with its excellent cameras, featuring a 108 MP snapper that you usually won’t find at this price point. The Realme GT, which I tested recently, stood out with its much higher processing power than one would expect for a phone at its price point.

With 17 recent phones, 13 of which are cheap or mid-range, it’s impossible for Xiaomi to make them all unique – there just isn’t enough stuff for handsets to specialize in. – range of phones for people to choose between.

The Xiaomi Mi 10T and the Poco F3 are just that – good handsets, but not great. That’s why it was so hard to recommend one to my friend.

Good or bad for Xiaomi?

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite review

Xiaomi mi 11 lite (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

It looks like Xiaomi’s plan to flood the phone market is paying off – just days before my friend sends me the aforementioned message, the news broke that Xiaomi has stolen Apple’s place as the world’s second largest phone supplier.

But for your average smartphone buyer – by that I mean someone who just wants to buy a new phone every few years, and doesn’t keep up with all the tech news and releases (probably not you, if you’re reading this) – it’s all a big nightmare.

This type of buyer can have a hard time figuring out which iPhone is best for them, and Apple only released about four handsets in its busiest year. With 13 different Xiaomi devices to choose from, people who have heard good things about the brand and want to try out its technology have way too much to think about.

If that’s you, and you’re not somehow put off by this massive list of new smartphones posted in the previous section, just know that your confusion is not yours. Even we tech critics find it hard to recommend some Xiaomi phones over others, with so many similar models to choose from.

All I can recommend is taking a look at our list of the best Xiaomi phones, checking point-of-sale sales to see if you can get a phone cheaply, and also considering phones from others. companies. Xiaomi’s grip on the mid-range and budget phone markets is weakening day by day, especially with increasingly fierce competition from alternatives like Motorola and Realme.

Hopefully Xiaomi realizes that attrition is not the best phone exit strategy, at least for the average buyer, and curbs the relentless launch of Redmi and Poco handsets. This would make it easier for people to choose which phone to buy – and would also give tech writers a break from constant coverage of newer devices.

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