As of November 2018 Xiaomi phones are now officially available in the UK, as well as other European territories such as France, Spain and Italy. Anticipated to also hit the US in 2019, the Chinese brand is becoming increasingly well known across the world for its phenomenal value for money, pledging to rake in no more than 5% profit on any of its hardware.
For users in the UK, US and Europe, Xiaomi offers mobile phones with specifications several notches above what you'll get for the same money over here. If you want the best-value phone, you're in the right place. Also see: Best Xiaomi Deals
The Xiaomi line-up is often criticised for being confusing. Xiaomi has recently taken the decision to spin off its budget Redmi brand, which is now headed up by ex-Gionee president Wu Leibing. By separating the two it can make both better. On 10 January it announced its first device, the Redmi Note 7, with a staggering 48Mp camera and high-capacity 4000mAh battery. It has since announced the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi 7, though none of these budget phones has yet been made available in the UK (we're expecting an imminent launch).
This isn't as odd as it might sound when you consider that Xiaomi has an enormous ecosystem of devices, with many independent companies producing products that are sold under the Xiaomi brand.
So while Redmi is currently synonymous with budget, in the main Xiaomi (or Mi) line you have several flagship models. Both brands also have mid-range models.
Right at the top of the Xiaomi line is the Mi 9, which was announced in February at MWC. It will be available in the UK, though we're still waiting for details on pricing and availability. In Europe it costs from €449. We won't add the Mi 9 to our chart until we have this info, but we're pretty sure it will be going in at #1 - read our Mi 9 review here.
For now, then, in the UK the Xiaomi line-up is headed up by the Mi 8 Lite, standard Mi 8 and Mi 8 Pro. Also at flagship level is Mi Mix, with Mi Mix 3 now available in the UK and a 5G version coming in the summer.
Anything with a 'Note' in the name is a phablet, while the Mi Max series is even bigger still.
Your buying guide to the best Xiaomi phones of 2019
Though you can now find Xiaomi phones officially on sale in the UK, via Three, Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, Carphone Warehouse, Currys/PC World, eBuyer, Very, Go Mobile, Mobile Phones Direct and Mi.com, you may also find special deals importing them from China.
This will entail using a site such as GearBest. If you choose to do so, note that only the Global models support 800MHz 4G LTE (Band 20), which is important to note for UK users on O2, GiffGaff or Sky Mobile. O2 relies solely on this band for 4G coverage, which means the most you'll get is 3G without reverting to Wi-Fi. For other networks that also use this band 4G coverage may be lower than you would find with a phone that does support 800MHz.
If you're buying from China you should also 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 is usually a free option.
One major difference between Xiaomi phones and stock Android phones is that they run MIUI, and unless you have one of the International or Global models you'll find Google Play Services are not preinstalled. As long as it's a fairly recent device and capable of running MIUI 10, this is easy to solve. We've explained how to install Google Play on a Xiaomi phone here.
An exception here is the Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite, which are identical in design and specification to the Mi 6X and Redmi 6 Pro but running Android One rather than MIUI.
Best Xiaomi Phone Reviews
- Reviewed on: 20 March 2019
When the Mi 9 is officially on sale in the UK we will have a new Xiaomi phone champion, but in the meantime the £499 Mi 8 Pro is an incredible buy, undercutting every rival flagship phone in the UK. Now that Xiaomi phones are easily available in the UK, there's no reason not to consider it.
With powerful performance, decent cameras, some genuinely useful software, a fancy in-display fingerprint sensor and a cool transparent back cover, this is a great all-rounder at a fantastic price.
Read our Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro review.
- Reviewed on: 16 January 2019
Swapping out the awkwardly placed selfie camera with a new dual-lens model that is tucked away behind the screen, the Mi Mix 3 is one of several new slider phones that shows how the concept should work. Not only allowing a proper full-screen display, but adding new quick-access functionality to the phone.
In other respects Mi Mix 3 is not a huge upgrade over the 2S, and actually loses some of its bling over its predecessor with the absence of its 18K gold camera surround. But it's still a great phone, available at an incredible price, and it's astonishing to see just how far the original full-display phone has come.
We recommend purchasing the UK model, unless you're on an extremely tight budget. But you can't argue with the pricing: at £499 Mi Mix 3 offers phenomenal value.
Read our Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review.
3. Xiaomi Mi 8
- Reviewed on: 20 March 2019
It's now been updated with the Mi 9, which adds wireless charging, a faster processor, an in-display fingerprint sensor as standard (previously Pro and Explorer Edition only), and adds a larger display and a third camera lens on the rear. Regardless, the Mi 8 continues to offer astonishing value, insane performance and awesome photography. With the Mi 9 going on sale in the UK imminently we could also see a price drop.
Read our Xiaomi Mi 8 review.
- Reviewed on: 16 November 2018
The original full-display smartphone is evolving into something really special. Now with wireless charging, faster performance and a dual-camera that builds in AI, the Mi Mix 2S is a closer rival to western flagships than ever - and at a fraction of the price.
The Mi Mix 2S majors on performance and design. With its ceramic, mirror-finish case and 18:9 display it looks and feels incredible in the hand.
With full Google services the Xiaomi is easy to recommend, although it's not ideal for selfie and audio fanatics with a poorly positioned front camera and a mono speaker that doesn't make up for the lack of a headphone jack.
Battery life could also be better, and we'd like to see the company finally take the plunge with a Quad-HD display and waterproofing.
Read our Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S review.
- Reviewed on: 23 November 2018
There's no doubt that the Pocophone F1 is one of the best Chinese phones we've ever tested.
Xiaomi has done an outstanding job of creating an impressively high-spec phone for a mind-blowingly cheap price. It's might not be the thinnest and lightest phone around but the design is still attractive and desirable.
If you like the Mi8 but your budget can't stretch this this is the phone for you.
Read our Xiaomi Pocophone F1 review.
- Reviewed on: 27 November 2018
The Mi 8 Lite is an excellent-value mid-range phone with a gorgeous design and some decent hardware, particularly in the camera department. We're excited for what Xiaomi's entrance to the UK means for the mid-range smartphone market.
Read our Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite review.
7. Xiaomi Mi A2
- Reviewed on: 9 November 2018
The inclusion of Android One makes Xiaomi phones so much more easily accessible to UK- and US users - and that's a very good thing, finally allowing those outside China and India (and more recently Spain, France and Italy) a taste of what else is out there on the market.
A fantastic budget phone, the Mi A2 combines decent build quality with a nice display, good all-round performance and a well-specced trio of cameras. It out-specs and out-performs every other phone in our budget smartphone chart.
Read our Xiaomi Mi A2 review.
- Reviewed on: 26 November 2018
Budget Android phones don't come better than this. The Mi A2 Lite has a premium design with 19:9 notch display, dual rear cameras and decent performance. Storage is generous, and we like the fact you can bolster the 64GB internal space with microSD cards up to 256GB in capacity without sacrificing dual-SIM support. A great budget buy.
Read our Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite review.
- Reviewed on: 2 May 2018
The Mi Note 3 is a downgrade on the Mi6 and, arguably, the Mi Note 2, but it appeals with a lower price and an attractive premium design. Though it doesn't feature a flagship processor, this is is a very capable smartphone with a very decent dual-camera. Provided you can live without 800MHz 4G and are happy to install Google Play Services yourself, it's difficult not to recommend the Mi Note 3.
Read our Xiaomi Mi Note 3 review.
10. Xiaomi Mi Max 3
- Reviewed on: 23 October 2018
If you want a huge screen on a budget, without going the whole hog and purchasing a tablet, we can think of no better example than the Mi Max 3. Now with improved performance, a second camera lens at the rear and a huge 6.9 18:9 display, it's a worthy upgrade on the Mi Max 2 - and still just as affordable.
Read our Xiaomi Mi Max 3 review.
- Reviewed on: 26 November 2018
A big screen and a low price are paired with decent battery life, usable performance and an enhanced dual-camera in the Redmi Note 5. There are some drawbacks, such as the old Micro-USB port, lack of Quick Charge support and partly plastic build, but in other respects budget phones don't come much better than this.
Read our Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review.