Xiaomi Devices — The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Xiaomi, which was a brand not known by many, 4 ,5 years back, rose to fame in the recent past with their reasonably priced, feature packed mobile phones and smart devices. This late blooming was a result of their limited brand presence in the Global market and being limited to its local market. But as they started to venture into other countries with their flagship devices, it started to catch on and people started to value these devices as they were packed with great features, but at a reasonable price.
Xiaomi was founded in April 2010 by ex-Kingsoft CEO Lei Jun, as a software company creating a new custom ROM based on Google’s Android. Their aim was to provide additional functionality that Android had yet to offer and an easy to use user interface. MIUI, the ROM which the team created, became a huge success and has been ported to many devices. As of 2014 MIUI can be downloaded and installed to over 200 devices in both English and Chinese, even non developers can easily install MIUI to their phones using the MIUI Express APK.
I first started using a Xiaomi device back in late 2014 and It was one of their mobile phones, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G. At the time, it was the best mid range (price wise) mobile phone one could ever ask for. With a large 5.5 inch display and a 3100 mAh battery, it was an eye-pleaser with a great battery life. I was hooked on Xiaomi ever since and never looked back. So I thought it would be best if I could give some pointers on what to buy, where to buy and what to look out for, when purchasing a Xiaomi device.
When it comes to Xiaomi mobile phones, there is a multitude of products, in different price ranges. You can’t go wrong with your choice when selecting a Xiaomi mobile phone, no matter what the price range is. However, in the recent past, Xiaomi has introduced several high-end mobile devices which seem to lack their DNA; value for money. Devices like Mi Note 2 and Mi Mix were introduced to the market as the next best thing but the hype was short lived as users saw little value in these products for the money they were paying. Anyway, its a choice for you to make and I will leave it up to you to decide.
When purchasing a Xiaomi mobile phone, there are few things to consider.
- If you are trying to purchase a phone from a country where they do not have a Mi Store ( lets take our country as an example), it is really important that you consider which retailer you are going to buy from. In my experience, lot of my friends found issues with their devices after purchasing them from a particular retailer (names would not be revealed, but it is one of the leading retailers in the country).
- Best option would be to purchase the phone from a country where they sell Xiaomi devices and bring them down to your country through a friend or any other means.
- No matter how you purchase it, you would still have to take precautions to make sure that the device is legit and not a fake device. In order to do that, you have several options. You can use the Mi verification app or the Antutu Officer app for verification and its pretty straight forward. (You might find it difficult to find the Mi Verification app. Try to search for its apk. You can find it here).
- There are other physical checks that you can do to verify the device and few such checks are mentioned in this list.
- Even after going through all these checks, you might get a legit device with a fake MIUI ROM. To avoid this, you can check for the ‘About Phone’ section of the phone and look for the MIUI Version. Official MIUI Stable ROM always has 4 digits number at its version and the Developer ROM always has 3 digits. So, if you see something different, possibly you’ve got a device with a fake MIUI ROM. But all is not lost as there are ways you could re-install an official MIUI ROM (will write a separate article on how to flash your Xiaomi device).
- If you are careful and can find the right device, you can enjoy these devices for a long time even though finding the right device is bit of a hassle. And in my opinion, those who chose to go for an Android device, wouldn’t mind having to go through these checks and whatnot.
Other Smart Devices
Like I mentioned earlier, Xiaomi has a multitude of devices under its name and most of its smart devices (apart from mobile phones) are manufactured by different subsidiaries ( mostly tech startups funded by Xiaomi) of Xiaomi Inc. Most of these smart devices are targeted towards achieving ‘Mi Smart Home’ concept where the user would live in a connected, smart environment governed by Xiaomi products. I myself is a true believer of the smart home concept and I have used their Yeelight LED, which is connected to the home network and operated through your mobile device. I also use the Mi Band 2 on a daily basis ( even during sleep ) and I’m quite attached to it ( specially the vibrating alarm).
So if you are planning to buy any of these products, the main issue is the non availability of these products in most countries ( specially in Sri Lanka). Even if there are places you can buy them the price would be really high. This means you are left with the choice of having to buy it from another country and ship it to your country. Then comes the issue of identifying what is legit and what’s not. To overcome this, the best possible option is to find a trustworthy online retailer. Over the years, my go-to option was Geekbuying ( there are other retail stores as well ). It has original Xiaomi products with free shipping and the prices are reasonable as well. Not only that, they have wonderful deals through out the year in the forms of clearance sales, Black Friday deals, Xiaomi promotions and a whole lot more.
Once you get the hang of it, you would always look for a Xiaomi device to quench your tech thirst. And the best part of all this is that you are not alone in this. There is a huge community of Xiaomi users that you can turn to if you come across any difficulty, whether its purchasing related or usage related. Specially the community support for MIUI is enormous and it has been one of Xiaomi’s strengths in their mobile phone sector over the years.
Hope this article was helpful in anyway for those who were thinking of buying a Xiaomi device and needed a little push in the right direction. I have great hope that Xiaomi would revolutionize the mobile device ( and smart home related connected devices) industry while challenging already established giants like Apple to do even better. So there is hope for both Xiaomi users and non-Xiaomi users in the years to come. Cheers…!!!
If you would like to have a look at what Xiaomi has to offer, you can visit xiaomi-mi.com