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) 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 we won't add any to our best Xiaomi phones chart until we have tested them. We recognise that this can mean the latest models are not always included in our chart, but scroll down below and you'll find a full explanation of Xiaomi's current line-up of Mi and Redmi phones.
Some older models also appear in our chart. You can still buy these phones today and, even now, they offer incredible value for money.
1. Xiaomi Mi 9 - Best Overall
It's now been superceded by Mi 10, but at significantly higher cost. Devilishly fast, insanely beautiful and offering the best value for money you'll find in any smartphone, anywhere. Mi 9 is a cracking deal below £500 where stock remains available.
It has an in-display fingerprint sensor as standard, Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 855 processor, 20W wireless charging, a larger screen and a triple-lens camera that includes a massive 48Mp lens.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi 9 review
2. Xiaomi Mi Note 10 - Best Mid-ranger
With Mi Note 10 Xiaomi has made a giant step forward in design, and complements its elegant body with enhanced MIUI 11 software.
Its USP is the penta-lens 108Mp camera, which wows on paper but can't stand up to the best cameraphones. More successfully, then, battery life is incredible.
This is not a flagship phone, but it’s a strong all-round mid-ranger, and thanks to an attractive price point it has serious appeal.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Note 10 review
3. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 - Best Value Flagship
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 slider phones that shows how the concept should work. Not only allowing a proper full-screen display, but adding 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, and it's astonishing to see just how far the original full-display phone has come.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
4. Xiaomi Mi 9T - Best All-Rounder
It never officially went on sale in the UK, but the Mi 9T is available through some UK distributors.
Until the Mi 9T Pro came along, the Mi 9T was the most balanced Xiaomi phone in the Mi 9 line-up, combining some of the best features of the Mi 9 series to create an affordable and strong all-rounder. Mi 9T Pro is now out of stock pretty much everywhere.
The large notch-less display, its huge battery and a triple-display camera promise to revolutionise the mid-range phone market.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi 9T review
5. Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro - Outgoing Champion
Beaten by the more recent Mi 9 and Mi 10, but not out of the running yet, Mi 8 Pro offers good value at £279.95 SIM-free at Argos.
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 full Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro review
6. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S - Best Battery Life
The Redmi Note 9S is one of the best budget phones we've seen. This is a fantastic phone for less than £200, a real all-rounder with decent performance and cameras, as well as mind-blowing battery life. The Redmi recorded the longest time in the Geekbench 4 battery life test that we've seen to date.
We are not fans of the rear camera module, and the lack of NFC in some territories is a shame, but those niggles aside it ticks all our boxes at this price point.
A fine example of not a lot of money very well spent.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S review
7. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T - Best Budget
The Note 8 line-up has now been replaced by the Note 9 series, but the Redmi Note 8T is still available and at a lower price it offers extraordinary value.
This is a mid-ranger with a budget price, offering a 48Mp quad-lens camera, a 6.3in AMOLED display, a 4,000mAh battery and a capable Snapdragon 665 processor.
It also adds NFC and 18W wired charging to the standard Redmi Note 8.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T review
8. Xiaomi Mi A3 - Best Android
Android One is attractive for its timely system and security updates, and less bloated interface. The Mi A3 from Xiaomi has a few tricks up its sleeve to help it impress in this increasingly crowded market, including some of the most advanced cameras we’ve seen on an Android One phone.
Performance is also capable for daily use, and the design is much more appealing than you should expect at this price.
Mi A3 offers incredible value, but if your budget stretches a little higher and you're not fussed about Android One we'd plump for the Mi 9T instead.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi A3 review
9. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9
If you're on a tight budget, Redmi Note 9 is a fantastic smartphone below £200. It ticks a great many boxes and, though it isn't flawless, you can't argue with the value it offers.
Though it's plastic it is well designed, and it comes with impressive-sounding features such as a quad-lens camera that performed mostly well in our tests, save for lacking some finer detail.
There's enough power for casual users, though we had hoped for better performance from the huge-capacity 5,020mAh battery.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 review
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 was expected to be available in the UK from mid-May and has not yet materialised. All three support 5G connectivity.
With the outgoing Mi 9 line we saw many variations including the Mi 9 Lite, Mi 9 SE, Mi 9T and 9T Pro, with all but the Mi 9T officially available in the UK. These have lower prices and slimmed-down specs compared to the flagship, and suggest there could be more in the Mi 10 line to come. Though Mi 9 models are rapidly being phased out, where you can find them they offer great value - arguably more so than Mi 10.
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 11.
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 Europe, but in the UK the current line-up is focused on the Redmi 8A and Redmi 8 smartphones, and the Redmi Note 9, Note 9S and Note 9 Pro phablets. The cheapest Redmi 8A model starts at £109.99 in the UK, while the Redmi Note 9 is now on sale from £179.
As is the case with the Mi line, it's often possible to buy older Redmi phones at incredible prices. The Redmi Note 8T has spent time at the top of our best budget phones chart, and still makes a fantastic-value purchase.
If you want even better value still, check out the Best Xiaomi Deals.
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.