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Xiaomi at Carphone Warehouse

Xiaomi might just be the biggest mobile phone brand you’ve never heard of. Founded in 2010, Xiaomi released its first phone the following year. Since then, the company has grown quickly, expanding into new markets - including Europe in 2016. Huge in its native China, it comes in an impressive third place - behind the phone giants Apple and Samsung - in global mobile phone sales. And that’s despite not selling in the US. Here in the UK, Xiaomi’s popularity is on the rise, thanks to its belief in quality products at honest pricing.

So is Xiaomi a good brand? If you don’t know much about Xiaomi, the first thing you might have noticed is its prices - they’re low - and you might be wondering if you get what you pay for. But Xiaomi phones aren’t cheap because they’re cheaply made, the company just has a different business model to other brands. Instead of making a large profit on every phone, it makes very little. And small profit margins for Xiaomi mean incredible value for money for us. It’s this business model that has helped the brand shoot to the top so quickly.

And Xiaomi isn’t just stopping at phones. It has taken its dedication to new ideas and innovation, and poured it into a whole range of smart home and lifestyle products - everything from watches, tablets, and laptops to air fryers, robot vacuums, and electric scooters.

Xiaomi phones

With so many Xiaomi phones to choose from, it can be tricky to find the right one for you. From cheap budget phones to top-of-the-line flagship models, there’s something at every price point. And not only does it make its own main-brand phones, Xiaomi also has sub-brands - Redmi, Poco, and Black Shark - for even more choice. Don’t worry though, all Xiaomi phones are good, so whichever model you settle on, you’ll be getting better hardware and more features than you’d expect for the price.

Latest Xiaomi phones

For those looking for the flagship experience, the Xiaomi 12 and 12T Pro are a great shout. The 12 is the more compact of the two, with a 6.28in screen compared to the 12T Pro’s 6.67in. Both displays are vibrant and smooth, though the 12T Pro has a higher resolution. And with Snapdragon chips, these are powerful handsets that can handle pretty much anything. The main draw with the Xiaomi 12T Pro is the 200MP main camera and innovative AI image processing features, so you can get incredible shots every time.

If you can’t quite stretch to the top-of-the-range phones, the youngest sibling of the 12 series - the Xiaomi 12 Lite - is a fantastic mid-range option. And for something even more wallet-friendly, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G and Redmi Note 11 offer mid-range specs with a budget price tag.

Xiaomi phone deals

There are a couple of ways to get your hands on your dream Xiaomi mobile phone: on a contract or buying the phone outright.

If you want to spread the cost of your new Xiaomi phone, you can opt for a pay-monthly contract. With contract phone deals you pay the phone off over 24 months, and each monthly payment also includes an allowance of minutes, texts, and data. This could be the best option for you if you can’t afford to pay the price of the phone in full. Some Xiaomi phones though - the more expensive models in particular - will have a small up-front cost attached to them.

Another option is to get a SIM-free phone, which means you buy the phone outright, without a SIM card. As you’re not paying the phone off over the course of a contract, you won’t have to pay interest on it, so you can end up paying less in the long term. And you won’t be tied to a contract or network with a Xiaomi SIM-free phone, allowing you to shop around for a great SIM-only plan that meets your needs perfectly.

Is Xiaomi Android?

Yes, all Xiaomi phones run Android OS. They use Xiaomi’s customised version called MIUI - basically a skin that’s installed on top of the stock version of Android. Most brands change the look and feel of stock Android - also known as pure Android - to a greater or lesser extent, it helps to give each its own identity in the Android space.

Android phones usually come with a range of Google apps pre-installed, but not in China, due to disagreements between Google and the Chinese government. So you might be wondering, as it’s a Chinese brand, does Xiaomi have Google? And you’ll be pleased to hear, it does - in all markets except China. So as long as you’re buying your Xiaomi phone in the UK and not importing it directly from China, you’ll have Google services.