Best Xiaomi phones of 2021: these are the top Mi, Redmi, Poco and Black Shark devices
If you're looking for the best Xiaomi phone to buy, you could easily get confused by the sheer variety of devices the company puts out - the tech giant has a few different sub-brands it puts phones out under, and each of them has separate lines of devices too.
Since Xiaomi is the second-biggest smartphone company in the world, trailing Samsung and ahead of Apple, you might be wanting to try out one of its phones. The company is best known for its competitively-priced mid-ranged phones, but it actually has a huge array of handsets, from cheap models to super-powered flagships and with some niche entries too.
Xiaomi markets its phones under many sub-brands including its flagship Mi, budget Redmi, mid-range Pocophone and gaming-focused Black Shark brands, and most of those have several lines of devices too. You don't need to worry about all of that too much, though, because instead of throwing the whole intimidating array of Xiaomi phones at you, we've picked the best.
The below choices hit a range of price tags from low-end to super-pricey, with options for you if you like top-spec cameras, quick charging, long-lasting batteries or more. WIth four different brands under its wing, you can rest assured Xiaomi has something for you.
The most recent phone on this list is the Xiaomi 11T Pro, launched in September 2021 as a budget take on the Xiaomi Mi 11, the company's annual flagship launched at the beginning of the year. Some time soon we'll hopefully see the Xiaomi 12 and maybe the Xiaomi Mi Note 11 too, to further shake up the roster.
The firm might be a relative newcomer to the field but Xiaomi phones often have impressive specs and features, with prices lower than you'd expect. If you're looking for great value for money, Xiaomi is a great pick over handsets from Apple, Samsung and Huawei, providing you do your research.
As always, we're updating this list regularly to keep up to date with all the latest Xiaomi developments. 2021 is wrapping up but 2022 promises to be as busy as ever. For now, check out our ranking of the best Xiaomi phones that you can buy right now.
If you don't think you want a Xiaomi device, you can check out our list of the best phones overall, or individual lists for the best Android phone or best iPhone we've compiled. We've also got guides on the best budget phone, best camera phone and best 5G phone, and while Xiaomi has entries in lots of those guides, there are plenty of other devices too.
The best Xiaomi phones
1. Xiaomi Mi 11
Xiaomi's 2021 flagship
Release date: March 2021
Dimensions: 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.6mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 888
Rear camera: 108MP + 13MP + 5MP
Front camera: 20MP
Reasons to buy
+It's a capable camera phones+It has a powerful processor
Reasons to avoid
-The fingerprint scanner is temperamental-The battery life isn't amazing
The Xiaomi Mi 11 is the company's flagship for 2021, showcasing new camera modes, screen technologies and rear camera designs at a premium-phone price tag.
We gave the phone a glowing review, praising, in particular, its macro photography mode (using a bespoke rear lens), its great-looking screen with a high resolution and refresh rate, and the processing power provided by its top-end chipset.
While this phone represents the best tech Xiaomi has right now, its cost might put some people off it - despite that, if you're looking for a great smartphone from the company, it should be the first one you consider.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi 11 review
2. Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC
An incredible budget phone
Release date: September 2020
Dimensions: 165.3 x 76.8 x 9.4mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.67-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 732G
Rear camera: 64MP + 13MP + 2MP + 2MP
Front camera: 32MP
Reasons to buy
+Its 120Hz screen is great+The battery life is excellent
Reasons to avoid
-Its camera isn't amazing-It's quite large
The Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC is a surprising phone mainly because it is one. This phone has really impressive specs for a handset at its price.
The device has loads of processing power, a really long-lasting battery, and a 120Hz screen all for a really low price. If you pick this device up you're certainly getting more than you paid for, in the best possible way.
Sure, there are some quirks not everyone will like - the phone is really big, and the cameras don't match same-price competitors. But this is still a worthy buy, that's the best budget phone right now.
Read our full Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC review
3. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
The best Redmi phone
Release date: March 2021
Dimensions: 164 x 76.5 x 8.1mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.67-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 732G
Rear camera: 108MP + 8MP + 5MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+It has excellent stereo speakers+The battery life is impressive
Xiaomi’s 'ridiculous' US blacklisting is over — are phones finally coming?
Xiaomi is no longer on the U.S. government's blacklist after the Chinese phone maker reached an agreement with the feds that vacates an order from the Trump administration. But that doesn't necessary mean the company's phones will headed to the U.S. any time soon.
As reported by Bloomberg, the deal struck between Xiaomi and the U.S. government removes the company from a blacklist that blocked American investment. Xiaomi landed on that list when the Trump administration slapped a Communist Chinese Military Company designation on the phone maker. However, Xiaomi denied any military ties and filed suit, with a judge placing a temporary halt on the order back in March.
The move to blacklist Xiaomi was seen by some observers as an over-reach by the Trump administration as part of its jostles over trade with China. "The Trump administration’s action against Xiaomi for military ties/national security was ridiculous, so it is good to see the Biden administration rectifying that," said Avi Greengart, of Techsponential.
The rescinded order doesn't clear all the obstacles for Xiaomi to sell its phones in the U.S., but it's certainly one step in that direction. "One is a prerequisite for the other; Xiaomi couldn’t sell phones in the U.S. if it was blacklisted, and certainly could not get U.S. carrier distribution," Greengart said.
But hurdles remain. "Just because the company was take off the list does not mean that U.S. carriers will be willing to work with Xiaomi," Greengart added. "For that matter, it is not clear if Xiaomi’s business model — which uses phones as an anchor point for a wide, wide array of consumer electronics and white goods — will even work in the U.S."
Why Xiaomi phones in US would be good
To be sure, Xiaomi phones would bring compelling options to U.S. shoppers looking to pick up a quality Android phone. Recent releases like the Xiaomi Mi 11 and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra have impressed with their beautiful displays, powerful cameras and fast charging.
Xiaomi's phones generally cost less than rival flagships, at least in markets where they're available, though it's uncertain if the Chinese company would be able to repeat that kind of aggressive pricing if it tried to take on the U.S. market.
An even bigger challenge would be to line up a partner among the major U.S. phone carriers. While there's certainly an audience for the best unlocked phones in this country, by and large, shoppers tend to get their next smartphone through their wireless carrier. Phone makers who only offer unlocked models rarely grow beyond niche players, if that.
Whenever I run into Xiaomi representatives at industry trade events, I ask them when we might see the company's phones hit the U.S. market. The answer is generally similar to the one I got at CES more than four years ago — that the company is waiting for "the right time and right product."
The agreement with the U.S. government probably doesn't change that right away. But chances of us seeing a Xiaomi release in this country are better than they were before, if only by a little bit.
Best Carrier For Xiaomi Phones In The US?
If you’re looking to buy a Xiaomi phone, and you live in the US, what’re your best options when it comes to carriers? In this guide, we’ll detail the best carrier for Xiaomi phones, so you can access things like high-speed LTE data…
Xiaomi phones are great. They’re packed full of specs and amazing hardware and they retail for A LOT less than phones from Samsung and Apple.
Even Xiaomi’s ultra-flagship phones like Xiaomi Mi 11 which pack in similar specs to the Galaxy S21 Ultra are priced aggressively.
In this context, you’ll pay Galaxy S21 money for the Xiaomi Mi 11 even though it is similar to the vastly more expensive Galaxy S21 Ultra.
RELATED: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra vs RedMi Note 10 Pro
But because Xiaomi phones, like handsets from OPPO and RealMe, are not designed with the US market in mind, you cannot just buy one and run it on your favorite carrier’s network.
You need to think about what bands your carrier uses and what bands your Xiaomi phone supports. And for the layman, this is where things get tricky.
All too often, people are blinded by the value presented by Xiaomi phones. They see the price and impulse buy the phone only to later realize that the phone doesn’t support their usual carrier’s bands.
This is why knowing which Xiaomi phones work in the USA is very important.
If you want the best possible deal, the best carrier for Xiaomi phones is Mint Mobile; and best of all, it has nationwide coverage and unlimited data and calls for just $30 a month.
Which Xiaomi Phones Work In The USA?
All Xiaomi phones will work in the USA. In that, you’ll be able to switch them on and connect them to your home’s WiFi network. Where things get a little more complicated is to do with carriers. Not all US carriers support Xiaomi.
If you want a quick answer about whether your Xiaomi phone will work in the USA, use this tool – it will tell you exactly which carrier works with your specific Xiaomi phone model.
The tool itself is a little clunky, but it gets the job done. If you cannot be bothered to do that, my advice would be to ALWAYS go with either Mint Mobile or T-Mobile for Xiaomi phones in the US – they both support four out of the six bands used by Xiaomi phones.
However, it WILL depend on the model you’re buying. Therefore, you need to check the phone’s bands and then check whether these bands are supported by T-Mobile or Mint. Most new Xiaomi phones – those from the last couple of years – should run fine on Mint Mobile and T-Mobile.
And the reason is that Mint and T-Mobile support the bands that modern Xiaomi phones use for 3G and 4G LTE.
Can You Run Xiaomi Phone on Verizon?
Verizon’s network runs predominantly on Band 13 and this band is not supported on Xiaomi phones, so if you want to run a Xiaomi phone on Verizon Wireless you’re out of luck – it simply will not work.
And this means Xiaomi phones will not run on Xfinity Mobile either, as it is powered by Verizon’s network.
AT&T is slightly better; it supports two bands that Xiaomi phones use, though this isn’t ideal – more bands is always better.
For the best overall band-support, T-Mobile is your best bet for running Xiaomi phones in the USA. T-Mobile will deliver solid data support across bands 2, 4, and 12 and this should be more than enough to run your phone properly without any hitches.
Wrapping UP – What’s Best Carrier For Xiaomi Phones in USA?
If you want to run a Xiaomi phone in the USA, and you want access to things like LTE and LTE+, you’re going to have to limit yourself to the following carriers.
I would almost certainly go with Mint, however – it has the best coverage and support for Xiaomi phones and the cheapest data plans and deals. You can get truly unlimited data and calls for just $30 a month.
RELATED: Clearing Cache on Xiaomi Phones – Here’s How You Do It…
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.
Xiaomi locks Mi and Redmi phones in prohibited countries as US expansion seems on the cards
Xiaomi and Redmi smartphone owners have been taking to the forums on Reddit and XDA Developers to warn others about an apparent uptick in phone locking by the Chinese OEM. Previously, it had been quite straightforward to buy a Xiaomi phone in one region and take it to another without incident (Samsung is known for such region locking that can be bypassed after localized activation). Such an active grey market has actually helped propel Xiaomi into becoming one of the world’s most popular smartphone companies, as its Mi, Redmi, and POCO phones have popped up in almost all corners of the planet. However, the company still hasn’t cracked the lucrative US market yet.
It’s possible that expansion plans for the US market have been put properly in action, as obviously to succeed there Xiaomi will have to closely comply with the country’s rules and regulations. This means not officially selling phones without US Government authorization in the most heavily sanctioned countries and territories: Crimea (region of Ukraine), Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Incidentally, this same list of prohibited places appears in Xiaomi’s terms and conditions of sale, with point 14.2 stating: “The buyer may not export any product purchased from the seller to any country or territory or any party if prohibited by export control laws”.
Unfortunately for Mi and Redmi fans in Syria and especially Cuba, where Xiaomi is very popular, there has been an increase in reports of users having their phones locked out of the blue, with a warning notice explaining that the device had been blocked because of international sanction restrictions. It has been noted that mainly Xiaomi and Redmi phones that have been first used in the prohibited destination are being blocked, so activation and usage in the (non-prohibited) country of purchase beforehand should help prevent this locking issue. Resorting to using one of many available custom ROMs may also be a solution for Xiaomi fans.
Buy the Xiaomi Redmi 9 on Amazon
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