Xiaomi’s line of smartphones is perhaps one of the most confusing on the market. Is it Mi or Redmi? And what’s the deal with Poco? With a number of models, sub-series and sub-brands, understanding the Xiaomi line of smartphones can be a challenge.
To keep things simple, we’ll only focus on the phones that Xiaomi, Redmi, and Poco sell in India. So phones like the Redmi K30 series won’t find a mention here, but their renowned counterparts (in this case the Poco X2) will.
Let’s start with the brand divisions of the company. Xiaomi was, until recently, divided into the premium “Mi” series and the affordable “Redmi” series. The performance-oriented ‘Poco’ series, which originally started as a separate series, is now a separate brand and is launching its own phones, although it continues to run Xiaomi’s MIUI.
However, in September, the Mi series was renamed to Xiaomi series. That leaves us with three distinct sub-brands to start with – Xiaomi (premium phones), Redmi (affordable and budget phones) and Poco (affordable, good-value mid-range phones).
Xiaomi / Mi
Xiaomi series (number) / Mi series (number)
The Xiaomi series and the older Mi series phones, some of which are still available, are the premium smartphones offered by the company. This includes Mi (number) series, Mi (number) X series, and Mi (number) Lite and its variants. The Mi 11X, Mi 11X Pro, and Mi 11 Lite are some of the popular Mi series phones right now.
The new Xiaomi series currently has only one phone in India, the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G. All future premium devices will be launched under the Xiaomi brand.
Xiaomi / Mi phones feature premium design, best series cameras and overall performance. The premium design and slim form factor also mean that the Xiaomi / Mi series will generally only have average battery life, but fast charging to make up for it.
Redmi series (number)
The Redmi (number) series are budget phones that are generally positioned around the Rs 9000-Rs 12000 range. They are affordable devices that focus on good value for money. Here you will find several variants like the Redmi 9, 9A, 9 Prime, 9 Power and 9 Activ, all with modified specs. The Redmi 10 Prime is the most recent phone in the series.
These phones don’t typically feature premium build, so expect polycarbonate backs, plastic bezels, and budget specs, which are still competitive for the price. You can also expect slower charging, but larger battery capacities and budget camera setups.
Redmi Note series (number)
The Redmi Note (number) series phones were originally distinguished from the Redmi (number) series by their larger screens and slightly more powerful specs. Today, big screens are everywhere, but the Redmi Note series is still more powerful than the Redmi (number) series.
There is also a balance between performance and aesthetics of the Note series, which is between the low-budget Redmi series and the high-end Mi / Xiaomi phones. The Redmi Note 10, 10T, Note 10S, Note 10 Pro and Note 10 Pro Max are a few recent additions and the Note 10 Pro Max is priced close to the Xiaomi 11 Lite.
Poco started out as a Xiaomi sub-brand but has now grown into an independent brand. Remember that it still depends on the Xiaomi parent for the supply chain etc. The relationship is a bit like how Realme, Oppo, and OnePlus are all part of the BBK group.
When it launched in 2018, Poco was touted as a rival to OnePlus and Poco F1 tried to take on the brand in a big way. But since Poco returned to the market in 2020, it has taken a different approach at least in India. We’ve seen more phones from the company’s budget and mid-budget segment, while the F series has only seen one launch in the Indian market.
Small series C
The Poco C series phones are the super budget deals and some of the cheapest smartphones you’ll find. Phones like the Poco C3 and the recent Poco C31 offer a budget-friendly MediaTek processor with basic camera setups, big batteries, and slow charging speeds.
Small M series
Poco M series phones are more efficient budget phones, often competing with Redmi (number) series. The Poco M3 and M3 Pro phones are recent additions and they come with capable camera setups but better performance than the Poco C series. The newer M series phones look great too.
Small X Series
The Poco X series phones are mid-range devices that offer big screens, fast processors, good camera setups, and big batteries. They are budget devices for gamers and anyone looking to get good photos with their phone as well. The Poco X2 was actually the first phone launched by the company after becoming an “independent brand”.
Today, the Poco X3 and X3 Pro are among the best phones in their respective segments, with the Poco X3 Pro to date being the only Snapdragon 800 series phone that you can buy for under Rs 20,000.
Small F series
The Poco F series phones are essentially low budget flagships and in fact are in close competition with the Xiaomi / Mi series. As a result, most of the Poco F series phones were not released in India. But Poco appears to have donated and introduced the Poco F3 GT, a low-budget flagship phone powered by Dimensity 1200 for gamers in the market.
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