Understanding Xiaomi’s smartphone lineup: what do they all mean?

Apple has really easy to follow smartphone lineup. Each year they release a new device and they increment the number. For the past few releases, they added a “Max” model and now a “Pro” one, but all in all it was rather easy to follow. Samsung has a similar approach with its Galaxy line. When you read the name of two devices from those companies you immediately know which one is newer and has better specs. The same can’t be said for Xiaomi, a company that has a pretty confusing naming scheme.

This article was inspired by a thread on Reddit and it was only then that it hit me that many don’t know which phone is better and what those names actually mean. For me, it is easy, since I am passionate about gadgets and I know most new releases, but you can’t expect the average person to keep track of everything. That is why a clear naming convention is extremely helpful. Anyway, I will try to explain as simple as possible what all those names mean and how to easily choose the right Xiaomi smartphone for you.

Xiaomi Mi Series – This is Xiaomi’s main series of devices and are their “flagships”, with the “Lite” versions offering a mid-range chipset while trying to keep most of the other specifications intact. The “Mi” series are usually the fastest ones to get updates and are the first “batch” of devices launched in the first half of the year

Xiaomi Mi Mix Series – These are devices that are are experimental (more or less) and are Xiaomi’s attempt to push the boundaries of screen-to-body ratio. The Mi Mix Series offered premium devices, with premium materials (ceramic body in most cases) and top specs. They are not for everybody, are usually more expensive than other smartphones launched by the company and don’t have spin-offs. The Mi Mix Alpha, the latest device in the series, has a screen that wraps around the device, a 108MP camera, and a $2800 price tag.

Xiaomi Mi T Series/ Redmi K Series – This year, Xiaomi introduced a new category with the T series (or Redmi K, depending on the region). There are currently two smartphones, the Mi 9T and the MI 9T Pro which are rebranded Redmi K20 and K20 Pro for the European market. These are smartphones with pop-up cameras and AMOLED screens, really good specs and affordable prices. If you want the best bang for the buck, the T series of devices is the way to go right now.

Xiaomi CC Series – These are smartphones that are aimed at the youth market. They target teens or people that take a lot of selfies and as a result, the phones come with good photo capabilities (considering the price) and a really good selfie camera. Don’t expect high-end specs though, since the phones come with a mid-range chipset. The design is quite nice on the other hand.

Xiaomi A Series – These are smartphones that run stock Android. All other devices in the company’s portfolio come with a skin called MIUI. The A-Series comes with stock/vanilla Android and in most cases are re-branded devices from the other lineups. For example, the MI A3 that was launched in 2019 is a rebranded CC-Series device.

Redmi Note Series – Xiaomi has a sub-brand called Redmi. This brand focuses on mid-range smartphones at affordable prices. The Redmi Note are devices that come with big screens, great cameras for the price and are usually the kings of the mid-range smartphones when it comes to price-to-performance ratio. If you want a sub-$250 device, this smartphone from the Redmi Note series may be your best bet.

Redmi Series – These are low-end devices that can be usually found for under $150. They are targeted towards people who can’t afford or don’t need a high-end device. The Redmi series can handle basic tasks without a problem but are not suitable for more complex ones like gaming.

I hope this clarifies things at least a little. Now, you just have to add the number representing the release cycle. Currently, the Xiaomi MI series is at number 9, with a “Pro” version of the Xiaomi Mi 9 announced not too long ago that comes with 5G connectivity.

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