Xiaomi’s smartphone lineup is perhaps one of the most confusing in 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 lineup of smartphones can be a challenge.
To make things simpler, we will only be focusing on the phones Xiaomi, Redmi and Poco sell in India. So phones like the Redmi K30 series will not find a mention here, but their rebranded counterparts (in this case the Poco X2) will.
Let’s begin with the company’s brand divisions. Xiaomi was, until recently, divided into the premium ‘Mi’ series and affordable ‘Redmi’ series. The performance-oriented ‘Poco’ series, which originally started off as a separate series is now a separate brand and launches its own phones, though it continues to run Xiaomi’s MIUI.
However, in September, the Mi series was renamed as the Xiaomi series. That leaves us with three distinct sub-brands to begin with – Xiaomi (premium phones), Redmi (affordable, budget phones) and Poco (affordable, value-for-money mid-range phones)
Xiaomi (number) series/ Mi (number) series
The Xiaomi series and the older Mi series phones, some of which are still available, are the premium smartphones the company offers. This includes the Mi (number) series, the Mi (number)X series and the 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 just one phone in India, which is the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G. All future premium devices will be launched under the Xiaomi branding.
The Xiaomi/ Mi phones come with a premium design, the best cameras in the series and general performance. The premium design and slim form factor also means the Xiaomi/Mi series will usually have only average battery life, but fast charging to compensate.
Redmi (number) series
The Redmi (number) series are budget phones which are usually positioned around the Rs 9000-Rs 12000 bracket. These are affordable devices that focus on being value for money products. You will find multiple variants here like the Redmi 9, 9A, 9 Prime, 9 Power and 9 Activ, all with tweaked specifications. The Redmi 10 Prime is the most recent phone in the series.
These phones usually do not feature a premium build, so expect polycarbonate backs, plastic frames and budget specifications, which are still competitive for the price. You can also expect slower charging, but bigger battery capacities and decent budget camera setups.
Redmi Note (number) series
The Redmi Note (number) series phones were originally set apart from the Redmi (number) series by their bigger sized screens and slightly more powerful specifications. Today, big screens are everywhere, but the Redmi Note series remains more powerful than the Redmi (number) series.
There is also a balance between performance and aesthetics seen in the Note series, which lies between the budget Redmi series and the higher end Mi/Xiaomi series phones The Redmi Note 10, 10T, Note 10S, Note 10 Pro and Note 10 Pro Max are some recent additions and the price of the Note 10 Pro Max is close to the Xiaomi 11 Lite.
Poco started as a Xiaomi sub-brand but has now evolved into an independent brand. Though remember it is still dependent on parent Xiaomi for supply chain, etc. The relationship is sort of like how Realme, Oppo and OnePlus are all part of the BBK group.
Poco when it first launched in 2018 was pitched as a rival to OnePlus and that Poco F1 did try to take on the brand in a big way. But since Poco’s return to the market in 2020, it has taken a different approach at least in India. We’ve seen more budget and mid-budget segment phones from the company, while the F series has only seen one launch in the Indian market.
Poco C series
Poco C series phones are the ultra-budget offerings and some of the cheapest smartphones you will find. Phones like the Poco C3 and the recent Poco C31 offer a budget MediaTek Processor with basic camera setups, big batteries and slow charging speeds.
Poco M series
The Poco M series phones are more capable budget phones, often found competing with the Redmi (number) series. The Poco M3 and M3 Pro phones are some recent additions and they come with capable camera setups but better performance than the Poco C series. The newer M series phones are also pretty good looking.
Poco X series
The Poco X series phones are mid-range devices that offer big screens, fast processors, good camera setups and big batteries. They make for great budget devices for gamers and those looking to get some good photos out of their phones too. The Poco X2 was in fact the first phone the company launched after it became an “independent brand”.
Poco F series
Poco F series phones are basically budget flagships and actually in tight competition with the Xiaomi/Mi series. As a result, most Poco F series phones were not launched in India. But Poco appears to have given and introduced the Poco F3 GT, a Dimensity 1200-powered budget flagship phone for gamers in the market.