Updated: October 14, 2021 6:21:34 pm
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? To make some aspects 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 sub-brand, is now a separate brand. But its phones continue to run Xiaomi’s MIUI.
However, in September, the Mi branding was dropped in favour of Xiaomi. So that leave three distinct lineups: Xiaomi (premium phones which are usually north of Rs 20,000), Redmi (affordable, budget phones; typically under Rs 20,000) and Poco.
Xiaomi (number) series/ Mi (number) series
The Xiaomi series and the older Mi series phones are the premium smartphones that 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 branding will also apply to the Mi TVs, Mi Bands, and laptops as well.
Xiaomi/ Mi phones come with a premium design, the best cameras in the series and general performance. The premium design and slim form factor is a key marker, and Xiaomi typically adds fast charging as well.
Right now, the Mi 11 series starts at Rs 21,999 with the Mi 11 Lite being the most affordable variant. The Mi 11 Ultra, though, is the most premium smartphone in the list this year with a price of nearly Rs 69,999 and is by no means a slender phone. But with the Ultra, the focus is all on the camera and it actually aims to compete with OnePlus, Samsung and Apple’s iPhones.
The Redmi phones might be the ‘budget’ devices, but these are the ones that drive volume for Xiaomi in India. The company has managed to capture a majority of the India smartphone market on the basis of the Redmi Note and Redmi Number series. But how are Redmi branded phones differentiated? Let’s take a look.
Redmi (number) series
The Redmi (number) series are budget phones, which are usually positioned around the price bracket of Rs 9,000-Rs 12,000. 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 series used to start at Rs 9,999 earlier , but we’ve seen Xiaomi increase the price over the years. Plus the Note series has a lot more options now, compared to just the regular and Pro variants that were originally offered.
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. The Note series is also one that gets camera improvements, and in fact the Redmi Note 7 Pro was one of the first to offer a 48MP camera at a price of Rs 13,999.
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. But this year, the price of Note 10 Pro Max (we’re referring to the highest RAM+storage option) was very 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 similar to 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 the 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 (Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000) 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 (priced Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 typically), 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 budget devices (Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000) that offer big screens, fast processors, good camera setups and big batteries. They make for great 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”. Today, the Poco X3 and X3 Pro are some of the best phones in their respective segments, with the Poco X3 Pro till date being the only Snapdragon 800-series phone you can buy for under Rs 20,000.
Poco F series
Poco F series phones are ‘budget’ flagships, though the term budget here does not imply that they cost less than Rs 20,000. In fact, when Poco launched, it start with the F1 which was supposed to take on OnePlus 6. And it did given the starting price of Rs 21,999 for the base variants.
But the Poco F series is now also in direct competition with the Xiaomi/Mi series. As a result, most Poco F such as Poco F2 Pro, Poco F3 series were not launched in India. However, Poco appears to have given in and introduced the Poco F3 GT, which runs the Mediatek Dimensity 120 chipset and is geared towards gamers in the market.
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