Tag Archives: Xiaomi

Xiaomi October Global Launch – Smartphones, Vacuums, Tablets and Earbuds



Xiaomi Logo - an orange squircle with stylised white MI lettersReturning to an in-person event, Xiaomi‘s global launch took place in Munich, Germany with Abi Go, Head of Product Marketing, kicking off the event. Looking at the company, Xiaomi are now #266 in the Fortune Global 500, primarily through 160% growth in the premium smartphone category. The phones are no longer cheap and cheerful, and the Xiaomi 12 received some good reviews, including from myself. Xiaomi isn’t only about phones too – they’re rapidly growing in autonomous driving and robotics as well – but as you’ll see from the launches, Xiaomi is getting well established in consumer electronics.

First up was the Xiaomi 12T series, with the 12T and the 12T Pro smartphones. Both very similar in design, with a large main lens dominating the camera array on the rear. To reinforce this, the Pro comes with a whopping 200 MP main sensor and the standard 12T is fitted out with a still-fairly-big 108 MP sensor. Every part of the imaging system has been optimised, from the lens (8P) to the sensor (1/1.22″) and the software (advanced imaging processing). The new ProCut software uses AI to crop and frame images to make any scene look its very best, and the In-sensor zoom allows 2x zoom at the sensor level for clear portraiture. Both phones have an 8MP ultrawide, a 2MP macro and 20MP selfie camera on the front.

Inside the 12T Pro is a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 with a MediaTek Dimensity 8100-Ultra featuring in the 12T itself. Each chipset offers significant improvements in performance and power consumption over the previous generation. Both phones sport a 6.67″ 1220p resolution and 120 Hz CrystalRes AMOLED display covered by Gorilla Glass 5. The AdaptiveSync display will adjust the screen frequency for a fast and smooth refresh when needed and then revert to a lower power saving rate when not. Sound is by Harmon/Kardon and supports Dolby Atmos for a detailed and rich soundscape.

Keeping the power on is a 5,000 mAh battery with 120 W charging which will charge the battery from 0% to 100% in 19 minutes. With all the improvements to the CPU, the display and the battery, users can expect 13.5 hours of normal screen-on time and nearly 8 hours of gaming. That’s impressive.

Coming in three colours: blue, black and silver, the phones look, and I imagine, feel the part. The Xiaomi 12T Series will be available for sale starting on 20th October via Xiaomi official channels. The Xiaomi 12T Pro (8GB+128GB) will have an RRP of GB£699, and the Xiaomi 12T comes in two storage variants, 8GB+128GB and 8GB+256GB, with an RRP of £499 and £549 respectively.

Next up were vacuum cleaners, starting with the Xiaomi Robot Vacuum X10+ which offers great cleaning for carpets with mop pads that lift up out of the way when the robot encounters carpet. S-Cross AI uses a pile of extra sensors to navigate the home and avoid hazards. X10+ comes with an all-in-one docking station that charges the robot, empties the dirt bag, cleans the mop pads and adds water to the X10+’s reservoir. Of course, the X10+ can be controlled by an app too. The vacuum robot is priced at 899€.

The W10 Wet Dry vacuum series are a series of wet and dry battery powered vacuum cleaners with a variety of features from assisted power, heated water rollers and base stations. Prices start from 599€.

The third set was for TVs and Xiaomi’s second generation TV Q2 series with QLED screens will come in 50″, 55″ and 65″ sizes. All the TVs support Dolby Vision IQ and Google TV is built-in. Prices start from 599€

Xiaomi’s been producing smart bands for several years and this time it’s the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro. It’s a bit bigger than the previous bands but it’s much more stylish in a rectangular design that’s in keeping with current trends, i.e. it looks a fair bit like one of the market leading smart watches. The 1.64″ AMOLED screen is 84% bigger than the previous generation and the 7 Pro now has GNSS (GPS) built-in for route tracking so your smartphone doesn’t have to come along for the tracking. As before, the Band 7 Pro comes in a range of colours with two new vegan bands, pine green and moon grey, added to the selection. Battery life is around 12 days. All this doubles the cost and the Band 7 Pro will be priced at GB£84.99 / 99€.

Finally, Xiaomi announced the Redmi Pad, an all-in-one pad for fun. The Redmi Pad comes as a slim and durable medal unibody and is available in mint green, graphite grey and moonlight silver. At 445g it’s roughly twice to three times the weight of a phone but it’s easily portable. The screen is 10.6″ with 2K resolution at 90 Hz and the viewing experience is enhanced by quad speakers supporting Dolby Atmos. Inside is the MediaTek Helio G99 CPU along with an 8000 mAh battery. The camera is sensitively placed along the long edge to make video calls a little bit more natural (cf Samsung Galaxy Tab series) and FocusFrame tracks the users faces to ensure they’re in the picture. MIUI has been enhanced for the Pad and prices start at GB£269 / 279€ for the 3GB+64MB variant. I like this…

Although not covered in the presentation, Xiaomi also announced the Redmi Buds 4 Pro and Redmi Buds 4. Both offer noise cancellation and charging cases. The Redmi Buds 4 Pro offer 9 hours of listening on a single charge with a total of 30 hours when the charging case is used. The Buds 4 will go 6 hours on a single charge but offer 36 hours total when recharged from the case. Redmi Buds 4 and Redmi Buds 4 Pro available from £49.99 and £84.99 respectively via Xiaomi’s official channels. Available in the UK from 4th October.

The livestream is available here.


Xiaomi Mi 12 Hands-On Review – Lots to Like



Xiaomi Logo - an orange squircle with stylised white MI lettersAccording to Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi has consistently taken the #3 spot in worldwide smartphone shipments behind Samsung and Apple over the past three years and that’s without even officially selling smartphones in the USA. However, there’s no such problem here in the UK and I’ve managed to borrow a Xiaomi 12 smartphone from their PR folks for a couple of weeks and put it through its paces. And you know what, I can see why it’s #3. Let’s take a look.

Smartphone resting on boxWhile the Xiaomi 12 looks like so many of the current generation of smartphones with a six-inch plus screen, gently curved sides, frosted back and camera array top left, overall it leaves a good first impression of quality with a bright clear screen, a smooth without being slippy back, a little weight to the device and a power button resting just under my thumb. This is not a phone to be embarrassed about even if the name’s a little hard to pronounce. The phone comes in three colourways simply described as grey, blue and purple without additional hyperbole. It’s the purple version in my paws.

Let’s check out the specs to see how it shapes up on paper. Physically, the phone is 152.7 x 69.9 x 8.2 mm and weighs in at 180 g, so it’s slightly smaller than some of the recent phones I’ve reviewed but it’s millimetres to be honest. In other characteristics, there’s a USB-C port on the bottom, power button on the right, volume controls a little above, stereo speakers top and bottom. The SIM tray is at the bottom next to the USB port and supports two SIMS that are inserted back-to-back and a SIM ejection tool is included in the box. Unsurprisingly, there’s no audio jack.

Smartphone face down on boxOnto the screen: the Xiaomi 12 has a lovely 120 Hz AMOLED display with slightly rounded vertical edges. These seemed to be a happy medium between a completely flat screen and some of the very curved screens on other phones. The glass itself is Gorilla Glass Victus which should provide some protection against scratches. With a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels (FHD+) and a screen size of 6.28″, it comes out as 419 ppi, and I think the colours look great – bright and vibrant. The front-facing camera is a centre top hole punch, and there’s an in-display fingerprint sensor which I found accurate but perhaps not as nippy as the sensor in the OnePlus phones

Under the hood, and there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, paired with an Adreno GPU. The RAM is LPDDR5 and storage is courtesy of UFS 3.1 at either 128 GB or 256 GB. Naturally there’s 5G (it’s 2022!) Performance-wise, after a couple of runs with GeekBench 5, I had average scores of 1225 single-core and 3540 multi-core which puts it comfortably into the upper ranges of the scoring benchmark. The Snapdragon 8 is more than capable of playing Fortnite and there’s a selection of gaming tools to avoid interruptions and enhance play (Game Turbo), but the Xiaomi 12 didn’t seem to support video out over USB C.

Moving onto the cameras, there’s a 50 MP main lens, a 13 MP ultrawide with a 123° field of view and a 5 MP telemacro camera for close-up shots. The front camera is a 32 MP unit. The cameras do stick out the back by a couple of millimetres, so a case of some kind is going to be essential to avoid scratching. I thought the cameras took some good shots, though one thing I did discover is that night mode only works on the main lens. The photo app on the 12 is comprehensive with features like motion tracking, eye tracking focus and blur reduction on motion. Here are a few photos that I took around the neighbourhood – the two on the beach show the difference between the standard and wide-angle views, and those are the mountains of Mourne. Normally the beach would be deserted but there was a warm spell and the whole country went to the seaside. I’m no photographer but I was happy with the snaps: colours were good and the night shots came out better than expected.

Inside the phone is a 4500 mAh battery and 67 W charger, which I found charged the phone from 21% to 94% in 30 minutes. That’s very usable. The Xiaomi 12 has 50 W wireless charging – I wasn’t able to test high speed charger but it worked fine with my 10 W Anker wireless charger.
In terms of power consumption, I felt that the Xiaomi was better than average – I’ve no hard proof of this, but I often left work after an average day at the office with more than I would expect from my personal phone which as a similar size battery.

MIUI 13 is Xiaomi’s take on Android 12 along with a rich user interface. It’s definitely a bit more colourful than the stock Android experience and there’s some nice theming and wallpapers. There are a few special effects that look good, e.g. when an app is deleted, the icon explodes and the other icons jump in shock. There’s fair amount of customisation and settings aren’t always in where you’d expect them to be. For example, “Date and time” has been casually relocated to “Additional settings” along with settings like “Beautify for video calls and “Quick Ball”. Quick Ball itself is an interesting utility that provides fast access to a selection of shortcuts via a small ball on the screen. Xiaomi have lots of these little enhancements and it’s difficult to call out all of them. Sometimes the enhancements aren’t always an improvement, e.g. notifications are presented as individual bubbles rather than in a contiguous block. Looks good but there’s less info on the screen.

That largely wraps up this quick review of the Xiaomi 12. Any downsides? I have a few issues but nothing terribly serious.

  • The factory-installed screen protector is a dust magnet. I’ve seen this on other phones too.
  • Adverts. A couple of the factory-installed utilities display adverts. I think that cheapens the experience for a premium phone.
  • Placeholders for a couple of promoted games. Annoying but easily removed.
  • OEM versions of Google standard apps. For example, Xiaomi has its own version of Find My Device. Why?
  • Fingerprint scanner not quite as snappy as some other phones.
  • Notifications sometimes on the wrong side

Pricing-wise…

Xiaomi 12
8 GB + 128 GB – GB£749 (currently £649)
8 GB + 256 GB – GB£849 (currently £699)
12 GB + 256 GB – not currently available

The Xiaomi 12 is available to purchase from Xiaomi directly and a word to the wise…Xiaomi frequently has promotions where there’s sizeable discounts so if you aren’t in a hurry, watch out for those deals. The current deal at £699 for 8 GB + 256 GB seems good value.

Overall, what’s my opinion? There’s much to like here. The phone is well-designed and feels good in the hand. It’s fast with good battery life. The cameras hold their own against the competition. MIUI 13 might be an acquired taste but there is some significant value-add in there. Ignore the cruft. The Xiaomi 12 is a strong contender in the tier of not-quite-flagship-phone (there’s a 12 Pro) and this saves £300 off the bottom line. Obviously there’s some competition out there (OnePlus 10T comes to mind) but it’s definitely worth taking a look at the Xiaomi 12.


Xiaomi Launches Redmi Note 11 Series



Xiaomi Logo - an orange squircle with stylised white MI lettersXiaomi‘s first launch of 2022 is the new Redmi Note 11 series with a total of four phones, two sizes and all sharing the same design language. Xiaomi’s Note models are a very popular series with over 240 million Notes sold so this will see Xiaomi well into 2022 and with prices from US$179 through to $379, there’s a phone for everyone.

Announced today were four mid-range phones with the best stealing a few flagship features. Starting at the top and working down, Xiaomi showed off the:

          • Note 11 Pro 5G
          • Note 11 Pro
          • Note 11S
          • Note 11.

Sharing the same look, the 11 Pro 5G and 11 Pro are the bigger phones with 6.67″ screens compared to the 6.43″ displays of the 11S and 11. The style is very much on-trend with flat sides (aka flat frames) rather than the normal Android curves.

Rear of a blue phone showing wave patternLooking at the 11 Pro phones first, they look great and come with glass backs in three colours: Graphite Gray, Polar White, Atlantic Blue (Pro 5G) and Star Blue (Pro). The Atlantic Blue has a lovely wave effect to it.

Taking a look at the camera array while round the back, the Pro 5G has a triple camera array with a massive 108 MP main camera, a 118° ultrawide 8MP lens and a 2 MP macro lens. The Pro is similar but  includes an additional depth sensor for bokeh effects. And of course, both models have a 16 MP selfie camera round the front.

Turning to the 6.67″ display, it’s an AMOLED FHD+ screen with 12,000 nits max brightness,120 Hz refresh rate and 360 Hz touch sampling. Simply that means you can play fast action games outside and it’ll be super smooth. The Corning Gorilla Glass screen comes with all the expected eye protections such SGS Eye Care Certification.

Inside the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is a Snapdragon 695 – it’s a well respected leading mid-range processor that keeps the 11 Pro 5G ticking over nicely. For the non-5G 11 Pro, it’s a MediaTek Helio G96. Again, a solid mid-range CPU but without 5G features.

In terms of storage, the two phones max out at 8 GB RAM, 128 GB storage and 1 TB of expandable storage. Dual speakers and a headphone jack round out the media features.

Keeping it all going is a 5000 mAh battery which should give a 2 days of typical phone use. Equipped with turbo charging at 67 W, 15 minutes of charge should be enough to get an 11 Pro and Pro 5G through the day. Both phones use the same MMT battery technology to keep the battery cool while charging. And there’s a charger included in the box!

Pricewise, for the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G (and there will be regional variations on the price)

  • 6 GB + 64 GB – US$329
  • 6 GB + 128 GB – $349
  • 8 GB + 128 GB – $379

Redmi Note 11 Pro

  • 6 GB + 64 GB – US$299
  • 6 GB + 128 GB – $329
  • 8 GB + 128 GB – $349

And for the especially thrifty, there’s an early bird $30 discount on 16th & 17th February at Aliexpress.

Turning to the smaller Redmi Note 11S and 11, it’s very much the same design language with the devices coming in Graphite Gray, Twilight Blue, Pearl White (11S) and Star Blue (11).

The 11S has the same camera setup as the Pro, with 108 MP main shooter, 118° ultrawide and macro lenses plus the depth sensor. The 11 drops the pixel count on the main shooter to 50 MP, but still retains the UW and macro lenses. The selfie camera on the Note 11S is 16 MP but only 13 MP on the Note 11.

For both devices, the display is an AMOLED FHD+ screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and 10,000 nits brightness covered in protective Gorilla glass. Inside, the Note 11S has the same chipset as the Pro in the shape of the MediaTek Helo G96. On the other hand, the Note 11 returns to the Qualcomm fold with the Snapdragon 680.

It’s the same 5,000 mAh battery across the whole range, though the 11S and 11 have to be satisfied with 33 W fast charging that will charge to 100% in under an hour. That’s still pretty nippy. The fast charger is included here too.

Other features include dual stereo speakers, 3.5 mm jack and expandable storage to 1 TB.

Pricewise, for the Redmi Note 11S (and as before there will be regional variations on the price)

  • 6 GB + 64 GB – US$249
  • 6 GB + 128 GB – $279
  • 8 GB + 128 GB – $299

Redmi Note 11

  • 4 GB + 64 GB – US$179
  • 4 GB + 128 GB – $199
  • 6 GB + 128 GB – $229

Like the Note 11 Pros, there will be an early bird discount of $20 at AliExpress on 28th & 29th January.

Overall, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 series has a great deal to offer in the mid-range. Strong design, high MP main camera, fast charging, decent processor. There’s a much to recommend here.


Xiaomi 11T Pro Charges to 100% in 17 minutes



After yesterday’s event by the #3 smartphone brand, it’s the turn of Xiaomi, #2 worldwide smartphone brand, to show off their latest gear, and it’s a tasty selection of tech. Amazingly, it’s taken Xiaomi only 11 years to get to #2 (#1 in Europe), and while it would be easy to say that they’ve benefitted from Huawei’s woes, they do make very competitive products.

Xiaomi 11T series
First out of the gate are Xiaomi’s new flagship phones, the 11T and 11T Pro. Available in three colours: Meteorite Gray, Moonlight White and Celestial Blue, Xiaomi has focussed on cinematography, from the recording all the way through to the viewing. Cinemagic, as they say. The company has created some pretty cool tricks, such as the video focussing on the loudest sound and has partnered with the Sundance Institute to provide classes on filming. There are three rear cameras, a 108 MP main shooter, a 120° landscape and a telemacro lens. The Pro offers end-to-end 8K HDR10+ video capabilities and Dolby Vision.

Under the hood, the 11T Pro is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor whereas the 11T runs on the MediaTek Dimensity 1200-Ultra. On the front, it’s a 120 Hz ActiveSync AMOLED TrueColour screen showing 1 billion colours protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. It’s a WQHD+ screen, which is 2960×1440. The screen received A+ from DisplayMate, setting or matching records in 14 display categories. Sound-wise, the phones come with dual speakers tuned by Harman Kardon, supporting Dolby Atmos.

Powering all this in the 11T Pro is a 5000 mAh battery which can be charged from 0 to 100% in 17 minutes using Xiaomi’s 120W HyperCharge. The 11T uses 67W TurboCharge which still charges to 100% in 36 mins. Charger comes in the box.

Pricewise, there are five models across the two phones.

Xiaomi 11T

  • 8 GB + 128 GB 499€
  • 8 GB + 256 GB 549€

Xiaomi 11T Pro

  • 8 GB + 128 GB 649€
  • 8 GB + 256 GB 699€
  • 12 GB + 256 GB 749€

There are some special offers on the pricing, so keep eyes open for those.

Mi 11 Lite 5G NE
Following on the from Mi 11 Lite and Lite 5G, Xiaomi also announced the 11 Lite 5G NE. A fun, light and slim phone at 158g and 6.9mm thick, it comes in four colours: Bubblegum Blue, Peach Pink, Charcoal Black and Snowflake White. The new phone has at 90Hz 10 bit AMOLED screen on the front and round the back, there’s a 64MP main lens, ultrawide and telemacro, plus a 20MP selfie. Powering all this is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G.

Pricewise,

  • 6 GB + 128 GB 369€
  • 8 GB + 128 GB 399€

Xiaomi Pad 5
Next, Xiaomi announced the Pad 5, an 11″ tablet with a 1600 x 2560 display in an aluminium frame and smart pen support. Driven by the Snapdragon 860, the OS has been beefed up with extra features and productivity tools. The battery is 8720 mAh giving 16 hours of video or 10 hours of gaming. I’m delighted to see this as I’m a fan of Android tablets with hi-res screens. Available in Pearl White and Cosmic Gray

  • 6 GB + 128 GB 349€ (299€ special offer)
  • 6 GB +256 GB 399€

You can watch the whole launch event here.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Launches in Europe



Xiaomi might be a recent addition to the USA’s naughty list but this hasn’t stopped the Chinese firm from launching its latest flagship, the Mi 11 5G with an impressive set of specs. The TL;DR version is Snapdragon 888 chipset, 6.8″ screen with 515 ppi, 8GB+128GB/256GB, starting at 749 euros.

The longer version is that Xiaomi has a top-tier phone with specs to take on the best, but it took 25 minutes of global launch presentation to get to the technical details, with the event’s focus on video recording and photography features. Aimed at social media aficionados, this is a lifestyle as much as a flagship device.

(And while Xiaomi were trying to move the conversation away from features, there were plenty of comparisons between the Mi 11 and Apple’s iPhones.)

The Mi 11 is a good-looking smartphone, covered in Corning Gorilla Glass front and back, with curved edges on all sides. The display side has the latest Victus glass giving enhanced drop protection. Two colours were announced at launch, Midnight Gray and Horizon Blue, but more were promised including a future Cloud White model.

The display on the Mi 11 is a 6.8″ WQHD+ display with 3200×1440 pixels giving 515ppi. It’s a 120 Hz AMOLED HDR10+ screen with AdaptiveSync to adjust screen frequency up or down depending on the app’s requirements. Lower frequencies use less power. DisplayMate have awarded the Mi 11’s screen the best smartphone display award along with 13 other accolades.

Under the bonnet is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G. The main octacore CPU is a 5 nm Cortex X-1 supported by new A78 cores and an Adreno 660 GPU, giving an Antutu score of 745,942 and top spot on the leaderboard.

Powering the Mi 11 is a 4,600 mAh battery with high power 55W charging. Using a USB C cable, the phone will go from 0% to 100% in 45 minutes. Wireless charging isn’t much slower, taking 53 minutes to fill the battery. A 55W GaN charger will come in the box.

Camera-wise, the Mi 11 comes with 108 MP primary camera with OIS, a 13 MP 123° ultrawide and a 5 MP telemacro lens. Round the front, it’s a 20 MP in-display camera. Xiaomi have worked hard on low light level photography with Night Mode available on all three rear cameras and Ultra Night Video for filming. Videos can be recorded at 4K HDR10+ and there are six AI cinema modes to give films a certain style. Xiaomi has partnered with cinematographer Reynald Gresset to show off the Mi 11’s features and the showreel is impressive.

The phone’s speakers have been tuned by Harmon Kardon and there’s support for two Bluetooth headphones or a pair of speakers. Size-wise, the Mi 11 is 164.3mm x 74.6mm x 8.06mm and weighs in at 196g.

Up to this point, the Mi 11 has shown itself to be a competent flagship contender albeit with nothing particularly special. Interestingly though, the Mi 11 can use the in-display fingerprint monitor as heart-rate sensor.

Out of the box, the Mi 11 will come with MIUI 12 with a major update to 12.5 in Q2. Xiaomi have been listening to users and MIUI 12.5 will allow the user to uninstall pre-installed apps.

Let’s talk pricing….the Mi 11 will be sold in Europe in two versions, one with 128 GB for storage and the other with 256 GB. The main memory is 8 GB in both versions (though a 12 GB version appears to be available in China.)

  • 8GB+128GB – 749 €
  • 8GB+256GB – 799 €

Exact releases dates for different countries will be announced shortly.

The Mi 11 comes with 2 year warranty plus a 1 year one-time free screen repair, which is a nice touch, and for true fans, a Mi 11 Special Edition will be released later in the year in very limited numbers. Looking forward to seeing that.


Xiaomi Launches the POCO X3 NFC



Xiaomi today launched the POCO X3 NFC, the third generation of its POCO sub-brand after the F1 and F2. Aimed at the value-conscious gamer, the X3 has a couple of flagship level features that unquestionably set the X3 NFC apart at this price point. The moniker for the presentation was “Exactly What You Need” and I think they delivered.

Starting with the outside, the the POCO X3 NFC has a large 6.67″ LCD Gorilla Glass 5 display on the front and a lovely curved back which beautifully reflects the Shadow Gray and Cobalt Blue of the two colour options. It’s a polycarbonate back, rather than say, glass, but given the number of smashed backs I’ve seen recently, this is not a bad thing. The quad camera array (with flash) is arranged in a circle at the top, and physically the smartphone is 165.3 x 76.8 x 9.4 mm and weighs in at 215 g. There’s a power button with fingerprint sensor on the side.

Returning to the front, the display is FHD+ meaning 2400 x 1080 pixels, 395 ppi and a 20:9 aspect ratio. It’s described as 2.5D which I think means the display has curved sides, and there’s a tiny 3.8 mm hole for the selfie cam at top centre. Stealing from the flagships, the X3’s display has a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz and can dynamically switch from as 50 Hz though 60 Hz, 90 Hz and on to 120 Hz as circumstances demand. The 120 Hz gives that super smooth screen refresh when needed, but if the screen’s only showing a static picture, the display can fall back to 50 Hz to save on power and extend battery life. That’s pretty clever stuff.

For the edge in gaming, the X3 comes with 240 Hz touch sensitivity – that means it can discriminate between touches down to 0.004s. That’s four thousandths of a second, but when playing games at a high level, it can give an edge over another player who plays on a phone with 120 Hz touch sensitivity.

Inside the X3 NFC is the first appearance of Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G. It’s an enhanced version of the 720G and 730G 4G chipsets, comprising a Kyro 470 octa-core CPU and an Adreno 618 GPU. The Kyro is able to boost a pair of “gold” cores to 2.3 GHz for gaming performance and the Adreno GPU includes Qualcomm’s “Elite Gaming” extensions to minimise jank and stutter for smooth movement. The POCO X3 NFC will be available in two variants, 6GB+64GB and 6GB+128GB, and if that’s not enough storage, the phone can take a microSD card up to 256 GB.

The gaming experience is further enhanced with a powerful z-axis linear motor for haptic feedback with 150 different “feels” available. There are stereo speakers too, which have a cool dust blaster feature than clears the cruft and debris out of the speakers. Worth checking that out in slow-mo.

Heat dissipation is always an issue with gaming phones: if the heat can’t get away from the CPU fast enough, the processor’s going to slow down to reduce heat output. The POCO X3 comes with LiquidCool Technology 1.0 Plus which is a fat heat pipe to spread energy through the X3’s internal frame and aims to keep the phone about 6°C cooler than without it. If that’s not enough, Xiaomi have partnered with Black Shark to offer the FunCooler and FunCooler Pro with the X3. Funky lights!

To keep the X3 NFC speeding along, the phone comes with a 5,160 mAh battery which is expected to give 2 days of battery life for an average user. But who is average? To quantify in more detail the battery life, it’s 10 hours of gaming or 17 hours of video. The phone supports 33 W fast charging and it takes just 65 minutes to go from 0% to 100% with the included charger.

Round the back, the POCO X3 NFC comes with a quad camera configuration. The main lens is a 64 MP unit using the Sony IMX 682 sensor, along with a 13 MP 119° wide-angle shooter. A 2 MP macro unit and a 2 MP depth sensor rounds out the rear. On the front, it’s a 20 MP selfie cam. The X3 comes with some clever filters and effects including “gold vibes” that brings out and enhances the yellows, and a “cyberpunk mode” which enhances blues and pinks – both effects look great. There’s also some clever AI effects to add night-time effects to day-time skies. Stars, auroras…

Although there’s a fairly big clue in the name, the POCO X3 NFC supports NFC for swiping those credit cards at the till. Fan favourites, the X3 includes an IR blaster and retains the 3.5 mm earphone jack. Out of the box, the phone will be running Xiaomi’s MIUI12 flavour of Android and POCO Launcher 2.0 and the company is committing to 3 years of consistent system updates.

What about the price? Impressively, even the 128 GB version comes in under GB£250 – I think that’s a good deal given the features on offer here.

  • 6 GB + 64 GB is £199 / 229 €
  • 6 GB + 128 GB is £249 / 269 €

The X3 will be available from tomorrow globally, but will be coming to the UK from 17th September on both mi.com/uk and Amazon UK. For early birds, there’s £20 off the 128 GB version bringing the price down to just £229. That offer will last until 8th October 2020.

This looks like a very compelling offering for the value-conscious gamer and I’m sure it’ll get plenty of attention.

The launch event is available on YouTube below. Skip through to about 35 minutes in.


Xiaomi Ecosystem Updates for the UK



Xiaomi launched in the UK back in November 2018 and has made considerable progress in brand recognition and product availability – I know a couple of people who have bough Mi phones or Smart Bands and say good things. Certainly there’s probably an element of benefitting from Huawei’s misfortune but I think that does a disservice to Xiaomi’s products which go from personal gadgets and personal transport to smart homes and smart phones.

Xiaomi continues to move forwards and recently revealed its plans for UK partnerships for electric scooters and smart phones, plus the availability of the latest Mi Smart Band 5. Checking out these scooters, I definitely need to get one of these in for review…

Motoring and cycling specialists Halfords will be stocking Xiaomi’s new scooters. At the top of the range is the Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2 at GB£599. This e-scooter has a range of 45 km and can reach speeds of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) with a 300 W motor, and folds up for easy storage. It’s available now from Halfords.

Also available is the Mi Electric Scooter 1S, a cheaper variant of the Pro 2 at £499, but still coming with a range of 25 km and a top speed of the 25 km/h (15.5 mph) from the 250 W motor. Both the 1S and the Pro 2 have double brakes for safety.

At the bottom of the range is the Mi Electric Scooter Essential at £399 which can cover a distance of 20 km at a speed of 20 km/h. This scooter comes with 8.5″ pneumatic tyres, E-ABS and disc brakes and will be available soon.

Please remember that currently electric scooters can only be ridden legally on private land. UK Government trials are underway using commercial rental scooters. For a bit of fun, check out this race between a Xiaomi scooter and a jet-pack. Really…a jet pack

On the phone side, Xiaomi has partnered with 3 UK to offer the Mi 10 5G and Redmi Note 9 smartphones from 28th August. These are phones at opposite ends of the handset market. The Mi 10 comes with 6.67″ 90 Hz screen with a Snapdragon 865 CPU, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB storage, 5G and a quad camera setup with a 108 MP main shooter. Photos are analysed and improved using AI to get the best possible image. Priced at £799, it’s not cheap but there’s plenty of value in the Mi 10. On contract, 3 are offering a number of deals, including some with six months half-price.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Redmi Note 9 is only £149 with a 6.53″ FHD+ screen powered by a Mediatek Helio G85. There’s an AI supported quad camera round the back, with a 48 MP primary lens, and comes with 3 GB RAM and 64 GB of storage. Again, 3 have offers on the phone if buying the phone outright isn’t your thing

Finally, the Mi Smart Band 5 has a large 1.1″ AMOLED colour display, tracks 11 different sport types and is water-resistant to 50m, which means it’s perfect for swimming. With a two week battery life and magnetic coupling, it can spend more time on the wrist and less time on the charger. Priced at only £39.95 it seems like a complete bargain!

If you want to see more on all these products, the UK launch video is on Twitter.