Xiaomi is one of the three major players in the smartphone market, and while it had a turbulent 2022 financially it also saw some stellar products by the company. It also saw it invested significant sums into its EV business, which should hopefully bear fruit in the future.
In the world of smartphones, we saw more than a dozen Redmi Note 11 phones, somve very competitive Poco phones and a few exciting Xiaomi 12 series beasts. Here’s a list of Xiaomi’s highs and lows from the past year as we saw them – the 13 series aren’t included as they are too new to be judged yet.
Winner: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
This smartphone stole our hearts instantly as it arrived for a review. The main camera has a 1”-type 50MP sensor alongside two more shooters that are among the most capable in their fields. It is clearly the cameraphone to have, even if some of the shooters on the back are not up to the high standard set by the primary cam.
The 12S Ultra also has the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, a great 1440p screen, and an IP68 rating, which while nothing new is a big step for Xiaomi. A lovely package no matter how you look at it.
Loser: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
Except if you look to purchase one you can’t. Xiaomi limited the 12S Ultra to China, meaning international markets haven’t seen an Ultra phone in eighteen months.
Xiaomi Ultras (left to right): Mi 10 Ultra • 12S Ultra • Mi 11 Ultra
We are extremely sad that this phone is not escaping the domestic market, and whatever issues prevented Xiaomi from releasing it globally costed it dearly.
Winner: Xiaomi 12T Pro
In a year with no Ultra phones, the next best thing from Xiaomi is the Pro variants. While the Xiaomi 12 Pro was the company’s international flagship, we loved the more affordable Xiaomi 12T Pro, announced in the second half of 2022. It has a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset and a 200MP camera – features that no other Xiaomi devices have on the international scene.
What we also loved about the 12T Pro is the incredible display, solid battery with 120W fast charging and excellent audio output. There is also a limited edition by Daniel Arsham, which makes the phone look like a piece of art. It is clearly one of the successful products for Xiaomi.
Loser: 18-strong Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 series
The Redmi Note family is the best-selling one in Xiaomi’s portfolio. They are capable midrangers, placed in multiple price slots thanks to a multitude of different versions. However, Xiaomi seemingly went too far this time and ended up confusing journalists and enthusiasts alike.
Major markets like India and China got the same phone names but with different specs. Some of them were 5G, and some weren’t. It would take a decent amount of research to find out which of the phones are actually available for you and how they rank. More still if you want to make sure you are getting the best value for your money, which is normally key for mid-rangers.
At the end of the day, the company saw 60 million shipped Redmi Note units globally, reaching the impressive 300 million milestone, which is not a disaster, but even it admitted it needs to streamline its lineup in the future.
Winner: Poco F4 GT
The Poco F4 GT is a flagship chipset phone that ticks all the right boxes for a big group of smartphone gamers. It has pop-up triggers, RGB LEDs on the back that actually work instead of being there for aesthetics, and a 120Hz display as befits any self-respecting gaming device.
It’s got a polished software too and a very aggressive price, which made it an obvious choice for a lot of people.
Loser: Xiaomi Mix Fold 2
Xiaomi’s second generation foldable, Mix Fold 2, followed in the steps of the first one. Which is to say it never made it to international markets. Worse yet, the phone felt rather unpolished for a second-generation product.
The Mix Fold 2 was with us for a review, and we loved its thinness. However the fact that the custom MIUI provides limited multitasking capabilities takes away a lot of the utility of the large internal screen.
Then there is the overheating graphics unit, the unimpressive camera performance and the relatively high price compared with other foldables. We sure are hoping third time will be lucky and Mix Fold 3 will feel more like a premium device and less like a hastily assembled prototype.