Xiaomi is a China-based corporation, founded in 2010 and currently owns three popular smartphone brands, Xiaomi Mi, Redmi, and Pocophone. The company originally developed custom software for Android users and released its first smartphone, Xiaomi 1 in 2011.
Xiaomi’s multi-brand strategy is aimed to broaden the company’s market portfolio and outreach multiple consumer segments. Although these brands are often competing at similar price points, there are distinct differences among them. As an example, Poco X2 and Redmi Note 8 Pro have similar pricing, yet they have fundamental differences.
It’s interesting to learn further why would Xiaomi operate brands that compete against one another and what it stands to gain from this strategy?
Mi is the primary brand of Xiaomi with great design and higher-end hardware for flagship users. Xiaomi Mi models usually have metal cases and overall good build quality. They usually have better cameras with dual flash, optical image stabilization, and other photography-related features.
As the premier brand of Xiaomi, Mi models receive frequent software updates, which add new features and fix glitches. Top Xiaomi Mi models have a glass-back design look and feel stylish, but they may break when dropped accidentally. Best Xiaomi Mi models are often compared with Samsung Galaxy S and Apple iPhone but at noticeably lower price tags.
Xiaomi continues to improve the user experience of Mi models and it is getting easier to get a premium feel with high-end Xiaomi Mi models.
Redmi is a sub-brand of Xiaomi and aimed at budget users, who are willing to buy devices with entry-level specs. Equipped with MediaTek Dimensity and Snapdragon 6xx SoCs, many Redmi smartphones are still adequate for common productivity tasks. Noticeably, Redmi phones lack in terms of design and build quality compared to Xiaomi Mi.
Although the best Redmi models are largely made of metal, some parts like buttons and edges are still plastic. You will get less capable cameras with more basic photography features.
If you are a Redmi user, you will receive less frequent updates. However, the current MIUI software version is generally stable and more capable after numerous major updates.
Another sub-brand of Xiaomi, Pocophone is a line of mid-range and high-end models. First introduced in 2018, the brand caught attention with the release of Pocophone F1. Powered with Snapdragon 845 and 8GB of RAM, it’s one of the most powerful smartphones in 2018, priced at only $300. However, it lacks in other areas, such as cameras and displays of average quality.
For the 2022 edition, Xiaomi introduced the Pocophone F4 GT with Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 at only $530, which is mid-range pricing for high-end performance. Pocophone is ideal for users who seek the best gaming experience possible at more affordable pricing.
It’s immediately obvious that high-end Xiaomi Mi models compete directly with Apple iPhone and Samsung S series. It’s an alternative for users who seek a premium experience. Redmi offers entry-level and mid-range smartphones that are suitable for casual productivity and light gaming.
With MediaTek Dimensity, MediaTek Gxx, and Snapdragon 6xx, you could expect mediocre or decent performance at best with a typical Redmi smartphone. However, you can still get high-end performance with the Redmi K series, which is equipped with the latest Snapdragon 8xx or 8 Gen 1 processor.
Pocophone fills a unique niche in the market. It is for gaming-oriented users who don’t want to spend money on a flagship model.