Known as 'China's Apple', Xiaomi is a huge brand in the Chinese and Indian smartphone markets - and now in Europe, with its November UK launch following a successful entry in Spain, France and Italy. It plans to hit the US in 2019, too.

For users in the UK, US and Europe, Xiaomi offers mobile phones with specifications several notches above what you'll get for the same money over here. If you want the best-value phone, you're in the right place. Also see: Best Xiaomi Deals

The Xiaomi line-up can be confusing for those not familiar with it, but follow these general rules of thumb and you can't go far wrong. Redmi is the company's budget line, so while prices are cheaper you shouldn't expect the same features and performance you get from the flagships. The Note range are its phablets or large-screen phones (though Mi Max is the largest), and plain old Mi is its flagship family.

The Mi 8 Pro, Mi 8 and futuristic Mi Mix 2S (originally a concept phone in its first edition) currently sit at the top of the line-up, and in the next few weeks we'll be adding some of the recently announced new phones from the company, including the Mi Mix 3.

Previously you also had the Mi Note at flagship status, but in the Mi Note 3 core hardware has been downgraded. Don't rule it out, though: with many of the same features and an identical design to the Mi6 it is appealing as a cheaper option.

Your buying guide to the best Xiaomi phones of 2018 

Though you can now find Xiaomi phones officially on sale in the UK, via Three, Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, Carphone Warehouse, Currys/PC World, eBuyerVery, Go Mobile, Mobile Phones Direct and Mi.com, you may also find special deals importing them from China.

This will entail using a site such as GearBest. If you choose to do so, note that only the Global models support 800MHz 4G LTE (Band 20), which is important to note for UK users on O2, GiffGaff or Sky Mobile. O2 relies solely on this band for 4G coverage, which means the most you'll get is 3G without reverting to Wi-Fi. For other networks that also use this band 4G coverage may be lower than you would find with a phone that does support 800MHz.

If you're buying from China you should also take into account that your consumer rights are different to when you buy within Europe, and that should something go wrong you're going to find aftersales support more difficult. Delivery times will also be longer, though there is usually a free option.

One major difference between Xiaomi phones and stock Android phones is that they run MIUI, and unless you have one of the International or Global models you'll find Google Play Services are not preinstalled. As long as it's a fairly recent device and capable of running MIUI 9, this is easy to solve. We've explained how to install Google Play on a Xiaomi phone here.

An exception here is the Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite, which are identical in design and specification to the Mi 6X and Redmi 6 Pro but running Android One rather than MIUI.

Best Xiaomi Phone Reviews

1. Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 9 November 2018

At £499 the Mi 8 Pro is an incredible buy, undercutting every rival flagship phone in the UK - and now that Xiaomi phones are easily available in the UK, there's no reason not to consider it.

With powerful performance, decent cameras, some genuinely useful software, a fancy in-display fingerprint sensor and a cool transparent back cover, this is a great all-rounder at a fantastic price.

Read our Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro review.

2. Xiaomi Mi8

Xiaomi Mi8
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 5 October 2018

Astonishing value, insane performance, awesome photography, a larger than ever 18.7:9 AMOLED display and a cool new 3D Face recognition feature are all reasons why you should rush out and buy the Mi 8. Right now it costs just £438.33/US$569.99/€490.20 from GearBest, which is several hundred pounds cheaper than many of the phones with which it competes.

We're sad to see Xiaomi not keeping up with its rivals in terms of wireless charging, waterproofing and a Quad-HD screen, and that the highly anticipated in-display fingerprint is unique to the Explorer Edition, but at this price we can hardly complain. Amazing phone, highly recommended.

Read our Xiaomi Mi8 review.

3. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 November 2018

The original full-display smartphone is evolving into something really special. Now with wireless charging, faster performance and a dual-camera that builds in AI, the Mi Mix 2S is a closer rival to western flagships than ever - and at a fraction of the price. 

The Mi Mix 2S majors on performance and design. With its ceramic, mirror-finish case and 18:9 display it looks and feels incredible in the hand.

With full Google services the Xiaomi is easy to recommend, although it's not ideal for selfie and audio fanatics with a poorly positioned front camera and a mono speaker that doesn't make up for the lack of a headphone jack.

Battery life could also be better, and we'd like to see the company finally take the plunge with a Quad-HD display and waterproofing.

Read our Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S review.

4. Xiaomi Pocophone F1

Xiaomi Pocophone F1
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 November 2018

There's no doubt that the Pocophone F1 is one of the best Chinese phones we've ever tested. 

Xiaomi has done an outstanding job of creating an impressively high-spec phone for a mind-blowingly cheap price. It's might not be the thinnest and lightest phone around but the design is still attractive and desirable.

If you like the Mi8 but your budget can't stretch this this is the phone for you.

Read our Xiaomi Pocophone F1 review.

5. Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite

Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 November 2018

Budget Android phones don't come better than this. The Mi A2 Lite has a premium design with 19:9 notch display, dual rear cameras and decent performance. Storage is generous, and we like the fact you can bolster the 64GB internal space with microSD cards up to 256GB in capacity without sacrificing dual-SIM support. A great budget buy.

Read our Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite review.

6. Xiaomi Mi Note 3

Xiaomi Mi Note 3
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 2 May 2018

The Mi Note 3 is a downgrade on the Mi6 and, arguably, the Mi Note 2, but it appeals with a lower price and an attractive premium design. Though it doesn't feature a flagship processor, this is is a very capable smartphone with a very decent dual-camera. Provided you can live without 800MHz 4G and are happy to install Google Play Services yourself, it's difficult not to recommend the Mi Note 3.

Read our Xiaomi Mi Note 3 review.

7. Xiaomi Mi6

Xiaomi Mi6
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 26 May 2017

This really is an amazing phone, and only the Chinese software puts us off recommending it for a UK audience. It is crazy fast, crazy beautiful and crazy priced. If you know your way around Android go and get one, and you won’t be disappointed.

Read our Xiaomi Mi6 review.

8. Xiaomi Mi A1

Xiaomi Mi A1
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 7 November 2017

We're big fans of Xiaomi phones, but have been frustrated by MIUI on many an occasion. The Mi A1 and Mi 5X are to all intents and purposes the same phone, except one runs Android One and the other MIUI 8.5. That's huge news: at last we have a Xiaomi phone we can really get onboard with in the UK and Europe.

The Mi A1 itself is a well-built and decent all-round mid-range Android phone. It's not the fastest phone we've ever seen, and its low-light photography can be faulted. It lacks wireless charging, a futuristic full-screen display, a Quad-HD resolution, waterproofing, even NFC.

But at around £200 it offers amazing value, with good performance, a good camera, a nice design and decent software with timely security updates. If you're on a budget, it's difficult to think of a similarly priced phone that will do a better job.

Read our Xiaomi Mi A1 review.

9. Xiaomi Mi Max 3

Xiaomi Mi Max 3
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 23 October 2018

If you want a huge screen on a budget, without going the whole hog and purchasing a tablet, we can think of no better example than the Mi Max 3. Now with improved performance, a second camera lens at the rear and a huge 6.9 18:9 display, it's a worthy upgrade on the Mi Max 2 - and still just as affordable.

Read our Xiaomi Mi Max 3 review.

10. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 November 2018

A big screen and a low price are paired with decent battery life, usable performance and an enhanced dual-camera in the Redmi Note 5. There are some drawbacks, such as the old Micro-USB port, lack of Quick Charge support and partly plastic build, but in other respects budget phones don't come much better than this.

Read our Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review.