Xiaomi may have diversified its product range to offer flagship phones, but the sub-$200 segment is still where all the action happens. The fact that it has maintained its lead in the budget segment, despite the increased pressure from Realme and Samsung, speaks volumes about how well Xiaomi knows what it's doing. That shows in the 2021 Redmi Note series. With the Redmi Note 10, Xiaomi has once again managed to find the balance between performance and price, which matters more than anything else in a market like India. But that doesn’t mean the Note 10 has no weak spots — it's got its fair share of them, and they could easily be a dealbreaker for some.
Today, Xiaomi is known as one of the most recognized smartphone manufacturers and its value-for-money offerings have made huge inroads in several markets around the world. But a lesser-known fact about the Chinese company is that its first-ever product was not a smartphone, but MIUI: the software that runs on most of their phones today.
Between then and now, a lot has changed and MIUI is no longer a custom ROM developed for the Google Nexus One. It’s a full-fledged skin that’s on millions of devices out there and it also happens to be amongst the most feature-rich — I can attest to this with my experience of using MIUI 12 on several phones.
Xiaomi is known for making some of the most popular affordable phones worldwide, but recently, it's been making some eye-catching flagships too. The Chinese smartphone company has already announced its Snapdragon 888-powered Mi 11, but its true flagship, the Mi 11 Ultra, is yet to come. However, we won't have to wait to get a glimpse of the phone. It has already been leaked in a hands-on video, and let me tell you one thing — IT IS CHONK.
As part of the Mi 11 international launch event, Xiaomi has also announced the forthcoming MIUI 12.5 rollout. The new version might only be a point release, but it adds some thoughtful touches to the Xiaomi ROM, such as CPU usage improvements and uninstallable system apps. It's rolling out to the Mi 11 and a few other new phones first.
India recently banned a slew of Chinese apps, most notably TikTok and WeChat, but also the Mi Browser Pro. That has implications for Xiaomi and its MIUI Android skin, as the company naturally pre-installs its own banned browser on its ROM. The manufacturer has now issued a statement, telling its customers that none of the blocked apps are functional on its phones anymore and a new version of MIUI is in the works that gets rid of them completely. The company has also reaffirmed that 100% of Indian user data stays on local servers.
Earlier this year, it was discovered that Google is working on a new tap gesture for Pixel phones in the Android 11 beta. More recently, Apple rolled out the same feature to iPhones participating in the iOS 14 beta. These gestures allow you to assign tasks to a double or triple tap on the back of the device — things like toggling the flashlight, bringing down the notifications shade, taking a screenshot, and opening Google Assistant, to name but a few. Now new evidence suggests that Xiaomi is working on a very similar feature for MIUI 12.
Xiaomi’s spin-off brand Poco started off with a spec-packed handset for less money but soon shifted to even more modest price segments to appeal to a broader userbase in markets like India. The last mid-ranger from Poco was the X2, and now the brand is bringing an even cheaper model. The latest entrant to the category is the Poco M2 Pro, which is an ambitious phone from Xiaomi costing a little under $200 in India.
Android may be more functional than iOS for most users when it comes to notifications, but you have to admit there's a level of polished elegance to Apple's panel and control center. Some users might even prefer the translucent design and separated notifications and quick toggle pages. If you're one of those people, or just interested in trying out iOS on your Android device, a new app from Treydev might be worth a look.
One of my favorite things about how Android handles apps is the streamlined process of updating them through the Play Store. Rather than waiting for a full system update just to fix a small bug in an app, phone-makers can push fixes through the Play Store as soon as the software is ready. Following its file browser, launcher, and many other apps, Xiaomi's Calendar is now available on the Store as well.