2022 Winners and losers: Xiaomi
Xiaomi is one of the three big players in the smartphone market, and although it had a turbulent 2022 financially, it also saw some great products from the company. It also saw it invest significant sums in its electric car business, which should hopefully bear fruit in the future.
In the smartphone world, we saw more than a dozen Redmi Note 11 phones, some very competitive Poco phones and a few exciting Xiaomi 12 series. Here’s a list of Xiaomi’s highs and lows from the past year as we saw them – the 13 series are not included as they are too new to be rated yet.
Winner: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
This smartphone stole our hearts instantly when it arrived for a review. The main camera has a 1″ type 50MP sensor along with two more shooters that are among the most capable in their fields. It’s definitely the camera phone to have, even if some of the shooters on the back aren’t up to the high standard that the primary cam sets.
The 12S Ultra also has the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, a stunning 1440p display and an IP68 rating, which while nothing new is a big step for Xiaomi. A delicious package no matter how you look at it.
Loser: Xiaomi 12S Ultra
Except if you want to buy 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’re extremely sad that this phone doesn’t escape the domestic market, and whatever issues prevented Xiaomi from releasing it globally, it came at a high cost.
Winner: Xiaomi 12T Pro
In a year without 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 units have on the international stage.
What we also loved about the 12T Pro is the incredible screen, solid battery with 120W fast charging and excellent sound output. There is also a limited edition by Daniel Arsham, which makes the phone look like a work 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 in Xiaomi’s portfolio. They are capable mid-rangers, placed in multiple price slots thanks to a multitude of different versions. However, Xiaomi apparently 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 specifications. Some of them were 5G and some were not. It would take a decent amount of research to find out which of the phones are actually available to you and how they rank. More so if you want to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money, which is usually key for mid-rangers.
At the end of the day, the company saw 60 million Redmi Note units shipped globally, reaching the impressive 300 million milestone, which is not a disaster, but even it admitted that 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 large group of smartphone gamers. It has pop-up triggers, RGB LEDs on the back that actually work rather than being there for aesthetics, and a 120Hz display as befits any self-respecting gaming device.
It also has a polished software and a very aggressive price, which made it an obvious choice for many people.
Loser: Xiaomi Mix Fold 2
Xiaomi’s second-generation foldable, the Mix Fold 2, followed in the footsteps of the first. That is, it never reached the international market. Worse yet, the phone felt pretty 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 much of the utility of the large internal display.
Then there’s the overheated graphics unit, the unimpressive camera performance and the relatively high price compared to other foldables. We’re certainly hoping that third time will be lucky and the Mix Fold 3 will feel more like a premium device and less like a hastily assembled prototype.