Xiaomi is known for its incredible value for money. And now that it has officially entered the UK tech market, consumers stand to make excellent savings even before any further discounts. Xiaomi produces high-quality tech at low prices, and never makes more than 5% profit on hardware. (See Best Xiaomi phones)
Of course, you’ll often find even cheaper prices when you buy direct from a Chinese company such as GearBest. The flagship Mi 9 (reviewed) has just launched in the UK at £499, but over at GearBest you can get it for just £329.70!
And the slightly older but still very decent Mi 8 Pro (reviewed) is a great example, with an RRP of £499 in the UK but currently available to import from China for just £314 (buy here). That makes it possibly one of the best phone deals you’ll see today.
The Xiaomi Electric Scooter (reviewed) is also an amazing deal at £329.70 (down from £399) from GearBest, and if you select the Fast-30 warehouse option it will ship from France (at £8.02) and not incur import duty.
It’s worth pointing out that not all GearBest’s warehouses are in China, and anything shipped from within Europe will not incur this tax. CN-006 is Spain, Fast-07 is also Spain, Fast-08 is Poland, Fast-10 Italy, Fast-13 Spain, Fast-23 Czech Republic, Fast-26 Poland, Fast-27 England, Fast-28 France, Fast-29 Spain, Fast-30 France and Fast-36 is Italy.
But there are also some great deals to be had from approved UK stockists, too. Where possible we would advise UK customers to go through official routes to buy these products. Some local stockists include Three, Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, Carphone Warehouse, Currys/PC World, Go Mobile, Mobile Phones Direct, eBuyer, Scan, Box, Halfords, Very, Littlewoods and Mi.com.
We are well aware that there are many products within Xiaomi’s line-up that are not yet available in the UK, and that even those that are can usually be found cheaper in China. GearBest and Geekbuying have some awesome flash sales, for example. There are some caveats, though, as we’ll run through below.
Best Xiaomi Deals
Xiaomi Buying Advice
This might sound obvious, but remember that if you do buy from China the product is likely to be Chinese. The Chinese Mi Band 3, for example, has Chinese icons that you probably won’t understand – and the UK version is so cheap anyway (£26.99 retail price and currently available on Amazon at £29.90) that the few pounds you might save simply isn’t worth it.
For Xiaomi phones you can get around this by looking for a Global model on which Google services are preinstalled (if you do get a Chinese model you will need to install Google services yourself).
Double-check which connectivity bands are supported in the product listing – Chinese-ROM Xiaomi phones very often skip Band 20 (800MHz) 4G LTE. This isn’t the end of the world for many customers as it’s one of three 4G bands we use in the UK, but if you’re on a network that uses only that band for 4G (O2, GiffGaff, Sky Mobile etc) you will be limited to 3G or Wi-Fi.
Xiaomi laptops are gorgeous, powerful and excellent value devices, and the only thing that stops us recommending them to UK users is the fact they are sold running Chinese-language Windows 10 with a US keyboard layout.
You might be able to get through the setup procedure using Google Translate, but you’ll still find much of the OS is Chinese. A better approach is to reinstall an OEM version of Windows 10 designed for UK users, and you can get these for as little as £10-£20.
As well as reinstalling the OS you’ll want to install missing drivers that are wiped during this process, which you will be able to find online if you have another computer you can use to download them. A driver updater utility will also help here. Note that you will probably need to have to hand a wired mouse to install these drivers if the trackpad drivers are missing.
Ignoring the language issues, one other thing to watch when buying from China is that you are liable for paying import duty. Yes, it’s true that not all parcels are picked up by Customs, and you might ‘get away with it’, but by law you should pay 20% of the value printed on the shipping paperwork. Some people find they get a request for this payment several weeks after the product is delivered, while others will have to pay before it is delivered. Either way, if it looks like a good deal, make sure it still sounds like a good deal when you multiply it by 1.2.