The best Xiaomi phones may not be as universally recognizable as devices from the likes of Apple and Samsung, but their excellent build quality and great cameras nonetheless make them some of the best value handsets on the market.
That’s not to say you’ll find every Xiaomi phone on the best budget phones shelf, mind. In 2023, the company has plenty of options in the high-end arena, too. A few of those models give the best camera phones a run for their money, while some boast performance specs to rival the best phones, period.
Having fully reviewed most of the top Xiaomi releases, we can help you find the best Xiaomi phone to suit your needs. For instance, while the newly released Xiaomi 13 occupies our current top spot thanks to its exceptional performance and sleek design, you might want to go for the still-excellent Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G if you’re after something a touch more affordable.
Before you read on, it’s worth noting that we’re currently testing the Xiaomi 13 Pro, Xiaomi 13T and Xiaomi 13T Pro, which prohibits their inclusion on this list (for now). You’ll find our early thoughts on the former in our hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review, but we’ll inevitably be adding at least some of these devices to the below list once we’re able to pass a full verdict on their quality.
If you’re not ready to commit to a Xiaomi phone just yet, there’s always the best Android phones, or best iPhones, to consider.
The best Xiaomi phones 2023
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As alluded to above, we haven’t yet finished testing the uber-premium Xiaomi 13 Pro, so the standard Xiaomi 13 is our pick for the best-performing Xiaomi phone money can buy right now.
The phone’s lightning-fast speeds are made possible by the presence of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset – similar to the processor you’ll find powering models in the Samsung Galaxy S23 line – and the device is offered in two memory variations: 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, paired with 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage (though, if you’re in the UK, you’re looking at the 8GB version only).
Beyond a marginal size increase, the Xiaomi 13’s display is largely unchanged when compared to its predecessor, the Xiaomi 12 (also on this list), but Xiaomi’s knack for brightness and vivid colors is here delivered in a much sleeker, almost iPhone-like body, which lands its latest flagship in the ‘handsome’ camp of today’s best Android phones.
Granted, the device offers almost no originality on the design front beyond its Leica-branded camera setup, but if you’re a sucker for Apple’s straight-sided aesthetic, then the Xiaomi 13’s unashamed resemblance to the best iPhones makes it an even more attractive proposition.
Read our full Xiaomi 13 review
We’re calling the Xiaomi 12 Pro the best Xiaomi all-rounder for a multitude of reasons. The Pro has a great-looking 6.73-inch display, super-fast 120W charging, a sleek finish, and a trio of awesome 50MP cameras – all that in a device that’s never been cheaper, thanks to the arrival of its successor in March 2023.
With powerful performance, too, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is great for gamers, photographers and entertainment fans alike. And, it’s very easy to recommend over 2021’s Mi 11 or the non-Pro Xiaomi 12.
Annoyingly, the Xiaomi 12 Pro has no IP rating, though it does have some waterproofing and dustproofing measures. Its software is also a little bloated, too, and we found its camera wasn’t fantastic at zooming (being limited to 2x optical zoom). But other than those small issues, this is still a top device in 2023.
Read our full Xiaomi 12 Pro review
The Xiaomi 12 was the company’s main flagship phone of 2022 – sitting under the Pro model, which you’ve already read about higher up on this list– so it’s no wonder that it still ranks among the best Xiaomi phones of 2023.
This is a cute, small phone with a petite frame, which means it feels great in the hand and is light to carry about. It also has a smooth svelte finish, which is a treat for your fingertips. You’ll also get loads of high-end specs with the Xiaomi 12: it has a 50MP main camera, a powerful chipset, relatively fast charging and great battery life.
With the Xiaomi 12, your money doesn’t go as far as it does with the Xiaomi 12 Pro – but this is still a great option for those who prefer smaller handsets.
Read our full Xiaomi 12 review
The Black Shark 5 Pro offers some fantastic performance for the price, easily ensuring it’s still one of the best gaming phones around in 2023. It can play top-end games at their highest graphics settings without a hitch, thanks to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and 12GB of RAM.
Further helping your gaming experience are a set of pop-up physical triggers that can be assigned a function for your game. Trust us: they makes a big difference, effectively turning the phone into a gaming controller all-in-one.
While it gets rather hot and battery life could be a little better, the Black Shark 5 Pro is a potent gaming system that’s perfectly suited for gaming on the move.
Read our full Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro review
Having arrived in 2022 as the 5G equivalent to the standard Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro, the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is now affordable enough in 2023 to be called the best budget Xiaomi handset.
This mid-range phone comes packing a 6.67-inch, Full HD+ AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. You’ll also get up to 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage, too, as well as a long-lasting 5,000 mAh battery and 67W fast charging support.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G’s stereo speakers are loud and robust-sounding for an affordable Android, and while the phone’s processor brings disappointing limitations, it’s still more powerful than the Snapdragon 732G you’ll find powering its predecessor. If you’re not hung up on having the best camera phone, this is a solid option, though it’s worth bearing in mind that the Redmi Note 12 series has recently hit shelves in certain regions.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G review
How to choose the best Xiaomi phone for you
Xiaomi makes a wide range of handsets, so there will almost certainly be at least one model that you’ll be happy with, but there are a number of things you should consider when making your choice.
The first is how much you want to spend – obviously, with a bigger spend, you’ll get more consistently high-end specs, so if you’re spending less, then you need to work out what you can live without.
In terms of specs, the main things to look out for include power, which is especially important if you plan to play many games on your phone. Cameras are obviously important if smartphone photography matters much to you, and good battery life could benefit anyone – but if the phone charges fast, that could go some way to making up for worse endurance.
Screen size is more subjective – some people want a large screen, as this is better for watching videos on, and gives you more space to interact with apps. But it also makes the phone bigger, heavier, and harder to use with one hand. Regardless of size, though, a high resolution and refresh rate can be beneficial.
So, weigh up which of those things matter most to you, and choose accordingly. Or, go for a flagship and potentially tick every box – at a price.
Are Xiaomi phones better than Samsung phones?
Each year, Xiaomi’s flagship phones feel more and more like Samsung rivals – the Xiaomi 13 is the best example yet, as it’s a portable flagship like the Galaxy S23.
Samsung and Xiaomi flagships have slight differences, though, as Xiaomi models offer faster charging while Samsung models have better camera arrays, so your preferences will depend on what you’re looking for.
That’s the case for budget phones, too. While Samsung’s Galaxy A phones give you great displays on a budget, we’d say Poco devices are more powerful and Redmi handsets are better for photography.
Is Xiaomi a good brand to buy?
We’ve been big fans of Xiaomi phones since the brand started selling them in the West, and if you’re looking for a new phone, we’d definitely recommend checking out their offerings.
Like all brands, Xiaomi has misses as well as hits, and not all of their devices are great. There are sometimes duds in the flagship line, with handsets that are too expensive for their own good, or in the low-end, models with features that don’t totally work.
But, on this list of the best Xiaomi phones, you’re obviously going to find the best ones we’ve tested.
Do Xiaomi phones have Google apps?
Good question – yep, all Xiaomi phones come with Google Mobile Services, so they have Maps, Pay, the Play Store and more installed. That also means you can download plenty more apps – you’re getting a decent Android experience here.
In fact, Huawei and Apple are the only companes which sell phones without the Play Store – and obviously Apple has the App Store, so it’s fine.
One thing to note, though: even Android phones don’t use Google apps in China, where other options are preferred by consumers. So, if you an import a Xiaomi phone from China, you might find it doesn’t have the Google Mobile Services – saying that, this list only includes devices that are on sale in the West, so you don’t need to worry about that.
How we test
To come up with this list of the best Xiaomi phones, we tested every included model, in most cases using them for a week or more. That testing included using the camera, pushing the processor with high-end games, multitasking, seeing how long the battery lasts – and how fast it charges – and living with each phone as our main handset during the test period.
So, all that leaves us with an excellent idea of exactly how each Xiaomi phone performs, and it also allows us to compare each model to other Xiaomi handsets and the wider smartphone market.
Using that information – and factoring in the price, too – we then worked out which phones were worthy of inclusion and how they should rank.