If you know where to look there are always great deals to be found on Xiaomi phones, electric scooters, wearables, earbuds and more.
Typically the best deals are available from unofficial stores, and increasingly so within the UK. That said, GearBest, Geekbuying and other online retailers like these offer to ship Chinese tech globally at much lower prices than we pay in the UK. These retailers are often responsible for the samples that are sent to us for our Xiaomi phone reviews.
When purchasing Xiaomi phones from China always look for the global models, since these will run full Google services and support English language out of the box.
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Right now the western world is naturally cautious about buying things from China. However, with things starting to return to normality there, it may actually be faster to import tech products than it is to deal with stock shortages and delivery headaches in the UK.
Health professionals assure us that the virus is unlikely to be able to survive on any packaging. However, wherever possible, we would recommend purchasing from the company’s EU warehouses if only to rule out the need to pay import duty when shipping goods from China to the UK. If your parcel is intercepted by Customs you may otherwise be asked to pay duty at 20% of whatever value is written on the shipping paperwork – do factor this into the cost.
A few years back, importing Xiaomi phones to the UK was plagued with issues. Chinese ROM models do not come preinstalled with Google services, and in such cases you would need to install this yourself and navigate a Chinese menu and keyboard to get it set it up correctly. Connectivity was also an issue, with one of the three 4G bands used in the UK (800MHz/Band 20) rarely supported, and this could leave O2 users out in the cold. Thankfully, if you take care to purchase only Global ROM models, these are all a thing of the past.
Some of these issues do still apply to other Xiaomi products, however. Xiaomi laptops typically come with a Chinese Windows 10 OS, so require some know-how to install an English operating system, an OEM version of which will cost you only £10-20. With older products, such as the Mi Band 3, Chinese versions will naturally have Chinese menu icons. And many Xiaomi products shipped from China come with Chinese user manuals – Google is your friend here if you’re not sure how to get them set up.
It’s worth pointing out that any Xiaomi product you buy from the UK Mi Store will be an English version, and none of these issues will apply. They do, however, typically command slightly higher prices, and that’s largely because Xiaomi has less control over the supply and distribution costs outside China.
Not sure what you’re looking for? Also see Best Xiaomi phones.
When is Black Friday 2020 – should you wait for a better deal?
Black Friday will take place on Friday 27 November, immediately followed by Cyber Monday on 30 November. Traditionally the biggest sales event of the year, it may yet throw up some even greater tech deals – but with so much uncertainty around finance and retail, and no guarantees regarding what discounts we will see, we advise you not to wait: if you see a deal you like, on a product you need, and you can afford the outlay, buy it today.