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Five Things You Should Know About Xiaomi in India

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Xiaomi, the mystical Chinese company, has been regularly popping up in the news since its launch in 2010 — and with good reason. They’ve successfully managed to grab attention of the pro-technologists by supplying quality products at unbelievable prices. They finally made their entry into India this week with a press conference held in Delhi, followed by a up-close-and-personal session with bloggers in Mumbai. Rajat Agrawal of BGR India asked all the right questions to Hugo Barra, the ex-Googler who joined as VP of Xiaomi last year. I too got a chance to probe Hugo and team Xiaomi with some burning questions, and here are some key takeaways that you need to know about Xiaomi and their products. 

1) Their most expensive phone, the Xiaomi Mi3, will sell for Rs. 13,999. After asking how Xiaomi makes money if they sell their handsets almost at cost, they suggest that every product has a lifecycle of 12 to 18 months. Over a period of time, the components used to build the phone get cheaper, thereby increasing their margins. They also sell a lot of accessories; albeit many of them are priced reasonably (their 5200mAh battery pack for example costs about Rs. 500 in China). They also sell theme packs and Manu Kumar Jain, their Head of India Operations, also teased the possibility of mobile ads as a way to make some revenue. 

2) Their phones will have International warranty. This is unlike many phone brands, that don’t offer the same.

3) Xiaomi as a company is accepting of people tinkering with their phone’s software. The phones come with unlocked bootloaders and if any of your rooting/custom ROM experiments bricks the phone, Xiaomi service centers will help in restoring it to a working condition. This is again unlike big brands, many of whom have their bootloaders locked and deem the warranty void if you tamper with the software (something as basic as rooting the phone).

4) Speaking of after-sales support, people are usually wary of new phone makers when it comes to this. I’ve personally heard of bad service stories particularly with Indian brands where the turn around times have been close to a month. Xiaomi has deployed over 30 service centers in 20 Indian cities at the time of launch (click here to view). Hugo Barra said that the average time taken for repair is currently one business day; which in itself sounds fairly quick. But he said they’re aiming to bring it down to as low as a couple of hours in the future (the two exclusive Mi service centers already have this). Mind you, these are repairs and not replacements of the phones.

Team Xiaomi and the Bloggers at the Meet Held in Mumbai

Team Xiaomi and the Bloggers at the Meet Held in Mumbai

5) As for the phones themselves, their hardware is top-notch and the forked version of Android that they call MIUI has many useful features. For instance, call recording is built right into the dialer menu along with an option to record all calls by default. This is important because although there are 3rd party apps on the Android Play Store for this, they’ve not been reliable in my experience. They’ve provided a way to backup the phone entirely, apps data included, and pack it into a single file. There’s a ton of features baked into MIUI that will appeal to the pro-users.

When asked about the speed to update the phone to the latest version of Android, Hugo admitted that there have been delays in the past, and its a problem he wants to solve. Right now, their flagship Mi3’s MIUI is based on Android 4.4 KitKat, but it might be left behind once Android L is launched later this year. To its credit though, we noticed a feature like heads-up notifications, which is debuting in Android L, is already part of MIUI. Further, Xiaomi has plans of hiring developers in Bangalore to create a variant of MIUI that’s tailor-made for Indian needs.

Bottom line — if you’re a stock Android lover, Xiaomi phones shouldn’t be your first choice. But the combination of useful software features, top-notch hardware and ground-breaking pricing make Xiaomi products too hard to entirely ignore for anybody.

Update: A few people asked us on Twitter if Xiaomi phones support Google Play store and other Google apps. We’re adding the answer to the post that, yes, all Xiaomi phones are fully compatible with the above mentioned. This means that unlike Amazon’s Kindle Fire or Nokia X series are built on the AOSP version of Android and are void of Google services, Xiaomi products comply with Google’s Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) and pass the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS). Read more about these terminologies here

Rohan Naravane

Rohan Naravane is in charge of content & product experience on PriceBaba. When he’s not writing about technology, he likes to talk about it and will ramble on if he finds you remotely technological. His on-going endeavours include creating a perfect routine that allows him to get back in shape, followed by marathoning of TV shows/movies after work.

26 Comments

    • Nikhil Uthale
    • July 18, 2014

    Well covered. Needs to do a Moto e to get to masses, IMO.

    Reply
    • r0han
    • July 18, 2014

    Nikhil Uthale They have, with the Redmi 1S which is due to launch right after the Mi3. 

    http://pricebaba.com/mobile/xiaomi-redmi-1s

    Reply
    • iambasilmathew
    • July 22, 2014

    Dear Rohan,
    Thank you for the post.
    My name is Basil Mathew. I have some question that I would like to ask to the Xiaomi India’s CEO regarding the “Unfair Trade Pratises” being followed by the company in its retailing bussiness model. Would it be possible for you to share with me, if you have the knowledge of, the e-mail contact details of the Xiaomi India CEO?
    My email id is
    Thanks & Regads
    Basil

    Reply
    • r0han
    • July 24, 2014

    iambasilmathew Hi Basil Mathew. We’re unfortunately not in possession of the contact details of Xiaomi India’s head. He can be reached on Twitter @manukumarjain. Would you be willing to share what are these “unfair trade practices” you speak of?

    Reply
    • indsin
    • September 3, 2014

    so does it mean that I can upgrade a xiaomi phone with an unofficial kitkat update without the fear of losing the phone’s warranty?

    Reply
    • r0han
    • November 24, 2014

    indsin Yes

    Reply
    • ravi singh
    • January 22, 2015

    Want to know is Xiaomi 4g upgradable or not

    Reply
    • Mohit Gupta
    • March 25, 2015

    Servicing happens to be still a very very weak link in the supply chain gamut of the newbies. My Mi3 bought Oct 2014 has already stayed in the service center for more than 10 weeks cumulative of issues related to display/ motherboard and shoddy workmanship resulting in camera lens falling off and case being mishandled. I have highlighted and escalated the issue several times but have only been offered apologies couple of times.

    Completely disagree with the average turnaround time for repair suggested above.

    Reply
    • on verge of loosing the job due to Xiaomi phone..

      excerpt with ccare..thrw ur nw purchd MI in garbage bx & forget instnce, tellg urslf its a wrng decesn 2 by MI & by nw ph to save your job…

      really pathetic condition.. i purchased a new phone of Rs 899 to save my job..

      Reply
      • Suraj Bhan
      • September 14, 2015

      I am agree with you, the service which Hugo is committing cant be achieved, i am also a victim of poor service of XIAOMI, and still running behind them for more then a month now to get it repaired, very bad service, the product is good but when it comes to after sale service XIAOMI stands in the same line as other low end brands, and even no one reverts on toll free number and mail id given at website, and they don’t have any contact person also here in India, you cant trace any email id other then service.in@xiaomi.com, so no one bothers as far as after sale service is concerned even these big giants like Hugo and manu jain

      Reply
        • Pawan Manwani
        • January 6, 2016

        the most funny thing is that e-mail ID – service.in@xiaomi.com doesn’t even working.
        It sends failure message back to the sender.

        Regarding service within One day – Mr. Hugo, it’s India not china, just go and visit your service centres in the capital of India – New Delhi itself, they keep phones with them for almost 2-3 months and I can prove it as I’m one of the victim.

        Reply
    • Suraj Bhan
    • September 14, 2015

    i am totally disagree with the statement of Hugo Barra, the service which Hugo is committing cant be achieved, i am also a victim of poor service of XIAOMI, and still running behind them for more then a month now to get it repaired, very bad service, the product is good but when it comes to after sale service XIAOMI stands in the same line as other low end brands, and even no one reverts on toll free number and mail id given at website, and they don’t have any contact person also here in India, you cant trace any email id other then service.in@xiaomi.com, so no one bothers as far as after sale service is concerned even these big giants like Hugo and manu jain

    Reply
    • Sumit
    • October 29, 2015

    What are escalation email addrress or grievance cell offereed by Xiaomi??
    There is none actually. I have tries calling customer care number and it never gets connected.

    My phone – MI4 got motherboard issue in 8 months of usage which is horrible to know and its kept by service center for 15 days. There is no guarantee it will get fixed or some crappy repair will be done. Why can’t i get a new phone when it’s still under warranty? Parts used in MI4 are really substandard and gets weared out within 6-8 months of usage. I wonder if someone from Xiaomi has got guts to listen to customer complaints and come in front by sharing email address or mobile number.
    Senior management is hiding behind scene and people in repair center openly claim to escalate since they know noone in Xiaomi will listen or can be contacted.

    I challenge Xiaomi to share their escalation matrix who really works and respond to customer concern.

    My cell # 91-9999502749
    Name: Sumit Kumar

    Reply
    • Amir
    • November 5, 2015

    I’m waiting my phone from last 1 month no proper answer from xiaomi service center. 🙁
    I will never buy xiaomi phone again.

    Reply
    • harish
    • December 3, 2015

    Ha ha ha Totally agree with one comment above that “save your time, save your job by throwing MI devices to bin and buy of some other reputed n trusted brands”

    Reply
    • MADHAV
    • January 6, 2016

    I have never seen after sales service as bad as of xiaomi. I had purchased a xiaomi mi 4i in october 2015 and i had charging issue with the phone so submitted the same at the service centre in jaipur in december 2015 where i was told it would be repaired under warranty. Half an hour later i got a call from them that water had entered the phone though it never happened on my part. I had been using the mobile the whole day and if water had entered mobile had entered it would have switched off. I mailed them around a week ago and received no reply till date , the executives at service centre are very rude and arrogant and the mobile have still not been repaired. This is the worst experience of my life with any company.

    Reply
    • Pawan Manwani
    • January 6, 2016

    Make sense friend… if you have xiaomi phone, through it in bin and buy a new phone.
    In Xiaomi no one really bothers about providing services… they are just selling cheap low class mobile handsets in India and making fool of us.

    Reply
    • Prashant Tripathi
    • January 25, 2016

    I am customer who had bought mi4i mobile two months ago.after 15 days of use there arise an issue with my phone and i sent it to MI service center(qarmatek service pvt ltd) through pick mi.after paying amount of rs 6269 as charge.after two days i received my phone back and as i switch on my mobile there i again found some issue .on paying such amount i am quite misireable and upset from your services if you have charge someone atleast u should provide better service.i want to bring in your notice that your service is very pathetic.i was not expecting such kind of service from your side.the mobile was under warranty still they charge me in the name of liquid damage.on paying such charge still my handset was not repaired properly.you people are looting customer in the name of service ,if i had paid the charges then why my phone was not repaired properly.now i have decide to report against this service.if you are able to do my help otherwise i have no option to complaint a rep[or in the court of law.
    i hope there would be some action and my handset will be repaired..

    Reply
    • dharmesh
    • February 27, 2016

    5 monts se jyada time ho gaya mera fon abhi tak nahi diya
    ekbar sevice center me diya 5 mahine me bana aur vo bi bigda huwa dusrae din enka dusra service center pe diya vo bole k isme to sab purine and dublicate part dala hai.
    compay me bat karte hai to koi thik se jabav hi nahi deta
    koi b 5-6 bar khula huwa phone lene ko taiyar nahi hoga
    aur company par fon arte hai to sahi dhang se bat nahi karte eska koi solution hai ?????????

    Reply
    • Varun Gagneja
    • May 7, 2016

    Xiaomi Mi has a very bad customer service, specially in India.
    I bought my Xiaomi Mi4i phone from flipkart and after 3-4 months I found out that touch of my phone stopped responding/working from the left side of the screen.

    I had submitted my phone to Xiaomi Mi’s NCR official service partner and they diagnosed that touch of my phone is gone and it needs a replacement. They told me that it may take from 4 to 5 days to replace my touch panel.

    Since then its been a month, And I’ve not got my phone back. And they are still saying that they still need another 9 to 10 days to fix my phone.

    I wrote lots to mail to Xiaomi’s customer service asking about any updates on my phones and these guys dont even bother to even revert back on mails.

    Whenever I call them, they says your ticket is at highest priority and our executives will reach out to you very soon. But till now, haven’t received even a single mail or call from them.

    I got to know from one of there customer care executives that I am not the only one who is suffering, but there are 100’s of other customer whose cases/repairs are pending from months

    I personally suggest from my bad experience, that don’t buy any Xiaomi Product. Otherwise, they will make you suffer as they made me.
    https://www.quora.com/How-is-mi-Mobiles-post-purchase-service-experience-Good-bad-or-worst-services-Share-your-experience-if-you-have-any

    https://twitter.com/varunin20_08/status/728822948593729537

    Reply
    • ashok
    • July 21, 2016

    I owned this mobile after one month of launch. after one year 10 days of purchase of this mobile the mother board problem occurred, i went to service center of MI3 for checking they told me rs.10000/- repairing cost actual mobile price is rs.14000/- it is one of the worst mobile of china never buy/faith dirty china xiaomi brand.this brand comes only warranty period use & through mobile on high cost.

    Reply
    • Rinku
    • July 28, 2016

    i was a big fan of MI phones once but not any more, MI India have the most pathetic service ever. They dont have any value for your customer.The servicing center have kept my mobile for 2 month, and still i have not received my phone(god knows when the parts will be available) for that i have to purchase another one(of course not MI). If you dont want to suffer dont go for any MI product.

    Reply
    • Abhay Gupta
    • September 21, 2016

    Dear Rohan,
    Xiaomi India is having worst after sales service,customers are being asked to come after a month or two if their device is having hardware Issue,I am also experiencing it have tweeted to manukumarjain/xiaomiindia/xiaomi but in vain.Their executives will simply send a prewritten mail that if within 15days you will not be getting your device repaired then they will be forwarding it to respected team,But they will not take any response.Customers are being asked to come after a month or even more.Can anything be done in this respect?

    Reply
  1. The informaiton regarding service in point number – 4 is totaly incorrect. I have purchased a mobile (RED MI NOTE PRIME) ON 9 September 2016. It got dead on 23 September 2016. I have submitted it in your authorised service center in East Delhi on 24 September 2016. I have complained about the same in customer service. No body is bothered to give resolution.

    Service center guy told me to contact on 1800 103 6286 (he strictly told me that he can’t do anything in it until he receive replacement of that part from Xiaomi), and your customer center guy told me to write email to you. Now you are asking me to contact service center.

    Which kind of service it is?

    Job Sheet Number: WXIN1609240006273
    Ashish Awasthi

    Reply
    • anoop
    • October 11, 2016

    I was told repair will take 24 working days for Xiaomi. This article states their turnaround will take 1 working days what bull crap? i will see how long it actually takes.

    Reply
    • Savio
    • November 23, 2016

    Is updating our phone regularly using the ota updates of mi good for our phone or we should not update our phone regularly.

    Reply

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