Should you consider investing in Xiaomi smart home tech? – nation.lk – The Nation Newspaper
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Once a luxury for the rich, smart home devices have gradually become cheaper and more accessible, to the point that voice assistants like Amazon Alexa have even entered pop culture. That, of course, has led to every major tech brand wanting a piece of the pie, including China’s Xiaomi. But should you be considering Xiaomi when you deck out your house or apartment?
Who is Xiaomi?
Zarif Ali / Android Authority
Xiaomi is a relatively new company, founded in 2010 by CEO Lei Jun with help from Google and Motorola veterans. Its main business is in Android phones, and it has multiple phone-oriented sub-brands, chiefly Redmi and Poco.
The company’s core market is its native China. For various reasons, you can’t buy a Xiaomi phone in the United States, despite the obvious sales potential there. It does have a footprint in regions like India and Europe, and is known for offering great bang for the buck, making it one of the best budget options.
Apart from phones and smart home accessories, Xiaomi sells products like tablets, laptops, wearables, and media streamers. Conceivably, if you live in China at least, the company can sell you most or all of the tech you’ll ever need.
Confusingly enough there are several sub-brands within Xiaomi’s smart home products. The main ones to know, though, are Aqara and Mi Home.
See more: Xiaomi buyer’s guide
Xiaomi smart home devices vs the competition
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority
Wireless Zigbee switches from Aqara and Sonoff
When they don’t have to be imported, Xiaomi home devices tend to be cheap. That’s significant, since smart homes can get expensive in a hurry if you want top-shelf offerings from brands like Ring, Ecobee, Philips, and Google Nest. If you live outside of North America or Europe, Xiaomi might be one of the only choices that makes a smart home feasible.
Feature-wise the company’s products tend to get the job done but aren’t standouts. Beyond price, Xiaomi’s greatest strengths are compatibility with Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and/or Google Assistant — depending on the device — and the sheer breadth of categories available. If you live in the right market, Xiaomi will sell you everything from power strips and light bulbs to robot vacuums and air purifiers. Some of these have more “smart” features than others, so compare them before buying.
Because of sticker prices and the many product types sold in China, it can be tempting to import Xiaomi home devices when they aren’t sold locally. It’s not difficult to find websites that will help with this, such as AliExpress or Gearbest. Be mindful that you’ll be paying an import premium one way or another, which can potentially reduce or negate any savings. And you’ll probably want a “global” version of anything you buy, because there’s a risk some items could be region-locked. You can get around the issue by changing region settings, although that can cause its own problems.
There’s also the matter of shipping times. If something’s being imported from China to the US or Canada, you could easily end up waiting weeks, given supply chain constraints and the usual delays associated with shipping by sea. That can be frustrating when other budget brands, like Wyze, might be delivered the next day.
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