Posts Tagged ‘Xiaomi’

Xiaomi M1 Vellamo Comparison

January 21, 2012 Leave a comment

A picture tells a thousand words…


It is very fast… Final score was 1280.


Xiaomi M1 phone arrives at ITDullard Towers

January 11, 2012 5 comments

Why the Xiaomi M1?

This is going to be a long one. Now the heavily trailed Xiaomi M1 phone has finally arrived at ITDullard towers I guess you might want to know a bit about it. So this is a bit of a review but not in the conventional sense. Most people just want a phone but I have got this for a very specific purpose.  So getting the emotional response of ripping off the packaging  playing with it out the way, I should reflect on how and why we got here.

As previously posted, I own an HD2 currently running a MIUI ROM. I bought it second hand and I never want another phone again. It is amazing and as you can see here it is still being usefully developed. The problem is that time is taking its toll on the poor thing. Daily use will shorten its lifespan. So to extend its life I need a daily use replacement.

The quintessential aspects that distinguished the HD2 were: it had a high spec; it could be modded; had developer support; and it was cheap (face it, a windows mobile phone just wasn’t cool at the time). So the first hurdle is what could replace that?

Enter the Xiaomi M1. Here is a phone that has a comparable spec (see here), designed to be modded, has the backing of MIUI developer base and dirt cheap.  Incidentally, if you don’t know what MIU is (no shame in that) then check this Blog which explains it pretty well.

So sorted then. Well yes but there were other hurdles to overcome.

Getting the Xiaomi

My successful experience is documented here, however things have moved on since then. The queueing ticket system is now abandoned. At time of writing you can buy directly from Xiaomi from January 15th. I posted the details here. Just to be clear, you can buy it new in China and from Xiaomi’s website at that. Any offers anywhere else are either second hand or a fraud. This is looking to change soon with the phone becoming available in Taiwan and also on contract via China Telecom.

Additionally, they are scarce. In fact they they’ve currently run out of stock for the third time because they are extremely popular in China. Xiaomi have announced that 500,000 handsets will be on sale on the 15th. My speculation is they will sell out in a matter of days if not hours if previous experience is to be followed.

This does beg the question about whether the Xiaomi M1 will ever be sold internationally. So I am going to digress at this point based on some of the feedback I’ve been getting because it is a fair point and I am not sure what the answer is. So


I believe that Xiaomi fully intends to sell phones on an international basis. Primarily because it is a vehicle for MIUI. The coverage in the western press was no mistake. Lei Jun actively solicited this. However the M1 was pitched as a specialist phone for enthusiasts. What caught them completely by surprise was the phone went mainstream in China. Their are over 14 smartphone manufacturers in China. Can you name them all? No I can’t either. All of them are bigger than Xiaomi. Until October nobody in China had heard of Xiaomi. Besides many Chinese dislike their domestic brands. And then the iPhone 4s went on sale. This raised Chinese awareness to smart phones and they wanted one. Xiaomi’s product, price and approach could not have been better timed they have become the counter cool built upon the MIUI following. Baidu (China’s main search engine) recently featured a blog  where a guy criticised  iPhone users in the cinema for wasting money – he had a Xiaomi. What was interesting was the support he got and the Apple brand backlash. This has resulted in a run on Xiaomi phones. We can’t get them in the rest of the world but it is really really hard to get one China too as Xiaomi just didn’t have the capacity to cope. The  official Chinese Xiaomi forum has been inundated with complaints by potential customers who can’t get the phone. Xiaomi has responded but it takes time. They have moved production to Foxconn, added Toshiba along with Sharpe to make screens and recently announced a deal with a cable supplier. So they will move from only making a thousand a day to tens of thousands. Additionally, Qualcomm among others have recently invested in Xiaomi. These are not small players. However, the Chinese competition have not gone to sleep as the Huawei Ascend P1 S announced a CES yesterday clearly indicates and in turn Xiaomi will respond. So although I believe a Xiaomi phone will come to the rest of the world I wouldn’t be sure that it will be the M1. The rumoured quad core or something like it would seem more likely to me


OK so assuming that can actually get the phone you have to get it out of China which erm… hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as I would have hoped but this had been down to a number of people who have been very helpful to me. I owe a lot of favours  and deepest thanks to all those involved.

I have pre-ambled enough… moving on.

First impressions


The packaging is very understated. A simple brown (but strong) cardboard box with a cutaway print of the phone explaining the various components. Inside, there is the handset, a luminous orange battery – you can get these in different colours if you wish, a black rear cover. USB to miniUSB data cable that doubles up as power cable, a Chinese power adaptor, instructions – in Chinese but the diagrams tell you all you need to know and a welcome card. I ordered an additional rear cover (purple since you ask) and that was also inside the package. There are no earphones. These can be ordered cheaply at the same time as a matching accessory (£5) but I prefer to use my own earphones.

The phone

The phone feels noticeably lighter than the HD2 but it still feels solid. The early prototypes received criticism over their build quality. This was my biggest concern however this has obviously been resolved and the build quality is on a par with the HD2, namely excellent. The HD2 has a partial metal casing but the plastic on Xiaomi does not feel cheep. Stylistically, the Xiaomi looks a bit anonymous and could be mistaken for many other phones out there. I guess this is where the cynics will claim that this is just another shanzai knockoff. They would be wrong. The design has been thought through. For example you can remove the SIM or SD card without having to remove the battery. This is not something you can do on the HD2. This is also phone designed to run MIUI and has a configurable button designed for this purpose. Many phones can run MIUI but none have been designed for it up to now. The Xiaomi feels better in the hand but then the screen is smaller and dimensions are smaller than the HD2. So it doesn’t feel or look cheap.

HTC HD2 and Xiaomi M1

The screen is much brighter than the HD2. You can struggle to see the HD2 screen on a sunny day. Not that sunny days are a common occurrence in the UK. So a smaller screen but you can read it when you go on holiday.

First start

The power button but is discreet to the point of being obscure. Once you turn it on the MIUI logo glows for about 10 seconds and you are in. Fortunately it offers English as an option so setting up is pretty much plain sailing from there. However not everything translates to English and a few things – like MIUI’s firewall persist in Simplified Chinese. There are a selection of popular Chinese Apps – Yoku, Weibo, QQ and others preinstalled. Google Market is there however so you can add what you need. Before I did that I tried the OTA update. This had never worked on my HD2 MIUI ROM. It worked seemlessly on the Xiaomi. The backup utilities also worked including the cloud option – again a feature that hadn’t worked on my HD2 MIUI ROM. A good description of how the backup and update process works can be found on this Endgadget video here.


Installing apps is as straightforward as the HD2. Xiaomi is faster but comparisons are unfair at this juncture. The Xiaomi has the hardware clout and was designed to be an Android phone. The HD2 stood up well though. In general the Xiaomi is much smoother in transitions while the HD2 is not slow (at least with a NAND ROM) it can occasionally have lags. Again this might say more about the ROM than the phone so it is hard to draw conclusions. In general, configuring the Xiaomi is straight forward. The are three minor issues. Setting the default keyboard to Android doesn’t stick and the Baidu one kept coming back. The easiest way to resolve that was to simply delete the Baidu keyboard and the phone is forced to accept the Android one. The the second one to watch for is the GPS server which is configured for Asia. The setting is easy enough to change and GPS lock is quick. Finally, MIUI Music doesn’t behave which is both a shame and odd because it works fine on HD2. WinAmp works fine however so it is not a show-stopper.

Daily use

For daily practical use again the Xiaomi does better. My short experience is that battery on the Xiaomi is much better. I am lucky if I get a day out of the HD2 but the Xiaomi is good for 36 hours at a push. Signal strength poses an interesting issue. My network is 3G only so I can only really talk about that. The HD2 is quick to find a signal but also quick to loose it. Good for web browsing but not so much for streaming. Again this could be down to the Radio I’ve chosen but then anyone who’s rooted a HD2 will know about that. The Xiaomi is little bit more reluctant to catch a signal but is tenacious once you have got it. There is no grip of death – Xiaomi apparently learnt from the iphone and installed double antennae. Using the TuneIn App for example has been wonderful over the last couple of days. Obviously, as China is outside the EU the phone hasn’t had its volume limited so you can destroy your hearing if you so choose. Sound quality is consistent with the HD2 if not better and the noise cancelling mic makes a real difference on calls.. The camera/video on the HTC is loathsome – especially indoors. The Xiaomi (when I remembered to take the protective covering off the lens) is much better. Not great but much better. An interesting contrast of its capabilities is posted on MICGadget here. Another area is  the FM Radio. The HD2’s radio basically didn’t work no matter what operating system or ROM you put on it. The Xiaomi’s has very good FM reception but no RDS. I’ve not tried bluetooth pairing yet but intend to try it with my Garmin Sat Nav next weekend. I’ll let you know if there are any horror stories. This was something you could never really do with the HD2 because of the battery consumption. I must admit to missing the larger screen of the HD2 but the speed and smoothness of the Xiaomi compensated to an extent. 

Connectivity to Windows 7 and OpenSUSE 12.1 pose no issues. There are drivers on the Xiaomi site should you need them.

Future Use

Well this is just a double win. Both phones are suitable for running development ROMs but the HTC has more form.

Xiaomi M1 taken by the HD2

The Xiaomi is great for daily use so when I find a good stable ROM I can run with it on this phone.

HTC HD2 taken by the Xiaomi

The HD2 is great for playing with those unstable ROM’s or who knows I might even try Windows Phone 7 one day.


The HD2 is a truly classic phone. But it had a miserable start in life. It has matured over time to become what it is. Will we say the same about the Xiaomi in 2 years time. Hard to say but it has the potential and these are interesting times. Lei Jun wants to run Windows Phone 7 on the Xiaomi. So it could just happen starting with ICS at the end of this month. Told you it was a long one

Comparison between the Xiaomi M1 and HTC HD2

January 8, 2012 3 comments

Just a quick heads up before I get round to posting the detailed review of the Xiaomi M1 Phone. By way of some background I’ve done a quick specification comparison table between to the two devices. Consider it your homework. I might test you later. You can find it here. Obviously if you find any errors or omissions feel free to let me know.

Xiaomi Phone News

January 7, 2012 1 comment

So while I drool over my new toy, Lei Jun has posted in the Xiaomi forum giving details on the next opportunity to place an order for the Xiaomi M1. The highlights are:

  • He feels a bit guilty about how oversubscribed each order round has been.
  • 500000 units are available for the next round.
  • Sales on the Xiaomi website start on 11th January 13:00 hours China Time
  • This time you will need a 100 Renminbi (Yuan) deposit – about £10
  • Deliveries won’t start until 1st February  due to the Chinese New Year celebrations and finish by end of March
  • An additional orange back cover will be given with this round of purchases

So the ticketing system I took advantage of is not happening this time round.

Other news: The Sohu website has spotted fake Xiaomi websites appearing claiming to be able to supply  Xiaomi or Xiaomi like phones. Xiaomi themselves have also issued a warning on their site here. I suppose it is some sort of compliment but you really need to take care.

Xiaomi Rumours

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Ok, the plot thickens. The rumoured Xiaomi M2 now has a rendering. Pictures of it can be seen here at Gizchina.

Interestingly they seem to be sourced from the official Xiaomi Forum. Unfortunately, Google Translate only gets you so far so the source cannot be confirmed – by me at least. What is clear is Xiaomi is being tight lipped about it for the time being and not responding to commenter’s requests for clarification. There is also some speculation that this might be a spoiling tactic by a competitor to encourage M1 customers to hold off until the M2 is released. This might actually have legs as Chinese New Year is approaching and Lei Jun’s blog yesterday talks about the special offers and ramped up production for the M1 for the holiday period. It is now up to 15000 units a day from what was originally a 1000 units a day when they first started. A new round of online sales are due to start on January 5th. Additionally, the recent announcement that Xiaomi had secured $90 million in venture capital funding from Qualcomm among others may have stirred things up.

So it is still all speculation at this point.

P.S. – Just noticed that the Meizu dual core MX goes on sale on Sunday….

The man behind the Xiaomi Phone – Lei Jun

December 26, 2011 3 comments

There is an interesting article in the China Daily today. It covers a speech made by the man behind the Xiaomi Phone – Lei Jun. As I have mentioned in earlier posts this guy has been styled as a latter day Steve Jobs. Now he may not quite live up to that standard but at the age of 43 his CV is impressive and he is certainly charismatic. He was one of the early internet pioneers in China.

Anyway the article is worth a read for some background but more importantly it puts a bit more meat on the bones of some of the recent rumours. For example, Foxconn is taking on the production of the Xiaomi phone in China. This should at some point open up the supply to other markets. The article can be found here.

Intriguingly, there are other Xiaomi devices being  hinted at too – the M2. According to Gizchina the rumoured specification is:

  • 4.6-inch touch screen.
  • 2.5Ghz CPU.
  • 2.5GB RAM.
  • 32GB of storage.
  • 5 mega-pixel front camera.
  • 12 mega-pixel rear camera.
  • Android Ice-cream Sandwich OS.
  • Estimated price of 2499 Remimbi ($394 or £255)!

This is just a rumour however. In the meantime I will be happy to receive my M1 in the next couple of weeks.

So near but yet so far

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Firstly, apologies for not keeping up to date with things. It is that time of year. I use this as an excuse of course because everyone does. You must do this or that because it is Christmas. You can’t do this or that because it is Christmas. China, of course doesn’t celebrate Christmas, at least not in the same way we do. Generally it is just another working day. Spring Festival is their thing and they are equally bonkers about it. Hopefully, I will go to China for Spring Festival but it won’t be next year which is a pity because I would be able to collect My Xiaomi MiOne phone. It has been purchased and it works but it is currently in Nanjing. The plan now is for it to arrive in the UK  in the first week in January. Fingers crossed.

So in the absence of the phone itself, I have been trying to keep up with the news. Xiaomi are planning on being the first “aiming to be the first Chinese company to introduce an Android 4.0 smartphone”. However it seems that Huawei got there first. Still if you fancy a bit of Android Ice Cream Sandwich in a MIUI style then the Xiaomi MiOne is still the only choice

Here is the MIUI promo reported by MICGadget.

Next, China Unicom have reportedly ordered 2 million Xiaomi phones. The rumour is that all manufacturing will be done by Foxconn in the future. Apparently, it is currently being manufactured by Inventec. Finally, Mr Xiaomi himself – Lei Jun is looking to support WP 7 on the MiOne at some point in the future. This phone is sounding more and more like a worthy replacement for my HD2.

All of which brings me to my next point. Once I get my phone I will do a bit of a review on it for those that are interested. I will use my rooted HD2 as a baseline comparison. I am interested to see the results

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