Xiaomi's phones get all the attention, but over the years the manufacturer has rolled out hundreds of lifestyle products through its Mi Ecosystem label.
Under the Ecosystem label, Xiaomi partners with hundreds of Chinese companies to offer smart home products, fitness bands, smart shoes, robot vacuums, and even a rice cooker. Over the course of the last year, that partnership has extended to include everyday objects like backpacks, luggage, and screwdriver sets. Xiaomi sells these products under its own label, with the smart home products marketed under the Mijia sub-brand.
For instance, the $25 Mi Band 2 is sold as a Xiaomi product, but it is manufactured by Huami. The brand's smart shoes are also made by Huami, and are sold under the Mijia label. Then there's the Mi Robot vacuum, which is made by Roborock.
By focusing on the lifestyle category, Xiaomi is looking to build an ecosystem of devices that communicate with each other. You can use the Mi Home app to control all of the brand's smart home products, and there's also the option to group multiple products and set up rules. For instance, you can set up a motion detector at the door, and have the lights and air purifier switch on the moment you enter your house.
A lot of these products are sold exclusively in China, so you'll have to purchase them via third-party resellers. Without further ado, these are the best Xiaomi lifestyle products you can purchase today.
Yeelight LED bulb
The LED bulb is available for just $22 less than half the cost of an equivalent Hue bulb. The best part about the Yeelight LED bulb is that it doesn't need a centralized hub to work, lowering the barrier to entry.
There are several preset options to choose from, or you can just play with the color palette to get the desired lighting effect. The Yeelight LED bulb also works with Google Assistant and Alexa, giving you the ability to control the lights and change the scene with your voice. The color temperature of the bulb goes from 1700K to 6500K, and you can set up "rooms" within the Mi Home app to link up several bulbs and control them at once.
The Yeelight LED bulb is now officially available in the U.S. as well, but it costs slightly more at $29.99. The U.S. version comes with an E26 socket and works over 110V at 60Hz, and is sold directly on Amazon.
The international version of the bulb comes with an E27 socket and is designed to work over 220V, and is available for $22.35.
Yeelight LED Lightstrip
Yeelight's LED lightstrip offers the same premise as the brand's LED bulb — you get a similar feature-set as the Hue LightStrip for a fraction of the cost. The lightstrip is two feet long (same as Hue), but costs just $29.
There's a remote with a single button that lets you toggle the lightstrip, and you can also control it via the Mi Home app. The lightstrip is certified IP65, so you can use it outdoors as well. And it comes with Google Assistant and Alexa integration.
Mi Band 2
The Mi Band 2 is one of Xiaomi's most popular products around, and it's not hard to see why. The fitness band costs just $28, and comes with a dizzying array of features that include an OLED screen, activity tracking, heart rate sensor, call and notification alerts, and automatic sleep tracking.
You'll be able to view detailed statistics on your daily activity from the Mi Fit app, which syncs with Google Fit. One of the biggest reasons for the Mi Band 2's success is its battery life. Offering over 20 days of battery life on a full charge, the Mi Band 2 dwarfs most of its rivals in this category.
If you're using the Mi Band 2, you should also consider picking up the Mi Smart Scale. The $42 scale hooks up to the Mi Fit app, and gives detailed information of your weight, BMI index, and much more.
Mi Robot vacuum cleaner
I recently upgraded to the newer model, which comes with a mop for wet cleaning. The vacuum has a powerful 2000Pa motor, a laser sensor that creates a 360-degree map of your house, and an algorithm that tracks the most efficient cleaning route.
The 5200mAh battery provides a cleaning time of over two hours on a full charge, and the vacuum automatically returns to the base when it's low on charge or after it finishes cleaning the house. You can also monitor the cleaning process in real-time with the Mi Home app, and set automated schedules. It doesn't come cheap at $549 (the first-gen model costs $325), but it's well worth the investment.
Mijia 5-in-1 Smart Home Security Kit
Xiaomi's smart home security bundle is a must-have if you're looking to get started with home automation. The $60 kit includes a door and window sensor, a motion detector, a smart plug, wireless switch, and a gateway.
You hook up the gateway to a wall outlet, and add the rest of the components as sub-devices in the Mi Home app. The gateway is a ZigBee hub, and controls the rest of the devices. Once set up, you can configure a wide range of options for each device. For instance, if you have a Yeelight LED bulb, you can set up the wireless switch to act as a portable dimmer switch to toggle the bulb on and off.
As mentioned earlier, you can use the motion sensor to set up rules for various actions. As for the smart plug, it is rated for 100V-240V and has overload protection built-in. The door and window sensors can be used for triggering alarms when they're set off.
Mijia Smart Shoes
If you're not keen on wearing a fitness band to record your daily activity, then Xiaomi's smart shoes are a better alternative. The shoe features a fabric upper and a heel section made out of styrene-butadiene rubber, and comes with an embeddable Intel Curie module.
It is the Curie module that enables activity tracking. It automatically differentiates between various forms of activity — running, walking, and climbing — and connects over Bluetooth to transmit the data to Mi Fit.
Even without the fitness tracking smarts, Xiaomi's smart shoes are a bargain for $68. Throw in the ability to record your daily activity without having to wear a fitness band, and you have one of the best options in this category.
Xiaomi Travel Backpack
Xiaomi's $45 Mi Travel Backpack is designed to fit a lot of gear. The bag has a water-resistant outer shell and a total of 11 compartments, allowing you to slot in your everyday carry essentials with ease.
The inside of the bag is lined with polyester — with a suede section for storing sunglasses — and there's a dedicated notebook sleeve that is reinforced with padding, as well as a tablet sleeve that can hold the Galaxy Tab S3.
For $45, you're not going to find a better gear bag.
Xiaomi Laser Projector
Of all the items on this list, Xiaomi's short-throw projector is the costliest by some margin. It launched late last year for $1,470, but you'll have to shell out close to $1,900 to get your hands on one outside of China.
Dubbed the "world's first truly cinema-level laser projector," it offers 3,000:1 contrast levels, 5,000 lumens brightness, and can cast an image up to 150 inches in size in Full HD. It uses Appotronics' ALPD 3.0 laser tech, and has a built-in speaker system with two tweeters and two woofers.
I picked up the projector at the end of last year, and after two months of usage, I can confidently say that it is fantastic. The image quality is great, and the integrated speakers are more than adequate for my use case.
The main problem with the projector is that the interface is in Mandarin, so you'll have to use Google Translate during initial configuration. The content suggestions are also tailored for the Chinese market, but you can sideload APKs or hook up a Chromecast.
Building an ecosystem of connected devices
The unifying theme among all of Xiaomi's lifestyle products is great value for money, a trait that served the manufacturer very well in the phone business.
Xiaomi is going one step further in China by enabling voice recognition across its diverse range of offerings. The feature is limited to its home market for now, but Xiaomi has mentioned that it has sold over 10 million voice-enabled products, mostly in the form of its voice-activated TV remote.
The manufacturer has also stated that it perfected the Mandarin language model over the last two years, and that Chinese users can talk to the voice-enabled remote or the AI speaker to issue commands to control its smart home products.
Building a language model from scratch takes years of effort, but Xiaomi could start doing the same in the Indian market, where it has introduced the Mi TV 4 recently. India is the first market outside of China to receive the Mi TV, and the brand has revealed that it plans to bring several ecosystem products to the subcontinent over the course of 2018.
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