Open Thread: Are Xiaomi’s designs to close to knock offs for global markets?

xiaomi apple

Xiaomi have already made steps in to certain countries, and have already made their global aspirations known, but before they do take on the world do they need to launch more unique products? Products that don’t take their inspiration from rival device makers!

China is where almost everything is made, and for every original product out here there are a 4 or 5 clones and knock-offs waiting in the ranks. Not every Chinese electronics maker copies, there are a few who do produce unique designs, Oppo, Vivo, Nubia, Huawei etc. Then there are the brands who make a living off cloning as fast as possible i.e GooPhone. The rest of the market is made up of phone makers who take inspiration from rivals, the degree of inspiration depends on the company.

Xiaomi fall in to this category, although their Redmi range is quite unique if not inspirational in design, the Xiaomi Mi2, Mi3, Mi4, mini router and Mi Pad all share their look and feel with other products already on the market. The Mi2 was labeled as a Meizu MX clone at launch, the Mi3 a Lumia wannabe, the Mi4 an iPhone clone, Mini router has the exact same design as the Apple Magic Trackpad and the Mi Pad is a fatter iPad mini.

xiaomi mi4 iphone 5

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There is no denying that each product Xiaomi produced has been a very impressive piece of kit, and Xiaomi’s designers have been careful (mostly) to change the design of their products to stop them looking like all out clones, but is this enough?

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mini router

As Xiaomi’s audience continues to grow and the company looks to enter more advanced markets will Xiaomi need to change the look of their products? If, for example, Xiaomi were to enter the U.S today would customers be all over them for their low-price and high specifications, or would they treat them like a cheap knock off company?

We want to know what you think. Can Xiaomi continue to borrow designs and ideas as they expand? Or do they needs some more originality?

[ Image Credit: Techcrunch ]


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  1. SuperDope
    August 4, 2014

    i don’t mind since they are of quality, gets the same job done and it’s way cheaper than those overpriced i-shits.

  2. mf1gt3r
    August 4, 2014

    Its no knockoff. I disagree.

  3. August 4, 2014

    For the MiPad I would say definitely, it’s almost identical to the ipad mini! Others not so much. It’s clear that there are similarities but they are definitely not knock offs.

    • August 4, 2014

      what about the xiaomi box and mini router? They look really similar to Apple products.

      • Jesus Christ
        August 4, 2014

        As long they aren’t cheap knock offs.

      • August 4, 2014

        I don’t know about the Xiaomi box actually, I just went to Xiaomi’s website to check it, is it similar to any apple product?
        As for the router, yes it bears a striking resemblance to Apple’s track pad but they are different products (router-touch pad), so I guess legally they wouldn’t have a problem?
        What I’m trying to say is that there might be many similarities (we know that from day 1) and Xiaomi still gets “inspiration” from Apple, but in the phones at least I don’t see the Apple effect.
        Legally I don’t have any idea what would happen if they started selling their products in the US for example, but the term knock-offs makes it sound like they are just copy cats and producing clones, which is not (completely) true.

  4. realjjj
    August 4, 2014

    The American press is malicious and pro Apple while not knowing anything at all about Xiaomi.
    The design is not really all that borrowed.
    My question is if they are smart enough to become more than what they are and the Mipad was disappointing. They made a better 4:3 7.85 incher than the ipad Mini and a bit bulkier. It does help them to have a better product at a much lower price and the AR helps hide the bulk – the upper and lower bezels are much longer than on 16:10 tabs and the actual volume per screen area is rather bad. But 4:3 is a moronic AR .the price of the Mipad is rather high for China and not so sure it is worth 50% more than lesser tablets with high res 7.85 inch screens.
    Not including a microSD slot in the MI4 is ,from my point of view unethical and it’s truly moronic to cripple your own products to extort a few extra $.

    The bracelet is not a terrible idea, simple nd cheap is better than failing at something that’s more compelling ( like Chromecast vs Google TV) but it also means they didn’t had a better idea.
    Maybe they grow up and get on the right track to become a giant but for now they seem to be lacking ideas.
    They might also have an inferiority complex, being afraid to do better than others but no reason for that, Apple has always been extra greedy and with very high prices ,they never really mattered long term, Google is going downhill since 2013 and everybody else is afraid to take risks and do things properly. Xiaomi should keep going ,expand globally while also figuring how to go after glasses ,3D printing and robots. Everybody else is dragging their feet.

  5. Sere83
    August 4, 2014

    Xiaomi have genuinely surprised me this year. While MIUI always had some clear iOS like elements I never really considered it a clone, more inspired by yet also unique in other ways. Then suddenly over the last year and a half they drop a whole raft of hardware that are basically iclones, copy apples whole marketing strategy, presentation strategy, taglines, website etc etc. The mipad although nice is a genuine iClone no doubt about it. Anyone who disagrees is seriously delusional, that includes Hugo Barra. Prior to the mitv, mirouter, mipad and mi4 Xiaomi had never shown this type of brazen iCloning you see of smaller manufacturers at all really, Ok they have never really pushed the envelope much design wise but hadn’t really stepped on anyone’s toes too much either. I am quite shocked Apple haven’t gone after them to be honest, considering how apple tried to take down meizu a couple of years back for essentially lesser ‘ IP crimes’.

    I mean some of the stuff xiaomi are doing is almost laughable, like the mipad. The look and feel of the V6 UI is just so apple it’s ridiculous, the multitasking menu is a direct clone, like actually the same. Then stealing jobs ‘one last thing’ line. This should the stuff of small clone manufacturers, not a multi billion dollar powerhouse like xiaomi. Just surprised they felt they needed to do this, I think it really will affect their credibility outside china, to new customers who may now just write them off as cheap chinese clones and not look into their products further. Very confused strategy and given their hefty resources I would have expected to have seen at least some sort of vague innovation.

    August 5, 2014

    A cell phone is a cell phone: 90% of it is occupied by the screen which doesn’t give much room for new unique design. Especially with the new trend of having narrower and narrower bezels. Of course at some points all phone will look pretty much the same…Until someone come up with a triangle or circle shaped device…

    • rajnish kumar
      August 5, 2014

      Completely agree with you…there is seriously very less margin for bringing something new unless u spend a fortune

  7. akoi
    August 5, 2014

    A pad without 3g or LTE isnt worth for me. Huh

  8. highwind
    August 5, 2014

    well, who really cares?
    they dont sell globally, they are largely unavailable with the tiny quantities they produce and noone outside asia really cares for wannabe-Xiaomi…

    but besides that it is quite funny to read their “we sold out in x seconds” b*llsh*to marketing…
    I mean everyone with half a brain knows that selling out in itself is as bad as it can get for a company (from the economic point of view, because you wasted potentional customers and with it revenue) already and then even selling out only once or twice a month with quantities which Apple or Samsung probably sell every single day (without running dry on stock) is just purely pathetisch – but they shout it out as if it was a success… xD

  9. Thor Jane
    August 5, 2014

    I don’t really care because everybody is doing this. This year they have this “iphone-ish” frame but it’s thousands time better then Mi3 design. If they entered some bigger market they would probably be marked as knock off product but most of tech-savy people wouldn’t care because specs are so good and when it comes to fools that buy iphones there is no reasoning them.

  10. cs
    August 5, 2014

    They should change their design philosophy. Everything else is fine.

  11. Allanitomwesh
    August 5, 2014


  12. David Košič
    August 6, 2014

    I really liked the Mi3 design it seemed enough different and good looking that looks alone made me want to learn more about the company. However the MiPad is iPad clone and I don’t care what anyone says. And now we have the Mi4 and it does look like an iPhone clone/wannabe and it is also uglier than the mi3. I wish they would have kept the old design language it was better in my opinion.