[Don’t Buy Guide] These are the 6 most unreliable Xiaomi smartphones

Xiaomi is quite a phenomenon in the smartphone world. The company has made a name for itself with convincing smartphones at an attractive price. The Redmi Note and Mi series bring some of the most successful Xiaomi smartphones to date, and since 2018 the company has also been stealing the limelight with its POCO sub-brand. Although Xiaomi’s premium smartphones often steal the headlines, we have to say that most of the company’s success has come from the mid-range and affordable flagship segment. The company has released a slew of successful smartphones over the last few years, capturing a legion of fans, but the company has had some problematic or…unreliable devices throughout its history.

So far, one of the issues that has plagued mid-range Xiaomi smartphones over the years has to do with the quality of the IPS panels. Some Xiaomi users certainly know the provider “tianma”. It was a supplier of IPS LCD panels for Xiaomi, which is notorious for its screen retention issue. There are also other issues that have made some Xiaomi smartphones unreliable. In this article, we list some of the most problematic and unreliable Xiaomi smartphones.

Unreliable Xiaomi smartphones

Most of the unreliable Xiaomi smartphones that have been launched in the last few years have some common characteristics, among them we can list things like:

  • Being discharged too early and without the necessary tests
  • The phone has not passed reliable tests
  • Something went wrong with shipping
  • Unreliable testing left some minor issues that got the green light

Unfortunately, despite the problems known to users, some Xiaomi smartphones have been classified as “successful”. These users had to deal with certain issues as some of them were hardware related. For example, the “tianma” screen issue was impossible to fix the screen save issue. As a workaround, users don’t keep their brightness high. If the problem is software-related, the situation is less problematic as Xiaomi can simply roll out a software patch to fix it. However, this is not the case with problematic devices.

Devices with IPS “Tianma” screen

We don’t often hear the name “Tianma” in Xiaomi news, but this name is certainly familiar to Redmi smartphone owners. Nowadays there are fewer Xiaomi and Redmi devices with this screen, but in the past a lot of Redmi smartphones were affected, especially those of the Redmi Note series. If you have a Tianma screen, we can say that your device is 90% prone to screen retention or “ghost screen” issues. It’s similar to AMOLED’s screen burn-in problem, it’s an annoying problem. Imagine the battery and Wi-Fi icon showing up everywhere, even when your device is in full screen mode and you’re watching a movie, for example. There are a few ways to work around this problem, e.g. B. reducing the screen brightness and calibrating the colors. Unfortunately, the best options are only available when you flash a custom ROM on your device.

Xiaomi hasn’t fixed the ghost screen problem, it can’t after all, it’s hardware related. Unfortunately, the company continues to use Tianma panels on low-end devices, but the situation has improved on higher-end devices like those in the Redmi Note series. We can thank the “high-refresh rate” and “AMOLED” trend that forced Xiaomi to leave Tianma on some devices. Devices affected by the screen retention issue include:

  • Redmi Note 8
  • Redmi Note 7
  • Redmi Note 5
  • Mi A2(6X)
  • The newer Xiaomi/Redmi (or POCO) models have an IPS screen.

In the days of these devices, Xiaomi has used the worst Tianma screens possible. That is our conclusion due to their high probability of suffering from the ghost screen issue. As we said earlier, there are fewer Tianma screens these days as the company has switched to AMOLED panels.

Unfortunately, AMOLED screens aren’t always the best out there. To keep costs down, Xiaomi typically uses panels that can suffer from burn-in or green tint issues.

The unreliable fingerprint sensors

Another chronic problem that affects some Xiaomi / Redmi smartphones has to do with the fingerprint scanner. Apparently some devices have a problem with the flex cable. It will cause your fingerprint sensor not working. Phones that suffer from this problem include:

  • Redmi Note 9T
  • Redmi Note 9 Pro
  • Redmi Note 9S

Xiaomi smartphones

These devices suffered from this particular problem and Xiaomi had to change and correct the design of the Redmi Note 10 series. Testing the fingerprint sensors incorrectly was probably the reason these devices started with this faulty hardware. Most users had to get new fingerprint flex cables from stores to fix the problem. Luckily, the technology isn’t that advanced and device-locked.

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Xiaomi Mi 8 and terrible wifi problem

The Xiaomi Mi 8 is one of the rare cases on this list. After all, it’s a flagship device. Xiaomi has gotten off to a terrible start with an expensive Snapdragon 845 smartphone. The Mi 8 was known for its iPhone X-like design and Face ID feature. It started with a big problem with the Wi-Fi chip. Several users reported this problem and it was never fixed.


This caused several Mi fans to skip this device and not buy it. Because of this terrible problem, it was one of the company’s worst flagships. It wasn’t a cheap device, and faulty hardware on a premium smartphone can be a real problem.

POCO M3 and the problem of sudden death

The POCO M3 was launched at the end of 2020 as a mid-range smartphone. Unfortunately, the device is also one of the unreliable Xiaomi smartphones. According to some reports, some units were dead shortly after the device was closed. The sudden death issue was a disaster on the POCO M3 that left many users disappointed with the brand. After this failure, POCO started to do better tests on the POCO smartphones in order not to repeat this mistake again.

Mi 9T/Pro and Redmi K20/K20 Pro Motorized Pop-up Camera

2019 was the year of pop-up cameras and full-screen devices. However, this pop-up camera trend didn’t last much longer. Most companies have moved on from this in favor of punch-hole design. It was a strange decision, wasn’t it? After all, a pop-up camera can leave the display clutter-free, right? Well, there’s a good reason why most brands have abandoned this design – the unreliability of motorized cameras. Since it’s a motorized mechanical thing, it’s going to die eventually, and Xiaomi was no exception.


The Xiaomi Mi 9T and Pro based on Redmi K20 and K20 Pro were two amazing smartphones with full screen design. However, the pop-up camera mechanism caused headaches for several users. Apparently, the mechanism could get stuck in the phone’s body. There was a way to fix the problem, but to do this the user had to open the phone’s case and remove the dust that was preventing the camera from opening. Of course, this was problematic and required some knowledge from the users. After that device, Xiaomi brought the Redmi K30 Pro with a pop-up camera design, but it was the last device to adopt this type of design. You may wonder why.

Xiaomi Mi 9 and the broken PMIC

As you can see, the list of unreliable Xiaomi smartphones includes not only mid-range phones. There have been several Mi smartphones with problematic hardware. In addition to the Mi 8, the Mi 9 also had faulty hardware. The more expensive flagship also suffered from some problems. According to some users, the device had a high probability of getting a defective PMIC. The defective PMIC could cause several problems for a user, and that’s certainly a major headache given the high cost of the phone.

Xiaomi Mi 9

Most Mi 9 users report problems after using the camera for more than 10 minutes. Apparently, the phone suddenly starts to heat up and drain a lot of battery. Additionally, due to this problem, users are unable to video chat on their devices. The Mi 9 is certainly a hardware flaw that Xiaomi is trying to forget. Interestingly, after Mi 8 and Mi 9, Xiaomi seems to have improved the tests of its flagships.

Conclusion – Xiaomi smartphones are still successful

Despite the aforementioned unreliable Xiaomi smartphones, the company continued to conquer users around the world. Apparently, Xiaomi devices come with more advantages than disadvantages. Therefore, users keep buying their mid-range and premium smartphones. We must say that the company has greatly improved the quality of its devices in recent years. So we haven’t heard many issues with newer devices. Or at least they are not as catastrophic as in the past.

Hopefully the above bugs will always be remembered by the company.

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