J-D visits the MI Store at Oriocenter (BGY airport)

The recent Huawei ban issue had inspired many people about a possible Sailfish OS as the mobile OS instead of Android, in the next Huawei devices.
But looking at the Chinese brands, there is another one, more interesting for its prices: the Xiaomi (MI). A low cost brand which shines for some mid range smartphones, the most popular device is actually the Redmi Notes 7.

Coincidentally, in the vicinity of “Jolla devices Blog HQ” (in Italy) it has recently opened a MI retail store, within the Oriocenter shopping mall. The location could sound familiar for Ryanair travelers: it’s in front of the “Milan Orio al Serio” – BGY airport. (Which is actually in Bergamo, but is so named for branding purposes).

The shop

The MI Store is located on the first floor of Orio, center in practice, the in lower floor of gallery, right next to the ramps that lead to the Apple Store. Why is this quote? because the store in its decoration is heavily inspired  by the more famous competitors.

On the central tables they are exposed the smartphones: according to MI choices, several similar smartphone lines, where the average consumer get lost.

If you can not beat them, confuse them” seems to be the MI phylosophy.

But JD was focused and in search of the Redmi Note 7, reviewed across the web as exceptional, “to buy”, “best devices under 200€”.

The Redmi Note 7, is proposed at 199 € at the day of J-D visit

In the hand, is a solid looking device – beautiful black version – with a nice renewed MIUI interface that can also works without traditional Android buttons.
Such as? With a swipe from the bottom, it’s like the iPhone type X, which is like  Sailfish…
Watching him is well known that the design is a step behind the iPhone 7 (which is inspired): there are a couple of bevel on the sides too. Also the phone IS NOT IP67.
Not enough to warrant an impulse buy, even if the attendant tells me that recent MI phones comes with an unlocked bootloader: is no longer need to send an email to Xiaomi – similarly with the Sony Open Device program.

The visit continues: there are several curious items, as applied technologies for cooking rice, induction cookers ‘low cost’ and home automation systems. The MI Store seems to give his best just where not slavishly copy Apple products.


The purchase

We had to buy something… Almost to thank the clerks that allowed the taking of several pictures and some clip…
The choice fell on the interesting MI Band 3 – the Apple Watch slim Xiaomi.

The band, now in its third version costs €34.9 in Store and connects via Bluetooth 4.2 smartphone only with the app MI FIT.
The first tests have confirmed that works so good with an iPhone with iOS 7.

The pairing with the Xperia X, although Sailfish OS detects the Band in bluetooth menus, then fails because of “lack of bluetooth 4 or higher,” according to the app MI FIT (Android 4.4) that you can download from Aptoide. The app is maintained.
Need more investigation and repeat tests on an XA2.

On a negative note concerns the MI server infrastructure, which on the day of initial activation of the Band I went offline for about 36 hours. No press on Twitter, Reddit and forums that were beginning to fill with questions…


The bad side: Pachinko servers!

That 36-40 hours with Mi servers offline, is an issue that in a cloud-driven smartphone market, is not acceptable: the MI FIT app is heavily based on that servers.

Basically our user experience with the Xiaomi brand has started with a 2 days of “can’t activate Mi Band” issue  online search and the absence of official communication by MI.

Now, the product is active, and servers up, but this have threatened J-D from seriously think to use a MI smartphone and a MI cloud account.


The good side: smart ideas at popular prices!

The Mi Store is a nice, low cost alternative to the Apple Store where to find wearable, nice accessories, and of course some good mid range Android based smartphone. It’s usually not that crowded, and you will find something interesting to buy.

It’s the typical, friendly shop where you can buy with ease without to be shorn like a sheep, or to be constantly looking at the price, like it happen at the Apple Store.

It’s a useful, physical store in case there will be some Jolla -Xiaomi collaboration, or a good working, unofficial porting on the Redmi Note 7!


Good reading
Giovanni - Jolla-Device.com

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Our beta shop. It's a sort of archive where to buy Sailfish OS-ready devices.
Free license only, following the Jolla guidelines, there is not Sailfish X Paid License resale.