For a short while, there was a glimmer of hope for anyone in the U.S. who wanted to easily buy a smartphone made by Xiaomi and Meizu, after US Mobile made certain models available through its website. However, things didn’t seem to work out, and the phones were rapidly removed from sale.
Updated on 02-02-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added in news US Mobile has removed the phones, and the related webpages, from its site.
Fans of these elusive Chinese phones about to visit US Mobile’s website will be disappointed, because they’re no longer anywhere to be found. It’s unlikely demand was so great they’ve just sold out, because the webpages have also been removed from the site. Why? It’s not clear. US Mobile wasn’t working with either manufacturer, but fetching the phones from China with the help of an importer, Omni Electronics HK. That makes a legal challenge a possibility, however no official statement has been made by the company.
Before the pages were erased from history, US Mobile — a prepaid carrier that uses T-Mobile’s network for service — sold the Xiaomi Redmi 2, Xiaomi Mi 3, Meizu M2 Note, and the Xiaomi Mi 4i for $120, $140, $150, and $220, respectively. All have respectable specifications. For example, the Mi 4i comes with a 5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display and it powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor. The M2 Note, meanwhile, ups the screen size to 5.5 inches and swaps out the Snapdragon processor for an octa-core MediaTek processor.
However, the handsets are not and never have been custom-tailored for the U.S. market, which means you won’t get the full spectrum of band support, so the device would connect at 3G speeds or slower instead of 4G LTE.
For now, if you want to try out a Xiaomi or Meizu smartphone, you’ll have to rely on a personal import to do so. This may change in the future, but we’d suggest waiting for it to do so officially before diving in. Xiaomi has heavily hinted that it will eventually sell its mobile wares in the U.S., when it’ll probably do so through its own online store, where you can buy certain mobile accessories already.