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Xiaomi buddies up with U.K. carrier Three to sell its phones in Europe

It looks like Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi could soon have a new market. The company only just announced its IPO on the the Hong Kong stock exchange, but now it’s officially partnering with United Kingdom carrier Three to sell its phones in the U.K.

We don’t know exactly when Xiaomi’s phones will start being sold by Three, but the companies have said that they’re “coming soon.” Xiaomi has been attempting to make its way into more markets of late — it started selling its devices in Spain in November. Not only that, but the new partnership is actually with Three’s parent company Hutchison and will result in Xiaomi’s phones also being sold in Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, and Sweden, according to a report from The Guardian.

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While Xiaomi may not be a well-known brand in the United States, it’s pretty huge in other markets. It’s actually the highest selling brand in India, and the fourth-highest selling smartphone brand globally. The company built a name for itself selling phones that look very similar to Apple’s devices, but at a much lower price point and running Android instead of iOS. Its recent phones have actually gotten some pretty good reviews — we very much liked the budget Xioami Mi A1, which offers Android One, and we found the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 to be an excellent purchase.

The news comes at a time when Chinese smartphone manufacturers have a strained relationship with the U.S. government. Stateside agencies have warned against using smartphones made by both Huawei and ZTE, and have even banned sales of these devices on U.S. military bases, arguing that they pose a risk to national security. What that means is that these companies are likely to double their efforts in other markets such as Europe and Asia.

Of course, just because Huawei and ZTE are facing challenges in the U.S., that doesn’t mean Xiaomi will as well. Reports published in March suggest that it intends to start selling its phones in the U.S. as soon as later this year — though only time will tell if it faces the same challenges as other Chinese manufacturers.

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The Xiaomi Mi A1 is one of the most accessible phones from the popular Chinese company because it has Android One installed, rather than Xiaomi’s own MIUI user interface. Add that to a very affordable price that makes the phone great value, and it’s one we recommend you pick up. When you do, it’ll be time to explore the camera, which has two lenses on the rear for that cool bokeh blurred background effect.

Here’s our guide on how to get the best from the Xiaomi Mi A1’s camera. If you’re looking for a competing phone that may be easy to buy, then make sure you check out the Honor 7X, and also our other recommendations for the best cheap smartphones.
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Before we get into how to use it, here are the Mi A1's camera specs. There are two lenses on the back of the Mi A1, both with 12 megapixels. The main wide-angle lens has an f/2.2 aperture and a 1.25 micron pixel size, while the telephoto lens has an f/2.6 aperture and a 1.0 micron pixel size. This enables a 2x optical zoom feature, plus the camera has an HDR mode, and various shooting modes. These include a square cam, tilt-shift, a group selfie, panorama, and a manual mode.
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Chinese tech company Xiaomi has announced it will sell its devices in Spain; but this is no half-hearted soft launch, it’s to become the firm’s third major market, joining China and India. This means Spain will become home to official Xiaomi stores, online and offline, with products beyond smartphones sold through them. It’s also Xiaomi’s first official break into western Europe, and while it didn’t have anything official to say for now, it may be just the beginning.

What’s Xiaomi selling in Spain? The Mi Mix 2 is the headline device, along with the Android One Xiaomi Mi A1, two almost brand-new phones announced by the company a few months ago. The Mi Mix 2 is its second bezel-less device, and it’s a real step forward after the innovative but delicate Mi Mix. The body is still ceramic but it’s grippier, more shapely, and much slimmer at 7.7mm. It’s also a true flagship with a Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a 12-megapixel camera with 4-axis optical image stabilization.

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