Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper

October 23, 2017

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Xiaomi is probably best known as a manufacturer of smartphones. However, the company also produces smart TVs, tablets, smartwatches and other devices, plus a notepad, which is aimed at the Chinese market.

If you have a Xiaomi mobile device,you’re likely to take it out and about with you. While you travel around, your mobile devices are vulnerable to unauthorized connections to open WiFi hotspots.

At home, you may want to try to channel entertainment from overseas through your Xiaomi set-top box and onto your smart TV. Unfortunately, video streaming sites don’t let people overseas watch their content.

You can secure the connections of your Xiaomi devices and get access to overseas entertainment over the internet if you subscribe to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. Although VPNs employ some complicated technology, they’re very easy to use. If you’ve just started researching VPNs, you’ll enjoy reading our guide to Xiaomi VPNs below.

VPNs for Xiaomi: Considerations

Your precise requirements from a VPN will depend of what type of Xiaomi equipment you have. We’ve put together a guide to the features that you should prioritize when shopping around for a Xiaomi VPN.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air

Since its launch in 2016, the Mi Notebook Air has expanded into a range of four models. However, this range of laptops only ships with the Chinese language version of Windows 10. All variants of the Mi Notebook Air are small and lightweight. They are ideal for carrying around and for connecting to WiFi routers. The 13.3-inch screen versions have 256 GB of storage, and the smaller 12.5-inch screen versions have 128 GB. With their built-in WiFi transceivers and storage capacity, these devices are good for those who like to download entertainment to play offline.

If you like to store music and video files, the chances are that you already know about the BitTorrent system. There are a number of BitTorrent clients available for free. These enable you to get all of the latest entertainment without paying. Unfortunately, the copyright owners of these files wish that people wouldn’t download them without paying. Thus they have become very active in pursuing illegal downloaders. The risk of legal action makes a VPN essential for peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading.

When selecting a VPN for your Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air, make sure that the provider states that it gives users full identity protection. Above all, make sure that the VPN company doesn’t keep any activity logs. If the VPN stores no information on your activities, copyright lawyers won’t be able to trace downloads to you. Any visible identifier on connections will point to the VPN company, and there the trail will go cold.

Xiaomi Tablets

Xiaomi produces three ranges of tablets: Mi Pad, Mi Max, and Mi Mix. These are all aimed at the Chinese market. The operating system is the MIUI system. This is a variant of Android developed by Xiaomi. The need for a non-standard Android-like operating system for mobile devices arose because of a dispute between Google, which produces Android, and the Chinese government. The result of this was that China banned all Google services. The fact that they are bundled into Android made it impossible for Xiaomi to use that operating system for devices that it sells within the People’s Republic.

Therefore, if you have a Mi Pad, Mi Mix, or Mi Max in China, you won’t have direct access to the Google search engine, Google Play, Google Drive, Gmail, or Google Maps. The only way you can download apps is through the Xiaomi-run Mi Apps Store.

Thankfully, you can get past these restrictions if you have a decent VPN service. Very few VPNs can evade detection in China and allow Chinese users to access banned sites. However, the VPNs on our list can. If you want to more about using a VPN in China, see our VPN China guide.

Another problem you will face with your Xiaomi tablet is that it can be vulnerable to hacker attacks via WiFi hotspots. A VPN can keep you safe from these.

Xiaomi Smartphones

Xiaomi produces the Mi series of phones, another product range called Mi Note, and a series of smartphones called Redmi. Xiaomi smartphones all run the MIUI operating system in China, while models sold in other markets have Android. Mi series phones from Mi 4 onward, the Mi Note series phones, and all Redmi phones have 4G support.

Xiaomi smartphones are powerful devices for accessing the internet through WiFi hotspots. Unfortunately, you have to be careful when walking around with an internet-active phone. Hackers create open WiFi hotspots to attract connections that will enable them to sneak malware onto smartphones. Phones that have WiFi turned on constantly search for available networks. The discovery process can easily lead to connection if the WiFi hotspot doesn’t require a network key. You might not even know that your smartphone connected to a network that you passed. However, that brief contact can be enough to enable a hacker to download controlling programs onto your phone.

Fake WiFi Hotspots

Fake WiFi hotspots are another risk. You may think that you’re connected to a free WiFi hotspot run by the establishment you’re in. However, you could easily be connected to the computer of another customer, who has altered the identifier of his device to make it look like a hotspot. The hacker will pass your traffic through to the internet, so you won’t realize you’re actually connected to a fake hotspot.

As you surf, log in to your email, and check your bank account, the supposedly secure sites that you visit don’t reach your computer. Instead, the hacker substitutes them with credential-gathering copies. Fake WiFi hotspots are increasingly common, so you need to protect yourself.

Most of the VPNs on our list include automatic WiFi protection. Others offer WiFi protection, but call it by a different name. Make sure that you have a VPN on your Xiaomi smartphone and keep it on to be safe from hackers operating fake WiFi hotspots. The VPN will set up a secure connection with a remote VPN server. These two computers coordinate the security of the connection. They impose extra encryption that an intermediary cannot discover. Look out for WiFi protection when you select a VPN service!

Xiaomi Set-top Boxes and Smart TVs

The Xiaomi Mi Box runs with the Android TV 6.0 operating system, so you can install a VPN on it.

The Mi Box can channel streaming video from the internet onto your TV. However, you have to subscribe to any premium services that you want to watch.

If you have a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription and want to watch it when you go abroad, you’ll run into problems. Amazon Prime doesn’t allow customers to watch the service outside of the country they signed up in. Netflix lets you watch when you go abroad, but it gives you the catalog for the country that you’re in, rather than the country you signed up for. Additionally, stations that channel their programming over the internet won’t let you in if you’re in another country.

By installing a VPN on your Mi Box, you can access TV sites as though you’re in a different country. If you’re abroad, you can select a VPN in your home country to draw channels from that country to your Mi Box. Good VPNs can get you into your Amazon Prime subscription and allow you to access the Netflix library for your home country (not the country you’re in). If you want to know more about unblocking streaming websites, take a look at our guides below:

If you’re renting a house or apartment abroad, you may get access to the property’s router. Loading your VPN onto the router is better than loading it onto the Mi Box. VPN companies allow to you connect several devices to the service at once. If you install the VPN on a router, that counts as just one connection, even though it covers all of the devices in your home.

VPNs for Xiaomi: Conclusion

Xiaomi produces a wide range of internet-active devices. Each of those gadgets is better protected and can deliver you more features if you install a VPN on it. The services on our list of the five best VPNs for Xiaomi are versatile enough to work on all of your devices. They provide protection for downloading plus territory hopping for video streaming access.

Take advantage of the refund periods that each of the VPNs on our list offers to try them on your Xiaomi equipment with no risk.