Xiaomi’s Mi Electric Scooter 3 brings some welcome improvements to previous models – and it’s frustratingly close to greatness
- Powers up hills
- Light and easy to carry
- App with extra features
- Smaller tyres
- No cruise control
- Not designed for wet weather
Take Xiaomi’s budget 1S scooter, add a few of the high-end features and design flourishes from the Pro 2 and you have the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3. This time around, however, this premium-priced electric scooter has its work cut out – not only from rival manufacturers, but also from the sheer amount of talent in Xiaomi’s own product family.
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Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 review: What you need to know
As it’s the very latest model from Xiaomi, it’s actually fairly tricky to directly compare the Mi Electric Scooter 3 with the rest of the range, especially given that many of the previous models are now on sale or discontinued.
The Xiaomi M365 was the biggest-selling personal electric scooter in the world. Last year, it was replaced by the Xiaomi 1S, a similar model with a few much-needed updates, including an LED display and three riding modes that enhanced the overall riding experience.
Similarly, the Xiaomi M365 Pro was billed as the upgrade to the Xiaomi M365 – a larger, more powerful and more expensive e-scooter with a longer range, until last year’s Xiaomi Pro 2 superseded this yet again with incremental useful improvements.
The Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 comes with a powerful 300W motor that peaks at 600W to provide extra oomph up hills. As a result, it can cope with inclines of up to 16%, putting it in the bracket above the 1S and on a par with the Pro 2. It also comes with 8.5in pneumatic tyres, a powerful 2W headlight and an 18.5-mile range, in addition to a useful app that includes a remote motor lock function.
Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 review: Price and competition
Due to a delayed launch, the retail price of the Xiaomi 3 has not been confirmed, but it is currently available on Amazon UK for £450. Launch pricing may of course be lower, but for £450, the Xiaomi 3 isn’t as competitive as it could be.
The Pure Air has a similar maximum range of 18.5 miles for a similar price of £449, but comes with a lot more power (500W vs 300W). Also, its 10in tyres dwarf the Xiaomi’s 8.5in, and provide much smoother ride quality. The Air is also weatherproof, with an IP65 water resistance rating – something the Xiaomi models sadly lack, as they only provide limited splash resistance. The Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 only wins in the weight category: its 13kg all-in figure makes it much easier to carry than the 17kg Pure Air.
For around £100 less, at £349, the Pure Air Go should also be considered, with its larger 350W motor and 10in pneumatic tyres. However, it lags behind the Xiaomi model in other areas, with a 12.5-mile maximum range and a 16kg all-in weight.
Expand your budget a little, and the premium level Xiaomi Pro 2 (£499), has a larger range (28 miles vs 18.5 miles) and the same 300W motor. For an extra £50, it’s definitely a worthy upgrade.
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Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 review: Setup and design
Assembly is easy. After unfolding the scooter, you slot the handlebar onto the stem and secure it in place with the bolts and Allen key provided. The new quick-lock bracket has a safety catch that you have to push before unfolding into position and locking into place. As with all Xiaomi models, setup is quick, with the whole process taking under 10 minutes.
The Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 looks sleek and stylish. Yes, the blue brake cables protrude from either end of the stem, but they’re firmly secured in place and look good. The scooter’s aluminium stem is slim and the standing deck is compact yet more than big enough to fit both your feet comfortably while riding.
The slender LED display is well designed and integrated nicely into the top of the stem. The power button doubles up as the mode selector and is also used to toggle the headlight on and off. Talking of which, the powerful 2W headlight is one of the brightest on the market.
The manual brake is within easy reach of the left handlebar and the accelerator throttle is on the right. Safety features include an LED rear warning light and large reflectors to the front and side. The scooter also has a dual-pad disc brake for quick-response braking.
Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 review: Features and mobile app
Pushing the power button brings up the LED display, with another press for the front and rear lights to come on. The 2W front headlight is much improved on the M365 Pro – it now has a 10-metre range, up from a couple of metres.
There are three riding modes – Pedestrian, Drive and Sport – represented on the display by a walking figure, D and S respectively. The scooter is set to Pedestrian mode by default, which has a top speed of just 3mph, and is designed for use when riding in busy areas. Drive is set to reach speeds of 12mph and Sports nudges up to 15mph. Also visible on the display are the scooter’s battery life and speed.
A handy free mobile app also unlocks a host of extra features. After downloading the app for the first time and connecting via Bluetooth, you must watch a safety video, after which you’re allowed to access functions that show you how much battery life is left (as a percentage) and your total travel distance.
The app also lets you lock the scooter remotely. Unfortunately, cruise control is not available by default on the scooter, neither can it be activated from within the app. While this isn’t a make-or-break feature, it’s certainly useful to give your thumb a rest from the throttle, especially when riding for long periods of time.
A new feature of the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 is the Sleep mode. The scooter automatically enters this mode when the remaining battery is under 30 per cent and you haven’t used the scooter for 10 consecutive days. This mode is designed to extend battery life and it’s a clever addition, especially now that most people won’t be riding as often in the colder months.
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Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 review: Comfort and performance
Like most other e-scooters on the market, all that’s needed to get moving is a quick kick-start and press of the throttle. Changing between the three modes is easily done by pressing the power button twice, but I’d recommend that you do this before setting off.
While Pedestrian mode will save you some battery power, you’re not likely to want to ride this slowly for long. Drive mode is great to familiarise yourself with the e-scooter, but I quickly moved up to Sport mode. Even at the top speed, the Xiaomi feels planted and easy to control.
The rear dual-pad disc brake is excellent, allowing a quick stop within a few seconds with a minimal jolt. After three miles, I’d only used around 30 per cent of the battery life, which is commendable given the number of hills on my commute.
One of the major plus points for me was the scooter’s size and weight. The stem is a lot slimmer than many on the market and this, on top of a manageable weight of just 13kg, means it is one of the easiest to carry around. Often, scooters can be bulky and awkward – or just very heavy – but here Xiaomi has designed a scooter that you can carry around without breaking your back.
While the 8.5in tyres mean you do feel more bumps and potholes in the road compared to riding a scooter with 10in tyres, you do get used to it – you soon learn to avoid the worst ones. Personally, I’m happy to take a little discomfort if it saves on overall weight.
Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 review: Verdict
The Mi Electric Scooter 3 is powerful, has a good range and is much better designed than its clunkier predecessors. It does fall short in a few places, however. It lacks cruise control, it’s not designed for wet weather and the smaller tyres mean you feel the extra bumps in the road. If it’s going to end up retailing for around £450, that gives the Pure Air (£449) the edge when it comes to value for money.
That said, if the price is right, the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter 3 has all the ingredients to be an excellent e-scooter. If launch pricing drops below the £400 mark, Xiaomi may just have a winner on its hands.