The Xiaomi Mi 11 is a relatively close-budget phone with a few important drawbacks
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Xiaomi’s battle with Samsung will never be more prominent: in the same year when Samsung decreases the specifications of its new phones from earlier generations, Xiaomi raises the stakes even higher. (and raises the price appropriately), Xiaomi comes along and raises all of those same features to (Mi) 11.
Xiaomi boasted during the unveiling of the Mi 11 that it had recently surpassed Samsung as the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor; Samsung still leads by a country mile, and Apple is far behind, but Xiaomi is on the rise. This third-place finish didn’t last long: Xiaomi had beaten Apple for the silver medal a few months later.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 is the company’s flagship phone for 2021, and it’s part of a family that includes the Xiaomi Mi 11 5G, Xiaomi 11T, and 11T Pro (both of which were introduced six months after the Mi 11), and the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.
The Mi 11 is at the top of the table, with plenty of improvements over its predecessor, the Mi 10. It’s a significant boost over the Mi 10, and it’s the polar opposite of Samsung’s Galaxy S21 drop from the S20.
When it comes to the device’s display, these improvements are most noticeable. The Mi 11 boasts a 2.5K resolution, which is higher than the Mi 10 and Galaxy S21’s 2K resolutions, but it also has other features including automatic video resolution and framerate upscaling, screen HDR options, and brightness and reading modes.
There are numerous other areas in which the phone outperforms its predecessor, as well as the competitors. It includes Harman Kardon-tuned loudspeakers, a speedier processor that tops our performance rankings, new videography modes that are interesting to experiment with, and lightning-fast charging speeds.
The 5MP telemacro snapper on the Xiaomi Mi 11 is a noteworthy new feature for getting close-up photographs of subjects. It’s simple to operate, produces excellent photographs, and outperforms similar features on other devices.
So far, this two-minute review has been mostly positive, portraying the Xiaomi Mi 11 in a much more favorable light than Samsung’s current flagship; but, this isn’t entirely true, as the phone does have some flaws.
The primary issue we discovered throughout our testing is that the Xiaomi Mi 11’s battery life is just inadequate – we had to disable some of the phone’s capabilities in order for it to last a day. You’ll need to charge this device more than once per day if you want to use all of the unique capabilities you’re paying for.
We grumbled about the slow fingerprint scanner in our Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro review, and that problem is present here as well — on top of that, the sensor didn’t always pick up our print the first time, making it irritating to use at times.
So, while the Xiaomi Mi 11 is a fantastic smartphone, it is far from perfect. Because of its cameras, display, and performance, it may be the best phone on the market right now for many people, but you must accept that it has a few flaws that will present themselves day after day you use it.
Xiaomi Mi 11 review: Price and availability
The Xiaomi Mi 11 is available with 128GB or 256GB of storage; the former costs £749 / AU$1,099 (approximately $1,040), while the latter costs £799 / AU$1,139 (about $1,110). Xiaomi does not sell its phones in the United States, thus a US release is unlikely.
For reference, the Mi 11 Lite 5G costs £399 (approximately $550 / AU$755), the 11T costs £499 (about $690, AU$940), the 11T Pro costs £599 (roughly $830, AU$1,130), and the Mi 11 Ultra costs £1,199 / AU$1,799 (nearly $1,600).
The Mi 10 cost £799 / AU$1,699 (about $1,000), whereas the Galaxy S21, the Mi 11’s nearest comparable competition, costs $799 / £769 / AU$1,249, so the Mi 11 isn’t too different from what we expected.
Xiaomi Mi 11 review: Design
From the front, the Xiaomi Mi 11 looks identical to several other Android flagship phones, but it’s still a nice phone. It stands out because of its quad-curve display, which has a lovely appearance that captures the light.
However, I am undecided about the Mi 11’s back design. The camera bump in the top-left corner confuses me because its three-part structure appears jumbled, even if the rounded square form and silver ring around the main lens appear professional from afar.
The remainder of the back is basic, with the exception of logos and regulatory writing near the bottom, which only serves to draw your attention to the cameras.
Because the Xiaomi Mi 11’s screen is built of Gorilla Glass Victus, the same glass used on the Galaxy S21, you shouldn’t have to worry about minor scratches. However, you’ll have to be more cautious about exposing the Mi 11 to water and dust; while Xiaomi claims that the phone is water-resistant, it lacks an official IP classification.
Customers in the United Kingdom can choose from three basic colors: plain white, Midnight Gray, or Horizon Blue. With its satin-style finish, the grey of my review unit looks classy (apart from all the fingerprints it takes up), but I enjoy how the blue and white bring a little more visual intrigue to the phone.
Xiaomi Mi 11 review: Display
With a 6.8-inch AMOLED display, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is on the larger side of this year’s Android flagship handsets. This isn’t just another huge screen phone, though, with a QHD resolution, 1,500-nit highest brightness, and a customizable 120Hz refresh rate.
Those remarkable features don’t deplete the battery life too much, too. The Mi 11 has a configurable resolution and refresh rate, meaning it will scale down to FHD in some circumstances while choosing a 90Hz, 60Hz, or 30Hz refresh rate to save power. The method isn’t as adaptable as the LTPO display found in the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which can switch between 10Hz and 120Hz.
On the Mi 11, I enjoyed viewing videos. The vibrant colors, whether it was the green of the four testudinal heroes or the purple of their opponents’ jumpsuits, were delightfully shining in the teaser for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. Ironically, the high-resolution display allowed me to fully appreciate the game’s cinematic’s grainy, outdated animation style, which pays homage to the original cartoon.
The Mi 11 display curls along the sides of the phone on all four edges, but only the left and right edges are noticeable, and even then, the curved section is mostly bezel. The top and bottom curves are fairly slight, with the bottom bezel being particularly noticeable. As a result, the phone is more comfortable to hold horizontally.
To stop you from wiping the display by only gripping the curved edges, Xiaomi has installed a “hardware-level mistouch sensor.” I didn’t find the phone overly sensitive to accidental touches, so this mechanism appears to be functioning properly. If the automated system isn’t to your liking, you can change the settings to make the dead zone around the edges larger or smaller.
Xiaomi Mi 11 review: Audio
Xiaomi is proud of its Harman/Kardon-tuned dual speakers, as the speaker company’s name is emblazoned on the top edge of the Mi 11.
When listening to Dave’s song “Location,” by British rap musician Dave, I was blown away by the phone’s depiction of his vocals and the mid-range instrumentation behind him. However, as is common with phone speakers, the bottom frequencies lacked oomph.
Still, listening to the same music on an iPhone 12 Pro revealed that the Mi 11’s percussion is much more prominent, which made the listening experience slightly worse. The Xiaomi speakers, on the other hand, have an outstanding feeling of width. Whether the speakers earn the Harman/Kardon tag for quality or not, they certainly deserve it for their design.
Xiaomi Mi 11 review: Cameras
While the cameras are a minor improvement over the Mi 10, especially when compared to the other major improvements, there are a few crucial adjustments that improve the photographic experience.
The main camera is a 108MP f/1.9 Samsung sensor, which is the fifth Xiaomi phone to feature one of these high-resolution sensors. That doesn’t imply images look the same as they did before; in fact, the results of our tests appeared to be slightly better, with greater contrast and a lighter overall tone. This is most likely due to better AI optimization.
Low-light shots were a tad noisy but still decent, and we captured our finest Mi 11 photos in well-lit locations. This is most likely due to ‘pixel binning,’ which basically combines four pixels into one to create a 27MP camera that sees more light. If you want to learn more about how pixel binning works, we’ve put together an in-depth guide.
The second lens is a 13MP f/2.4 ultra-wide camera, which Xiaomi has been using in their phones since the beginning of time (well, early 2020). It’s excellent for capturing more of a topic, and we noticed that it also took a brighter picture. However, the photos are lower-resolution and lack the contrast of snaps taken with the main camera.
The final camera is a 5MP f/2.4 ‘telemacro’ camera that is unquestionably the show-stopper. Macro lenses are used for taking close-up pictures of subjects, but the ‘tele-‘ prefix denotes that the lens is designed for snapping far-away objects – combine the two, and you have a camera designed to take pictures of small objects from a (relatively) long-distance – it’s activated when you turn on Super Macro mode.
This overcomes a major issue with macro lenses on smartphones: by the time you’ve gotten close enough to see the delicate details in an object, you’ve already blocked all of the natural light with the phone.
We had a lot of fun taking good-looking images of close-up details on plants, foods, and fabrics – so much so that we published a whole section about it. The photographs are bright and crisp (at least when compared to other macro snappers on phones), and the setting is simple to utilize.
Xiaomi Mi 11 review: Performance and specification
The Snapdragon 888 processor powers the Xiaomi Mi 11 – it’s the most powerful chipset available for Android phones, at least at the time of the phone’s launch, and it delivered remarkable processing results.
In the Geekbench 5 benchmark test, the phone received a multi-core score of 3569, which is the highest of any phone we’ve ranked, beating the 3424 of the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the 3401 of the OnePlus 8, though we should note that the iPhone 12 series hasn’t been put through this test yet.
That result confirms our experience with the phone in regular use, which is that it is quick in all sectors. The phone hopped through the movie modes in the camera app with ease, and when editing photographs or movies, multiple filters or modes could be picked with split-second loading.
Gaming in particular was a joy, given to the fast processor and the faster touch sample rate described before. We felt like we had an advantage in games because of our speed, but we can only assume to what extent that was true or whether it was just confirmation bias.
We praised the audio system in our Xiaomi Mi 10 evaluation for their “virtually correct sound,” and they have best gotten higher with the Mi eleven, way to Harman Kardon’s audio tweaking. If you are used to smartphone audio systems making calls, movies, or tunes appear tinny, the Mi 11 audio system might be a welcome change, for the reason that sound is bassier and may grow to become louder without distorting, at the least in contrast on your regular smartphone.
Xiaomi Mi 11 review: 5G
The Mi 11’s rear logo indicates that it is a 5G-ready device. However, ensuring that you’ll be ready to use it on a faster network is a little trickier.
5G networks use one or more signal bands, which certain phones can receive while others cannot. This is why, if you’re serious about bringing a Mi 11 to the United States, you should double-check which bands your mobile provider supports and which the Mi 11 will support.
Customers in the United Kingdom, on the other hand, should not be concerned. There’s a lot more cooperation among the 5G carriers over here, and according to Xiaomi’s specifications, all of them should be able to support 5G with the Mi 11.
Xiaomi Mi 11 review: Battery life
The Xiaomi Mi 11 has a lot of features, and those features take a toll on battery life, causing the phone to run out of juice quickly.
With a 4,600mAh battery, we expected the Xiaomi Mi 11 to last a day, but that was only the case with light use; if we took a lot of photos or played games, we had to charge the phone every few hours to keep it going.
The phone’s huge display, high refresh rate, always-on display, and other features are likely to blame for the phone’s poor battery life, and while you can eliminate one or more of these things, you’re not getting the most out of your phone.
At the very least, charging is quick. You’ll receive 55W wired and 50W wireless power here, so whether you use the plug or the pad, you’ll be able to go from empty to full in about half an hour.
You may also use reverse wireless charging, which transforms your phone into a wireless charging pad that you can use to charge other devices. The charging here is only 10W, so it’s not quick, and it also heats up the phone quite a bit. Even so, if you’re only charging your smartwatch or earphones, you won’t be using this feature for very long.
Xiaomi Mi 11 review: Should you buy it?
In our Xiaomi Mi 11 review, we discovered an amazing phone with minimal flaws. Instead of the telemacro lens, a telephoto camera on the back would have been good, and a larger battery would have been much better. Even without those features, this phone has premium capabilities that are equivalent to those found in more expensive phones.
We have no reservations in suggesting this to an Android user seeking a replacement for their Samsung phone, especially if you prefer watching films or playing games over taking photos. For the time being, though, photography enthusiasts, particularly in the United States, should search elsewhere.
Thank you for reading our review. If you need a good laptop in 2022 so, you can also check our list of The Best Laptops Of 2022.