The Mi 11 is the first high-end mobile launched by Xiaomi in 2021. And, taking into account the firm’s background, it is very likely that it will not be the last.
It is the model destined to lead the company’s catalog throughout this first part of the year, and for this, Xiaomi has equipped it with the most cutting-edge features seen so far in a brand mobile – with permission from the Mi 10 Ultra -.
But is it the high-end Xiaomi that many expected? We have spent some time with the new terminal of the Chinese brand to discover if it lives up to expectations and if it can compete with the Samsung Galaxy S21, iPhone 12, and other smartphones in its segment. This is our in-depth review of the Xiaomi Mi 11.
Xiaomi Mi 11, technical datasheet
|Xiaomi Mi 11, technical sheet
|Dimensions and weight
|164,3 x 74,6 x 8,06 mm
196 grams of weight
|6.81-inch AMOLED with 120 Hz refresh rate
Gorilla Glass Foods
|WQHD+ (515 ppi)
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
|8/12 GB RAM LPDDR5
|MIUI 12 based on Android 11
|128/256/512 GB UFS 3.1
|Rear: main 108 MP f / 1.8 7P Lens, OIS + 13 MP Ultra Wide Angle + 5 MP telemacro (50 mm equivalent)
Frontal: 20 MP
|4,600 mAh with 55W fast charging, 50W wireless and 10W reverse wireless charging
|In-screen fingerprint reader, Harman Kardon stereo audio, Wi-Fi 6, NFC, infrared emitter
The best of Xiaomi Mi 11
The Xiaomi Mi 11 is one of the complete terminals of the brand that we have tested to date. However, several specific aspects make it stand out from the other models that make up the Xiaomi mobile catalog. These are, for us, the main positive points of the Mi 11.
Design and display
The Mi MIX series models aside, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is Xiaomi’s best-designed phone to date.
On the other hand, it feels like a device extraordinarily comfortable and pleasant thanks to its curves, present both in the back and front.
To this must be added the surprising thinness and lightness of its body, two scarce features in the flagships most recent of the leading manufacturers.
” The Mi 11 is the best Xiaomi-designed phone to date .”
Everything also gives the feeling of being perfectly finished. The glass used by Xiaomi to shape the back of the phone feels very smooth to the hand, and the aluminum edges blend seamlessly with the back and front, leaving no jagged edges. And despite its low weight, the Mi 11 gives the feeling of being a robust and well-built terminal. There is not a single detail that makes us believe that we are facing a cheap mobile.
Because the Mi 11, after all, is not a cheap mobile.
But the jewel in the crown in this section is, without a doubt, the imposing screen that occupies almost the entire front of the device thanks to its diagonal 6.81-inch.
We are talking about an AMOLED panel with Quad HD + resolution and a refresh rate of 120hz, which rivals face to face with the best panels we have tested so far.
By default, the screen comes with a color profile that suffers from excessively saturating the colors. But once the problem is solved, it is possible to enjoy an excellent panel with perfect viewing angles, first-rate color reproduction, and maximum brightness levels – 900 nits in automatic mode, and 1,500 nits as ultimate – at the very least that they do not disappoint or pale in comparison to other more expensive models.
The only downside in this sense is found in its curves. And it is that although they can be comfortable, significantly since now they extend to the upper and lower part of the panel and thus the experience of navigation by gestures is more pleasant by avoiding contact with the joints of the screen; the reality is that the lateral curves do not contribute much, and sometimes we find color aberrations at the ends of the screen, more noticeable when we read or watch a video in full screen.
There is no doubt that the Xiaomi Mi 11 screen is one of the best in its segment and one of the most advanced that we have tested to date on mobile.
Performance and overall experience
The binomial formed by the extreme fluidity provided by the 120 Hz screen and the intense power of the Snapdragon 888 are essential in the experience with the Mi 11.
And it is that the first terminal with this processor to arrive in Spain does so by demonstrating that the latest Qualcomm platform marks a before and after in terms of speed. Everything moves with ease, and the delicate animations of MIUI 12 add even more points to a fantastic user experience.
The 8 GB RAM based on LPDDR5 technology and the UFS 3.0 storage also contributes a bit in this regard, making speed one of the device’s strengths.
“Everything moves smoothly, and the delicate animations of MIUI 12 add even more points to a fantastic user experience.”
Thus, any application opens almost instantly, and the gaming experience does not suffer even when spending hours with the best graphics games of the moment. In that sense, it is worth mentioning the fantastic device’s stereo audio system, consisting of two identical speakers located on the top and bottom of the phone, and signed by the specialist sound firm Harman Kardon.
However, one more aspect of the Mi 11 is worth considering, mainly because despite contributing significantly to making the experience with this device unique, it can go unnoticed: vibration.
The haptic system of the Xiaomi Mi 11 is not only one of the strongest and most accurate that we have tested on a mobile phone so far. MIUI is also the layer that best uses motor devices by accompanying specific actions and animations with subtle vibrations at different intensity levels.
Android users have been waiting for a manufacturer to catch up with Apple and its Taptic Engine included in the iPhone, and for the first time, I can say that the vibration system of the Mi 11 is as good as that of the mobile phones of Apple.
The worst of the Xiaomi Mi 11
If the Xiaomi Mi 11 is not the best phone of 2021, it is due to a series of clear disadvantages compared to other rivals that we have been able to find during our tests to the terminal. These are the negative points that we put on the Mi 11 after testing it thoroughly:
The autonomy of the Xiaomi Mi 11 is not bad. However, it is not one of its strengths either.
With 4,600 mAh capacity, it was clear that its autonomy would not reach the level of other models that have already jumped on the 5,000 mAh train. But still, you could expect a little more from the Mi 11 because it has a more efficient processor than the last generation.
In any case, the Mi 11 can give us a decent experience in this regard, capable of reaching a full day of use.
Fortunately, we have a very versatile charging system, which offers the possibility of quickly charging the device by cable – at a maximum of 55W – or wirelessly – at a maximum of 50W.
On top of that, the 55W charger is included in the box, something that other models in the same segment cannot boast of.
To conclude with this section, I have to say that, during the time I have used the device, I have noticed how it heated up to a greater extent than other comparable models such as the Galaxy S21 Ultra. However, I must also mention that this problem has practically disappeared since the arrival of the latest MIUI update.
I’ve tried, really, but just MIUI isn’t for me.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 software is full of good ideas, such as the vibration effects I talked about before or the dozens of configuration and customization options provided by the customization layer.
However, the fact of having to waste several minutes of our time in deactivating every one of the energy-saving systems to avoid having problems with notifications – and that, even so, they are still present – is not the experience that deserves – the buyers of a 700 euro mobile phone not even the one they are looking for.
And, even disabling these types of functions, the Mi 11 continues to have problems when it comes to notifying in time or when synchronizing with wearables that are not of the own brand – I have had problems using the Mi 11 with my Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2.
To this must be added the advertising present in the operating system – something that, yes, not only Xiaomi sins -, or a large amount of bloatware that is pre-installed by default on the device.
“The future update to MIUI 12.5 that should come to the Mi 11 soon will not include all the news and improvements announced at first.”
In case that was not enough – for me, it has been discovered that the future update to MIUI 12.5 that should arrive at the Mi 11 soon will not include all the news and improvements announced at the beginning. A good part of them will be exclusive to the Chinese variant.
This is the case of the MIUI + tool that allows controlling the device through the computer. This new framework animation should translate into a more fluid experience with the system or the advanced vibration effects. Some of the privacy features will also not be present in this version.
Of course: not everything is terrible. MIUI is a layer in constant development. In the version included in this Mi 11, as I said at the beginning of this section, some good ideas undoubtedly make a difference compared to other layers.
A good example is the awesome wallpapers. Although they do not stand out for being subtle or elegant, they are the most spectacular that you have seen in terms of animated backgrounds pre-installed on a mobile.
In addition, in this version, we have the Google messages and Google phone applications pre-installed by default instead of the versions developed by Xiaomi. More apps are also being added to the list of bloatware that can be uninstalled, and the control center has been improved with native Android 11 device controls .
Some of the pre-installed applications have also undergone a facelift, such as Gallery, with its mode capable of replacing the sky of images in a way that surprises with its precision – the results are not perfect, but it automates a process that could take several minutes in Photoshop—; or the camera application itself, which now introduces a good number of new modes and functions.
And, speaking of cameras …
This is how the Xiaomi Mi 11 cameras are
Xiaomi’s proposal for this year in terms of photography is somewhat different from that of other manufacturers.
As the primary sensor, we have a 108-megapixel resolution camera, f / 1.9 aperture, and optical stabilizer, accompanied by a sensor with a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens and a 5-megapixel resolution “telemacro” camera.
We miss, therefore, a telephoto lens like the one that other models of the competition mount. However, Xiaomi is not the only one that has opted for this formula, as Samsung’s Galaxy S21 and S21 + also lack a telephoto with optical zoom.
With the primary sensor, it is possible to get fantastic shots in terms of detail and dynamic range. By default, the captures are taken at 27 megapixels, but the amount of detail in the captures makes it unnecessary to resort to the 108-megapixel mode.
The software in charge of processing the captures has some problems when calculating the white balance. Also, the “AI” mode doesn’t seem to do much more than further saturate the color of the images.
The ultra-wide-angle lens may be the most mediocre of the three regarding image quality, especially when the light is not on our side.
In most cases, when using this camera, we will obtain captures that lack sharpness and whose colors tend to saturate concerning those captured by the primary camera.
Finally, the Tele macro sensor is not as versatile as a real telephoto, but at least what it does, it does well. It is possible to get very close to the objects to be captured and obtain highly detailed images. Also, unlike what happens with the “macro” modes of other smartphones, the focus with the Mi 11 is relatively fast and precise.
“The main camera just doesn’t have the right focal length to allow people or pets to be captured close-up without distortion.”
The telephoto is missing, especially when using the portrait mode of the Mi 11. The primary camera doesn’t have the right focal length to allow people or pets to be captured close-up without distortion, and the digital zoom doesn’t fix these problems. It’s a shame because the cropping is precise, and the blur effect is natural.
At night, the photographic experience is somewhat resentful even when using the primary camera, and even using the night mode integrated into the camera app, we do not reach the level of quality that the benchmarks of the segment can offer, such as the Galaxy S21 Ultra or the iPhone 12.
Video is another aspect to consider, mainly due to the emphasis that Xiaomi has placed on it when announcing its Mi 11.
Beyond the possibility of recording 8K video that is already present in other models, the Mi 11 stands out for a large number of cinematographic effects and filters that it includes, and that allows you to play with the captured clips, giving them a personality that is difficult to achieve with other phones…
The image quality when recording video is good, and without reaching the level of the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy models, most users will be more than satisfied with the videos captured with the Mi 11.
Let’s turn the phone around and talk about the camera for selfies. We find a first-rate experience, with captures that maintain a good level of detail as long as we keep all deactivated beauty effects that, once again, Xiaomi keeps active again by default.
Xiaomi Mi 11, opinion and final thoughts from Andro4all
The Xiaomi Mi 11 is not a perfect mobile, but it is the closest thing Xiaomi has created so far.
It is, above all, a very balanced device, with a design that stands out for its lightness and thinness, a first-class technical section, and a camera that, without standing out, complies despite its limitations.
In general terms, the Xiaomi Mi 11 may even be a more exciting option than the Samsung Galaxy S21 as it has a sharper screen, a more versatile primary camera thanks to the extra resolution, and better performance, especially in terms of related to tasks that require a high graphic load, derived from the use of a Snapdragon 888 processor instead of the Exynos 2100 that the Samsung model mounts.
Price of Xiaomi Mi 11 and where to buy
The Xiaomi Mi 11 can be purchased from February 24 in Spain through the brand’s official online store and other sales channels such as Amazon. The first buyers will enjoy a launch promotion, for which they will get a 100 euro discount and another Xiaomi product as a gift.
The device’s price is 750 euros for the model with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, and 800 euros for the variant with 256 GB of storage.
It is possible to choose the device in two colors: gray –Midnight Gray– and blue –Horizon Blue–.
|Xiaomi Mi 11, opinion and note from Andro4all
|Should you buy the Xiaomi Mi 11?
|The Mi 11 is ready to show you that Xiaomi is at the level of the best players in this league. It is a phone for the premium segment that stands out for having an excellent screen, a neat design, and extreme power. All this, accompanied by a photographic system that complies, even without reaching the level of its rivals; and of software that gets to subtract more than what it contributes.
Xiaomi MI 11
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Sharlene Meriel is an avid gamer with a knack for technology. He has been writing about the latest technologies for the past 5 years. His contribution in technology journalism has been noteworthy. He is also a day trader with interest in the Forex market.