Xiaomi Mi 11 Review: Galaxy S21 Ultra Specs For A Galaxy S21 Price
Today, Xiaomi ranks number three in global smartphone market share. Its latest flagship, the $750 / €750 Mi 11, was the first handset to feature Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 when it shipped January 1st, beating Samsung’s $800 Galaxy S21 to the punch. With a Quad HD+ 120Hz AMOLED screen, a 108MP main shooter, and 55W wired plus 50W wireless fast charging, the Mi 11 seems like a better deal -- at least on paper.
We’ve been using the Mi 11 for a couple weeks now. What are its strengths and weaknesses? How well does it work on US networks? Is it a better buy than the (now discounted to $700) base Galaxy S21? Read our full review to find out.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Hardware And Design
The 5MP macro camera and a dual-color dual-LED flash are mounted to the right of that rounded black rectangle, and a raised silver rim encircles the main shooter. Back panel materials include glass with a satin finish (Midnight Gray, Cloud White, or Horizon Blue -- like our review unit), glass with a “corrugated” finish (Special Edition Blue), or eco leather (Violet, Gold). It’s definitely a step up from the Galaxy S21’s plastic back.
We really like the Mi 11’s design. It’s unique, refined, tasteful, and way more premium than what you’d expect for its price tag. Kudos to Xiaomi for doing something different without going over the top. At 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.1mm and 196g (8.6mm and 194g for the eco leather models), this is a big handset. In fact, it’s almost as large as Samsung’s mighty Galaxy S21 Ultra. Yet its sleek lines make it look and feel smaller than it is.
|Processing And 5G Platform||Qualcomm
Snapdragon 888, Integrated Snapdragon X60 5G Modem
|Display||6.81" QHD+ LTPO AMOLED, 3200x1440 resolution, 120Hz, HDR 10+|
|Storage||128/256GB UFS 3.1, No microSD
f/1.9 Main OIS, PDAF - 13MP f/2.4 123º Ultra-Wide - 5MP
f/2.4 Macro AF
|Front-Facing Cameras||20MP f/2.2
|Video Recording||Up to 8K @ 30fps, 4K @ 60fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 1080p slow-mo|
|Battery||4600 mAh, 55W wired charging, 50W
11 With MIUI 12
|Dimensions||164.3 x 74.6 x 8.6mm (Eco Leather) Or 8.1 mm (Glass)|
|Weight||194 grams (Eco Leather) Or 196 grams (Glass)|
|Connectivity||802.11ax Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2+LE,
NFC, IR, USB-C, LTE, 5G
Blue, Cloud White, Midnight Gray, Special Edition Blue,
|Pricing||Find the Xiaomi Mi 11 @ Amazon, Starting at $750
Xiaomi Mi 11 Display Quality
Xiaomi Mi 11 Camera Performance And Image Quality
By combining (binning) less pixels, the effective pixel size is 1.6 microns instead of 2.4 microns, favoring detail over low-light performance. This makes sense considering the Mi 11 lacks a dedicated telephoto camera and relies on digital zooming for magnification. Other shooters include a 13MP f/2.4 1.12-micron 123-degree ultrawide, a 5MP f/2.4 1.12-micron telemacro with AF, and a 20MP f/2.2 0.8-micron selfie camera.
Xiaomi’s camera app is pretty intuitive, and we have no complaints. Photo modes include pro (manual), portrait, night, 108MP, panorama, super macro, tilt shift, document scanner, long exposure, clone, and supermoon. Yeah, moon photography is definitely a thing on this year’s flagships. Night mode is available on the main, ultrawide, and selfie shooters, while pro mode is available on the main, ultrawide, and macro cameras.
The Mi 11 captures stabilized video (with stereo audio) up to 8k 30/24fps or 4k 60fps with the main shooter, and up to 4k 30fps or 1080p 60fps with the ultrawide. Selfie video maxes out at 1080p 60fps. Video modes include HDR10+, pro (with Log support), night, steady (1080p 30fps), slow motion (1080p 120/480fps), time lapse (up to 4k 30fps), super macro (1080p 30fps), dual video (main plus selfie), short video, vlog, and cool movie effects.
While the lack of a proper telephoto is disappointing, this camera system delivers solid performance, slotting the Mi 11 right below Samsung, Apple, Google, and Huawei’s best. Still, beyond the significantly improved macro, this is pretty much the same imaging hardware Xiaomi shipped on last year’s Mi 10. Obviously, the Mi 11 benefits from the Snapdragon 888’s updated triple ISPs and from revised software, but we were expecting more.
Overall, the Mi 11 produces lovely photos and videos. The main camera is clearly the star of the show. It takes pictures with superb detail and natural colors. Low-light performance is excellent, too, with noise only becoming a problem once you start zooming in. Speaking of which, daytime images are decent up to about 5x magnification. The only real issue we encountered with the main shooter is excessive lens flaring, especially in night mode.
Photos taken with the ultrawide and selfie cameras are nice too, and macro shots are better than we expected, thanks in great part to that autofocus lens. And while the iPhone 12 series still seems to be the video recording champion, Xiaomi wants video to be a critical part of the Mi 11 imaging experience, thanks to features like 8k resolution, pro (manual) mode, night mode, Log support, HDR10+ capture, and fun movie effects. And the results are good.
Besides the missing telephoto, the only way the Mi 11 doesn’t match the competition is the lack of 4k 60/30fps selfie video recording. It’s a strange omission considering how popular platforms like TikTok have become in the last year.
Next up: audio, benchmark performance, and battery life...