The Xiaomi Mi 11 was released in China in late December 2020, marking the first time a Snapdragon 888-powered phone was released. We had to wait for a wider release, but the Chinese company ultimately released the Mi 11 series in January, followed by the Mi 11 Ultra in March.
The phones come with a slew of premium features that you won’t find on competing flagship phones, but that’s not to say they don’t have space for improvement.
Scroll down to learn everything we know about the Xiaomi Mi 11 series, including specifications, pricing, and availability. As additional information becomes available, we’ll update the article.
Xiaomi Mi 11 series: At a glance
The Xiaomi Mi 11 family is part of Xiaomi’s Mi series of flagship phones, which are released early each year. The Mi series has always been known for its low-cost flagships, but the Mi 10 series saw a price increase last year. Over time, Xiaomi has gradually incorporated more luxury features to the Mi series.
The Mi 11 follows suit, with flagship-style features including ultra-fast wireless charging, a QHD+ OLED screen, and a 120Hz refresh rate. The Mi 11 was first released in China in late December 2020, followed by European countries in early February.
On March 29, Xiaomi unveiled the Mi 11 Ultra and Mi 11 Pro, which feature faster wired and wireless charging (67W), IP68 water resistance for the first time in the series, and a more stunning camera configuration with a periscope camera.
Is the Mi 11 series worth buying?
Xiaomi’s Mi series is typically marketed as the smartphone of choice for consumers looking for a flagship experience without spending $1,000 or more. The Mi 11 is essentially undercutting the Galaxy S21 (€850 in Europe) and matching the S20 FE at €749, although it competes in the same broad inexpensive flagship category as the Galaxy S20 FE.
Meanwhile, the Mi 11 Ultra is Xiaomi’s first attempt at a premium flagship, with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a full-fledged high-end phone. If you were considering the Galaxy S21 Ultra, iPhone 13 Pro Max, or OnePlus 9 Pro, you should think about this one as well.
What reviewers are saying about the Mi 11 series
Xiaomi’s basic flagship was reviewed by Eric Zeman, who dubbed it a “enticing” alternative to Samsung and Apple’s top-tier smartphones. In fact, he believed that only a few flaws prevented it from reaching full grandeur.
Eric bemoaned the lack of an IP rating, as well as the very good but not class-leading cameras and the IP rating. He also bemoaned the lack of a software update commitment and the absence of a microSD card port. Samsung now offers three years of Android version updates, which is extremely intriguing.
Eric also gave the Ultra a positive review, claiming that it was a more complete gadget than the Mi 11 thanks to upgraded cameras, battery technology, and an IP68 rating. However, he believed that the expensive price (€1,200) made it difficult to recommend, especially because Samsung and OnePlus both had high-quality rivals.
What other reviewers from around the web think
1 The basic Mi 11 “has everything to immediately become a bestseller,” according to 1 GSMArena. The design of the phone was praised by the crew, who described it as appealing and of high build quality. They also mentioned that the Xiaomi handset had the “greatest” screen and a “blazing quick” charger. However, they were critical of the lack of a telephoto camera, the lack of an official IP classification, and the “nothing spectacular” movie effects.
2 If you reside in a market where the vanilla Mi 11 is available, Sam Byford of The Verge “highly recommended” it. He didn’t go so far as to imply that if you live in the United States, you should import it.
The performance, display, battery life, and MIUI 12 were all commended by him. Sam said the phone’s camera was the main area where it fell short of big-name competitors, criticizing image quality in low light and the lack of a telephoto lens.
3 Anandtech’s Andrei Frumusanu thought the Ultra gadget was pricey, especially in comparison to the Mi 11. Despite a 5,000mAh battery, he thought the phone’s greatest flaw was its battery life.
Andrei also mentioned the S21 Ultra, claiming that it was less expensive than the Xiaomi smartphone and provided a better user experience in a few areas. Despite this, he stated that he enjoyed the phone, but Xiaomi has to improve it and fix its flaws.
4 The pricing, speed, display, speakers, and dependable cameras, according to CNET’s Sareena Dayaram, make Xiaomi’s standard flagship phone simple to recommend. There are a few drawbacks, according to Sareena, including the lack of a telescopic camera, limited availability in the United States, and no IP rating.
5 XDA-Developers’ Adam Conway recognized the Mi 11 Ultra’s exorbitant pricing, but still thought it was worth purchasing. He lauded the design, haptics, display, and performance, but bemoaned the software’s lack of polish. He was also offended by the cameras, which he described as “very decent but overhyped.”
What AA readers think of the phone
We launched a poll shortly after the Mi 11 was first introduced, and you responded with nearly 2,500 votes. You can see how you voted in the poll below.
Nearly 80% of readers polled thought the Mi 11 was attractive, with only 20% saying they didn’t like what they saw. It’s also worth noting that this poll was conducted prior to the global launch, therefore price outside of China was unknown.
What are the Xiaomi Mi 11 series features?
With the Mi 11 series, Xiaomi offers several important selling points, the first of which is the Snapdragon 888 processor, which provides smoother performance and gaming. The chipset also powers the Mi 11’s QHD+ 120Hz OLED screen, which Xiaomi claims is among the best mobile displays available, citing DisplayMate testing.
The battery and charging are two other important selling features for the base model. Xiaomi offers 55W wired charging and 50W wireless charging, so you won’t have to wait long to recharge the 4,600mAh battery. Your phone will be charged in under 55 minutes in both circumstances, with wired charging lasting 45 minutes.
The Xiaomi Mi 11’s camera arrangement isn’t particularly stunning, but it’s far from poor. A 108MP main camera (with OIS), a 13MP ultrawide camera (with a 123-degree field of view), and a 5MP telephoto macro lens are included. Unfortunately, this model will not have telephoto or periscope zoom cameras.
Nonetheless, capabilities like 8K recording and a night video mode are included. Heart-rate monitors have already been seen on smartphones, but Xiaomi has integrated this functionality inside the in-display fingerprint sensor. However, this will be activated via a firmware update, so we’ll be sure to test it out once it’s available.
Do you want to know more? This is where the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra comes into play. It has an IP68 rating, a 5,000mAh battery, 67W wired charging, 67W wireless charging, and a 1.1-inch OLED screen on the back. Xiaomi’s Ultra comes with a versatile camera configuration that comprises a 50MP primary camera (Samsung GN2), 48MP ultrawide, and a 48MP 5x periscope lens.
What’s up with the Ultra’s rear screen?
On the rear of the Mi 11 Ultra is a 1.1-inch OLED screen that is used for alerts, always-on display, and selfie previews. So, whether you want to capture a group shot with the ultrawide camera or only use the primary camera, this screen will come in handy. The Mi 11’s base model lacks this secondary display.
The Mi 11 flagships all feature a QHD+ OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, so expect a significantly superior main display across the board. In theory, this is a considerable improvement over the Mi 10 series, which featured an FHD+ 90Hz OLED panel. Instead of limiting the high refresh rate to FHD+ resolution, the Chinese brand allows you to crank it up to 120Hz at QHD+ resolution. As a result, you can have the best of both worlds.
How good are the cameras?
A 108MP primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide snapper, and a 5MP telephoto macro lens make up the Mi 11’s triple rear camera configuration.
On paper, the Mi 11 Ultra appears to be a better deal, thanks to a new 50MP main camera and a pair of 48MP cameras for ultrawide and zoom images. In theory, the main camera has a Samsung Isocell GN2 sensor with a 1/1.12-inch sensor size and 1.4-micron pixels, which should provide excellent low-light photographs. The ultrawide camera has a 128-degree field of view, and the periscope lens has a 5X optical, 10X hybrid, and 120X digital zoom.
What about performance?
The Snapdragon 888 chipset in the Mi 11 series makes it one of the fastest phones on paper. This is the most cutting-edge Android phone chipset on the market right now, and the base Mi 11 performed admirably in simulated benchmarks, matching the Galaxy S21’s performance. It even shattered the record in our own Speed Test G benchmark, finishing in under 75 seconds.
We discovered that benchmarks translated into excellent real-world results as well.
Phone software and updates
MIUI 12 will run on top of Android 11 on the Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra, and the general perception is that it is far superior to previous versions of Xiaomi’s Android skin. There is some bloatware on this computer, but the majority of it can be uninstalled.
MIUI 12.5, which delivers a few major improvements and features, was originally promised for the base phone. For starters, the company claims that it can eliminate more bloatware than Android and iOS phones. Better gestures, clipboard controls, and system/battery optimizations will all be included in the forthcoming release.
Xiaomi, on the other hand, isn’t promising three years of version updates like Samsung. However, it usually pushes out two Android updates per year, and MIUI is sometimes updated without the underlying Android version. So far, Android 12 has only been available for beta testers in China, implying that a wider release isn’t far away.
Xiaomi Mi 11 vs Mi 10: What’s new?
There are a few places where the Mi 11’s base model has been improved over last year’s model. You may see them in the gallery below.
1 Design: Unlike last year’s phone, which had a regular glass back, the new phone has a frosted glass back. The main difference is the camera housing, which is now round rather than vertical, as it was on the Mi 10.
2 Display: The Mi 11 has a higher refresh rate (120Hz versus 90Hz) as well as a greater resolution (QHD+ vs FHD+).
3 Cameras: Rather than the Mi 10’s quad camera system, Xiaomi’s latest gadget has a triple camera. The main and ultrawide cameras (108MP and 13MP, respectively) remain the same, but the Mi 11 does away with the old phone’s 2MP depth sensor. In addition, the new Mi 10’s macro lens has been enhanced from 2MP to a 5MP telephoto macro.
4: This year’s Mi 11 has a little lower battery than the Mi 10, with a 4,600mAh battery versus the Mi 10’s 4,780mAh. The Mi 11 does, however, provide a charging boost across the board, with 55W wired, 50W wireless, and 10W reverse wireless charging. 30W wired, 30W wireless, and 5W reverse wireless top-ups are available on the Mi 10.
Aside from the chipset, the Mi 11 Ultra differs from the Mi 10 Ultra, which was sold in China only in the second half of 2020. Take a look at them below.
1 Design: Compared to the earlier Ultra, the Mi 11 Ultra has an IP68 design, which means it should survive a splash in the pool or bath.
2nd Screen: Xiaomi’s latest Ultra phone has a second screen on the back for selfies and notifications. However, unlike the Mi 10 Ultra, the main display is likewise a WQHD+ panel.
3 Cameras: These are basically enhancements, with a better main camera sensor in principle (50MP vs 48MP) and a considerably clearer ultrawide sensor on paper (48MP versus 20MP). The Mi 10 Ultra, on the other hand, has two zoom-focused cameras: a 48MP 5X periscope lens (like the Mi 11 Ultra) and a 12MP 2X telephoto lens. This indicates that the Mi 10 Ultra may still be superior in terms of short-range zoom.
4 Battery: Xiaomi’s latest phone comes with a 5,000mAh battery, as well as 67W wired charging and 67W wireless charging. The Mi 10 Ultra, on the other hand, comes with a 4,500mAh battery, 120W wired charging, and 50W wireless charging. Given the larger battery and lower power, we expect wired charging speeds to be a touch slower (but still excellent) on the new phone.
Alternatives and competition
If you’re not sold on the Xiaomi Mi 11 series or want to do some research first, there are a number of options. Check out the alternatives listed below.
1 Samsung Galaxy S21 (starting at $800 in the US, €849 in Europe): The Galaxy S21’s cheapest model has the same Snapdragon 888 engine (or Exynos 2100 in select areas), a triple back camera array with 8K recording, wireless charging, and a fairly slick 120Hz OLED screen. In Europe, the Mi 11 outperforms the S21 in terms of wired and wireless charging rates, battery capacity, screen quality, and cost.
The S21, on the other hand, beats over the Xiaomi handset thanks to its water resistance and hybrid telephoto camera. Looking for a Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra replacement? The Galaxy S21 Ultra, which has the same IP certification, main screen specs (1440p and 120Hz), and battery size, is also worth considering. Both gadgets include a periscope camera.
2 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G (€759): If you’re looking for a cheaper flagship, Samsung’s older flagship might be worth considering. It doesn’t have the most up-to-date flagship chipset, 8K recording, or ultra-fast charging, but it does have a few advantages over the S21 and Mi 11.
In theory, a more flexible camera arrangement (due to a decent telephoto camera) and microSD expansion are among these benefits. Aside from that, the S20 FE has wireless charging, Dex compatibility, and a battery that’s comparable to the Mi 11’s.
3 OnePlus 9 series ($729, $969): OnePlus has been focusing on the luxury market in recent years, and the OnePlus 9 series is a strong alternative to the Xiaomi Mi 11 lineup. The Mi 11 compares favorably to the OnePlus 9, despite the fact that neither phone has an official IP rating or a zoom-focused camera. You’ll receive a better screen, a slightly larger battery, and faster wireless charging if you choose the Xiaomi.
You get faster wired charging and a higher resolution ultrawide camera with the OnePlus. The Mi 11 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro, on the other hand, share a QHD+ 120Hz screen, high-resolution main and ultrawide cameras, and water resistance. The Ultra has a larger battery, faster wireless charging (in terms of wattage), and a periscope zoom camera, whilst the Pro has a 3X telephoto lens and somewhat faster wired charging.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro (Rs 18,999/$260): Another Xiaomi phone that comes highly recommended, as the mid-range Redmi Note 10 Pro (or Note 10 Pro Max in India) shares a lot of similarities with the Mi 11. Main camera with 108 megapixels? Check.
Is there a 5MP telephoto macro lens? Yep. OLED panel with 120Hz refresh rate? Indeed. This phone undoubtedly satisfies some of the same needs as the Mi 11, however it lacks 5G, QHD+ resolution, wireless charging, 8K recording, and flagship power (it has a Snapdragon 732G SoC).
How about the Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro?
In addition to the Mi 11 Ultra, Xiaomi released the Mi 11 Pro, but the Pro variant is only available in China. It has a QHD+ 120Hz OLED screen, as well as flagship silicon. In fact, it resembles the Mi 11 Ultra more than the Mi 11.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro also has an IP68 rating, a 5,000mAh battery, and 67W wired and wireless charging capabilities. The main camera will be the same 50MP GN2 found on the Mi 11 Ultra, but there will also be a 13MP ultrawide camera and an 8MP 5X periscope camera.