Xiaomi Mi 11: a tremendous competitor of the high-end
“It has a huge screen, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and a 108 megapixel camera, all at a much lower price than its rivals in high places.”
Its different design.
It has no resistance to water and dust.
It has no telephoto.
A few months after presenting its latest flagship in China, the company finally launches the Xiaomi Mi 11. This device is one of the main ones that will be part of this year’s high-end catalog and without a doubt, it comes stomping to compete with dizzying rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or the iPhone 12 Pro.
It is a phone with nothing less than the latest from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 888 processor, and a camera with a 108 megapixel lens. I had the opportunity to test it thoroughly, so, without further delay, I will tell you all the good and not so good that this new device of Xiaomi.
Design: wholesale curves
The first thing that strikes us is the presence of curves, many curves. In addition to having a curved screen that I will delve into below, the Mi 11 has a rear with a glass finish that ripples on the sides. Similarly, its upper and lower part, as well as the corners, are completely warped, which creates a perfect harmony throughout the whole.
Its dimensions are balanced (164.3 x 74.6 x 8.06 mm) and its weight is quite light for its size, only 196 grams, which translates into a comfortable and ergonomic grip. The finish on the rear also helps, as it is not made of a slippery material. The only downside is that it gets dirty and fingerprints easily – even on the dark gray model, which is the one I tested. If you want to avoid cleaning it constantly, we recommend that you put the transparent cover included in the box. In this way, in addition to keeping it clean for longer, you add an extra security in the grip, since the cover is quite adherent.
Another remarkable aspect in the design of the new Mi 11 is the camera module that is located on its back. Without a doubt it is the identity seal of the device, since it has a format that we had not seen until now in any phone. And it is that Xiaomi has fled from the classic module in the form of a traffic light that the latest Samsung or Huawei models incorporate, and also from the iPhone format, to mount a triple camera module with a very particular design in which the 108 megapixel lens stands out .
Despite the fact that this module protrudes a bit, it is not annoying when holding it in hand or resting it on any surface.
Display: blinding brightness
To continue with the exterior of the Mi 11, let’s talk about another fundamental element: the screen. The device has a 6.81-inch panel with WQHD + resolution. The screen is AMOLED and is protected by a curved glass with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection, the highest that exists today.
Something that stands out about this screen is its ability to reach a maximum brightness of 1500 nits, the same value that the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra reaches. In comparison, most phones on the market have a maximum brightness of about 900 nits. Personally, I did not use the screen much at this level of brightness, since in addition to consuming a lot of battery, it was somewhat annoying to look at. Of course, it is appreciated when you use the phone outdoors in direct natural light, since it allows you to see the screen quite clearly.
Another feature of this panel is that it offers a refresh rate of 120 Hz. With this refresh rate, the user experience when playing games or even navigating the phone’s own interface is very fluid, but it is not the best for the battery. The system allows you to set this parameter to 60 or 120 Hz. It is expected to have options of 30 and 90 Hz with the next MIUI update, 12.5. With this will also come some long-awaited features such as the ability to erase the bloatware (apps pre-installed on the system).
Returning to the screen, in this we also find a fingerprint sensor. This one works very well: it is fast, precise and very little erratic, since it is large enough to read the fingerprint, even if you do not place it exactly. Something to highlight about this sensor is that Xiaomi assures that in a future update it will allow us to measure our heart rate just by putting our thumb on it.
In general, the experience with the screen is very positive: it looks very good, very sharp, with a very balanced color reproduction and, also, that extra brightness is very interesting when used outdoors.
Power in abundance, but insufficient autonomy
In terms of power, the most remarkable data is that this phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, the same one that we find in the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in its US version. Thanks to this chip, the phone performs well, it is fluid in day-to-day use even for heavy users as is my case, that I use social networks, cameras, apps productivity, multimedia content playback on streaming… Of everything, in great quantity and almost at the same time.
One of the negative points of this intense performance is the excessive heating of the phone. To avoid this, the Mi 11 has a liquid cooling system that, the truth, is quite noticeable, especially when you have been in a game for a long time that has a high demand for resources.
As for the memories, the phone offers two versions with 8 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of internal storage. The version that I tried is the 8 and 128 GB. This configuration is very similar to that of many of the high-end phones, but as we will see later, the Mi 11 offers it at a price that has nothing to do with it.
A good internal configuration or unbridled power is of no use to us if we do not have a battery that powers it properly, right? Well, the Xiaomi Mi 11 has a 4,600 mAh battery that, using its 55-watt charger that comes with the box, fully charges the phone in 45 minutes. In addition, the device has a wireless charging system, as well as a reverse charging system that allows us to charge devices by placing them on their back.
The experience with the battery was not what was expected or at least it is not up to the rest of its benefits. To put it in context, the Mi 11 manages to get to the end of the day with heavy use without charging, but don’t expect it to hold you off without charging it overnight. Remember that, in addition, if you use the screen with a frequency of 120 Hz or record in 4K, the battery will last much less.
Cameras: 108 megapixels all seeing
Without a doubt, the highlight and the best seller of Xiaomi with this device is its camera, specifically its 108 megapixel sensor with optical stabilization system and superpixel technology.
But in addition to this sensor, the Mi 11 has an ultra-wide angle of 13 megapixels and a telemacro that helps us both to take portraits and to take very close detail photographs (between 3 and 4 centimeters).
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The results in good natural light are quite good. The phone is capable of offering us a very realistic color reproduction, without intensifying or saturating the colors. The dynamic range is pretty balanced as well, although it tends to burn out the higher lights on occasion. This is something that can be greatly improved when shooting with HDR, since the truth is that this mode improves the lights and does not dissipate the contours as has been seen in other devices, such as the Xiaomi Mi 10.
As for the famous 108 megapixel sensor, this has a dedicated section to activate it within the app of the camera. With it you can get images with a huge resolution, but remember to deactivate it when you are not looking for this result, since such large images can saturate the memory.
Another novelty in this phone is its telemacro lens. While it is true that it takes some pretty good macro photos, I don’t see much use for it on a day-to-day basis. I think Xiaomi should have integrated a telephoto sensor instead, since its use is much more widespread among users without experience in photography than that of a sensor for macro photos.
Regarding the photos indoors with artificial light or poor lighting, these do not have a sharpness level as high as outdoors, although the noise does not appear very easily either, especially if we shoot with the 108 megapixel sensor.
The night mode fulfills what is expected in a phone of this range and although sometimes it fills the colors too much, makes them somewhat artificial and the light sources dissipate, the results are quite good.
For its part, the portrait mode has seemed quite good to me, with a realistic interpretation of the skin, without tending to paste it and whiten it like other Chinese phones. The clipping is a bit artificial, although in most situations, even with complex textures like hair or glasses, it works out quite well.
The 20 megapixel front camera gives us some selfies natural, defined and very bright. The portrait mode with this camera is also very good and as with the main camera, the blur is sometimes a bit sharp and not natural.
The experience with the camera is quite good, but the software muddies it a bit because the lags or delays show up a lot more than I would have liked.
This phone has many features in common with some of the best high-end phones on the market. From its screen to its powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and its 108 megapixel camera, but at a much lower price than its rivals in high places. And is that the version of 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage only costs 749 euros, while the 256 GB, 799. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage is sold in 1,309 euros in Spain.
In general, it is a very balanced and complete phone, although it lacks some details such as a little more autonomy – especially if one takes into account that the phone consumes a lot with its 120 Hz screen and that it has the option to record in 4K. . It is also strange that a phone in its range does not have resistance to water and dust or a telephoto lens, but surely all these details will arrive with the expected Pro model, the older brother of the Mi 11 that is rumored to arrive very soon. Due to its price and its benefits, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is a highly recommended purchase for both demanding users and those who want to have a powerful device without spending too much.