Xiaomi Mi 11 5G Review
The Xiaomi Mi 11 is a brilliant flagship phone that competes with Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series without breaking a sweat. It’s perfect for anyone that wants a very high-performance smartphone, wants to break away from Samsung and Apple without compromising quality, and is willing to pay a decent amount for it.
5 out of 5 stars
- Fantastic performance
- All-round good-looking design
- Massive display improvements
- Good camera set-up
- Battery could be improved
- Temperamental finger scanner
Xiaomi Mi 11 Full Review
The Xiaomi Mi 11 is a fantastic phone that’s designed to best the Mi 10 and Samsung’s S21 series in one swoop. And it really does that! The display and performance in particular just felt a world apart from other flagship phones as we head into 2021. The main downfall of this phone is the battery, which struggles to get through a full day, and the temperamental finger scanner.
But let’s be honest. Who isn’t used to smartphone batteries lacking? And anyone who’s had a Xiaomi phone in the past will know that the temperamental finger scanner is just a quirk of this brand at this point.
In this full review of the Xiaomi Mi 11, we’ll cover those great key features in more detail and explain why those cons aren’t even close to dragging the overall score away from 5 stars.
So that you can compare Xiaomi phones quickly and easily with flagship models from Apple and Samsung, here are the key features you need to know about.
- Released: February 2021
- Weight: 196g
- Dimensions: 16.4 x 7.4 x 0.8 cm
- Display: 6.81 inch AMOLED HDR10+
- System: Snapdragon 888 processor with Android 11/MIUI 12
- Cameras: rear 13MP ultra-wide, rear 108MP wide, rear 5MP telemacro, front 20MP selfie
- Storage: 128GB or 256GB, with 8GB or 12GB RAM
Xiaomi have stepped up the game in 2021 with these impressive key features:
Key Feature – Display
The display on this phone is really something to get excited about. The size is large (but not the largest), and the AMOLED display is just great – really colourful and bright. But it’s these stats that really impressed us:
1,500 nits max brightness – 3x the average brightness.
120Hz refresh rate – double the standard 60Hz.
480Hz touch input rate – way beyond what any other flagship phone offers.
The result is a screen that’s hard to beat. Increase brightness so you can actually see it in direct sunlight, enjoy a snappy and crisp experience with the refresh rate, and you’ll be blown away by the responsiveness. Such a high touch input rate makes this phone amazing for gamers and just general touch performance.
Key Feature – Gaming Performance
While not specifically designed for gamers, the combination of great features and specs on this phone make it amazing for playing your favourite games.
There’s plenty of storage space and a decent RAM size, to keep up. But once again it’s the display and responsive touch input rate that make gaming so good. It’s just the right size to hold in both hands or one hand without feeling too heavy or awkward.
We also found that the speakers and general sound quality from the Xiaomi Mi 11 was spectacular, which adds to an immersive experience. You’ll be impressed by the sound when streaming your favourite shows too.
Key Feature – Macro Photography
As you’ll find out in our camera section below, the cameras on this phone and the photography software in general is pretty great. But the stand-out camera is the telemacro camera for close-up photography.
Macro photography is often the downfall of many smartphone cameras, but not with the Xiaomi Mi 11. We found that it was ideal for taking extreme closeups without the frustration of trying to get the right focus. The resulting images are bright, sharp, and detailed without blurs and grains.
Design and Screen Size
- Display: AMOLED HDR10+
- Size: 6.81 inches
- Resolution: 1440 x 3200
- Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Overall, the Mi 11 is a sleek and modern phone. The global version is available in dark grey and light sky-blue colours, which is a limited choice but both options are nice. The display, as we previously mentioned, is on the larger side and offers fantastic graphics.
Design-wise, the camera format on the back of the phone is new and unique too. The lenses are grouped together and staggered, with some protruding more than others. You’ll need a phone case to protect them from surfaces.
The only thing we dislike about the phone design is that it’s missing a headphone jack.
- Energy: 4,600mAh
- Performance: only just lasts all day
Battery performance isn’t great. Even with 4,600mAh, there’s no way this battery is going to last all day if you have it on actively for hours and hours. Either be prepared to turn off some features, use your phone sparingly, or charge it halfway through the day.
You can get up to 55W wired charging, 50W wireless, and 5W reverse charging. You can get a full charge in around 45 minutes, but if you’ve got all the features on or you’re using the device, it will of course take longer.
Currently, only the global version comes with a charger.
Memory & Performance
- Processor: Snapdragon 888
- Operating System: Android 11 with MIUI 12
- Storage: 128GB, 256GB
- RAM: 8GB, 12GB
The Snapdragon 888 processor is currently the best processor available for smartphones, so you’re really getting the best of the best here. Android 11 is also great, and the MIUI 12 software that Xiaomi add provides live wallpapers and a variety of customisation options. There’s not as much bloatware with this software compared to previous MIUI versions either.
As for the storage and RAM, there’s plenty of space here. Only the avid gamers and photographers might need to consider expanding them. The 12GB RAM in particular, is larger than most phones at this range.
Performance is smooth and fast all round.
- Rear Camera: 13MP ultra-wide (ƒ/2.4)
- Rear Camera: 108MP wide (ƒ/1.9)
- Rear Camera: 5MP telemacro (ƒ/2.4)
- Front Camera: 20MP selfie (ƒ/2.2)
The cameras are great! Starting at the front, the selfie camera is good and provides high-quality, sharp selfies. The main camera, the 108MP wide lens, also does a great job at taking sharp and in-focus photos, combined with the ultra-wide lens it really has improved brightness and contrast over previous Xiaomi smartphone cameras.
We loved the telemacro lens for photographing intricate details and textures, as aforementioned. Instagrammers rejoice.
The only issues here are that in general, low-light environments result in poor images. Unlike many of the newer Apple and Samsung phones, the Xiaomi Mi 11 doesn’t have a great night mode. We found the zoom features to be lacking as well. You instantly lose quality when you zoom even a little bit.
How does it compare to other flagship phones in 2021?
When comparing the Xiaomi Mi 11 to other flagship and newly released phones in 2021, it’s clearly leading the bunch. The display is amazing – yes, we’re mentioning this again because it’s just that good – and it features all the latest specs and tech from the processor to the operating system. The design is sleek, modern and a great rival for Apple’s iPhone 12 range, plus the Mi 11 is a fantastic android alternative to market-leading Samsung smartphones too.
Switching from either big smartphone brand to the Xiaomi Mi 11 won’t feel like a downgrade in any way.
Conclusion – Should you buy the Xiaomi Mi 11?
This is our top-rated phone for 2021 so far and we have no qualms about recommending it to almost everyone. Whether you’re a gamer, or just like taking photos for your Instagram, or streaming the latest Netflix limited series on-the-go, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is more than capable.
While the finger scanner is a little frustrating and the cameras (although great) have room for further improvement with zoom and night mode, it’s the battery that causes the most trouble with this smartphone. So, the only people we recommend AVOID this phone are those that need to go a long time without charging!Click here to find and compare Xiaomi Mi 11 prices