Xiaomi Mi 11 Review: Powerful, but not versatile

Here is the Xiaomi Mi 11, the powerful and refined Xiaomi flagship which relies heavily on its Snapdragon 888 chip. Much, if not too much, as we will see in this full short review. The Xiaomi starts its year 2021 with the Mi 11, the brand’s new flagship. A smartphone that once again competes with models that are firmly established in the high end even ultra high end with fashionable arguments such as 120 Hz, a wide-angle module of 108 megapixels or video functions . But its biggest strength is the integration of the Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm latest high-end chip.

In Europe, the smartphone is launched from € 749 in 8 + 128 GB and € 799 in 8 + 256 GB. A price identical to that of the Mi 10 of 2020, which may once again make some people cringe. Anyway, at this price, it has just placed against a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, a OnePlus 8 Pro, an Oppo Reno4 Pro or even an Asus Zenfone 7 Pro.

 

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ergonomics and design

The Xiaomi new premium smartphone adopts a design that lives up to its ambitions. In line with the Mi 10 Pro, the finishes are very elaborate, to the delight of the eyes. On the back, the matte coating provides a soft touch. Our test model, “Midnight Gray” performs quite well, although we would have preferred to get our hands on the beautiful “Horizon Blue”. Protection level, the back is in Gorilla Glass 5. Like an iPhone 12, for example, the photo island is square, with rounded corners. If the integration is perhaps not as extensive as on the recent Galaxy S21, so we must admit that the design still looks pretty good.

Up front, Xiaomi offers a curved and punched 6.81 inch panel in the upper left corner. Xiaomi seems to have reduced the borders to a minimum and offers a facade occupied 90% by the screen. Gorilla Glass Victus will not be too much to limit the risk of damage in the event of a fall.

The aluminum that makes up the chassis allows the Mi 11 to display 196 g, unlike other models with such a large display. The iPhone 12 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra are for example over 220 g! The dimensions of the Mi 11 (164.3 x 74.6 x 8.1 mm) ensure a very good grip in the hand. In addition, unlocking via the sensor placed under the screen is very easy.

Like any modern high-end, this Mi 11 is limited to what is strictly necessary in terms of connectivity. It will be necessary to do with the single USB-C port. Unfortunately, if it is inspired by the competition, it does not offer protection against immersion. No IP68 standard in the program or even just IP standard. It will therefore be necessary to keep it away from water.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Audio

As stated above, the Xiaomi Mi 11 does not offer a 3.5mm mini jack, and there is no adapter in the box. It was therefore impossible to subject it to our usual test battery. The mobile has two speakers. The first is located on the top edge, while the second is located to the right of the USB-C port. The latter also adopts a sound waveform, a very graceful detail. The sound coming out of these hatches is very good, even at high volume. Perfect for listening to music or watching videos without headphones.

 

Xiaomi Mi 11 Screen

The Mi 11 has a large 6.81-inch screen, with WQHD + definition (3200 x 1440 pixels) and 20: 9 format. It offers a 120Hz, non-adaptive screen refresh rate. No 90 Hz in the program, only 60 or 120 Hz. This new premium smartphone from Xiaomi offers one of the best screens on the market. Not very well calibrated by default, it requires a little tour in the settings to get the most out of it. By default, the Mi 11 offers a Delta E of 2.9 and a color temperature of 7456 Kelvin. By opting for the “Original” color mode, the Delta E is reduced to 1.2 and the color temperature drops to 6656 Kelvin, a value closer to the video standard (6500 K).

The maximum brightness points to 780 cd / m², a very good value which gives a pleasant reading in a very bright environment. The reflectance of 47.7% sometimes requires reorienting the phone to avoid the sun or a spot; but nothing crippling. At night, the brightness can drop to 2.1 cd / m² so as not to dazzle. The Oled display requires, the contrast ratio is almost infinite, just as the afterglow time is nonexistent. The tactile delay was measured at 59 ms.

 

Xiaomi Mi 11 Performance

This Mi 11 is the first smartphone to land with the Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm’s latest high-end SoC. It is here coupled with 8 GB of RAM. This new chip turned out to be excellent, but not up to our expectations. However, it ranks among the best on the market. If you want more details, we have dedicated a lab article to it below. Remember, however, that an update should arrive (MIUI 12.5) and could improve the performance of the smartphone.

 

Xiaomi Mi 11 Photo

At the photo level, the Mi 11 is adorned with 3 modules. The main one, which is the wide-angle, is a 108 megapixel. A habit at Xiaomi with its high-end models since the arrival of the Mi Note 10. There is also a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle module, but still no telephoto module and yet expected on a high-end smartphone. The Chinese firm preferred to place a 5 megapixel macro module. Pity…!

As you may know, this Mi 11 does not shoot by default in 108 megapixels, but “only” in 27 megapixels, Xiaomi using the pixel-binning technique. Surprisingly enough, the level of detail is quite similar with the two definitions. Blame it on an unconvincing 108 Mpx shot. We do notice, however, that the 27-megapixel shot undergoes a little harder software processing, smoothing out some details. The 108 Mpx shot is therefore more natural but remains far below what a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra offers, for example.

The loss of detail in night photography is compensated for by the most correct exposure which allows you to see almost as in broad daylight. Here again, the difference is not obvious between the 27 and the 108 megapixels. Faced with the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, we notice that the Mi 11 offers a better exposed and more natural shot. The Chinese smartphone offers an overall more pleasant rendering.

At night, the situation is different. A haze appears on the photo captured with the Mi 11. the software processing is very smooth, but the exposure is very correct, the contrast less marked and the color management more successful than on the S20 FE 5G. The ultra-wide-angle daytime module is pretty good. The exposure is controlled, the shot detailed and the smoothing not very noticeable. Note, however, the presence of chromatic aberrations on the faces or on the banknote.

The result is not so famous at night, even unusable. However, we feel that Xiaomi is trying something by offering the correct exposure. Unfortunately this is done to the detriment of the general quality of the shot, highly noisy.

 

Xiaomi Mi 11 Front module, portrait and video mode

The Xiaomi Mi 11 offers a 20 megapixel module on the front. Far from being as accomplished as the 108-megapixel one, it still offers good selfies, properly exposed, with well-detailed faces. As on the majority of Chinese smartphones, and if you want a natural result, you will have to make sure to deactivate the beauty filters, which smooth the face, or even completely modify it.

For portraits, the new flagship is doing extremely well. The well done clipping, really only stumbling on small details (a badly placed hair, for example). With the front module, it’s also very good, even if the quality will necessarily be lower compared to the main 108 megapixel module.

In video, the smartphone is able to shoot up to 8K at 30 fps. The presence of an optical stabilizer helps reduce the effects of shaking. Xiaomi also thinks of budding directors by offering different video filters. Thwarted traveling (called Magic Zoom), mirror mode, slow shutter, Freeze Frame or even night time lapse are available. For the more picky, the device is capable of filming in HDR10 + format and also offers a greatly improved night mode. In short, a great tool for making good videos.

 

Xiaomi Mi 11 Autonomy

Xiaomi new flagship is equipped with a 4600 mAh battery. According to our autonomy protocol carried out using SmartViser, the smartphone held for 13 h 58 min. A fairly short duration given the battery, especially since we performed the test with the default refresh rate, 60 Hz.

The smartphone can be recharged in 45 minutes thanks to the 55 W block. The Mi 11 also supports wireless charging at 55 W as well as reverse charging at 10 W. Note that with the upcoming arrival of MIUI 12.5, autonomy should be improved. Indeed, Xiaomi promises a reduced energy consumption of 15%. To see at the time of the release. The results obtained with viSer come from measurements carried out in real conditions of use (calls, SMS, videos, launching applications, web browsing, etc.).

 

Xiaomi Mi 11 Interface & OS

This new Mi 11 comes with Android 11 as well as MIUI 12, the latest version of Xiaomi software interface. The Xiaomi is already at version 12 of its MIUI home interface. Note that the Mi 11 will receive MIUI 12.5 before spring, an “intermediate” update promising in particular improvements on the software optimization; which should offer increased performance as well as improved autonomy. Two points that we will not fail to study during the provision.

Xiaomi Mi 11 STRONG POINTS:

  • Pleasant design and finishes.
  • Very beautiful Oled slab.
  • One of the most powerful smartphones on the market.
  • Quick charge in just 45 minutes.

Xiaomi Mi 11 WEAK POINTS:

  • Ultra wide-angle not really up to the task (especially in night shots).
  • Good autonomy in absolute terms, but disappointing on this model.
  • Lack of waterproofing.
Xiaomi Mi 11 CONCLUSION

The Xiaomi Mi 11 is a very good smartphone that misses excellence because of its autonomy and an incomplete photo component. Its Oled screen and performance are among the best on the market, but this is not enough against other flagships such as the Samsung S20 FE or the OnePlus 8 Pro.

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