Xiaomi Mi 11 review: A serious rival to the best flagship smartphones

The Xiaomi Mi 11 has everything from style to speed

Xiaomi Mi 11 review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Xiaomi Mi 11 may be pricey but you do get serious specs for your money. This 5G phone excels in terms of its display, camera, and hardware. Though it may have some minor shortcomings, overall it's an Android phone worth considering.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Strong performance

  • +

    Excellent Camera

  • +

    Large 6.81-inch screen

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Average battery life

  • -

    Slow in-screen fingerprint scanner

  • -

    It's expensive

Xiaomi Mi 11 review - Key Specs

Xiaomi Mi 11 review

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Dimensions: 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.1 mm
Weight: 196 g
Screen: 6.8-inch AMOLED 120Hz HDR10+ 1500nits
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
GPU: Adreno 660
RAM: 8-12GB
Storage: 128-256GB
Rear cameras: 108MP, 13MP, 5MP
Front camera: 20MP
OS: Android 11

Welcome to T3's Xiaomi Mi 11 review. Xiaomi's newest flagship device is definitely a contender when it comes to the best phones in 2021. Going up against the likes of the iPhone 12 and the Samsung Galaxy S21, the Xiaomi Mi 11 has cemented itself into the top-tier with impressive specifications and a price to match.  

The Chinese company has continued to take big steps away from their usual mid-range smartphones with the Xiaomi Mi 11 and even managed to beat Samsung in the race to announce the first commercial phone with the new Snapdragon 888 under the hood. 

Not only have they upped their game when it comes to performance in the Xiaomi Mi 11, but in comparison to the Xiaomi Mi 10, you’ll notice significant changes to the display too. This includes an increase in screen size from 6.67-inches to 6.8-inches, increased pixel density as well as a much sought-after 120Hz refresh rate. 

In our review of the Xiaomi Mi 11, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the phone from its design and features to its cameras and hardware.

Xiaomi Mi 11 review: price, release date, and what's in the box

Sales of the Xiaomi Mi 11 have already started in China and are expected to reach Europe and the UK in March 2021. Xiaomi doesn't currently sell its phones in the US. 

So far, we know that there will be two versions of the Xiaomi Mi 11. The base version will have 8GB RAM with 128GB of storage. We do know that in Europe it will come in at €749, but no UK pricing has been confirmed yet. If you want more storage you will be able to opt for 256GB, setting you back €799. 

While the Xiaomi Mi 11 isn't available just yet, you can still get your hands on the Xiaomi Mi 10.

In the box, the Xiaomi Mi 11 comes with the phone, a clear protective case, user guide, and a 55W charger. We’re getting a pretty good deal on the charger as it hasn’t been included in the Xiaomi Mi 11 box for the Chinese market.

Xiaomi Mi 11 review: design and screen

Xiaomi Mi 11 review

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to the overall design, the Xiaomi Mi 11 looks the part. We received the Midnight Gray colour, but it also comes in Cloud White and Horizon Blue. There will be a Special Edition option of the Xiaomi Mi 11 too, but supposedly numbers of these will be very limited. The 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.1mm dimensions make the phone feel quite long and thin, which alongside the curved frosted glass back makes it lovely to hold. On the front, you’ll find Corning Gorilla Glass Victus which gives it top-of-the-line drop protection.

The 6.8-inch, 3200x1440 pixel, HDR10+ supporting AMOLED screen is a marvel, proved by its A+ rating from DisplayMate. The colours look vibrant and thanks to the 1,500 nits peak brightness, you won’t struggle to see it in daylight. Mobile gamers will be impressed by the 120Hz refresh rate as well, and for others, that will mean completely effortless scrolling and swiping. Xiaomi has even included technology that upgrades low-resolution content to WQHD+ quality without increased data consumption. 

Xiaomi Mi 11 review

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Weighing 194g, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is 12g lighter than its predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi 10. But that still makes it heavier than other recent flagships like the iPhone 12 (164g) and the Samsung S21 (171g). It has quite a top-heavy feel because of the thick two-layered camera module on the back. Despite the module being smaller than on previous Xiaomi handsets, it’s still significant enough to make the Xiaomi Mi 11 a pain to slide into your pocket and hard to use the phone placed flat on a surface.

There’s no headphone jack and it doesn’t come with a converter in the box, but considering most people have a trusted pair of Bluetooth headphones anyway, that’s not too big of an issue. The Harmon Kardon stereo speakers did a decent job playing music and TV without any distortion.

Xiaomi Mi 11 review: camera and battery

Like the Mi 10, the Xiaomi Mi 11 has a 108MP main sensor which is huge. Alongside it, there’s a 13MP ultra-wide camera and a 5MP telemacro lens. On the front of the phone, a 20MP selfie camera. One disappointment though is that there is still no optical zoom, the camera crops in to zoom instead.

Xiaomi Mi 11 review

(Image credit: Future)

Whether you’re taking selfies for social media, landscape shots, or snaps of food you won’t be disappointed by the Xiaomi Mi 11. The triple rear cameras, in particular, are impressive and photos came out looking sharp with strong colours, it even coped well with dark and light spots. Having the telemacro lens is what makes this phone camera something to shout about though, to take the shot you don’t need to get right up close to the subject. Being able to keep a distance means you will be letting as much light in as possible, which helps retain the detail. 

Low light photography from the rear camera is pretty good. The Xiaomi Mi 11's night mode may take a fair few seconds to capture the image but when it does, it brightens up the subject well enough to prevent graininess and blur. 

Video on the Xiaomi Mi 11 can be filmed in resolutions up to 8k and comes with Ultra Night Video mode. There are some other fun AI modes too including Freeze Frame to make it appear as if your subject is frozen in time and Magic Zoom which makes the camera look like it’s simultaneously zooming in and out.

Elsewhere, the 4,600mAh battery in the Xiaomi Mi 11 didn’t seem to last the day with the refresh rate set to 120Hz. Having tested it out over two-hours of streaming video on full brightness, it dropped by 36 percent suggesting that it would last less than eight hours altogether.

Xiaomi Mi 11 review: other specs and features

Xiaomi Mi 11 review

(Image credit: Future)
Geekbench 5 scores

GeekBench

(Image credit: GeekBench)

[CPU]

Single-Core Score: 1,041

Multi-Core Score: 2,664

[Compute]

OpenCL Score: 4,630

Vulkan Score: 3,985

The Xiaomi Mi 11 was the first to announce a handset with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor- it’s paired with 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of storage. The 5nm chip is 5G enabled, and the device supports Wi-Fi 6 too, so you’ll always have seriously fast downloads and streams. 

For everyday use, we didn’t notice any lag, even with multiple apps open at once. The Xiaomi Mi 11 coped well with everything from making edits to photos to mobile gaming. This is backed up in its Geekbench 5 scores which were 1,041 (single-core), 2,664 (multi-core), 4,630 (OpenCL) which were similar to the scores reached by the Samsung S20 Ultra

As expected, Xiaomi put its MIUI software on top of Android 11 which we aren’t entirely keen on as it overcomplicates menus and settings, but if that annoys you enough, you can install a different launcher.

The fingerprint sensor is incorporated into the display though it could be a little slow to unlock the phone at times. It’s also worth mentioning that it can also be used as a heart rate monitor- it won’t take a measurement when you unlock the phone though, you’ll need to launch the Xiaomi Health app.

Xiaomi Mi 11 review: price and verdict

Xiaomi Mi 11 review

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Xiaomi is fast becoming a tech company you can’t ignore. In the second quarter of 2020, they ranked 4th globally for smartphone shipments. As shown by the Xiaomi Mi 11, each of their smartphones seriously improves on the last which is probably why they are doing so well.  If you haven’t been convinced by Xiaomi handsets before, the specifications on this one might win you over. It certainly won us over, we would even go so far as to say it’s one of the best phones in 2021. 

The Xiaomi Mi 11 does have some downsides, like the average battery life and lack of IP rating, and granted you can find 5G handsets with much smaller price tags. But if you’re after a handset that looks and feels premium, with a strong camera and a CPU to be reckoned with, you won’t need to look much further than the Xiaomi Mi 11.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 is expected to go on sale in the UK in March 2021, but if you just can't wait, take a look at the best deals for the Xiaomi Mi 10.