Review

Xiaomi Mi 11: Flagship smartphone with 120 Hz 2K display review

The Mi series is Xiaomi’s flagship series, which celebrated an anniversary in China in 2020 with the Mi 10, Mi 10 Pro and Mi 10 Ultra. Now, the release rhythm between the devices has been shortened a bit and the brand-new Xiaomi Mi 11 was introduced shortly before the end of last year. The flagship smartphone seems to be a logical consequence of the predecessor, but the Apple move is now also made and the power adapter is omitted. We also discovered many parallels to Samsung in the review. Should one rather wait for the Pro version?

Xiaomi Mi 11 Smartphone Display

Technical specifications of the Xiaomi Mi 11

Xiaomi Mi 11
Display6.81 inch 2K (3200 x 1440 pixels) 120 Hz AMOLED display , Gorilla Glass Victus
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 888 @ 2.84 GHz + 2.4 GHz + 1.8 GHz, 5nm method
Graphics chipQualcomm Adreno 660 @840 Mhz
RAM8/12 GB LLPDR5
Internal memory128/256 GB UFS 3.1
Camera108 megapixel sensor with ƒ/1.85 aperture
13 MP wide-angle with ƒ/2.4 & 123° shooting angle
5 MP telephoto macro camera
Front camera20 megapixel with ƒ/2.0
Battery4,600 mAh with 55W Quick Charge, 50W Qi charging, 10W reverse charging
ConnectivityWiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2,USB Type-C, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Dual-SIM, NFC, SA/NSA 5G.
Featuresin-display fingerprint sensor, harman kardon stereo speaker
Operating systemMIUI 12.5 based on Android 11
Dimensions / weight164.3 x 74.6 x 8.06 mm / 196 g

Xiaomi Mi 11: This is how curved works!

On the whole, Xiaomi surprisingly sticks to the design of the Xiaomi Mi 10; in the previous Mi flagships, they opted for a new design every time. Thus, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is once again launched in the punch-hole look. The front camera sits in the display and is located in the upper left corner of the screen. The notch for the front camera is conceivably small and measures just three millimeters in diameter. The Xiaomi Mi 11 grows in size to a screen diagonal of 6.81 inches, while the 6.67″ diagonal was established for the predecessor.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Smartphone

Like the predecessor, it is rounded towards the sides, both on the front and the back. The casing’s bezel is conspicuously thin and offers room for the power button and the volume rocker on the right. The case frame increases a bit at this point to provide a foundation for the buttons.

Xiaomi Mi 11 smartphone keys

Wow! Actually, I would have thought that the Vivo X51 5G is the most beautiful and highest-quality smartphone that I will hold in my hands in the near future. But the Mi 11 easily trumps that and convinces with an excellent look and feel. In fact, the Xiaomi Mi 11 weighs just 196 grams and is a mere 8.06 mm thick, which thankfully moves away from the thicker design of the Mi 10T Pro. Since both the front and back are curved on the left and right, the actual casing frame is even thinner. In addition, the relatively low weight is distributed over above-average dimensions of 164.3 mm in height and 74.6 mm in width. You almost have the feeling of holding a sheet of paper in your hands.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Curved

As with the predecessor, Xiaomi manages to make it difficult for even punch-hole opponents and curved display enemies to dislike these “features”. As well as it is implemented, it is hardly noticed once you have the smartphone in your hand. On a 6.81-inch diagonal, the few mm diameter of the camera notch are void and the curved display is not too curved. The manufacturer also adds a software setting here that prevents accidental inputs at the screen’s edge.

Xiaomi Mi 11 display bezel setting

Copied, but still something of its own

On the back, you can see that the camera bump in the upper left corner is inspired by the current iPhones. However, Xiaomi still adds its own touch to the design element, just because of the size. The plateau on which the three sensors sit is more rounded than on the iPhone and the two vertically arranged sensors stand out with a black element. The 108 MP sensor of the main camera is accentuated with a silver border. Otherwise, the back looks pretty tidy. The Xiaomi logo is the only other thing on the bottom left. As clean as the back is, we wish the global version could do without the unattractive CE label.

Xiaomi Mi 11 back

The Xiaomi Mi 11 is available in a total of six colors: Black, White and Blue with a glass back. In the Special Edition, the back is blue-purple, lined and gets Lei Jun’s (Xiaomi CEO) signature as well as the lettering “Xiaomi Special Edition”. There are also two editions with a faux leather back, either in khaki or purple. You can also recognize them at first glance by a metal circle in the bottom left corner. Which one do you like best?

Design: 10/10 points

cg rating 10 150x150

Since I already gave 10 points to the design of the predecessor, I have no choice but to give 10 points again for the improved design. Curved & Punch-Hole are implemented in an exemplary manner. I like the back and despite the similarity to the iPhone, it finally shows an independent design again.

Xiaomi proves finesse

Only the camera plateau cannot be ignored so easily. Consisting of three levels, the so-called camera bump sticks out 3 mm, which makes the phone wobble when it lies flat on the table. Since this has become standard and the looks almost distract from it, this should not be a point of criticism. The included case can’t compensate for that either, unfortunately.

Xiaomi Mi 11 camera bump processing

Unlike the predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi 11 does not leave any points behind in terms of build quality and scratches “perfection” here. I would like to use the word as rarely as possible in connection with Xiaomi, since we are accused of “Xiaomi fanboy life” again, but I simply have nothing to criticize. The gaps between the frame and the two sides are extremely accurate, the buttons offer a very nice “click” and the cutouts as well as all edges are precisely milled out and not sharp-edged. In addition, the bottom of the case is straight, so the Mi 11 will stand on the table if you want it to.

Xiaomi Mi 11 back slider

But the back is not to be neglected either. We would have preferred the version with imitation leather for the review, but the glass back is also convincing. As in Xiaomi’s Mi 10 Pro, (almost) the entire back cover is frosted again, which means it is slightly matte and hardly susceptible to fingerprints. In addition, the back of the black colorway looks matte black or silver depending on the incidence of light.

However, we have to criticize that the Mi 11 does not have an IP rating either. It is officially not protected against water, although that is actually part of the standard of every flagship.

Handling & workmanship: 9/10 points

cg rating 9The Xiaomi Mi 11 is currently THE hand-flatterer par excellence for me. The matte glass back, the thin edges, the light weight for the size and then still no sharp edges, good pressure points and the strong look and feel. Only the IP rating is missing.

2K display with 120 Hz refresh rate

One of Xiaomi’s construction sites is definitely the display, which has finally caught up. Xiaomi uses a 6.81-inch AMOLED panel from Samsung. The maximum brightness is up to 1,771 nits, which is once again an increase compared to the predecessor. The maximum resolution is 3200 x 1440 pixels. This results in a pixel density of 515 ppi. The Mi 10 still relied on a 90 Hz refresh rate, but 120 Hz has now become an expectation in this price segment. Xiaomi follows suit and now also implements a 120 Hz refresh rate. However, the very high touch sampling rate of 480 Hz is striking, which is twice as high as in many competing models. Thanks to the AMOLED technology, the fingerprint sensor is also installed in the display.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Smartphone Display

That’s not even the technical details: Contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1, HDR10+, 10-bit, 100% P3 color gamut, and even nice things like the 360° light sensor. Even though more is not always better, that is exactly the case here, because the display of the Xiaomi Mi 11 is a feast for the eyes! Just enter “4K” on YouTube, then set it to 1440p and 60 fps and enjoy! The sharpness, the colors, the brightness – in combination, it is so fun that my mouth was open for a few seconds. Well, this is not new, and Samsung in particular has offered such a panel quality for quite some time, but we did not know this from Xiaomi until now.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Punch Hole Display

However, watching videos is already one of the exceptional situations. Within the MIUI operating system and in most apps, the naked eye hardly notices the 129 ppi difference between FullHD+ and WQHD+ resolution. The panel’s high brightness, rich colors, and especially its functionality are more convincing here. A 120 Hz refresh rate and 480 Hz touch sampling rate ensure a very short response time of the display. The viewing angle stability is also strong. No matter from which angle, there is no color shift, hardly any decrease in brightness and fonts and icons are still legible even in unnatural angles.

Gorilla Glass Victus

Xiaomi has already advertised that the Xiaomi Mi 11 is protected by a new generation of the popular Gorilla Glass from Corning. The new generation is called Victus and is twice as scratch-resistant and 1.5 times as drop-resistant as the predecessor. According to Xiaomi, the screen can survive a drop from a height of two meters. Despite being Latin, the name “Victus” is a bit of a mystery to me, as it could either mean “the way of life” or “been defeated”. Unfortunately, since our test device is a loaner, we cannot perform a drop test; after all, we want to keep getting test devices.

Display settings in MIUI

If MIUI gets the corresponding hardware, Xiaomi also knows how to provide the user with several customization options in the software. Thanks to AMOLED technology, the phone can also be used in the high-contrast Dark Mode, which can also be disabled for individual apps. You can also adjust the color scheme, whereby there are some presets for the color temperature and the colors. However, you can also change the colors yourself and adjust the scheme according to your individual wishes, but you should already know how to do that. Furthermore, there is a reading mode and an “anti-flicker mode”.

Xiaomi Mi 11 MIUI display settings

Of course, the resolution and refresh rate can also be adjusted. You can select FHD+ (2400 x 1080p) or WQHD+ (3200 x 1440p) for the resolution, but the specifications were swapped in MIUI at the time of the test. If you select the higher resolution, you also have the option to activate an energy-saving option that downgrades the resolution when it is not necessary. The refresh rate can be set to 60 or 120 Hz, but there is no intermediate step. In addition, the CPU probably allows various AI features that are supposed to artificially improve the image quality and/or resolution of pictures, for example.

Xiaomi Mi 11 MIUI resolution display error
Something was probably mixed up here.

Display: 10/10 points

cg rating 10 150x150

120 Hz, over 1,500 nit brightness, 2K resolution, 515 ppi and 480 Hz touch sampling rate. On top of that, there are numerous customization options. Need we say more?

One of the first with Snapdragon 888

The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor was introduced at the beginning of December. So, after the Snapdragon 865 & 865 Plus comes not the SD 875, but the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. This is the manufacturer’s fastest and best chip so far and will be the flagship processor for most Android smartphones in 2021. Even during the unveiling of the processor, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun confirmed that the Xiaomi Mi 11 will be one of the first smartphones with the new processor. What is more surprising is that the chip is no longer manufactured by TSMC, but now by Samsung in 5nm manufacturing processes. The CPU performance is supposed to increase by 25% at the same clock frequency thanks to an improved Cortex X1 core, among other things, and the GPU performance even increases by 35%.

In addition, there is 8 GB or 12 GB LPDDR5 working memory, depending on the version, which is still a bit faster than the previous LPDDR5 generation. Now read speeds of up to 6,400 Mbps are possible; 5,500 Mbps was the maximum in the Mi 10. In addition, there is a choice of 128 GB or 256 GB UFS 3.1 mass storage, which is not expandable, though.

No one should be surprised, but the Xiaomi Mi 11 is faster than any other smartphone at the moment. Actions are executed immediately, apps open instantly, close just as quickly, it processes photos rapidly and I am running out of synonyms for “fast”. Nothing takes any time. Of course, these are only fractions of a second that distinguish it from a last-generation flagship, but that’s exactly what tech enthusiasts like us are happy about. It is not surprising when demanding shooters like Call of Duty: Mobile run on ultra-high graphics and frame rates. We could not determine an increased heat development, at least in the game.

Even though we like gaming smartphones like the Asus ROG III, the Xiaomi Mi 11 proves that you really do not need such a phone, at least because of the performance. The Xiaomi Mi 11 is currently the fastest smartphone. Period.

Benchmark results

To verify our assessment, we ran the Geekbench, PCMark and AnTuTu benchmarks. Logically, the Mi 11 performed very well in all tests and achieved impressive results that confirm our impression of the Mi 11 as a very fast smartphone. Moreover, it is not every day that AnTuTu 3D runs completely smoothly.

Xiaomi Mi 11 benchmarks

Performance: 10/10 points

cg rating 10 150x150

The Xiaomi Mi 11 is probably the fastest smartphone on the market at the moment. Improved LPDDR5 memory, 120 Hz and then the brand new Snapdragon 888? The Mi 11 is not easily pushed to its limits!

Xiaomi’s worst battery life since Mi 9

The battery capacity unfortunately shrinks a bit in contrast to the Mi 10. Instead of 4,780 mAh, the battery capacity is now 4,600 mAh. The difference in capacity is marginal; the Mi 11 benefits from the even more energy-efficient Snapdragon 888 chip and the optimized MIUI operating system. However, the 120 Hz display with the high brightness of over 1500 nits and the 2K resolution also drains the battery life quite a bit.

Nevertheless, we were a bit surprised when the battery benchmark showed us a result of just 9 hours! That corresponds to the benchmark of the Xiaomi Mi 9 at the time, the Xiaomi Mi 10 could claim almost 15 hours. The benchmark was run at 2K resolution, 120 Hz and medium brightness. Unfortunately, this also confirms our impression after several days of use. The Mi 11 had to be plugged in unusually often, although the standby consumption is relatively low.

Xiaomi Mi 11 battery benchmark screenshot 2K

When we tried out the various movie modes for about 45 minutes at 2K resolution, high brightness and 120 Hz, the phone consumed just under 40% battery in that time. So, if you plan to use it as a camera for your YouTube videos or similar, you should have a power bank in your luggage. But even aside from that, if you’re simply on high brightness and have the high resolution enabled, you’ll notice that the 5nm chip isn’t energy efficient enough for a 120 Hz 2K display.

Xiaomi Mi 11 battery benchmark FHD screenshot

BUT: You do not have to activate the 2K display. The advantages of the high pixel density are limited in everyday use, so you can get a bit more runtime out of the Full HD+ resolution. After all, it is about 45 minutes longer in the benchmark, which can sometimes make a decisive difference in everyday use. Nevertheless, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is far behind Xiaomi’s own standards with this runtime. The Snapdragon 888 apparently still has to deal with some efficiency issues!

Xiaomi Mi 11 with 50W wireless charging

Xiaomi is an absolute pioneer in the field of charging technology. The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra already supports 120 W of wired charging, which fully charges the phone in just fifteen minutes. In addition, it even offers 50W wireless charging, both in one phone is an absolute milestone. The Haidian-based manufacturer now also offers at least 50W charging in the Xiaomi Mi 11. To use this, you need the 55W Qi charger as well as a suitable USB charger with 65W and the corresponding cable. We could use the 120W charger of the Mi 10 Ultra at that time, but Xiaomi itself recommends its own 65W USB-C charger. It did not work with another 65W charger like the Aukey Omnia in our test.

Xiaomi Mi 11 50W Qi charging

If you have these “ingredients”, the Xiaomi Mi 11 can be charged from zero to one hundred in just under 45 minutes! With the included 55W charger and wireless charging, the entire charge takes about 55 to 60 minutes. It is cool that the charging animation even shows the charging to the second decimal place. Qi charging is especially convenient when you do not have much time, since you can charge the phone to over 30% in about 15 minutes! In addition, the Mi 11 also supports reverse charging, so it can wirelessly charge other Qi-enabled devices, such as the Aukey EP-T10 headphones, with 10W.

Xiaomi Mi 11 power adapter

Via the USB-C port at the bottom, the device supports Power Delivery 3.0 and Quick Charge 4+ standard. Thus, the flagship manages 55W wired charging, which takes just under 40 minutes for a full charge. You can reach almost 50% charge in four quarters of an hour when you use the “included” 55W charger with China plug and adapter. Speaking of the power adapter.

Xiaomi Mi 11 in standard edition without power adapter

After Apple put up with a small shitstorm by not including the matching power adapter in the iPhone 12, Xiaomi is now the first Android manufacturer to follow suit. The Xiaomi Mi 11 is shipped without a USB charger! Like Apple, Xiaomi justifies this step with “the call for environmental protection“. In China, Xiaomi solves it in such a way that there is a standard version without a charger and without a charging cable. However, you get the 55W charger plus cable for the equivalent of $15 extra (99 yuan), but they are packed separately and not in the box itself. It is not yet clear how this will be solved in the global version! What do you think of the missing power adapter?

Xiaomi Mi 11 missing power adapter Weibo posting

Battery: 7/10 points

cg rating 7

Xiaomi does not seem to know how to use the new processor and display yet. The battery life is below average, especially for Xiaomi. If you want to use the full potential of the phone, you’ll just get through the day. Actually, only the 50W Qi charging and the 55W wired charging saves the points for the Mi 11.

Again with a 108 MP camera

Xiaomi opted for Samsung’s 1o8 MP sensor for both models in the last generation, which premiered in the Xiaomi Mi Note 10. We were not the only ones to criticize this in our review; megapixels are not everything. In fact, the Xiaomi Mi 11 stays with the 108 MP sensor from Samsung. Once again, 4-in-1 pixel binning is used and a ƒ/1.85 aperture is employed. The focal length equivalent is 25 mm and the sensor is also optically stabilized.

Xiaomi Mi 11 camera

In addition, there is a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera and a 5-megapixel (telephoto) macro camera like in the Poco F2 Pro. The ultra-wide-angle camera offers a shooting angle of 123° with an aperture of ƒ/2.4. Interestingly, Xiaomi thus even eliminates a sensor in contrast to the predecessor, which still had a quad camera. The resolution of the macro sensor has also been improved. However, you should also keep in mind that the Mi 9 was still equipped with a full-fledged telephoto camera.

Main camera

Same camera as last year, same photos as last year? For the most part, yes, although I had fewer failures than with the predecessor. Let’s start with the positive: the sharpness. Here you notice the 27 megapixels that result from the 108 megapixels thanks to 4-in-1 pixel binning technology. In the focus area, you can finely recognize individual hairs, get the structure on the leaf (see photo) and generally very many details (see photo of the sneaker). This is fun and you get the feeling of a full-fledged DSLR replacement.

Xiaomi Mi 11 main camera test photo sharpness Xiaomi Mi 11 main camera test photo sneaker Xiaomi Mi 11 main camera test photo colors

However, only in the aforementioned situations, because you usually don’t get this sharpness in landscape photos or simply wide-angle photos. Here, you often notice that the autofocus has problems in some places, such as with the houseplant. Nothing is really in focus, whereas the Mi 10T Pro with the same sensor at least focuses on the plant or the iPhone 11 at least on the leaf in the foreground. However, you only notice that at a second glance; at first glance, landscape photos also look basically good and you also still get enough details at the screen’s edges.

Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo main camera vs Mi 10T Pro vs iPhone 11

The white balance also has slight problems, which sometimes reaches its limits, especially indoors. In the case of the gimbal, the colors are completely off and the camera repeatedly has much too yellow, warm colors in exactly the same setting. In a direct comparison with an iPhone, you also notice how the Mi 11’s picture lacks some details in the shadows.

Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo vs iPhone 11 white balance

However, when everything turns out well, the photos of the Xiaomi Mi 11 are pleasing. Colors are usually vivid and rich, skin tones much more natural than in the inexpensive Redmi models, and you usually get a lot of details. The Mi 11’s camera can, however, Xiaomi’s software just somehow doesn’t always let it.

Xiaomi Mi 11 main camera test photo colors 2 Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo main camera auto focus

Night mode

The optical image stabilization should also come into its own in night mode. Xiaomi has not only improved it for photos, but also for videos. The Xiaomi Mi 11 performs relatively well in low-light situations, although the optical image stabilization is not as effective as I had hoped. Especially in night mode, you should still prove a steady hand due to the longer shutter speed.

Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo low light

Ultra-wide-angle camera

I consider the fact that the ultra-wide-angle camera has not been changed as a missed opportunity. After all, if you only install three cameras, they should also “sit”, especially since OPPO and OnePlus show how good it can look. Nevertheless, you get solid ultra-wide-angle photos that score with a wide viewing angle. I like the color profile relatively well and it can be compared with that of the main sensor for the most part. However, skin tones are a bit off and you should not expect too many details. The bottom line is that the Mi 11 offers a solid ultra-wide-angle camera, which we know from the predecessor as well as from various mid-range smartphones.

Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo ultra-wide vs wide-angle Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo ultra-wide camera

Macro mode

Instead of tele, there is macro, the trend almost seems to turn away from zoom cameras. Xiaomi has thought of a little marketing trick and simply calls the camera “Tele Macro” – big brain time. We already know it from the POCO F2 Pro and it delivers the same good results here as well. Thanks to the small closest focusing distance, you can get close to the object and then zoom in even further. This provides an even better macro effect in places and thus more beautiful results. Although other macro cameras can theoretically do this as well, the autofocus usually does not cooperate, but it does in the Mi 11.

Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo telephoto macro camera Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo macro camera 1

In my opinion, however, this should become standard and it was the least Xiaomi could do to distract from the previous year’s shameful 2 MP sensor.

Portrait mode

We have actually seen Xiaomi on the podium in portrait mode for quite some time now. At least in the mid-range models. In the flagship segment and without an additional portrait sensor, the Mi 11 goes head-to-head with the current iPhones. Xiaomi’s edge detection is very strong in most cases and sometimes even manages to separate single strands of hair neatly from the foreground. Xiaomi was always able to win us over in this mode precisely because of the bokeh: soft, natural, but still strong enough.

Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo portrait mode person 2 Xiaomi Mi 11 vs iPhone 11 test photo portrait camera person 1

However, the photos sometimes lack details; the iPhone often provides more information, especially in the hair, but also in the clothes. The skin tones are a bit too red, whereas the Xiaomi keeps a relatively cool tone. Nonetheless, the bottom line is that you get really nice portrait shots, which quickly give the impression of a semi-professional shot.

Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo portrait mode person

Front camera

The 20-megapixel front camera shoots sharp selfies and makes friends of modern self-portraits look good in almost every situation. With good exposure, sharpness, skin tones and dynamic range are a reason for joy. The sharpness is not only transferred to the face, but also to the clothes or accessories. Of course, this decreases drastically when the light fades, but the selfies are usually still usable even then.

Xiaomi Mi 11 test photo front camera selfie good light Xiaomi Mi 11 front camera test photo selfie two people Xiaomi Mi 11 front camera test photo low light

However, the selfie mode still convinces with functionality. A new feature is the Dynamic Shoot option, which adds a bit more saturation in my opinion. In addition, there is a very good portrait mode and nice features, such as palm-triggering. This can certainly come in handy in some situations.

Video camera

The main camera supports various video modes like simultaneous filming with multiple sensors, VLOG mode, 960fps slow motion, 8K recordings and an extra stability mode. 4K is possible at 60 fps, 8K even at 30 fps, the predecessor only managed 15 fps. In addition, there is a Super Macro mode and many “movie effects” can be found under “More”, such as slow shutter or the “Parallel Worlds” effect. Xiaomi thus enables video-savvy people like Instagrammers or TikTokers a lot of possibilities, some of which are certainly more useful than others.

Camera: 8/10 points

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The 108 MP sensor has potential, but the camera software does not always let it. We still think that a Sony sensor like the IMX589 would suit the Mi 11 better. In addition, there are easily avoidable flaws like the same ultra-wide-angle camera and “only” macro instead of a full-fledged zoom like still in the Mi 9. Xiaomi does not yet play along with Samsung, Apple and Google.

Xiaomi Mi 11 with Android 11

Apart from that, some equipment features are of course set. Of course, Xiaomi ships the device with the latest version of its MIUI operating system. MIUI 12.5 was already announced at the presentation, but it is not yet preinstalled on the Mi 11. Instead, we are still working with MIUI 12.0.17, which is also based on Android 11. The security patch is still from November 2011, so it is quite up-to-date.

Xiaomi Mi 11 MIUI version

MIUI 12 is really at the maximum of its functionality here. If the hardware is there, Xiaomi knows how to adapt the software to it. You can see that in the option for curved displays, the innumerable settings for the display, and in additional features like Game Turbo or floating windows, which of course make sense on a 6.81-inch screen. In addition, there are different presets for music or voices for the Harman Kardon speakers, which is another helpful option that proves that Xiaomi also represents the hardware in the software.

Xiaomi Mi 11 MIUI apps

In addition, the animations look a bit improved, and in combination with the 120 Hz and the power of the phone, it results in a very smooth navigation through the OS. In addition, there are many quick settings, both via the control center and in the settings, such as Quick Ball, to further speed up navigation through MIUI.

Install Google services & Play Store on Xiaomi Mi 11 China version

Since it is a Chinese version, the entire operating system can unfortunately only be used in English or Chinese. Accordingly, some Chinese apps are preinstalled as bloatware, but they can fortunately be uninstalled easily. Google Play Store and other relevant Google apps are missing at launch, but the Google Framework is already installed. That means you only have to enter your Google account in the system settings and then download and install the Play Store installation file. To do so, go to the settings, click on “Accounts % Sync”, then on “Add account”, “Google” and you can log in with your Google account.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Add Google Account

Once you have installed the .apk, you can use the Play Store as usual and log in with your Google account. The Google Play Store is even certified.

Download the Global Playstore installation file

Wait for Xiaomi Mi 11 Global Version?

As mentioned, the review is about the China version of the Xiaomi Mi 11, whose most significant differences are the English language and the initially missing Google services. Furthermore, Google Pay via NFC unfortunately does not work. Those who cannot/would not like to do without other languages should wait for the global version of the Xiaomi Mi 11, which will then also be available in stores like Amazon. You can also flash the Chinese version and install a probably unofficial ROM, but we only recommend that if you are familiar with it. The Xiaomi Mi 11 also has Widevine Level 1, which provides the necessary copy protection so that you can watch video streaming content from e.g. Netflix in Full HD.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Widevine Level 1

You have ordered a Mi 11 and are not sure whether it is the global or Chinese version? You can easily recognize the Chinese version because there are many Chinese characters on the sticker at the bottom and the CE mark was added later. Another clue would also be the charger with the Chinese plug.

Outlook: MIUI 12.5 operating system

MIUI 12.5 also particularly focuses on the topic of “privacy & data protection”. However, the basic system has also been “rewritten” so that it now consumes up to 30% less memory and is 25% more energy-efficient. Nevertheless, animations now look smoother because multiple cores are now used simultaneously in the operating system as well to be more efficient.

Xiaomi Mi 11 smartphone MIUI 12.5

In addition, it is more oriented towards a pure operating system. Compared with other operating systems, there are only a few apps that cannot be uninstalled. Furthermore, the Super Wallpapers, which were introduced with MIUI 12, have been improved. For example, the rendering of the live wallpapers has been improved. In addition, there are now probably more wallpapers, such as “Under the Sea”. Xiaomi has also revised the auditory and haptic feedback of MIUI. There are apparently new sounds and improved feedback, for example, on the keyboard.

Operating system: 8/10 points

cg rating 9

An operating system is also a very subjective matter. Some like MIUI, some don’t. Objectively, however, it has to be said that MIUI in the Mi 11 is at the maximum of its functionality and you have many setting options.There is currently a deduction for the lack of other languages.

Other features

Thanks to the CPU, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is of course also 5G-capable, and the integrated X60 modem is now also permanently integrated in contrast to the predecessor. This should make the energy consumption more economical. In addition, all 5G frequencies between two and six GHz are supported, so all mmWave and Sub 6 networks can be accessed. Unfortunately, we do not currently have a 5G contract (and honestly do not really see the benefit) and therefore cannot make a judgment on the performance at this time. If you use 5G with the Mi 11, please let us know in the comments!

Of course, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 is also integrated, which offers data rates of up to 3.5 Gbps. Otherwise, you do not have to do without dual GPS, USB-C, the latest Bluetooth 5.2, Qualcomm TrueWireless StereoPlus, and NFC. Unfortunately, Google Pay cannot be used with the Chinese version despite NFC. Besides the support for 5G with the bands N1, n3, n28a,n41, n77, n78 and n79, there are also various global LTE bands. LTE bands are even integrated in the Chinese version, which is not uninteresting for a possible import of the Chinese version. The Chinese version is also equipped with a dual-SIM slot. We cannot currently say whether this is also available in the global version.

Xiaomi Mi 11 smartphone side by side

We also had good experiences with calls and mobile Internet in the Vodafone network with the Chinese version. We did not notice that the for us important LTE band 20 is now available, since we are in a metropolitan area in the office, where band 20 is less significant. However, if you live in rural areas, you will probably have good LTE reception even with the Chinese version of the Mi 11. Thus, we have nothing to criticize in this regard in the test.

Extras: Xiaomi Mi 11 gets harman Kardon on board

Xiaomi has apparently looked in Huawei’s direction and now also brought harman kardon on board as a partner with expertise for the stereo speakers in the Mi 11. Xiaomi already made a name for itself with the volume and sound quality of the stereo speaker in the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro. Thus, the Mi 11 is also at the top when it comes to offering the best smartphone sound. It can keep up well with an iPhone 11 Pro Max and even leave it behind in some cases. It is a bit louder and has less distortion especially in the trebles, but the mids are more accentuated overall. We see both smartphones on par in the low frequency ranges.

Xiaomi Mi 11 speaker Harman Kardon

The fingerprint sensor in the display was hardly discussed during the almost two-hour presentation. Apparently, little or no changes have been made here. The sensor remains the same size and reacts just as quickly and reliably as the predecessor. Of course, the sensor benefits from the faster processor, but that is not necessarily noticeable. Overall, Xiaomi simply delivers the status quo here.

Xiaomi Mi 11 heart rate monitor

However, the fingerprint sensor in the display also serves as a heart rate monitor! You have to use the preloaded Xiaomi Health app and then you can measure your heart rate under “Measure Heart Rate”. The process takes 15 seconds and mostly offers similar results to my smartwatch. I wouldn’t rely on it 100%, but there is a tendency and it is overall a nice feature – nothing more, nothing less.

Ports & Connections: 10/10 points

cg rating 10 150x150Xiaomi has been putting a lot of emphasis on future connectivity standards for several years now, with the Mi Mix 3 5G being one of the first to ride the 5G wave. The Mi 11 is no exception: dual GPS, Bluetooth 5.2, many 5G bands and LTE in the China version. I’m not missing anything here!

Price & release of the Xiaomi Mi 11

Xiaomi has brought forward the launch in China and unveiled the Mi 11 on December 28, 2020. A date for the global version of the flagship has not been announced yet. As of January 2021, we assume a February or March 2021 unveiling/release. However, the information has not been confirmed; Xiaomi only hinted at the release.

In China, the Xiaomi Mi 11 costs 3999 yuan in the cheapest version with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, which is roughly $600. Thus, it is just as expensive as the Xiaomi Mi 10 at release. The Mi 11 with 8/256 GB is expected to cost 4,299 yuan (roughly $680 equivalent) and the Mi 11 with 12/256 GB is expected to cost 4,699 yuan (roughly $730). Xiaomi does not currently charge for the power adapter and cable, and they are included for free if required. Otherwise, the charger plus cable costs 99 yuan, which is the equivalent of $15. How this will be handled for the global version is unknown so far.

Xiaomi Mi 11 smartphone prices

The prices for a possible global version have not been announced yet. Last year, you had to pay about $200 extra for the global launch compared to the China version, which is why we assume a price of around $800 to $900 this time as well. However, this has not been confirmed yet.

Xiaomi Mi 11: More like a Xiaomi Mi 10S?

Xiaomi always takes a safer path with the Mi flagship series than with the more experimental Mix devices, for example. With the Xiaomi Mi 10, i.e. the predecessor, the manufacturer could convince on the one hand, but there were also controversies about the pricing and also the camera. Xiaomi has improved these to some extent. Nevertheless, Xiaomi was even a bit more cautious this year, the Xiaomi Mi 11 almost feels like an S upgrade in parts. The same front design, the same main, ultra-wide, and front cameras, the same price, and the same connectivity standards.

However, some of the predecessor’s points of criticism have been improved. The display is the first 2K display from the manufacturer with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. This is the highlight of the Mi 11, which gives it an advantage over the Samsung S21, at least on the spec sheet. In combination with the strong processor, fast memory, smooth MIUI and the 120 Hz display, you just have the fastest smartphone on the market in your hands. Speaking of hands: With the Mi 11, Xiaomi proves that they also know something about design after the lumpy Mi 10T Pro.

The Mi 11 does not lack features either. The fastest wireless charging on the market, an integrated heart rate monitor, 5G, Harman Kardon speakers, Gorilla Glass Victus and a good operating system round off the Mi 11 to a top smartphone in many disciplines. Nevertheless, I think additional points could have been gained with a better camera setup. A telephoto camera instead of a telephoto macro camera and an ultra-wide-angle camera that can also be used as a macro camera. The really big point of criticism is simply the battery life: Not even 10 hours in the benchmark are far below average, especially for Xiaomi. The Mi 11 barely lasts a day in the extravagant settings. You first have to get used to that.

Buy the Xiaomi Mi 11?

We are still missing two important factors to fully assess this: the price and the Mi 11 Pro. Whether the Mi 11 costs around $600 or at least $800 makes a difference in the assessment. The price also broke the predecessor’s neck. In a price range of over $800, you have to compete with Apple, Samsung, and Google, where aspects like the camera, lack of IP rating, and battery life play a bigger role. The comparison with the Mi 11 Pro is also important to see how much more you get for the extra price of the Pro version.

If the Mi 11 would arrive here for approximately the Chinese price, it would offer the best hardware at the moment in many aspects and would thus be an absolute recommendation.If you can do without other languages, I can even recommend importing it due to the integrated Band 20 if you want to save money and know what you are getting into. For the time being, I have to advise everyone else to wait a bit longer.

Total score of the Xiaomi Mi 11

Test result: 9.1/10 points

cg rating 9Overall, I like the Xiaomi Mi 11 a bit better than the Xiaomi Mi 10, which is mainly due to fixed bugs like the 2 MP sensors and the build quality. The highlight is the display, but this is at the expense of the battery life. However, the Mi 11 is still fun to use due to its performance, display, build quality and operating system.

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Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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