Mi 11 Review: The OG Flagship Killer Returns

Last month, Xiaomi launched its latest flagship smartphone called the Mi 11. Nowadays, there are other brands claiming to be flagship killers, but with the launch of the Mi 11 are those phones worthy enough to have that worthy title? We received the Mi 11 review unit last month and after using the phone for weeks, I am now tempted to buy my own unit and use it as my main phone!

MI 11 REVIEW SPECS:

OS:Android 11
MIUI 12.5
Processor:2.84 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Octa-core Processor| Adreno 660 GPU
Display: 6.81-inch AMOLED
3200 x 1440, 20:9, 120Hz screen refresh rate with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus

DCI-P3
Gorilla Glass 6
Memory:8GB RAM + 256GB storage (no microSD expansion)
Wireless Connections:5G, Bluetooth 5.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, NFC, IR
Connectors:USB Type-C 2.0, OTG Support
Cameras:Rear: 108MP f/1.9 wide + 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide + 5MP f/2.4 macro. Front: 20MP f/2.2
Security:Under display fingerprint sensor
SIM Card Slots:2x Nano SIM Cards
Battery:4,600 mAh
SRP:P36,990

THE UNBOXING

The Mi 11 comes in a white premium box with a gold-colored Mi logo on the upper right corner and the number 11 at the center. Also noticeable in the package below is the Harman Kardon logo which we will discuss later.

Inside the box are the Mi 11, Type-C USB Cable, and a 55-W charger. It may also come with a silicon case which was included in the Mi 9 Pro I reviewed before.

THE LOOKS AND FEEL

I didn’t have the opportunity to review the Mi 10 series so my primary comparison would be the Mi 8 Pro, the last Mi flagship I had my hands on. What I immediately noticed with the Mi 11 is its size. It is slightly larger than the Mi 10 and almost has the same length of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra which I am also reviewing. It’s noticeably slim at 8.1mm which gives the phone a sexy look. Haven’t seen a flagship smartphone this sleek and sexy in a long time!

Found at the bottom are the SIM card silo, USB Type-C port and a speaker grille.

The IR blaster and other speaker grille are found on the top of the phone. These speakers are powered by Harman Kardon which gives users a more immersive sound experience.

The sides of the Mi 11 are 8.1mm thin. Notice the curved glass edges that gives the phone a sexy look and feel. The volume controls and power button are located on the right side of the phone.

The back is made of glass which is now commonly found in a flagship smartphone. Camera module consists of three lenses and an LED flash.

THE DISPLAY

The Mi 11 has a 6.81″ AMOLED display with 1440 x 3200 pixels and 20:9 aspect ratio. Like other flagship smartphones, it also supports 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+. A punch hole camera on the upper left corner lets the user take selfie photos. Its large bright display with almost no bezels on the top and bottom parts of the phone makes it really enjoyable for binge-watching streaming videos as well as playing mobile games.

THE PERFORMANCE

Aside from its large, gorgeous screen, what I love in the Mi 11 is its supercharged performance. It is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, the fastest and most powerful to date. We did some benchmark tests on the Mi 11 and tell us if these scores won’t impress you:

The Antutu score of the Mi 11 is the highest I’ve ever seen in all the smartphones I’ve reviewed so far and it just confirms that this phone has what it takes to provide a flagship performance. Our Mi 11 review unit comes with a 256/8 storage and memory capacity which I think is enough for its price point. I am aware other flagship smartphones are already equipped with more than 8GB of memory, but I think 8GB is just enough even for the latest mobile games. If you need more storage, you’ll be bummed to know that the Mi 11 does not have a MicroSD expansion slot. It still doesn’t have IP68 certification but at least it now has NFC, wireless charging and 5G connectivity.

As always I installed my favorite mobile games and as expected all of them played flawlessly on the Mi 11 at their highest graphic settings. What I haven’t tried yet is Genshin Impact, so I asked my niece to play it for me. With the video settings set to high, we noticed that gameplay was very smooth throughout an hour of playing. The phone indeed has gotten warm during her long gameplay, but the heat was manageable. She declared that playing Genshin Impact on the Mi 11 is a lot better than playing on her laptop.

The Mi 11 already comes with Android 11 pre-installed and customized with MIUI 12. I’ve been hearing complaints of previous versions of MIUI and thank goodness those issues are not present with the latest MIUI. I can now have an option to enable the app drawer and also schedule light and dark modes.

THE CAMERAS

There are three cameras on the Mi 11: a 108 Megapixel wide lens, a 13 Megapixel ultrawide, and a 5 Megapixel macro. I was pleased with the results as photos taken with the Mi 11 produced sharp images most of the time, though photos taken with the ultrawide lens looked a bit distorted sometimes. I am hoping Xiaomi can fix that issue with a software update. The caveat I have with these cameras is the lack of a dedicated telephoto lens. Digital Zoom up to 30x is available but the quality pales compared to the 30x zoom images of the Huawei P40 Pro. Selfie photos taken by its 20 Megapixel front camera looked natural and we really enjoyed using it.

The Mi 11’s cameras offers some cool tricks to make your videos really cool and trendsetters on social media. Magic Zoom, Time Freeze and Parallel World are some of the camera features that can make your videos stand out without paying someone to apply visual effects.

Here are some sample photos:

THE BATTERY LIFE

Our Mi 11 review unit is supplied with a 4,600 mAh battery which I think is a little bit short than the usual 5,000 mAh capacity seen in most flagship smartphones. Not a big deal for us as the phone can stay online for at least 11 hours. Thanks to its 55W fast wired charger, we were able to charge the Mi 11 from 0 to 100% in less than 50 minutes!

DR’S CONCLUSION

Despite the lack of some flagship features like the telephoto lens and IP68 rating, I would still recommend the Mi 11 if you do not find these features essential for your needs. It is definitely one of the best flagship smartphones you could buy today, and also the most affordable one for only P36,990. Personally, I am considering on getting one unless Xiaomi is going to release a better Mi 11 variant in the future.

PROS:

  • Slim form factor
  • Large bright screen display
  • Latest flagship processor
  • Takes good photos
  • Fast Charging

CONS:

  • No Telephoto camera
  • No IP68 rating
  • Battery capacity is less than the usual 5,000 mAh capacity found in flagships

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