Xiaomi Mi 11 and Xiaomi 11T: A detailed review
With the Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro out, Xiaomi is slashing over 150 dollar off the Xiaomi 11T. So it’s time to give the handset a closer look. If you are in the market for a really good value mid-range or even last generation flagship, take a real look at the Mi 11 and 11T from Xiaomi.
There was a time when OnePlus disrupted the smartphone market with flagship killers that boasted extremely hi-tech specs at a much lesser price than the flagships of Samsung and other premium brands. Since then, after a lot of releases and iterations, it has gradually moved away from its catchphrases of Never Settle and Flagship Killer with newer devices bearing a much higher price tag.
Xiaomi M1 11 and Xiaomi 11T
This seems to be the go-to mantra for most brands across spectrums nowadays. They enter with a lot of promise to be the new Holy Grail for tech lovers and then gradually focus on increasing profit margins. However, there is a brand that has consistently delivered on its promise of premium devices at affordable pricing and that too without any extra hype or catchphrase. With the release of Mi 11 and 11T, Xiaomi has again shown why it deserves to be called the new Flagship Killer.
Xiaomi has a total of eight smartphones now under the Mi 11 series and the two we are going to look at today are excellent value for money smartphones with extremely beefy specifications in terms of processor, storage, memory and other features.
1. Design and Build
In terms of dimensions, both Xiaomi 11 and 11T have similar length and thickness with the 11T being a bit wider and slightly heavier than the 11. Both devices sport aluminum frames and Gorilla Glass Victus on top for protection against accidental bumps and minor drops. While the 11 is available in Gray, White, Blue and a Special Edition Striped Blue colour, they don’t feature the brushed metal paint we see in the Meteorite Gray version of the 11T. The 11T in return does not have any special edition, the White and Blue variants look similar in both devices.
Both the devices have a bare left side with the right edge featuring the volume buttons and a fingerprint scanner on the power button for the Mi 11T while the Mi 11 has an in-display fingerprint scanner. There are ample sensors in both devices with the Mi 11T scoring a few brownie points for sporting a Barometer and Colour Temperature Sensors.
Both devices feature noise cancellation microphones on the top edge and Hi-Res certified dual stereo speakers. The Mi 11T however features another microphone just below the rear flash for Audio Zoom, a feature we will look at later. The Mi 11T comes with Dolby Atmos support while the Mi 11 is powered by Harman Kardon speakers. Entertainment on either of these devices is a good and the volume is sure to turn heads at the coffee table.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Display
The display of a smartphone is usually the headline maker and here too it is no different. Xiaomi has equipped both the Mi 11 and Mi 11T with stunning displays. The Xiaomi Mi 11 has the biggest display in the series with a 6.81-inches AMOLED DotDisplay panel with a high 515-pixel density and 3200 x 1440 WQHD resolution. The aspect ratio of 20:9 allows excellent widescreen viewing of online content and it is also a lifesaver when you decide to work on your smartphone. Dual display on both landscape and portrait mode on the big screen real estate allows efficient multitasking.
The display on the Xiaomi 11 comes with HDR10+ support and a 120Hz refresh rate and a punch-hole selfie camera on the left side. The screen has a nice curve along the side edges which makes it a pleasure to hold and operate but a nightmare for those looking to add an extra layer of tempered glass protection to the Victus Gorilla Glass. It has a superb 5000000:1 contrast ratio and 100 percent DCI-P3 colour gamut. It has a sublime peak brightness of 1500 nits and a Sunlight Mode giving it good usability under sunlight. The Xiaomi Mi 11 display is game-ready with a 480Hz touch sampling rate along with a DisplayMate A+ rating Eye Care certification and 120Hz Seamless Pro Motion Speed.
Xiaomi 11T Display
In terms of display, the Mi 11T is by no means a slouch even though it might measure a wee bit smaller than the Mi 11. The 6.67-inch AMOLED DotDisplay makes the device a bit easier to hold for users with smaller palms. It comes with a 2400 x 1080 FHD+ resolution with the same 120Hz refresh rate and 480Hz touch sampling rate. The panel supports up to a billion colours making the display of the Mi 11T a bit more vibrant and livelier than the Mi 11. The contrast ratio remains the same but the peak brightness is lower at 1000 nits.
This panel too supports HDR10+ with TrueColour and TrueDisplay support. Reduction in brightness has been somewhat nullified with the inclusion of Reading Mode and Sunlight Mode which allows comfortable use of the smartphone under direct sunlight. Images are crisp with vivid colours and sharp contrast. Netflix or other OTT content would be a cracker on both of these displays with high resolution plus HDR support.
When it’s all about crunching numbers and daily usage, both the Xiaomi 11 and 11T feature high-end processors from Qualcomm and MediaTek.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Performance
The Mi 11 smartphone has the Snapdragon 888 at its heart with Kryo 680 cores making it breeze past in regular usage. One of the four performance cores is tuned to go up to 2.84 GHz and three other cores max out at 2.42 GHz. The other four efficiency cores are tuned to stay at 1.80 GHz for power management. Graphics are managed by Adreno 660 which right now is the most powerful graphics processor in the mobile graphics segment allowing users to run any game at the highest graphics setting available.
Coupled with the 5G capable Snapdragon 888 are LPDDR5 memory and UFS 3.1 storage units that allow butter-smooth multi-tasking through multiple app usage or split-screen and fast local storage access.
Xiaomi 11T Performance
The 11T ditches Snapdragon in favour of MediaTek and comes with the Dimesity 1200 5G capable processor. Unlike older MediaTek processors, this Dimensity series processor has garnered rave reviews for being on par with the best Snapdragons in the industry. The Density 1200 is an octa-core processor built on a 6nm process and has a single Cortex A78 running at 3.0 GHz while the other three performance cores hit 2.76 GHz on load. The rest four are efficiency-focused Cortex A55 cores with a maximum speed of 2.0 GHz. Gaming on the Density 1200 is managed by a 9-core ARM Mali-G77 GPU.
Performance-wise the 11T goes toe to toe with its Snapdragon counterpart. Multitasking and multiple apps run smoothly thanks to 8GB LPDDR4X memory and UFS 3.1 storage. Both the Mi 11 and 11T offer 8GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB memory and storage combinations.
Smartphone photography has scaled new heights with a large section of flagship users preferring to use their smartphones for clicking snaps and the competition is tough owing to numerous developments and upgraded cameras being offered by every top brand. Content developers to have found innovative ways of using mounts on smartphone cameras for out-of-the-world videography that was previously seen mostly on the silver screen.
Xiaomi 11 Camera
Both Mi 11 and 11T have a triple sensor rear camera setup with a main wide-angle, an ultra-wide-angle and a macro sensor. On the Mi 11, the 108MP primary sensor has an aperture of f/1.85 using 4-in-1 pixel binning to achieve exemplary image capturing. The ultra-wide sensor uses a 13MP sensor with a 123-degree field-of-view and a telemacro lens that uses a 5MP sensor with a 3cm-10cm focus distance.
Mi 11 captures the best images in well-lit environments while low-light photos is hampered by a bit of noise. Still, thanks to better AI optimization, the contrasts are better than the Mi 10 series and the tones are a bit lighter. The sensor uses a 4-to-1 pixel binning technology to achieve a crisp 27MP sensor that can capture more light than its predecessor. The wide-angle snapper lowers the resolution a bit while capturing images with a brighter feel on the snaps taken. Finally, the ‘tele’macro sensor captures some really good macro images from relatively further distances. The telemacro lens allows natural light to enter the frame with the device itself not blocking off the light.
The macro mode is great to use with good details of fabrics, plants and other close up of objects being captured on a brightly lit frame. Optical zoom is sorely missed and you have to be content with digital 30x zoom which frankly serves no purpose beyond 10x as grains take over the entire frame. For selfies, the Mi 11 has a 20MP f/2.2 camera that captures excellent images as long as you are in portrait mode. In this mode, the contrast is better with boosted highlights and darkened shadows for a shot with good clarity and detail.
Videography on the Mi 11 is fast and easy with the processor allowing you to capture up to 8K videos. You can shoot HDR10+ videos and then there is the Ultra-Night Mode for low-lit videography. The camera app comes with various movie modes that replicate various methods of professional videography. With the Mi 11, you can enjoy the dolly zoom effect using the Magic Zoom mode. Parallel World allows you to create videos with a mirror effect.
Additionally, there are movie filters that can replicate colour grades by tweaking colour range, brightness, or contrast to get various movie effects. You can also play with Time Freeze where you can freeze an object and make another object interact with it. The rear camera also allows 4K video recording at 60 and 30fps and slow-motion recording on HD and FullHD resolutions at 120 and 240 fps.
Xiaomi 11T Display
The Mi 11T dons the same camera set-up albeit with a bump in specs. The main 108MP wide-angle camera comes with an even higher resolution 9-to-1 Pixel Binning technology and has a slightly better f/1.75 aperture. The 8MP ultra-wide-angle sensor has a 120-degree field of view and the 5MP telemacro lens has a 3cm-7cm focus distance.
In terms of image quality, the snaps are marginally sharper than the Mi 11 which although would go unnoticed most of the time but would make highlights during night mode. This low light mode gets triggered automatically offering better indoor imagery. Colours appear to be true to life and worthy of a flagship. Ultra-wide-angle performance is similar to the Mi 11 with a slight drop in quality and resolution but the telemacro performance is better than the Mi 11. The same telemacro lens here allows 2X optical zoom.
The front 16MP snapper does better edge detection using the same camera app as above and also captures better non-portrait shots. Videography on the Mi 11T is similar to the Mi 11 with some add-ons such as Audio Zoom and Video Pro mode. Video Pro mode allows users to tinker with live video capturing settings similar to manual or pro mode camera while the Audio Zoom uses a third microphone placed on the rear camera module to focus on the sound. This is particularly useful in capturing conversations. 8K video recording has been left out in the Mi 11T but 4K is possible at 30fps.
5. Connectivity and Battery
Both the smartphones come with dual 5G nano-sim support. The Mi 11 additionally supports 4×4 MIMO and a wide range of 5G signal bands. Wi-Fi 6 over dual bands and Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX HD and aptX Adaptive are the other common connectivity features in both devices.
The 11T features a 5000mAh Li-Po battery with a 67W USB Type-C fast charger that can charge the device in just over half an hour. The Mi 11 features a 4600mAh Li-Po battery and a 55W fast charger that can power up the smartphone in 45 minutes. Additionally, there is support for wireless and reverse wireless charging with Power Delivery 3.0 and Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+. Both the devices are built to last more than a full day on a single charge on moderate usage.
Alternatives and Verdict
There are plenty of alternatives for both the devices here as you can look at the Samsung Galaxy S21+ and RealMe X50 Pro 5G in case you are not so pleased with the MI 11. The latter even has a faster charging mechanism than the Mi 11. Even the one-year-old OnePlus 8 could be a better alternative thanks to the better optimized Oxygen OS in comparison to MIUI 12 on Xiaomi flagships. For those of you looking to go beyond the Mi 11T, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G, Samsung Galaxy 20FE and RealMe GT could be worth looking at.
In terms of value for money, the Mi 11 is definitely a better deal with better video recording features and a bigger display. It also features a robust GPS and has most of the features of the 11T. There are more colour choices for the user and the slightly lesser battery capacity has somewhat been addressed through the inclusion of wireless charging. In terms of performance, both devices are neck-to-neck in real-world usage.
Speakers’ performance could be better in both the devices and the downside of a powerful processor in smartphones without an extensive cooling mechanism is a bit of a heating issue that even our flagships today can’t escape from. Camera performance could have been better if there were OIS which sadly is missing in the Mi 11T while the zoom lens is missing in the Mi 11. Overall, both devices offer value for money performance and would be wise buys considering the reliability Xiaomi has built as a brand in the last half a decade.