Xiaomi Mi 11, analysis and opinion

After a week and a half using it as the main phone, we tell you our opinion of the Xiaomi Mi 11 in an analysis in which, we are warning you, practically everything will be positive, starting with three pillars such as charging technology, the screen and the monstrous Snapdragon 888. However, if they had polished more a couple of details, it would be a 10-year-old phone.

Having tested the most powerful chips for these first few months like Samsung's Exynos 2100 -analysis of the Galaxy S21 Ultra-, Apple's A14 - analysis of the iPhone 12 Pro Max- and Huawei's Kirin 9000 - analysis of the Mate40 Pro- we were looking forward to the Snapdragon 888.

For the second year in a row, it is Xiaomi that brings to our territory the first mobile with the latest generation of Qualcomm and, in this case, it is a high-end mobile, with all the letters, that come for us to ask ourselves the question of... Is it worth paying more than 1,000 euros for these characteristics? In fact, it's something we wondered about in the impressions a few days ago.

Well, being fair, there are a couple of details that the Mi 11 is missing to be a premium mobile (like that telephoto that will have the Mi 11 Ultra, for example), but it is clear that weapons are not missing and in this analysis of the Xiaomi Mi 11 we tell you what we found the latest of the Chinese company.

We leave you the video analysis below, as well as the feature sheet of our model, which is the one that has 8 GB of RAM (and, honestly, we do not miss the 12 GB of the top model).

The premium on all four sides with a camera that is the hallmark

At a time when virtually all mobile phones are the same, I'm happy to see different designs, even slightly. Xiaomi has pulled designers to create a terminal that is perhaps the same as many other high-end ones, but behind it has its own identity.

They will like more or less the camera modules of the iPhone or Galaxy S21, but the truth is that they have... that, identity, since there are no modules the same. It is precisely what makes the Mi 11 stand out at the design level.

Let's start at the back, a glass back that has a matte finish that, in my case, I find more pleasant to the touch than polished and shiny glass. The prints also take a little longer to appear, but at least in the gray one, it also costs more for them to leave when passing a rag.

The color palette, by the way, is quite wide with a couple of bluish tones, gold, violet, white, and ours. We have the Xiaomi logo at the bottom with the 5G sign and, at the top, a huge camera module.

It is square, has a very nice finish, and the three sensors are differentiated, special mention to the main sensor that has a bezel around and that, also, stands out from the rest of the camera module, and that is.

Xiaomi has put a typical silicone case in the box and yes, the camera module excels even with the sheath. Keep this in mind.

The sides of the rear are curved and blended with a very elegant polished aluminum frame that fits very well in hand. It is a comfortable mobile and, really, its dimensions imply that it is heavier than it really is. It's still 196 grams, but in hand, they feel great.

On the right side, we have the button, with a locking button that has a fluted finish. The left side is completely clean.

At the top, we have a microphone, an infrared emitter, and three holes that allow the sound emitted by the call headset to be amplified. This headset works as a second speaker and is a Xiaomi solution that we saw on the Little M3. Next to those holes, we have the screen printing of Harman/Kardon, who have a special software audio setting.

At the bottom, we have another speaker, the slot for the microSIM 5G that does not accept microSD to expand the storage, another microphone, and the USB Type-C that is especially asymmetric although, of course, this is just aesthetic.

On the front, we have the hole for the camera in the upper right corner and a screen protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, something we saw on the S21 and the Note 20 Ultra. The rear is protected by Gorilla Glass 5.

Speaking of protection, we don't have IP68 officially, but the SIM slot, which is the best we can check, has the same rubber protection as that of the Samsung Galaxy S21, so the SIM is at least protected.

In the Champions League with 120 Hz AMOLED, QHD+, and Harman/Kardon sound

Let's go with the screen as it is one of the star components of this Mi11. Xiaomi has accustomed us these last generations to good panels, most signed by Samsung, and the truth is that the Chinese must also thank the South Koreans for this tremendous panel.

It is a 6.81" screen, which is said soon, which occupies 91.4% of the front. It is one of the most used fronts in mobile thanks both to the top, which does not reach 3 millimeters, as well as a 3-millimeter chin and the sides on which the screen curves.

The feeling is very premium, and that feeling increases as soon as we turn on the panel. This is an AMOLED with a resolution of 3,200 x 1,440 pixels. It is a QHD+ resolution that in the size of the panel leaves us with a density of 515 pixels per inch, a real barbarity that makes the pixels indistinguishable to the naked eye.

That resolution is accompanied by a rich color palette and the ability to play HDR10+ content and, as you can imagine, the playback is fantastic. The viewing angles are optimal, the brightness is very high, the colors shine with their own light and it is one of the best screens we have had to precisely watch HDR series and movies. Now, it's also the best thing to play with. And it has an adaptive frequency of 120 Hz that can be taken advantage of by some compatible games as well as by the system.

We can choose to have the panel go to 60 Hz at all times, but we also have that adaptive frequency that makes the panel set to 30 Hz, 60 Hz, or 120 Hz depending on the content being played and, in truth, we find it a very good setting.

In Fortnite, it goes to 30 Hz, in CoD Online at 60 Hz and in the system, apps and incompatible games go up to 120 Hz. This does not force the panel to always go to 120 Hz (which could cause some playback problems) and save some battery.

We have, as usual in Xiaomi, many color settings and also some "improvement" modes, in quotation marks, images thanks to artificial intelligence.

I have them disabled because, in my opinion, they make the image very artificial, but this goes in tastes and you have a model that scales the resolution of the source to one close to the native, a mode that interpolates fps in the videos, another that improves the contrast and HDR of the image and another that identifies objects to improve parameters on the fly.

It's not something I like, but I repeat, that depends on every user. Of no, we also have the typical dark mode (which in MIUI works very well), the reading mode, and anti-flicker mode, and other settings such as that of the always active screen and its huge customization possibilities.

On brightness, Xiaomi ensures that it has a maximum of 1,500 nits and, as we always do with mobile phones in this range, we have taken out our tools to perform the measurement.

We have a high brightness that is also very consistent with an average of 1,573 Lux with a deviation of 12.4 Lux, something very content considering the high brightness that we are talking about.

Given consuming content, both the screen and a good audio system are important. Xiaomi is getting us used to stereo sound even on its most basic mobiles (like the Little M3, curiously), and it is something that can not be missing in a high range.

In this case, we have a dedicated bottom speaker and a top speaker that has a 'trick'. Xiaomi takes advantage of the call headset as a second speaker, but, as they did on the M3, they have drilled the top side so that the sound also 'escapes' out there and sounds less encapsulated.

It's something that works really well, but in the end, it's not two dedicated speakers and we find the typical situation where the main one - the lower one - has more power than the secondary one.

Still, we have a good audio system that offers quality surround sound, although there are a couple of 'buts' that I have in this model. The first is the power because although it is not bad for a situation like a shower having the mobile as a player, the truth is that if we turn up the volume above 85%, the speakers start to suffer.

The second is that it lacks a small push to the brass section, but to play, watch videos and series, it is a very good sound section that lacks a little to reach the premium range.

By software, we have several settings, and it is something that Xiaomi works really well. In addition to different equalizers set (smart, music, voice, and video) and the equalizer of the headphones if we have them connected, we have a model that allows us to control the volume level of several simultaneous applications that play audio and different accessibility options.

And finally, the Harman/Kardon logo is put there for a reason, as we have a special mode signed by the reputable audio brand that... well, it improves the bass problem a little bit because it expands the media, but it doesn't really offer much more. It is better heard and it is advisable to have it activated, but little else.

A very curious thing is that it has a speaker cleaning mode that plays sounds at different frequencies for 30 seconds to remove dust or possible water that has become trapped. It's something we've seen on smartwatches and it hears, it better not be there.

The Snapdragon 888 can do with everything, albeit watch with the temperature

If the screen is stunning, the heart is no less so. We have the Snapdragon 888 that we talked about in detail in the first impressions and that we have continued to be passionate about the rest of the days that we have tested the terminal for analysis. That said, there's something we haven't liked too much.

But let's start with the numbers. It is an SoC made of 5 nanometers that has eight cores. They're all Kryo 680, but the cores go to different frequencies. One of them goes to 2.84 GHz, another three to 2.42 GHz, and four to 1.8 GHz.

If the screen is stunning, the heart is no less so. We have the Snapdragon 888 that we talked about in detail in the first impressions and that we have continued to be passionate about the rest of the days that we have tested the terminal for analysis. That said, there's something we haven't liked too much.

But let's start with the numbers. It is an SoC made of 5 nanometers that has eight cores. They're all Kryo 680, but the cores go to different frequencies. One of them goes to 2.84 GHz, another three to 2.42 GHz, and four to 1.8 GHz.

We always tell you the same thing, but it is no less true: these tests give us an idea of where the current processors are and allow us to compare raw power between chips, as well as system optimization.

These numbers also tell us that we will not have any kind of problem with SD 888, as it can with any application that we throw at it. In my case, with the maximum resolution enabled and the adaptive frequency of 120 Hz, I have had a fantastic experience in all tasks.

I've played demanding games perfectly, in social media apps, obviously, everything goes like silk and working with Photoshop Express, editing some basic video with the built-in app or exporting RAW photos on Snapseed, the speed has been top.

This is thanks to both SD 888 and UFS 3.1 memory. It is one of the latest versions of the technology that has a very good speed of both writing and reading.

Multitasking works perfectly and, as I say, it is one of the mobiles that have the most sense of speed (for that conjunction of internal hardware and screen at 120 Hz) that I have had on my hands.

However, in the first impressions, we told you that the terminal did not overheat, but it was because we had not played Fortnite or Genshin Impact enough. In fact, it is from recent mobile phones that give off the heat when playing.

It is not a problem in the sense that, even with one-hour gaming sessions, the terminal has not lowered performance to avoid thermal failures, but it is noticeable that the Adreno 660 is working intensively and the range dropped in that period at an alarming rate.

As we can see in Jerry Rig Everything's video, Xiaomi has paid attention to dissipation with the steam chamber and several pieces of copper to dissipate heat, but still, the terminal heats both on the back and the screen by playing those two games in particular.

With other titles, you can see a slight heat in the back, but nothing alarming. Needless to say, if you're not going to play, you don't care about this problem because you're not going to suffer it in day-to-day life.

MIUI keeps advancing and flies on the Mi 11

That the mobile is one of the fastest, if not the most, I've ever had is "blame" for both the screen and the hardware and, of course, the software. MIUI 12.0.2 is the version that arrives installed on the device and the truth is that we would need a system-only scan to be able to talk about it in depth.

Xiaomi increasingly adds more and more options to its customization layer which, for this reason, runs on Android 11. In the presentation of the Mi 11, Xiaomi took the opportunity to present its new MIUI 12.5 layer, but as I say, that version is not the one on our hands.

In it, Xiaomi will limit the pre-installed apps and give you more options to remove the system apps you want (although not all), but for now, we have a version that we have already seen on other recent mobiles of the Chinese company.

Let's take the melon out of pre-installed apps as we're talking about that because, beyond the compass, two file managers, Google apps, and some more Xiaomi's own, we have TikTok, an app that you may never use like Mi Remote, Netflix, Facebook, a couple of games, Agoda and the Amazon and eBay app. I think it's a lot of bloatware, but those third-party apps you're going to be able to uninstall.

Now, if we move on to the positives, we have a layer that has dozens of customization possibilities. Practically any parameter that we want to modify, we will be able to modify it.

There are options like a game mode that limits notifications and allows us to optimize the system so that demanding games go better (although the SD 888 does not need that help), we have floating windows and bubble notifications, we have the back touch (two taps or three touches) so that, as on iPhones, we can open apps by giving three taps.

After more than a week and a half of testing the device, there is no day when we do not continue to find new options that, per maybe, do not interest us, but are there. And the best part is, it looks like the system doesn't resent it. I don't notice it's as heavy a layer as OneUI on Samsung, for example.

About biometric systems, we have Google's classic Photo Android system which is fast but needs light for it to work. In that sense, maybe Android manufacturers should start deploying IR systems in these ranges, as Apple has done on the 12 Mini or Huawei on their Mate 40 Pro. Or a system like the Reno 4Z- analysis- that works really well.

Fingerprint unlocking does work very, very well. It is an optical system, so if you use it at night, watch out for the eyes, but the activation area is not very strict and is quite fast. I have the super funds activated and that slows down the unlocking process a little bit, but the cool animation of those backgrounds (hopefully there was more), makes up for it.

108 megapixels to increase the beast, but we miss the telephoto 

The photographic section is one of the most important for many users to change mobile and Xiaomi, in truth, has been offering a very good result in the different price segments for years.

This is achieved thanks not only to quality optics but to processing that has not done it wrong in all this time. Before we talk and show, photographic examples, let's comment on something about the app.

The first thing I have to say is that it is a very stable application. We already knew her from the last high end of the Chinese company, but the result is still very good.

We have a carousel of options and easy access to settings, different cameras, and modes, although there is something I do not like. And that is, there are so many creative options, as well as the macro and the 108 megapixels, that Xiaomi does not seem to know where to put them and, for example, the macro is on one side and the 108-megapixel mode on another when normal would be that they were together.

This is personal, but well, in the end, I won't be the one who wants options at the photographic level when, precisely, it seems to be one of the best points of Android cameras and, in particular, Xiaomi.

There are times when photo processing is threaded, greatly saturating the scene and contrasting a few points above what it should. If you see the photos on a screen other than the one on your phone, you'll notice that they have a lot of 'glued', but it's not something very different from what Huawei or Samsung does.

However, if you see them from your mobile with the AI image enhancement options on the screen, you'll find that you won't like any of the photos you take because to that saturation and contrast that camera processing applies, second processing is added that shaves, quite, the photo. That's something you need to consider and one more reason to remove those "improvements" from the screen.

Let's talk about the different sensors and the photographs that we can get... and the truth is that in this case, my opinion has not changed a shred since the first impressions, as it was one of the points where I stopped the most when it comes to trying the mobile those first few days.

The main one is a 108-megapixel sensor from Samsung (there is a lot of Samsung on this mobile) and has a size of 1/1.33" with a pixel of 0.8 m. It's optically stabilized and we're going to be able to pull at 108 megapixels, obviously.

Outdoors, the truth is that shooting at 108 megapixels when they are scenes in which the shadows are not too pronounced is a pleasure because we can make a spectacular cut and see details that we could only see in a telephoto.

Does this replace a telephoto? Well, even though the brand says yes, the truth is, no. It is still a crop and not the native image that gives a telephoto that has a prism and lenses dedicated exclusively to making that increase. It is, however, a good 'apaño' because in good light we will have a result very close to that of some telephoto targets. In the afternoon or indoors, things change.

However, with the binning pixel technique, the automatic mode offers photos at 27 megapixels because it joins four pixels to form a larger one that allows you to capture more light with less noise and thus improve the dynamic range of the image.

A day of heavy use with a spectacular load

One lime and one sand when we talk about the Mi 11 battery. We have a 4,600 mAh battery that contrasts with what Xiaomi introduced in high-end terminals in 2020, with 5,000 mAh. It's okay with a 5 nanometer SoC, but we've already seen that the Adreno 660 is demanding and the 120 Hz and QHD+ display consumes yours.

In the first impressions, we told you that we had about 7 hours of screen, but in the day to day during this week and a half, the average has dropped to about 6 hours and 15 minutes with all that activated, with the automatic brightness and with Bluetooth next to the Mi Watch -analysis- and headphones.

Doing the test and keeping the 120 Hz, but lowering the resolution, I have grazed 7 hours, but I still find autonomy away from what a mobile of this range should have. In synthetic tests, we have had a result of 8 hours and 17 minutes with 100% brightness.

However, if for whatever it is you arrive in a hurry at the end of the day, although you will have about 18 hours of total autonomy, you can always take advantage of the included charger.

Xiaomi has put in the box a 55 W charger and, on top, the good ones. It is a charger built with gallium nitride that is basically smaller, more powerful, and more efficient than a traditional charger with the same power.

It heats up less, which is also good news because it is a reflection of that effectiveness and lowers energy loss, and allows us to load - measured second by second - 50% in 13 minutes and 100% in 48 minutes.

In total these days we have had that the average is about 15 minutes to reach 50% and between 45 and 50 minutes to fill the battery with two cells. Plugging your phone into this charger for a moment is going to allow us to get there, without problems, at the end of the day, and that's very good news.

But it doesn't end here the good, since it also has a wireless charge of 50 W, achieving almost parity with wired charging, something impressive that we have seen a few times, and has a reverse charge of 10 W to charge smartwatches and headphones (or other mobiles, if we want), being one of the most powerful reverse charges.