The Xiaomi Mi 11 is the newest flagship smartphone from Chinese tech brand Xiaomi – its specs and price make it a top rival for the Samsung Galaxy S21, and likely some upcoming devices like the OnePlus 9 and Oppo Find X3.
We first saw the Xiaomi Mi 11 at its Chinese launch event in December 2020, but the phone got a second, global unveiling in early February 2021, before a worldwide rollout. This is a pattern Xiaomi tends to follow with its Mi line of phones, though the global launch is usually at tech conference MWC, which was pushed back this year until June.
When tech fans think of ‘Xiaomi’ they think of top-spec devices being offered at mid-range prices; while that latter trait may not be totally true in the Mi 11, the former is, as the Xiaomi Mi 11 has some impressive specs and features. Don’t be surprised to see this in our ranking of the best Xiaomi phones when we manage to test it out for ourselves.
Before we get to test the Xiaomi Mi 11, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the phone below including its specs, features and availability, so you can get a good idea of this new phone.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Xiaomi’s newest flagship
- When is it out? Sometime in March
- How much will it cost? Starting €749 (around $900, £660, AU$1,175)
Xiaomi Mi 11 price and availability
After the global launch event in February, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is launching in various regions in March.
We currently have pricing in Euros for the Xiaomi Mi 11, but not in Pounds Sterling or Australian Dollars just yet. Due to precedent we’re not expecting the phone to be available in the US, but will include conversions just so you can get an idea at the phone’s price.
For 8GB and 128GB storage, the Xiaomi Mi 11 price is €749 (converts to around $900, £660, AU$1,175). If you want more storage, you can get 256GB for €799 (about $960, £700, AU$1,250). A version of the phone with 256GB storage but 12GB RAM was unveiled in China, but it doesn’t seem like that’s getting a global release.
For context the Xiaomi Mi 10 cost £799 / AU$1,699 (roughly $990) with 8GB / 128GB specs, so the Mi 11 could cost the same, or a little less, than its predecessor.
Xiaomi Mi 11 design and display
The Xiaomi Mi 11 design builds on that of the Mi 10 – it looks fairly similar on the front, with a ‘punch-hole’ cut-out in the top-left corner of the screen for the front-facing camera.
However that screen doesn’t just curve on the left and right edges as in the Mi 10, but on all four sides, so the upper and lower edges taper too. It’s not the first phone to do this, as the Huawei P40 Pro went the same way, but it’s still a novel design.
The other big design change from the Mi 10 in the Mi 11 is its camera bump. Rather than having a slim vertical design, there’s a squarish lump here, which looks to be stepped with each lens set a different distance from the block.
The phone comes in black, white or pale blue colors, as well as two leather editions, purple and khaki. There’s no word on if this is real leather or faux-leather made from synthetic materials.
Xiaomi states the Mi 11 screen resolution is 2K – that means the resolution is about 1440 x 3200. It’s an AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch input rate. This screen has a max brightness of 1,500nits which is pretty high for a smartphone, as most have maximums of between 500 nits and 1,000.
The phone screen has a size of 6.81 inches across, which makes it one of Xiaomi’s biggest smartphones.
A big part of the Xiaomi Mi 11 marketing material revolves around it using Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for the front and back. Corning makes the glass used in many smartphone bodies and displays and Victus is its newest version, which seems designed to be incredibly hardy and resistant to smashing.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 has three rear cameras, one fewer than its predecessor, though quality beats out quantity.
These are a 108MP main, 13MP ultra-wide and 5MP telephoto macro, the latter of which is designed for both zoomed and close-up shots. The first two snappers match the Mi 10; the third snapper is the big improvement.
The Mi 10 had a 2MP macro and 2MP depth-sensing snapper, which we found ourselves discrediting in our full review, for their low functionality and resolution. Perhaps the Mi 11’s 5MP snapper will fix that, and it does bring the ability to zoom optically, which was missing from the Mi 10.
An intriguing new video mode here is night videography. Night mode, or low-light photography, is a bit proving ground smartphones go head-to-head in, and Xiaomi has extended that to video shooting apparently.
Other camera modes include AI Erasure, which automatically removes people from the background of photos or videos, AI cinema modes which can be used to replicate the look of professional film cameras and HDR10+ recording – video capture seems to be a focus of the Mi 11.
Xiaomi posted some Mi 11 camera samples on its Weibo account (that’s a Chinese social media platform). You can see them here.
Specs and performance
The Xiaomi Mi 11 was the first launched smartphone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, which will likely be the processor used in most top-end phones in 2021, which the Samsung Galaxy S21 also uses. Both Xiaomi and Qualcomm have touted some super-fast speeds for the chipset, but we’ll have to test the phone to know for sure.
Intriguingly, the Mi 11 has been officially certified by BOINC (the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing), a volunteer computing scheme by which you can temporarily ‘donate’ the processing power of your smartphone to help scientists. It’s not too clear what this certification actually means, but the program’s founder, David Anderson, spoke at the Chinese Mi 11 launch to deliver the news.
Another, more understandable, tie-in here is that the Xiaomi Mi 11’s dual speakers were tuned by Harman Kardon, a popular audio brand, so it sounds like music, and the audio for TV shows and games, will sound great. HK also does the tuning for many Samsung phones.
As well as impressive speakers, the Xiaomi Mi 11 may be a music fan’s dream phone because it comes with a feature called Bluetooth Audio Sharing. This means audio can play from multiple Bluetooth-connected outputs (speakers, headphones) at once, so two people can listen to music or watch a movie on the same phone from different pairs of headphones.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 will come running MIUI 12.5 based on Android. It brings some minor tweaks to MIUI 12 including new wallpapers, security improvements, and seemingly improvements to the user interface to make better use of the dual speakers.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 battery size is 4,600mAh – that’s okay, but it’s not the biggest Xiaomi phone we’ve ever seen. Size isn’t everything though, and until we’ve tested the phone, we can’t truly say how long it lasts.
There’s 55W wired and 50W wireless charging for powering up the phone. Like the iPhone 12, the Xiaomi Mi 11 doesn’t come with an in-box charging block, so you might find yourself opting for that fast wireless charging more than if you’d been given a cable.
Finally, there’s 10W Bilateral charging, so you can use the Mi 11 as a powering mat to charge up other devices. 10W isn’t hugely fast, but it matches or beats many other phones with the same feature.