Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra black and white

Credit: Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Xiaomi launched the Mi 11 in China in late December, marking the first launch for a Snapdragon 888-powered phone. We had to wait a while for a wider release, but the Chinese brand finally brought the series to global markets in January with the Mi 11 Ultra following in March. The phones pack plenty of premium features you might not even see on rival flagship phones, although that’s not to say the phones don’t have room for improvement.

Scroll down to find out everything we know about the Xiaomi Mi 11 series, from specs and price to availability and more. We’ll also be updating the article as new information surfaces.

See also: Everything you need to know about buying Xiaomi phones

Xiaomi Mi 11 series: At a glance

Xiaomi Mi 11 bokeh

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Xiaomi Mi 11 family is part of the Chinese manufacturer’s Mi series of flagship phones, with these phones usually launching early each year. The Mi series has traditionally offered affordable flagships, but last year saw the Mi 10 series take a price hike. Xiaomi has gradually been adding more premium features to the Mi series over the years.

This trend continued with the vanilla Mi 11, which packs flagship-style features like ultra-fast wireless charging, a QHD+ OLED screen, and a 120Hz refresh rate. The Mi 11 launched in China in late December 2020, before making its way to European markets in early February.

Xiaomi then launched the Mi 11 Ultra and the China-only Mi 11 Pro on March 29, delivering even faster wired and wireless charging (67W), IP68 water resistance for the first time in the series, and a more impressive camera setup featuring  periscope camera.

Xiaomi Mi 11 One cool customer, but is it a Galaxy S21 killer?
Xiaomi has created a compelling phone in the Mi 11. It has the right price and the right specs to compete with the current crop of flagships in the market. There are just a few things holding it back from true greatness.

Is the Mi 11 series worth buying?

Xiaomi Mi 11 face blue and pink

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Xiaomi’s Mi series is usually positioned as the device of choice for those who want a flagship experience but don’t want to pay $1,000 or more. At €749, the vanilla Mi 11 is essentially undercutting the Galaxy S21 (€850 in Europe) and matching the S20 FE, but playing in that same broad affordable flagship category.

In other words, those expecting your typical affordable Xiaomi flagship like the Mi 10T series might be disappointed. Still, those who liked the idea of a sub-$1,000 flagship but want some premium extras might be happy here. The Mi 11 also earned a “recommended” award from us, and you can find out why below.

Meanwhile, the Mi 11 Ultra is the company’s first proper stab at a premium flagship, bringing all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a full-blown high-end phone. So if you were looking at the Galaxy S21 Ultra, iPhone 12 Pro Max, or OnePlus 9 Pro, you might want to consider this one too.

What reviewers are saying about the standard Mi 11

Our own Eric Zeman reviewed Xiaomi’s base flagship, and he called it an “enticing” alternative to Samsung and Apple’s top-flight smartphones. In fact, he felt that just a few downsides kept it from achieving true greatness.

Eric bemoaned the lack of an IP rating, the very good but not class-leading cameras, and the lack of an IP rating. He further lamented the lack of a software update promise and missing microSD card slot. The former is particularly interesting owing to Samsung now offering three years of Android version updates.

There’s plenty to like about the phone nonetheless, and Eric specifically praised the design, “excellent” screen, flagship horsepower, and “stellar” sound from the stereo speakers. Another point of praise for our reviewer was the €749 price tag, which is €100 cheaper than the Galaxy S21 in Europe.

What other reviewers from around the web think

  • GSMArena reckoned the Mi 11 “has everything to quickly become a bestseller.” The team liked the phone’s design, saying it was attractive with premium build quality. They also noted that the Xiaomi device packed the “best” screen and a charger that was “blazing fast.” It wasn’t all good though, as they criticized the lack of a telephoto camera, lack of an official IP rating, and the movie effects which were “nothing special.”
  • Sam Byford of The Verge “strongly recommended” the Mi 11 if you live in a market where it’s available. But he stopped short of saying it was so great you should actually import it if you’re in the US. He praised the performance, display, battery life, and MIUI 12. Sam felt that the camera category was the main area where the phone fell short of big-name rivals, lamenting image quality in mixed lighting and the lack of a telephoto camera.
  • CNET‘s Sareena Dayaram said Xiaomi’s flagship phone was easy to recommend, pointing to the price, speed, display, speakers, and reliable cameras. Sareena noted a few downsides though, such as the missing telephoto camera, the lack of easy US availability, and no IP rating.

What AA readers think of the phone

We ran a poll shortly after the Mi 11 was unveiled for the first time, and almost 2,500 votes were cast. Here’s how you voted.

Almost 80% of polled readers felt the Mi 11 was hot, compared to 20% of respondents not liking what they saw. It’s also interesting to note that this poll took place before the global launch, so pricing outside China wasn’t known.

When the Mi 11 Ultra leaked earlier this year, we asked readers whether they thought it was hot or not. As the pie chart above shows, a ton of you thought the Ultra model looked like a great proposition. This poll took place before any official information, including pricing, was available. So sentiment could change drastically once pricing is known.

Xiaomi Mi 11 series specs

 Xiaomi Mi 11Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Display6.81-inch AMOLED
19.5:9 aspect ratio, 92.4% body/screen ratio
120Hz
WQHD+
HDR10+
6.81-inch AMOLED
20:9 aspect ratio, 92.4% body/screen ratio
120Hz
WQHD+
HDR10+
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 888
Adreno 660 GPU
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Adreno 660 GPU
Memory8GB LPDDR5 RAM12GB LPDDR5 RAM
Storage128GB/256GB256GB
Battery4,600mAh
55W wired charging
50W wireless charging
55W charger in box
5,000mAh
67W wired charging
67W wireless charging
67W charger in box
CameraRear:
Main: 108MP, f/1.85, 1/1.33-in sensor, OIS
Ultra-Wide: 13MP, f/2.4, 123-degree FoV
Telephoto macro: 5MP, f/2.4, 3cm to 10cm range

Front:
Selfie: 20MP f/2.2, punch-hole cutout
Rear:
Main: 50MP, f/1.95, 1/1.12-in sensor, OIS
Ultra-Wide: 48MP, f/2.2, 128-degree FoV
Periscope: 48MP, f/4.1, 5X optical, 10X hybrid, 120X digital zoom

Front:
Selfie: 20MP f/2.2, punch-hole cutout
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6
IR blaster
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6E
IR blaster
Operating systemMIUI 12
Android 11
MIUI 12
Android 11
Dimensions164.3 x 74.6 x 8.06mm164.3 x 74.6 x 8.38mm
Weight196g234g

What are the Xiaomi Mi 11 series features?

Xiaomi Mi 11 hero shot

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Xiaomi has several major draw-cards with the Mi 11 series, with the first being the Snapdragon 888 processor for smoother performance and gaming. The chipset also drives that QHD+ 120Hz OLED screen, with Xiaomi citing DisplayMate testing to claim the base Mi 11 screen is among the best mobile displays out there.

Other major selling points for the base model focus on the battery and charging side. You won’t need to wait for ages to get the 4,600mAh battery topped up, as Xiaomi is delivering 55W wired charging and 50W wireless charging. In both cases, your phone will be topped up in under 55 minutes, with wired charging taking 45 minutes.

See also: The best Xiaomi phones you can buy

The Xiaomi Mi 11 doesn’t have the most impressive camera setup, but it’s far from bad. You’re getting a 108MP main camera (with OIS), a 13MP ultra-wide snapper (123-degree field of view), and a 5MP telephoto macro lens. Don’t expect telephoto or periscope zoom cameras on this model, unfortunately. Nevertheless, you’re also getting features like 8K recording and a night video mode. We’ve seen heart-rate monitors on smartphones before, but Xiaomi is integrating this functionality into the in-display fingerprint sensor. This will be activated via a firmware update though, so we’ll be sure to try it out once the update rolls out.

Want even more? That’s where the Mi 11 Ultra comes in. It packs an IP68 design, 5,000mAh battery, 67W wired charging, 67W wireless charging, and a tiny 1.1-inch rear OLED screen. Xiaomi’s Ultra device also brings a flexible camera setup, packing a 50MP main camera (Samsung GN2), 48MP ultra-wide, and 48MP 5x periscope lens.

What’s up with the rear screen?

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra backs

Credit: Supplied by Xiaomi

The Mi 11 Ultra gets a 1.1-inch OLED screen on the back, and this is used for notifications, always-on display functionality, and selfie previews. So if you fancy taking a group shot with the ultra-wide camera or just want to take advantage of the primary camera, this screen will help in a big way. This secondary display isn’t available on the base Mi 11.

Expect a much-improved main display across the Mi 11 series too, as the Mi 11 flagships all bring a QHD+ OLED screen and 120Hz refresh rate to the table. This makes for a big upgrade in theory over the Mi 10 series, which yielded an FHD+ 90Hz OLED panel. The Chinese brand also lets you crank the refresh rate to 120Hz at QHD+ resolution too, rather than limiting the high refresh rate to FHD+ resolution. So you can indeed get the best of both worlds.

How good are the cameras?

Xiaomi Mi 11 angled camera

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Mi 11 packs a triple rear camera setup, featuring a 108MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide snapper, and a 5MP telephoto macro lens. Our own Eric Zeman felt that image quality in general was good but not threatening the likes of Apple and Samsung.

Eric felt the main camera could struggle to keep details in the dark areas of a scene, while noting that images from the ultra-wide shooter were a little soft and prone to noticeable distortion in some situations. He also felt that the telephoto macro lens required a steady hand and that the 5MP resolution was a “definite limitation.” Xiaomi also includes a few extra camera-related features, such as 8K recording, dual video option, super moon mode, night time-lapse, and more.

Of course, the Mi 11 Ultra looks like an even better proposition on paper due to the latest 50MP main camera and a pair of 48MP cameras for ultra-wide and zoom shots. The main camera is a Samsung Isocell GN2 sensor with a 1/1.12-inch size and 1.4 micron pixels, which should deliver great low light images in theory. Meanwhile, the ultra-wide camera offers a 128 degree field of view while the periscope lens delivers 5X optical, 10X hybrid, and 120X digital zoom. We’re definitely looking forward to putting these cameras to the test.

What about battery life?

Xiaomi Mi 11 camera closeup

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Xiaomi’s phone has a 4,600mAh battery, and our reviewer said it was rare for the phone to dip below 50% after a full day of usage. Eric noted that the best the phone did was one and a half days with heavy usage. It’s worth noting that these results were achieved at FHD+ and 60Hz. Unfortunately, cranking the resolution and refresh rate to the maximum meant the phone barely had enough juice to make it through the day, our reviewer explained.

Thankfully, the device takes just under 50 minutes to go from zero to 100% capacity, thanks to 55W fast charging. You’re also getting 50W wireless top-ups and 10W reverse wireless charging.

The Mi 11 Ultra seems to up the ante here in a notable way, particularly when it comes to charging. We’ve got 67W wired and wireless charging this time, with Xiaomi promising 36 minutes to 100%. We thought the Mi 11 had room for improvement when cranking the screen resolution and refresh rate to the max, so hopefully the larger 5,000mAh battery helps here.

What about performance?

The Mi 11 series is one of the fastest phones you can get on paper thanks to the addition of the Snapdragon 888 chipset. This is the most cutting-edge Android phone processor on the market right now and the base Mi 11 aced synthetic benchmarks, delivering similar results as the Galaxy S21. It even broke the record in our in-house Speed Test G benchmark, completing it in just 75 seconds.

We found that benchmarks translated into great real-world performance too, as Eric called it “exceptionally fluid and quick.” He noted that a game like Asphalt 9 was no match for the phone, as there was no lag at all. So those hoping to play heavyweight games with all the effects turned up should look at this device.

Phone software and updates

Expect to find MIUI 12 atop Android 11 on the Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra, and the consensus is that MIUI 12 is much better than prior versions of Xiaomi’s Android skin. There is some bloatware here, but most of it can be removed.

Xiaomi previously promised that the base phone will get MIUI 12.5 in the coming weeks, and it brings a few notable tweaks and additions. For one, the firm reckons that it will let you remove more bloatware than Android and iOS phones. The upcoming update will also deliver better gestures, clipboard controls, and system/battery optimizations.

Unfortunately, Xiaomi isn’t dishing out any Samsung-style promises for three years of version updates. But it traditionally delivers two Android version updates, and occasionally updates MIUI without updating the underlying Android version.

Xiaomi Mi 11 vs Mi 10: What’s new?

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro mulch

There are a few areas where the base Mi 11 has received upgrades compared to last year’s phone. You can check them out below.

  • Design: The new phone features a frosted glass back compared to the standard glass back on last year’s phone. But the big change is the camera housing, which adopts a circular design compared to the vertical housing seen on the Mi 10.
  • Display: The Mi 11 not only delivers a higher refresh rate (120Hz vs 90Hz), but also ups the resolution (QHD+ vs FHD+).
  • Cameras: Xiaomi’s latest device packs a triple camera rather than the Mi 10’s quad camera system. You’re still looking at the same main and ultra-wide cameras (108MP and 13MP respectively), but the Mi 11 ditches the old phone’s 2MP depth sensor. Furthermore, the macro lens has been upgraded from 2MP on the Mi 10 to a 5MP telephoto macro on the new one.
  • Battery: You’re actually getting a slightly smaller battery this year, with the Mi 11 offering a 4,600mAh pack versus the Mi 10’s 4,780mAh battery. We get a charging boost across the board though, as the Mi 11 delivers 55W wired, 50W wireless, and 10W reverse wireless charging. The Mi 10 has 30W wired, 30W wireless, and 5W reverse wireless top-ups.

Aside from the chipset, the Mi 11 Ultra also features a few changes compared to the China-only Mi 10 Ultra released in the second half of 2020. Check them out below.

  • Design: The Mi 11 Ultra sports an IP68 design for the first time, which means it should survive a dunk in the pool or bath compared to the older Ultra.
  • Display: Xiaomi’s latest Ultra phone features a secondary rear screen for selfies and notifications. But the main display is also a WQHD+ panel versus FHD+ on the Mi 10 Ultra.
  • Cameras: It’s mostly a case of upgrades here, with a better main camera sensor in theory (50MP vs 48MP) and a much sharper ultra-wide sensor on paper (48MP versus 20MP). But the Mi 10 Ultra features two zoom-focused cameras in a 48MP 5X periscope lens (seen on the Mi 11 Ultra) and a 12MP 2X telephoto camera. This suggests that the Mi 10 Ultra could still be better for short-range zoom.
  • Battery: Xiaomi’s latest phone sports a 5,000mAh battery, 67W wired charging, and 67W wireless topups. By contrast, the Mi 10 Ultra brings a 4,500mAh battery, 120W wired charging, and 50W wireless topups. So we’re expecting wired charging times to be a little slower on the new phone (but still great), given the bigger battery and reduced wattage.

Competition and alternatives

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Back Purple

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

There are quite a few alternatives to the Xiaomi Mi 11 if you’re not completely sold on it or want to shop around first. You can check these alternatives out below.

Samsung Galaxy S21 series (From $800, €849 in Europe): The base Galaxy S21 is arguably Xiaomi’s biggest competition, as it packs the same Snapdragon 888 processor (or Exynos 2100 in some markets), a triple rear camera setup with 8K recording, wireless charging, and a pretty slick 120Hz OLED screen too. The vanilla Mi 11 bests the S21 when it comes to wired charging and wireless charging speeds, battery capacity, screen resolution, and pricing in Europe. Meanwhile, the S21 edges out the Xiaomi device by virtue of offering water resistance and a hybrid telephoto camera. Looking for an alternative to the Mi 11 Ultra? Then the Galaxy S21 Ultra is worth considering too, sharing the same IP rating, core screen specs (1440p and 120Hz), and battery size. Both devices offer a periscope camera as well.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G (€759): Samsung’s older flagship might also be worth considering if you want a cheaper flagship. It doesn’t have the latest flagship processor, 8K recording, and ultra-fast charging, but it has a couple of advantages over the S21 and base Mi 11. These advantages include a more flexible camera arrangement in theory (thanks to a proper telephoto camera) and microSD expansion. Otherwise, the S20 FE also packs wireless charging, Dex support, and a battery that’s similarly sized as the Mi 11’s pack.

OnePlus 9 series ($729, $969): OnePlus is another manufacturer targeting the premium tier in recent years, and the OnePlus 9 series is another great alternative to the Mi 11 range. The base Mi 11 compares well to the standard OnePlus 9, with neither phone featuring an official IP rating or zoom-focused camera. Opt for the Xiaomi and you get a sharper screen, a slightly bigger battery, and faster wireless charging. Choose the OnePlus and you get faster wired charging and a higher resolution ultra-wide camera. Meanwhile, the Mi 11 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro share a number of features, such as a QHD+ 120Hz screen, high resolution main/ultra-wide cameras, and water resistance. The Ultra packs a bigger battery, faster wireless charging (in terms of wattage) and a periscope zoom camera, while the Pro delivers slightly faster wired charging and a 3X telephoto lens.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro (Rs 18,999/~$260): Another Xiaomi phone comes recommended, as the mid-range Redmi Note 10 Pro (or Note 10 Pro Max in India) actually has a lot in common with the base Mi 11. 108MP main camera? Check. 5MP telephoto macro lens? Yep. 120Hz OLED screen? Indeed. This definitely scratches some of the same itches as the Mi 11, but you are losing out on 5G, a QHD+ resolution, wireless charging, 8K recording, and flagship power (it has a Snapdragon 732G SoC).

What about the Mi 11 Pro?

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro with grass

Xiaomi launched the Mi 11 Pro in addition to the Mi 11 Ultra, but the Pro model is restricted to China. It offers a QHD+ 120Hz OLED screen and flagship silicon too. In fact, it’s closer to the Mi 11 Ultra than the base Mi 11.

The Mi 11 Pro also packs an IP68 rating, a 5,000mAh battery, and 67W wired and 67W wireless charging. Expect the same 50MP GN2 main camera as seen on the Mi 11 Ultra, but we see a 13MP ultra-wide camera and an 8MP 5X periscope camera instead. You can find out more about the Mi 11 Pro in our announcement post.

Where to buy the Mi 11 series?

Xiaomi Mi 11 front again

Credit: Xiaomi

The Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra launched in Europe and China. It’s worth noting that Europe doesn’t get the 12GB/256GB Mi 11 seen in China, and only gets a 12GB/256GB Mi 11 Ultra. The 12GB/256GB Mi 11 Ultra is also available in India. You can check out pricing in the list below.

Europe

  • Xiaomi Mi 11 (8GB/128GB): €749
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 (8GB/256GB): €799
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (12GB/256GB): €1,199

China

  • Xiaomi Mi 11 (8GB/128GB): 3,999 yuan
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 (8GB/256GB): 4,299 yuan
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 (12GB/256GB): 4,699 yuan
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (8GB/256GB): 5,999 yuan
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (12GB/256GB): 6,499 yuan
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (12GB/512GB): 6,999 yuan

India

  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (12GB/256GB): Rs 69,999
Xiaomi Mi 11 One cool customer, but is it a Galaxy S21 killer?
Xiaomi has created a compelling phone in the Mi 11. It has the right price and the right specs to compete with the current crop of flagships in the market. There are just a few things holding it back from true greatness.

The base Mi 11 is clearly more expensive in Europe than it is in China, as we saw with previous releases. But Xiaomi also says they’ll also offer a two year warranty and a one-time free screen repair within the first year of owning the phone in Europe. There’s no word on an Indian release, but Xiaomi doesn’t always bring the Mi series of flagships to the market. It did so for the Mi 10 and the Mi 10T series, so there’s still hope that the firm will bring the Mi 11 series  to the region. Unfortunately, Xiaomi doesn’t offer phones in the US and we doubt that will change soon given the country’s relations with China right now.

Top Xiaomi Mi 11 series questions and answers

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra back event

Credit: Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Q: Do the Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra phones have a charger in the box?

A: Yes, you’re getting a 55W charger in the Mi 11 box, while the Mi 11 Ultra gets a 67W charger in the box.

Q: Do these phones support wireless charging?

A: The Mi 11 supports 50W wireless charging, while the Ultra supports 67W wireless charging.

Q: Does the Mi 11 or Mi 11 Ultra offer a microSD slot?

A: No, they unfortunately have fixed storage only.

Q: What kind of speakers should you expect?

A: The Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra have stereo speakers tuned by Harman Kardon.

Q: What color options are available for the Mi 11 series?

A: The base phone is available in Midnight Gray and Horizon Blue, but Xiaomi says additional colorways are coming. The Ultra is available in Ceramic Black and Ceramic White options.

Q: Do these phones have a headphone port?

A: Unfortunately, the Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra lack this feature.

Q: Are the phones available in the US?

A: Neither phone is available in the US, but you can likely import it via third-party websites.

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That’s all you need to know about the Xiaomi Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra! We’ll be updating this article with more information as soon as we get it.

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