❤ Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Table of Contents
Now that the Pro moniker has gone mainstream, it’s Ultra that has come to represent the cream of the crop, and the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra can wear that badge proudly. Limited to its home market last year, the ultimate Mi has gone global this time around, and we’re happy to have it for review today.
We’re torn whether it’s the camera system’s physical appearance that is more striking or the hardware inside. A simply massive raised area on the back looks bolted on, almost after the fact, it’s hard to miss, and it’s a great conversation starter even if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
But its size is warranted – the main camera packs the largest sensor used on a modern-day smartphone, and next to it – two more modules unmatched in their own fields, in one way or another. Oh, and yes, there’s also a display here – because why not, but also because it can be useful.
There’s a lot more than 1.1 inches of OLED on the front. The 6.81-inch Super AMOLED is all kinds of great – high resolution, high refresh rate, high brightness, HDR, a billion colors, you name it. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 888 underneath is second to none as chipsets go this year and with 256GB of base storage, should we even mention the lack of expansion capability as a con?
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra specs at a glance :
|NETWORK||Technology||GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE / 5G|
|2G bands||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2|
|3G bands||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100|
|4G bands||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 20, 28, 32, 38, 40, 41, 42, 66 – International|
|1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 – China|
|5G bands||1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40, 41, 77, 78, 79 SA/NSA – International|
|1, 3, 28, 41, 77, 78, 79 SA/NSA – China|
|Speed||HSPA, LTE-A, 5G|
|LAUNCH||Announced||2021, March 29|
|Status||Available. Released 2021, April 02|
|BODY||Dimensions||164.3 x 74.6 x 8.4 mm (6.47 x 2.94 x 0.33 in)|
|Weight||234 g (8.25 oz)|
|Build||Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), ceramic back, aluminum frame|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min)|
|DISPLAY||Type||AMOLED, 1B colors, 120Hz, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, 900 nits (HBM), 1700 nits (peak)|
|Size||6.81 inches, 112.0 cm2 (~91.4% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1440 x 3200 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~515 ppi density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass Victus|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android 11, MIUI 12.5|
|Chipset||Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Cortex-X1 & 3×2.42 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A55)|
|Internal||256GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 12GB RAM|
|MAIN CAMERA||Triple||50 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/1.12″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
48 MP, f/4.1, 120mm (periscope telephoto), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 5x optical zoom
48 MP, f/2.2, 12mm, 128˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF
|Features||Dual-LED flash, HDR, panorama, 1.1” AMOLED selfie display|
|Video||8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240/960/1920fps, gyro-EIS, HDR10+ rec.|
|SELFIE CAMERA||Single||20 MP, f/2.2, 27mm (wide), 1/3.4″, 0.8µm|
|Video||1080p@30/60fps, 720p@120fps, gyro-EIS|
|SOUND||Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
Tuned by Harman Kardon
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA|
|Bluetooth||5.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD|
|Positioning||GPS (L1+L5), GLONASS (L1), BDS (B1I+B1c+B2a), GALILEO (E1+E5a), QZSS (L1+L5), NavIC (L5)|
|USB||USB Type-C 2.0, OTG|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, color spectrum|
|BATTERY||Type||Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||67W wired, PD3.0, QC4, 100% in 36 min (advertised)
67W wireless, 100% in 39 min (advertised)
10W reverse wireless
|MISC||Colors||Ceramic White (Cosmic White), Ceramic Black (Cosmic Black)|
|SAR||1.08 W/kg (head) 0.81 W/kg (body)|
|SAR EU||0.55 W/kg (head) 0.99 W/kg (body)|
|Price||About 1500 EUR|
|TESTS||Performance||AnTuTu: 688720 (v8)
GeekBench: 3191 (v5.1)
GFXBench: 33fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)
|Display||Contrast ratio: Infinite (nominal)|
|Camera||Photo / Video|
|Loudspeaker||-24.3 LUFS (Very good)|
Disclaimer. We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct.
Xiaomi‘s don’t normally have dust and water protection, but that’s changed this year with the Mi 11s – both the Pro and the Ultra have an IP68 rating, and that’s a most welcome development. Conversely, a staple of the brand’s handsets, both affordable and expensive, the IR emitter remains. Stereo speakers have been making their way to the Xiaomi midrange, so it’s only natural that the high-end models have them, and these have been tuned by Harman/Kardon, that couldn’t hurt.
An increase in battery capacity compared to last year’s model is another upgrade we can appreciate. On the other hand, they did downgrade the charging – instead of the Mi 10 Ultra’s 120W, you only get 67W here. Tsk-tsk.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra unboxing
The packaging has lost the flair of the Mi 10 Ultra’s presentation, and the Mi 11 Ultra showed up in a standard black box with copper lettering (or is it rose gold?). What’s inside that?
Our EU-bound retail bundle includes the 67W charger – that’s not the case in all markets with chargers coming as a free-of-charge option in some places (China, maybe other parts of Asia). It’s a proprietary adapter with a USB-A output, so it won’t please USB PowerDelivery die-hards. There is a USB cable included too.
A headset may be missing, but there is a USB-C-to-3.5mm dongle included so you can use your own. Also inside the box is a transparent soft silicone back cover. While the (free) protection is appreciated, the look and feel of the thing is no match for the phone itself.
With a projected list price of €1,200 for a 12GB/256GB version in Europe, the Mi 11 Ultra isn’t really priced to sell, but it’s not entirely unreasonable either. A Galaxy S21 Ultra can be had for as low as €1000, though matching the Mi’s storage would add €100. The OnePlus 9 Pro runs for a little over €1000 for the 12GB/256GB version, and the Oppo Find X3 Pro is around €1150.
The Mi 11 Ultra is looking a lot better in India at INR70K, particularly against the Galaxy, which is a cool 50% more expensive. The OnePlus 9 Pro is evenly matched – INR70K for 12GB/256GB, as is the vivo X60 Pro+, another camera-centric offering.
Mi 11 Ultra (left) next to Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Mi takes better pictures and video than the Galaxy in virtually all scenarios in this battle of the Ultras. The Galaxy has the better selfie camera, but the Mi’s rear display renders that a moot point. The S21 Ultra’s display is slightly more adaptive than the Mi 11 Ultra‘s and marginally brighter, but that’s hardly a decider. More important, perhaps, is that the Galaxy comfortably beats the Mi in the endurance race. Still, in India, all of that sounds like an easy win for the Xiaomi; in Europe – it’ll take slightly more careful consideration, though we’re still leaning towards the Xiaomi.
Realistically, none of the others can compete with the Mi 11 Ultra’s camera prowess, but the OnePlus 9 Pro could make a case for itself when you stand to pocket €200+. It’s more or less on par with the Mi in all areas, but the camera and since its setup isn’t half bad in its own right, it’s basically a matter of paying extra for the Mi’s imaging chops or not. Now, if they’re priced the same (as they are in India), the Mi easily takes the victory, we reckon.
The Oppo Find X3 Pro maxes out at 2x optical zoom, but has a microscope camera to try and steer you in its direction and it’s an interesting juxtaposition with the Mi between distant and close-up shooting. The Find is also polarizing for its looks, but you could be one that finds its fluid camera bump prettier than the Mi’s… less elegant solution. So this one gets settled on design and camera priorities.
The vivo X60 Pro+ is an interesting alternative going for Mi 11 Ultra money in India. This one too has a sizeable camera bump on its back, and while not quite as competent as the Mi, it will rarely leave you wanting. The leatherette back is a nice design touch next to the colder ceramic Mi, and the X60 Pro+ is the closest to being ‘compact’ here. The vivo is missing stereo speakers and an IP rating, however, and these come as standard on all the others on this list.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G • OnePlus 9 Pro • Oppo Find X3 Pro • vivo X60 Pro Plus
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is the ultimate cameraphone, if the shapely camera assembly on the back wasn’t enough of a giveaway. It captures photos and video as good or even better than any competitor and can only get better at it if Xiaomi opens up the rear display’s full potential.
But it’s not just the camera. Perhaps the phone’s sheer heft could be the one dealbreaker, since the rest is hard to fault – a wonderful display, some of the finest speakers, good battery life and fast charging, and a posh ceramic build mean there’s hardly any compromise involved. At launch pricing, depending on where you are, the Mi 11 Ultra ranges between a proper bargain and a reasonable value for money. We’d recommend it either way.
- Attractive curved-screen design, premium build with a ceramic back, and IP68 rating.
- The 6.81″ OLED is thoroughly impressive – 1440p 120Hz, bright and color accurate.
- Rear display has great potential.
- Battery endurance is good for the class, blazing-fast charging.
- Great stereo speakers.
- MIUI 12 is one refined UI.
- Industry-leading photo and video quality across the board.
- It’s one of the heaviest handsets on the market, camera bump isn’t exactly handsome.
- Under-utilized rear display – seemingly arbitrary restrictions limit its usefulness.
Update, 19 July 2022: The rear display can be activated in all modes, including Video and Portrait, since the MIUI 13 update.
- Has a tendency to overheat under stress testing (not so much in real-world use).