A little more than a month after the officialization of the Mi 11 in China, Xiaomi confirmed its arrival in Europe on February 8, 2021. Successor of the Mi 10, it not only takes over its pricing position, but also some technical elements. It is the first smartphone marketed in France with the Snapdragon 888. Is this its only asset? Answer in this comprehensive test.
In 2020, Xiaomi had, in our opinion, made a strategic mistake by marketing the Mi 10 Pro before the Mi 10. For two reasons. First, the Mi 10 Pro was sold very expensive compared to the usual prices of the brand: 999 euros (price at launch). And the fans were scalded. A few weeks later, Xiaomi wanted to be reassuring with the Mi 10. Sold for 200 euros less than the “Pro”, it promised a very qualitative experience. And there, the second mistake: the experience offered by the Mi 10 was much lower than that of the Mi 10 Pro. Technophiles have certainly found less interest in it.
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Added to this was a real misunderstanding. The Mi 10 turned out to be 300 euros more expensive than the Mi 9, its direct predecessor, while it also offered a degraded experience here, especially in photography where the optical zoom disappeared in favor of less qualitative (and less useful) elements. Granted, the Mi 10 brought a 5G modem and a better-off battery. But that could not justify this price difference and the concessions made elsewhere.
Less than a year later, at the end of December 2020, Xiaomi presented the Mi 11 to replace the Mi 10. A smartphone that stands out from the rest because it is the first to integrate the Snapdragon 888, the latest high-end SoC from Qualcomm. A smartphone that also tries to improve certain aspects of its predecessor. But does he correct his faults? Are there other arguments in this Mi 11 than the presence of the Snapdragon 888? And most importantly, is it worth the price at which it is sold? Here are some of the questions we will answer in this test.
Price and availability date
Xiaomi announced on February 8, 2021 the arrival of the Mi 11 in France. However, the French subsidiary did not announce the date of availability and the price of the smartphone in France. This information will not be released until February 16. It is very likely that the date of February 16 corresponds to that of the commercial launch in France.
The price of the Mi 11 in Europe is 749 euros for the 128 GB version and 799 euros for the 256 GB version. This would mean that the Mi 11 would be sold for less than the Mi 10, certainly in response to the lower prices at Samsung. Note, however, that the communication from Xiaomi France suggests that the price of the smartphone will logically be different. We expect the 128GB version to be offered at 799 euros, like the Mi 10 at launch, and the 256 GB version at 849 euros, or even 899 euros. The prices would then still be as high.
For this price, you will find in the box of the smartphone three accessories: a flexible plastic shell, a USB type-A to USB type-C cable and a charger. The presence of the charger is a nice surprise, because Xiaomi no longer systematically delivers it to China where each customer chooses to take it or not, for the same price.
|Xiaomi mi 11|
|Dimensions and weight||164.3 x 74.6 x 8.1 mm (glass version)
164.3 x 74.6 x 8.6 mm (vegetable leather version)
196 grams (glass version)
194 grams (leather version)
QHD + (1440 x 3200 pixels)
515 pixels per inch
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (5nm)|
|BONE||Android 11 + MIUI 12.5|
|Main sensor||108 MP, f / 1.9, 26mm (main), 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
13 MP, f / 2.4, 123˚ (wide angle), 1.12µm, viewing angle 123 °
5 MP, f / 2.4, (macro), 1.12µm
|Selfie sensor||20 MP, 27mm, 0.8µm|
55 watt wired fast charge
50W wireless fast charge
10W reverse fast charge
|Biometrics||Optical impression scanner under the screen|
Design and handling
Physically, the Mi 11 builds on the achievements of its predecessor. The changes are minimal up front. They are few on the edges. And the most visible change is obviously at the back : this is the format of the photo module. Moreover, this unit leaves no doubt about the nature of the Mi 11: it is an evolution of the Mi 10, responding to the convolutions of fashion (and some marketing imperatives).
Even the dimensions of the product confirm this. A little less than 2 mm more in height. A small millimeter gained in thickness. And a negligible difference in width. The Mi 11 gains 12 grams on the scale in its version with mineral glass back and 14 grams in its version with vegetable leather back. On the material side, we find Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the back (when it’s not leather) and aluminum on the edges. Up front, the Gorilla 5 is replaced by Gorilla Victus.
The slices accommodate the same elements as before. First speaker, USB port, main microphone and dual-SIM drawer at the bottom; volume control and power on right; second speaker, secondary microphone and infrared port at the top; nothing right.
At the rear, two changes. The photo block of course. This one is no longer straight, but square. A “tribute” to Apple, which uses the same format for its iPhone. Fortunately, Xiaomi offers a variant with this division into two zones : two sensors on the left in the black area; a third sensor and the LED flash on the right in the area which takes up the color of the shell (here gray). The main sensor is, like the previous Mi’s, always put forward thanks to a rim (which is just aesthetic). We will come back to these elements in the part dedicated to the photo.
This photo block is triply protruding. A first layer for the white part. A second for the black part. And a last one for the optics of the main sensor. Some people have fun showing that smartphones are rickety with this kind of equipment. Perhaps that’s not the most disturbing part: it’s the fact that the smartphone sits directly on one of its camera lenses. So there is clearly an increased risk of an accident.
The second change on the back of the phone is the branding. You no longer simply find the brand’s logo, its visual signature for three years, but His full name. We attribute this change to a need for notoriety among audiences who are not used to buying Mi or Redmi and who bought Huawei before. Remember that Xiaomi is now number 3 in sales worldwide and number 4 in France.
Overall, the Mi 11 is a smartphone pleasant to use, even if its size does not always allow use with one hand. It is a smartphone that looks like many others, with ergonomics meeting current standards. No design exuberance. No mechanical drawer. No additional button.
Up front, you will find a large touch screen, of course. Like that of the Mi 10, it presents a hole in the upper left corner to house a selfie sensor. Another technical feature retained, the screen of the Mi 11 is curved on the side edges. A detail less and less common in telephony since Samsung decided to use completely flat screens in its Galaxy S21.
The panel of the Mi 11 is technically quite different from that of the Mi 10. It is slightly larger, the diagonal passing from 6.67 inch to 6.81 inch. The ratio goes from 19.5 / 9th to 20 / 9th. The width remains the same, but the length increases very slightly. The ratio of the screen to the front of the phone rises above 90%, reaching 91.4%.
This slab AMOLED displays images in 1440p, or Quad HD +. 1440 pixels wide. 3200 pixels in height. This is an improvement over the Mi 10 which was “only” Full HD +. The resolution passes thus from 386 pixels per inch to 515 pixels per inch. It will certainly help all Asians to read kanji, kana, hanzi and other hangeul on this screen without damaging their eyes (and those who can read them, of course).
The Mi 11 display, compatible HDR10 + unsurprisingly, also features two other improvements over the Mi 10. First, the refresh rate can reach 120 Hz. This means that the animations are smoother when this mode is activated. Note that 120 Hz is not enabled by default; it must therefore be activated in the “screen” menu. In addition, the panel is not compatible with variable refresh rates, as in Samsung for example. It’s either 60Hz or 120Hz. No middle ground either. Note that 120 Hz mode is compatible with Quad HD + definition. Be careful of energy consumption though.
Now let’s talk about the measurements made on the screen with our probe. We will discuss here the brightness and respect for colors. Before starting, remember that the Mi 11 offers three display modes: automatic, natural and saturated. We took measurements in all three modes to compare them. Note also that the Mi 11 offers a range of tools to modify the colorimetry according to your tastes, by changing the temperature of the palette or by modifying the balance of the primary colors.
The automatic mode, chosen by default, is a mode that adapts light, contrast and color according to use. It offers a pretty good experience. The maximum manual brightness is 614 cd / m² (of course, it can go much higher in automatic mode and in direct sunlight). The color temperature is very high, since it exceeds 7200 ° Kelvin. On the other hand, the Delta E is rather measured: 3.3. Blues and greens are less well respected than reds.
As with Samsung, the natural mode is the most respectful of colors, but also the least luminous. We measured 455 cd / m² for the light, 6440 ° Kelvin for the average color temperature and an average Delta E of 1.8. Here too, the least respected colors are shades of blue and green. But it’s pretty well mastered.
Finally, saturated mode is … saturated. Saturated with colors. Saturated with light. The brightness reaches 609 cd / m². Color temperature reached 7260 ° Kelvin. And, above all, the average Delta E is 6.1. No color, except dark blue, is respected. The light green and the orange burst the ceiling with a Delta E which is close to 10. Remember that the smaller the Delta E, the closer the displayed color is to the reference samples.
There is a fourth mode ” personalized »Where you can choose your favorite color sample (sRGB, DCI-P3) and your adjustments (contrast, hue, saturation, etc.). This is an extremely complex mode that is sure to thrill experts. The others will miss it.
Finally, to be complete, the Mi 11 offers two other interesting screen modes: the anti-flicker, to prevent flashing, and the ” reading Which reduces blue light. Both of these tools are used to reduce eye strain.
Once the screen is on, you arrive on MIUI 12, the penultimate evolution of Xiaomi’s ROM. It is based on Android 11, Of course. It therefore brings the new features of Google’s OS, as well as a few additions specific to the Chinese manufacturer’s interface. The Mi 11 is expected to be one of the first smartphones to feature the latest version of MIUI, numbered 12.5. It will be deployed soon. We advise you to read our complete file on MIUI 12 including a section dedicated to version 12.5.
As always, we dedicate this part to all those who do not know the smartphone interface, namely MIUI. MIUI is a customized Android ROM. Xiaomi thus took over Android (here version 11) and made many changes to create an alternative branch of the Google OS. Of course, Xiaomi certifies its smartphones with Google. Which means that Google services are present.
Among the changes, you will find navigation in the interface, the features offered in the settings menu, the customization of the environment or the preinstalled applications. So it goes much further than a simple overlay like One UI at Samsung. However, to make it easier for Western users to get started, MIUI is getting closer and closer to the pure Android interface.
MIUI is a complete interface, with some biases. The application drawer, for example, is not enabled by default. The notifications pane has a slightly different look. System applications are not updated with Google Play and evolve independently of updates to the operating system. The themes are still important (features common to all Android ROMs customized by Chinese brands). And many apps are preinstalled.
Among these, you find business partners, like Facebook, Amazon, TikTok, WPS Office, LinkedIn, Netflix, Opera, Agoda and eBay. You find three web browsers : Opera (already mentioned), Chrome (mandatory) and the Mi Browser. You will find a range of casual games and a few marketing “applications” such as direct access to the Mi Store. MIUI would gain clarity by reducing the number of preinstalled software.
Two system applications caught our attention. First Mi Music. It looks like a simple MP3 player. But if you hit the “watch” button, you come across a YouTube wrapper with a search engine. You can watch music videos, without advertising, but also any other video … like the PhonAndroid channel, which has nothing to do with music … very practical widget accompanies this application: it highlights from the MIUI interface and sticks to one side.
Second application: her name is security and it’s a Swiss army knife of maintenance. This is an application that you can also find in other Chinese phone brands. It mainly offers shortcuts to several modules scattered around MIUI. This is useful for finding where the memory manager is hiding, for example. The modules are numerous. You find the main ones at the top and the secondaries at the bottom. The “optimize” circle starts a routine that performs several usually separate tasks.
In the settings menu, you will find a menu called ” Special features “. In this one you will find access to the floating window functions (it is rather good for the exchanges of messages in separate screen), the “Second space” (an additional interface to separate private life and professional life, for example) and Game Turbo, which allows you to adjust certain parameters to improve the experience of gamers (but which do not affect the performance of the platform…).
Performance and in-game experience
Now let’s move on to performance. We were eager to test the Mi 11 for a number of reasons. One of them is the presence of Snapdragon 888, accompanied here by 8 GB RAM. This is the first phone to feature Qualcomm’s premium SoC. And we couldn’t wait to compare it not only to the Snapdragon 865+ you find in the ROG Phone 3, for example, but also to the Samsung Exynos 2100 found in the European Galaxy S21 / S21 + / S21 Ultra.
What about in real life? You can find opposite the results obtained with the Mi 11. The smartphone happily exceeds 685,000 points on AnTuTu, which is much higher than the 626,000 points of the Galaxy S21. The main difference is in the GPU. We noticed during the Galaxy S21 test that the Exynos is a bit light in terms of graphics. The Snapdragon 888 does not make this same mistake.
Geekbench confirms that the Snapdragon 888’s CPUs are slightly more powerful, but not that much: a few dozen points separate them, in single-core or multi-core. On the 3D Mark side, that’s the big surprise: the Mi 11 is the first smartphone to exceed the limits of the Slingshot test. Fortunately, the Wild Life test takes over. Surprisingly, on the latter, the Snapdragon 888 does not do any better than the Exynos.
Same observation with the Snapdragon 865+: the new component from Qualcomm outclasses its predecessor by around 50,000 points. And the big difference is on the Adreno part and not on the CPUs, memory or interface management. Note that all these tests were carried out with the screen set to Full HD + and 60 Hz.
What about in real life, once a game is launched? All the games go admirably. We tested Dead Trigger 2, Dead Cells, as well as Genshin Impact, which has a reputation for being very greedy. You can find some screenshots opposite. None of them presented any real difficulty to the platform. No surprise. On the other hand, our standard emulators, Citra and Dolphin did not receive the same treatment. We could hear some crackling in the soundtrack, a sign of small slowdowns. It doesn’t seem like this is a potency issue. We think the RAM might be a bit cramped. With 16 GB of RAM, the ROG Phone 3 does not suffer the same inconvenience.
The Wild Life stress test also confirms that the Snapdragon 888 is relatively stable when under pressure during a long gaming session: the power of the Snapdragon 888 only drops by 12% to 15% during the 20-minute test. The Snapdragon 888 therefore offers high performance that remains over time. This is good news, although we may have expected a little more.
Let us end this part on a disappointing point. And even embarrassing. It concerns the Snapdragon 888. The SoC heats up a lot when it is heavily used. As you can see from the 3D Mark stress test screenshots, the internal temperature of the Mi 11 is rising rapidly above 45 ° and can even exceed 50 °. It is of course the metal parts that also act as heat conductors and lead hot air to the outside of the smartphone. The outline of the phone, especially in the corner where the selfie sensor is present, is particularly hot. A feeling that can become unpleasant… and worrying.
Autonomy and recharging
A smartphone that heats up is a smartphone that wastes energy. While heat production is inherent in the operation of an SoC, it is still less energy used efficiently. We therefore naturally come to the part on the autonomy of the Mi 11. As a reminder, the battery integrated into the phone offers a capacity of 4600 mAh. Compared with the Mi 10, this capability is down, but 4% only. Despite this drop, the Mi 11 therefore benefits from a rather generous battery.
As always, let’s distinguish between classic uses and heavy uses. If you want to play the most demanding games with this smartphone, or if you want to film in 8K, since it is able to do so (as we will see in the photo part of this test), you will have to deal with a battery rather average. 3D Mark’s stress test reveals that the Mi 11 loses between 13% and 17% of battery in 20 minutes. That is to say a playing time of approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes with the most ambitious productions. With Candy Crush, you will have a little more time in front of you…
If your use is more traditional (a little web, social networks, instant messaging, some common applications, photos, video or audio streaming), you can expect a very decent battery life from the Mi 11: a little less than a day and a half with the screen in Full HD +, in automatic mode (colorimetry) and in 60 Hz. The SoC does not heat up. It offers a nice fluidity to the interface. Note that certain settings can obviously reduce this autonomy: screen definition, refresh rate, color mode, brightness, dark mode, etc. The battery management tool also offers many settings to optimize energy consumption.
On the charging side, the Mi 11 takes advantage of fast charging, with or without wire. The maximum compatible power is 55 watts by USB cable and 50 watts on a Qi pad. Xiaomi had the brilliant idea of providing a 55 watt charger with its smartphone. Which means you get the best possible charging experience. According to Xiaomi, the Mi 11 fully charges in 45 minutes. Our tests are very close: 46 minutes. Here are two intermediate readings: 40% in less than 10 minutes and 80% in half an hour.
Attention, two important elements to take into account to achieve this result. The smartphone must be switched off during these 46 minutes. And you must use the USB cable supplied with the Mi 11. We have tried with another USB type-A to USB type-C cable. And the Mi 11 recharges much slower: from 0% to 100% in 80 minutes.
Note that Xiaomi, unlike Oppo or Asus for example, does not yet offer tools for customizing charging profiles. You are obliged to recharge the mobile with the fast charge and up to 100% of the capacity (unless you unplug the mobile beforehand). To optimize battery life, other manufacturers offer slow charging, programming charge cycles according to habits or blocking the charge at 80% or 90% of capacity. It might be a good idea for a future version of MIUI.
The audio experience offered by the Mi 11 is good, although it could be improved. The main audio asset of the Mi 11 is its dual speaker. The first is positioned, as always on the lower edge, next to the USB type-C port. The position of the second is more interesting. Unlike some competitors (Samsung for example), Xiaomi does not hide this one in the earpiece, but positions it the opposite of the first: on the upper edge.
These two speakers are powered by Harman Kardon. As a result, the sound is not only powerful, but also rich on both sides. Usually you have more bass on the main speaker (the one at the bottom edge). Here you have it on both sides. There is a nice balance between the two speakers, providing a good quality stereo system.
A little less positive remark for our player readers: the speakers on the edges are often hidden by the fingers, thus muffling the music and the sound of the games. Here the two loudspeakers are on the edges. The risk is therefore twofold. So prefer to play with a wireless or wired headset, even if the cable hinders the grip. Or better yet: with a controller!
The audio quality of the Mi 11 during phone calls is good. Your correspondent can hear you well. And you can hear it too, whether through the earpiece or the speaker. The secondary microphone, which is mainly used to muffle ambient noise is effective. Your voice is well isolated.
French law obliges Xiaomi to provide a hands-free kit with its smartphone. But our test unit was not accompanied by it. So we don’t know which model of headphones buyers will have in their box. This was also the case with our test copy of the Mi 10T Lite.
Photo and video
Let’s finish this test with the photo part. Before presenting the various results obtained with the sensors integrated into the Mi 11, let us recall the nature of the telephone equipment. We find the sensor 108 megapixels of the Mi 10 with phase detection autofocus. Its lens, still stabilized, opens a little less wide (f / 1.9 against f / 1.7). The pixel size is 0.8 microns, but thanks to the combination of several adjacent pixels.
We find the sensor 13 megapixels stowed behind an ultra-wide-angle lens opening at f / 2.4, unchanged from the Mi 10. The viewing angle is 123 °. And we find a third sensor of 5 megapixels dedicated to macro, replacing the 2 megapixel sensor of the Mi 10 whose role is identical. This optic opens at f / 2.4. The pixels of these two sensors measure 1.12 microns. The fourth sensor of the Mi 10 has been removed. Simply.
An LED flash completes the set. On the front you will find a selfie sensor of 20 megapixels with lens opening at f / 2.2. It’s not quite the same sensor as the Mi 10’s, the pixels here measuring 0.8 microns, compared to 0.9 microns previously. You will notice that only one of the four sensors present in the Mi 11 offers autofocus.
Let’s move on to the results. The overall impression left by the Mi 11 in the photo is positive. Everything is not perfect. But, all together offer good results. The only real disappointment: the lack of a real telephoto lens, perhaps replacing the somewhat less useful macro sensor. Several competitors, sold at the same price, offer an optical zoom. Remember that the Mi 9 had one. It was retired with the Mi 10.
Let’s move on to the results. The 108 megapixel sensor (which doesn’t capture in 108 megapixels by default, but in 27 megapixels) is obviously your best ally in very, very (very?) many situations : day photo, night photo, digital zoom, portrait, etc. You will use the other two sensors much less. And fortunately, the results are very satisfactory, with beautiful colors, light, contrast and sharpness. We have had, on rare occasions, small problems with a drop in brightness. It is then necessary to change the focus.
It is the 108 megapixel sensor that provides digital zoom shots. Up to the 5x report, the results are good. The definition of the sensor is sufficient to assume the reduction of the field. In 10x ratio, the result is average, with the presence of a lot of noise and artifacts. Going up to 30x, the photos are unusable. First because of the noise. Then because, despite the presence of the stabilizer, the tremors are impossible to compensate. Also beware of backlighting: the Mi 11 does not always manage them very well.
The sensor with panoramic optics also offers results with color and detail. There is a little less light and a little less contrast. But the difference is often negligible, especially during the day. Finally, there is the macro sensor which is activated by going through “Pro” mode (far left). He takes rather pleasant shots. But its access is not as easy as the ultra-wide-angle sensor, you will quickly forget it in favor of the main sensor for your close-up photos.
Le mode portrait est similaire à beaucoup d’autres. Il utilise le capteur 108 mégapixels bien sûr et s’appuie sur le capteur macro pour calculer les distances. L’effet bokeh est bien prononcé et l’isolement du sujet bien effectué. Notez que le mode portrait n’est pas compatible avec le capteur ultra grand-angle ni avec le mode nuit. Dommage pour les portraits nocturnes.
Parlons justement des clichés nocturnes. Le capteur 108 mégapixels est encore une fois votre meilleur allié. Ces clichés profitent d’une bonne lumière et d’un bon équilibre. Bien évidemment, compte tenu de l’éclairage, les couleurs seront plus ou moins prononcées. Grâce au mode nuit, activable manuellement (nous vous conseillons de l’insérer dans les menus facilement accessibles, à côté de Portrait), vous obtiendrez de meilleurs résultats. Le temps de pause oscille entre deux et cinq secondes. Notez que le mode automatique active, parfois, un temps de pause prolongé. Mais il est moins efficace que le vrai mode nuit.
Passons au capteur selfie. Celui-ci réalise de belles images, avec beaucoup de détails, de piqué et du contraste. Malgré l’absence d’un second capteur pour le calcul des profondeurs et d’un autofocus, le capteur selfie est compatible avec le mode portrait. Et les résultats sont également assez bons. Surtout de jour, mais également de nuit. Attention, quand la nuit tombe, les autoportraits ont tendance à perdre en contraste. Notez que pour les photos-ci contre, nous avons désactivé les filtres faciaux.
Un petit mot enfin sur la vidéo. Le Mi 11 est capable de filmer en 8K jusqu’à 30 images par seconde. Il peut monter à 240 images par seconde en 1080p et 60 images par seconde en 2K. Les vidéos peuvent être réalisées avec le capteur principal et le capteur panoramique. Et les résultats sont lumineux et contrastés, avec de belles couleurs en pleine journée. La stabilisation est prise en charge électroniquement par le gyroscope du téléphone. C’est efficace pour un léger traveling. Mais si vous marchez un peu vite, ça va quand chahuter. En outre, le mode vidéo n’est pas compatible mode nuit !
Sur la tranche comprise entre 600 et 800 euros, Xiaomi faisait partie, il y a quelques années, des excellentes marques. Elle offrait une expérience haut de gamme à des prix plus compétitifs que des concurrents tels que Samsung, LG, Sony ou encore Apple. Si certaines marques ont conservé ce positionnement, ce n’est plus le cas chez Xiaomi. Depuis la forte inflation tarifaire appliquée à la gamme Mi, notamment avec le Mi 10, la marque de Lei Jun a perdu de son agressivité concurrentielle.
Le Mi 11 en est la preuve. Il y a très peu de différences entre le Mi 10 et le Mi 11. Et les quelques différences entre les deux ne sont pas toujours que des améliorations. Nous avons perdu un capteur photo. Mais nous n’avons pas gagné pour autant un zoom optique, lequel manque encore cruellement. Le refus de Xiaomi d’intégrer un zoom optique au Mi 11 ressemble fort à la stratégie d’Apple qui réserve cet équipement aux modèles Pro de ses iPhone.
Nous avons aussi gagné en résolution et en rafraichissement, mais pas encore en termes de respect de la colorimétrie. Nous avons gagné en puissance grâce au Snapdragon 888, mais l’exiguïté de la RAM freine certaines applications. Et la chaleur dégagée n’est pas bien maitrisée. Nous avons gagné en charge rapide, mais cela ne fait que compenser un léger recul de la capacité de la batterie et une augmentation de la consommation d’énergie par l’écran et le SoC dans certaines situations.
Le Mi 10 a souffert parce qu’il a été lancé après le Mi 10 Pro. Mais le Mi 11, bon smartphone, agréable à utiliser au quotidien, pourrait souffrir commercialement de la même manière, parce que le Mi 11 Pro (dont l’existence est une quasi-certitude) gommera certains défauts du Mi 11. Reste à savoir quel sera le prix demandé pour profiter de ces améliorations.