The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is a redesigned version of the Mi 11, released in early 2021. With a better photo module, a larger battery and an additional screen on the back, he wants to improve an already very good terminal. Successful bet ?
At the end of 2020, Xiaomi presented its new flagship: the Mi 11, a convincing smartphone which, without being totally revolutionary, had seduced us when it was released. True yardstick of the Chinese brand, it now has a variation focused on the photo: the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.
This Ultra takes the formula of the classic Mi 11, but adding two or three small interesting things. The first is a bigger battery. Added to this is a new photo module, a real strong point of this model. Xiaomi uses Samsung’s new ISOCELL GN2 sensor here for a quality that we hope to live up to. Finally, the icing on the cake is the appearance of a second screen at the rear, a feature that is certainly a gadget, but that wants to add that little “something extra” that will make you choose this smartphone over another.
On paper, this Mi 11 Ultra therefore has everything to seduce. What about in everyday life? Is it rising to the level of other flagships on the market? This is what we will determine in this test.
Pricing and availability
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is available on the Xiaomi website, but also on the brand’s partner sites (operators, Fnac, Darty, Boulanger, Auchan, Cdiscount, Rue du Commerce, LDLC and Materiel.net). It is sold in France in a single configuration, namely with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, at a price of 1199 euros.
As we said, we find the formula of the classic Mi 11. Thus, the technical sheet always offers the strong point of the terminal, namely the presence Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. We find the large 6.81-inch AMOLED screen in 1440p with its refresh rate of 120 Hz.
|Xiaomi mi 11|
|Screen||6.81 inch 120 Hz OLED with 2K definition|
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (5nm)|
|BONE||Android 11 + MIUI 12|
|Rear sensor||50 MP main sensor f / 2.0 aperture
48 MP ultra wide-angle sensor
48 Mp Telefoto sensor
|Front sensor||20 megapixels (f / 2.4)|
|Drums||5000 mAh compatible fast charge 67W|
The battery, for its part, goes to 5000 mAh (4600 mAh on the Mi 11) for better autonomy (with a fast charge of 67 Watts). However, it is the photo module that has seen the biggest change. It has three sensors in total (one of 50 Mp and two of 48 Mp) and is equipped an additional 1.1 inch screen (126 x 294 pixels) for notifications and other small uses.
An attractive technical sheet that arouses curiosity. It is the photo module that questions here, as well as the second small screen. Now remains to know if it’s a good phone, simply.
A massive, yet elegant design
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is a monster. It is indeed necessary to count on a screen of almost 7 inches as well as on dimensions of 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.4 mm. You can’t help but notice the photo module (which includes the secondary screen) which spring almost 4 millimeters. It’s enormous.
However, the module is distributed over the entire width of the smartphone. The latter is therefore not wobbly when placed on its back. On the contrary, he is surprisingly well trained, even on a slippery surface (which is not the case at all when it is placed on the screen side).
This mastodon look is reinforced by a weight of 234 grams. It’s not the first to pass the symbolic 200 gram mark, but few are so heavy. We regret that the mass of the terminal is not very balanced in the hand, which surprises the first days of use (we almost dropped it several times). A criticism that we made on the Poco X3 Pro not long ago, but which is justified here. The titanic module of the Mi 11 Ultra indeed weighs a lot on the upper part. On a daily basis, you get used to this monster, but vigilance remains essential when handling it, especially since it also tends to slip through your fingers.
On the visual side, the Mi 11 Ultra stands out thanks to its photo module, but also to the materials used. The rear shell is thus made of ceramic. It is available in two colors, black and white. If we cannot comment on the black model of the smartphone, we can say that white has this quality of being both original in addition not to be subject to fingerprints. Visually, the Mi 11 Ultra is therefore a success. We just regret the legal notices which are a little stain on the bottom. In this color, we could even risk saying that it looks like a Galaxy Camera, this curious Android camera from Samsung released in 2012. Note that it is IP68 certified, therefore resistant to water and water. dust.
The edges of the rear face of the Mi 11 Ultra are curved, which gives it an airy appearance despite its thickness of almost 9mm. Note the shiny aluminum edges, very chic, with the ignition and volume buttons on the right. On the lower part (which is flat) sits the USB Type-C port as well as the speaker. Despite its thickness, the Mi 11 Ultra does not have a Jack port, like the classic Mi 11. We must therefore switch to wireless headphones or USB Type-C.
Finally, the huge screen is also slightly curved on the sides, which not everyone will like (we love it). There are almost absent edges as well as a very discreet punch at the top left. The fingerprint sensor is located under the panel. Well placed, it did not cause us any problems during our test, because it works perfectly. It is possible to change the small unlocking animation in the options.
The design of the Mi 11 Ultra is therefore a success. Xiaomi delivers a chic and original smartphone which bets everything on this curious photo module. Special mention to ceramic, a very pleasant material on the fingers which reinforces this ultra premium aspect. He is certainly a titan, but a very elegant titan.
Two screens for the price of one
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is equipped with two screens. The main one is a 6.81-inch AMOLED panel in 1440p with an adaptive refresh rate that can range from 30 to 120 Hz (60 Hz by default, you must activate 120 Hz in the options). The cooling thus adapts automatically according to usage in order to save battery. The second touch screen only does 1.1 inch and is located on the back. It has a definition of 126 x 294 pixels and a refresh rate of 60 Hz. It is an AMOLED panel for the always-on display mode.
Let’s start with the main screen. We have already said that he is very tall. It is true that at almost 7 inches, we are clearly in the realm of the “phablet”, a term that has fallen into disuse today. Xiaomi’s overlay allows for one-handed use, but if yours are small it can get tricky in some situations. We analyzed the data from the slab using a probe. You should know that it offers three color profiles: saturated, original and auto (which juggles between the two). In any case, the technology AMOLED provides infinite contrast. The blacks are therefore deep and the whites are brilliant.
In saturated mode, Xiaomi had a heavy hand on color enhancement. Reds, greens and yellows, for example, are fluorescent in order to give a “wow” aspect when you turn on your smartphone. In this color profile, the average Delta E goes up to 5.8, which is a lot (below 3 being excellent). The temperature is a bit high at 7200K, well above the 6500K of the video standard. In effect, this means that on a white display, the screen looks bluish. Finally, note excellent maximum brightness at 615 cd / m². Even on a bright day, the screen will still be readable.
The original mode is much more respectful of the image, but logically tends to appear dull compared to the saturated mode. The average Delta E is for example 1.8, which translates a very high fidelity compared to the original colors. The temperature is also almost perfect, at 6400K. Only the brightness does not sparkle, peaking at 474 cd / m², which is far from incredible. Note that if you are an informed user, it will be quite possible adjust the temperature yourself. In fact, the auto mode, which juggles between the other two depending on the use, is the best way to use your Mi 11 Ultra.
The second screen is directly integrated into the photo module. Unfortunately, we were unable to test it with our probe as it was too small, but we can say that this is an addition certainly gadget, but pleasant. It’s not a duplicate display of the main screen as one might think at first glance, but a cleverly implemented addition. Several uses are possible.
The most important is the AoD mode. When your terminal is placed with the screen face down, it displays the time, your battery percentage and notifications. Like the AoD mode of the main display, it is possible to customize this aspect, by changing the layout, the color of the text or even by adding a drawing or a photo. However, we regret that this AoD mode is not really one. The rear screen turns off automatically after a maximum of 30 seconds. To reactivate it, you have to tap on the screen (which is tactile). Another downside, the settings for this screen are a bit hidden in the settings and you have to search (in special features) to find them.
Other uses are possible. For example, the music player is displayed when you listen to a song. Without turning your smartphone over, you can change the track by tapping on “next” or “previous”. Likewise, you can see who is calling you, like on the main screen, or read your messages.
It is also possible to preview the photo you take, for a selfie with the rear sensor or just to show your model a preview of the final result. This is the most dispensable use of this screen, especially since you have to activate it each time in the photo application.
All in all, the secondary screen is a nice addition. It does not claim to revolutionize the use as can the foldable screen of the Z Fold 2, for example, but its presence is appreciable and above all useful. Finally, it should be noted that it does not really draw on the autonomy, which is to be welcomed.
Read also – Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro test: the new benchmark for mid-range smartphones
Regarding the sound, Xiaomi has done a great job. The audio part is neat and clean considering the format of the product. If the speaker on the lower edge is well placed, we regret that this is not the case with the superior. This means that when playing a video or in a game, be careful not to cover it with your palm so as not to muffle the sound. In addition, the sound comes out from this speaker when you are in a telephone conversation, which will force you to place the smartphone in an unnatural way, that is to say the upper edge at the height of the lobe. A pitfall that could easily have been avoided by shifting it slightly.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is, like the classic model, equipped with a processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 supported by 12 GB of RAM. It is the most powerful SoC of the American manufacturer. It is obviously compatible with 5G networks.
There is no real suspense: the Mi 11 Ultra is a powerful smartphone, even one of the most efficient on the market. The benchmarks have given us unequivocal results. Sure, the ROG Phone 5 remains at the top, but we are still at the top of the basket. Needless to say, in terms of fluidity and responsiveness, the terminal is doing perfectly and we had no jerks or crashes during our week of testing. Plus, with such power, the Mi 11 Ultra is immune to obsolescence for a while.
In play, the observation is the same. You will be able to launch all the headlines in the market without forcing. For example, Genshin Impact is running at 60 frames per second with all options at maximum. However, the Snapdragon 888 still lags its heating faults and after 20 minutes of play, you will feel the heat diffusing abundantly throughout the chassis, which can be unpleasant, even if it is distributed well.
A classic overlay
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is equipped Android 11 with its traditional MIUI 12 overlay. If you’ve used a Xiaomi smartphone before, you’ll be on familiar ground. The manufacturer remains on its achievements by delivering a responsive, well thought out and practical overlay. Special mention to the customization of many UI elements, such as the always-on display, but also to the clarity of the menus. For example, large explanatory icons detail the operation of certain options, such as the refresh rate at 120 Hz. Enough to immediately understand what is involved for users unfamiliar with the latest technologies.
However, we regret a few small things that are still very painful, such as some unnecessarily long manipulations. For example, silencing your smartphone requires four taps. We’re not necessarily asking for a dedicated button like at OnePlus, but at least something more practical. Finally, let’s talk about a subject that comes up constantly when we test Xiaomi smartphones: advertising in native apps. Good news, since the Mi 11 Ultra does not! An appreciable thing, but logical for a product which still costs more than 1000 euros.
Overall, MIUI 12 is therefore still as effective and fun to use. Fans of the brand will not be disoriented and detractors will still not be convinced. It’s still a great job from the Chinese brand.
A neat photo part
The titanic photo module is obviously the strong commercial argument of this Mi 11 Ultra, but does it measure up? The smartphone has three sensors on the back: a main of 50 megapixels (f / 2.0), an ultra wide angle of 48 megapixels (f / 2.2) and a Telefoto of also 48 megapixels (f / 4.1). On the module sits a large 120X printed directly on the glass. The Mi 11 Ultra has an X120 digital zoom, the most powerful on the market, as well as an X5 optical zoom.
In fact, the terminal offers us very successful shots, with excellent light and color management. Both inside and out, we don’t have results that are pleasing and pleasing to the eye.
The smartphone boasts a lot of its digital zoom X120 (with digital stabilization), but in fact, it is more a matter of technical prowess than anything else, since the results obtained are unusable. However, it should be noted a quality X5 optical zoom which, for once, is really useful.
Macro photos are not the strong point the Mi 11 Ultra, which is less good in this segment than the OnePlus 9 Pro. However, he remains very correct, since in fact, he fulfills his contract by offering good shots up close.
We also like the responsiveness of the focus as well as the sensors, which makes it easy to take constantly moving subjects, such as an animal or a child.
Night mode is the main strength of this module. On this, Xiaomi surpasses itself with crisp and natural photos. We are not at the same level as an iPhone 12, the benchmark in the field, but the Mi 11 Ultra is very good.
We will regret just a portrait mode, which works, but which does not provide added value incredible compared to “normal” mode.
Xiaomi has therefore done an excellent job on the hardware side and is among the best photophones on the market. We still remain below the leaders of the segment, namely the Huawei Mate 40 Pro or the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which seem unstoppable. If you are looking for a product that takes good photos, without necessarily wanting the best, the Mi 11 Ultra is a very suitable choice.
On the software side, Xiaomi has been busy with a well thought out and responsive application. It offers small interesting things, such as a 50 megapixel mode which offers fine shots or a multicam mode. The latter allows you to select from six zoom levels and selfie mode. The result is a single video with multiple displays or separate (but simultaneous). Perfect for reaction videos or live ones. Note that the SuperMoon mode is making a comeback for photographing the star at night, but the weather did not allow us to test it.
Finally, on the video side, Xiaomi spoils users with the possibility of filming up to 8K (24 FPS). The Mi 11 Ultra also supports 4K at 60 frames per second and also leaves a wide range of choices when it comes to recordings.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is equipped a 5000 mAh battery, which is an improvement over the classic Mi 11 (4600 mAh). The question of autonomy is always delicate on smartphones with a 1440p screen at 120 Hz. The OnePlus 9 Pro, for example, does not last a day in these conditions. The Mi 11 Ultra is doing a little better. During our test, with the screen pushed to its maximum capacity (1440p, 120 Hz), we were able to last a day in normal use (a little game, social networks, an hour of GPS and use of the photo module…). In the evening, we thus had between 15 and 20% of battery left. This result is not incredible, but it is still nice to know that you can use your smartphone for a whole day as it was intended.
It is of course possible to cut back a little on the autonomy by putting your smartphone in Full HD + (we lose very little in visual quality), which allows us to last a day and a half without going near an outlet. By stalling at 60Hz, we even achieve the two days being a bit sparing on usage.
The Mi 11 Ultra is compatible with fast charging of 67 Watts (with charger supplied in the box). In our testing, we measured a 1 to 100% recharge in 48 minutes, which is great considering the size of the battery. The Mi 11 Ultra is also compatible with 67 Watts wireless charging, but unfortunately we were unable to measure this functionality.