The Xiaomi Mi 11 joins the Samsung Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 in the ranks of the best smartphones of the first half of 2021. But which of the three is the best? Answer in our comparison.
Three high-end smartphones from the three largest smartphone manufacturers in the world. In this comparison, we help you choose between three references on the current market: the Mi 11 from Xiaomi, the Galaxy S21 from Samsung and the iPhone 12 from Apple. Which one will be perfect to meet your needs? Find out in the rest of our file.
Xiaomi Mi 11 vs Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 12: technical sheets
Let’s start with an overview of the technical characteristics of the three smartphones before going into more details.
|Xiaomi mi 11||Galaxy s21||iPhone 12|
1440 x 3200 pixels 20: 9
2400 x 1080 pixels
Gorilla Glass 7
Super Retina XDR OLED
2532 x 1170 pixels
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (5nm)||Exynos 2100 (5nm)||A14 (5nm)|
|BONE||Android 11 + MIUI 12.5||Android 11 + One UI 3.1||iOS 14|
|RAM||8 or 12 GB||8 GB||4GB|
|Storage||128/256 GB||128/256 GB||64/128/256 GB|
|Main sensor||108 MP, f / 1.9, 26mm (main), 1 / 1.33 “, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
13 MP, f / 2.4, 123˚ (wide angle), 1 / 3.06 “, 1.12µm
5 MP, f / 2.4, (macro), 1 / 5.0 “, 1.12µm
|12 MP wide angle f / 1.8
12 MP ultra wide angle f / 2.2
64 MP telephoto f / 2.0
|Ultra wide-angle (120 °) 12 MP, f / 2.4
Wide angle 12 MP, f / 1.6
2x optical zoom
Digital zoom up to 5x
OIS (wide angle)
|Selfie sensor||20 MP, 27mm, 1 / 3.4 “, 0.8µm||10 MP (f / 2.2)||12 MP, f / 2.2|
55 watt wired fast charge
50W wireless fast charge
10W reverse fast charge
25W wired charging
15W wireless charging
4.5W reverse fast charge
| 2,815 mAh
20W wired fast charging
Fast wireless charging up to 15W with MagSafe
|Biometrics||Optical impression scanner under the screen||Ultrasonic footprint scanner under the screen||Face ID|
As you can see, these are three decidedly premium proposals that we are dealing with here.
The iPhone 12 is the most compact in this comparison with its dimensions of 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm. The Galaxy S21 is a little more imposing with its 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm, while the Xiaomi Mi 11 is a monster compared to its competitors (164.3 x 74.6 x 8.1 mm), wider, taller and thicker. A size that is also reflected in the weight: 196 grams for the Mi 11 against 169 and 164 grams respectively for the Galaxy S21 and the iPhone 12. The handling may therefore be easier at Samsung and Apple depending on the physiognomy of the ‘user.
In terms of materials used, the three manufacturers have bet on aluminum for the chassis of their device. But for the rear panel, Apple and Xiaomi offer a glass back, while Samsung is satisfied with plastic, of quality certainly, but which still represents a less premium finish. Xiaomi delights us with a screen-to-body ratio of around 91.4% leaving little room for bezels. The Galaxy S21 is at 87.2% and the iPhone at 86%.
As for several years, biometric authentication has been entrusted exclusively to facial recognition on the iPhone 12, which does not have a fingerprint reader. Face ID and its scanners that require a lot of space, Apple was therefore forced to keep the large notch on its smartphone. The Xiaomi Mi 11 and Samsung Galaxy S21 are more aesthetically successful from this point of view since the single front photo sensor (which can be used for facial recognition) is positioned in a discreet, top center at Samsung and in the upper corner left at Xiaomi. The fingerprint reader is positioned under the screen on the Mi 11 and Galaxy S21. It is optical in the first case and ultrasonic in the second. Samsung has greatly improved the fingerprint sensor on this generation, the Galaxy S21 benefits from a larger, faster and more secure reader.
The photo blocks on the back are better integrated and designed than on the previous generation for the three smartphones. Special mention to Xiaomi and Samsung which proved to be rather original by differentiating themselves, it is very successful aesthetically and it changes the usual “hotplates”.
Finally, the iPhone 12 and the Galaxy S21 are certified IP68 water and dust resistant, which is not the case of the Mi 11. This does not mean that it is not waterproof, but that Xiaomi has chosen not to pay for certification to control the costs of its smartphone.
Winner: Xiaomi Mi 11
The three manufacturers offer an OLED technology screen on their smartphones. It is interesting to note that both Xiaomi and Apple have purchased the slab of their smartphone from Samsung. We are therefore dealing in all cases with very high quality screens, but marked by notable differences.
The Mi 11 stands out with QHD + 3200 x 1440p definition for a large screen diagonal of 6.81 inches, or a density of 515 pixels per inch. The iPhone 12 sports, as always at Apple, an exotic image quality of 2532 x 1170 pixels for 6.1 inches (460 pixels per inch). Finally, the Galaxy S21 relies on a Full HD + standard definition of 2400 x 1080p for 6.2 inches, or a resolution of 421 pixels per inch. Both Android mobiles are entitled to support for HDR10 +, while the iPhone 12 is content with HDR10, but compensates with Dolby Vision compatibility.
The refresh rate reached 120 Hz on the Mi 11 and Galaxy S21 for a better fluidity of the animations, the scroll and in game. The iPhone 12 remains blocked at 60 Hz, it will be necessary to wait for the next generation to see Apple smartphones with a 120 Hz panel. In terms of brightness, it is there again Xiaomi that stands out. The Mi 11’s AMOLED display peaks at 1,500 nits, compared to 1,300 nits for the Galaxy S21’s Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel and 1,200 nits for the iPhone 12’s Super Retina XDR OLED display.
Other points on which the Mi 11 and Galaxy S21 meet, they adopt a more elongated format than the iPhone (20: 9 against 19.5: 9) and are equipped with Gorilla Glass Victus glass protection, the latest technology from Corning. The iPhone 12 relies on a Ceramic Shield glass whose treatment prevents scratches with an oleophobic coating to improve the feeling of touch and limit the presence of fingerprints.
Winner: Xiaomi Mi 11
This generation of smartphones marks the transition to SoCs engraved in 5nm, giving them a particularly interesting performance / consumption ratio. But the three devices each come with a different chip: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 for the Mi 11, Samsung’s Exynos 2100 (in Europe) for the Galaxy S21, and Apple’s A14 Bionic for the iPhone 12. .
Samsung promises every year that its high-end Exynos SoC will finally deliver similar performance to its competitor at Qualcomm, but we are often disappointed with the result. This time, there is a real catching-up effect. According to the measurements of the benchmark tools Geekbench 5 and AnTuTu, the Exynos 2100 has on average performance of around 5-10% lower than the Snapdragon 855 on the CPU. On the other hand, the difference is greater on the GPU, and therefore the graphics part.
But we know, the optimizations made by manufacturers can reverse the trend in real use. On AnTuTu, it is all the same the Mi 11 which stands out since it is quite simply, in its 12/256 GB version, the most powerful Android smartphone of the moment with a score of 686,910. The Galaxy S21 emerges “only” at 614,886. It is especially on the GPU that the Samsung mobile loses points.
It is more difficult to compare with the iPhone 12 since it runs on a completely different operating system. But as usual, Apple’s smartphone is a powerhouse that leaves little room for the competition. It is not so impressive on AnTuTu 8 because it lacks versatility, but is a hit with Geekbench 5, notably thanks to the performance of its single-core CPU. Too bad its GPU is only average. But thanks to the lightness of iOS, the iPhone 12 runs wonderfully.
Winner: iPhone 12
RAM and storage
The iPhone 12 only has 4 GB of RAM, a constant at Apple that does not compete with RAM. iOS is much less resource intensive than Android, so note that this doesn’t mean it’s an iPhone weakness. The Galaxy S21 is equipped with double and emarges at 8 GB of RAM, while two configurations are available from Xiaomi: 8 or 12 GB of RAM.
For storage space, Samsung and Xiaomi use the best technology currently available on Android: UFS 3.1, which notably provides much higher write speeds than the previous generation. Apple meanwhile remains loyal to NVMe.
The Mi 11, Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 are all available with 128 or 256 GB of storage. The iPhone 12 is the only one to offer a variant with only 64 GB of internal memory, which seems small given the size of photos, videos and applications today and when the device does not have a slot for microSD card to expand storage. This is also the case with smartphones from Xiaomi and Samsung.
In terms of connectivity, the three smartphones are 5G compatible, with disparities in the frequency bands supported, but without much impact for use in France in 2021. Note all the same that the iPhone 12 does not have millimeter 5G (mmWave ) outside the United States. It will be used with us in a few years, this can have an impact if you plan to keep your new smartphone for a long time.
On a home network, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is WiFi 6E compatible. This standard allows to unlock a third frequency band (6 GHz) much less congested, on which it would therefore be possible to enjoy a better WiFi experience. Already open in the United States, the 6 GHz band could be released for WiFi 6E in Europe soon. The Mi 11 thus benefits from a functionality that is far from being a gadget, even if of course then appropriate network equipment is required to really benefit from it. The Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 are them with the WiFi 6 standard.
And this is not the only element on which the Mi 11 stands out. It is the only one to offer infrared to transform its mobile into a remote control and to come with the Bluetooth 5.2 standard, against 5.0 for Samsung and Apple mobiles. The A2DP and LE Bluetooth profiles are present on all three devices, but the aptX audio codec (HD and Adaptive) are exclusive to Xiaomi’s smartphone, thanks to the Snapdragon 888. Of course, the NFC is available on each comparison model.
Winner: Xiaomi Mi 11
Battery, autonomy and recharging
We reported earlier that the Xiaomi Mi 11 is bigger and heavier than its cronies, this allows to accommodate a more massive battery of 4600 mAh, while the Galaxy S21 battery has a capacity of 4000 mAh and the iPhone 12 battery displays 2815 mAh at the meter. Here again, software optimization and the consumption of components (screen and SoC in particular) have a great influence on autonomy, you should not only rely on the battery capacity figures. But if the iPhone 12 is certainly well optimized, we must admit that its tiny battery does not allow it to offer a suitable life. The autonomy of the Mi 11 is good, but even with an imposing 4600 mAh battery, be careful with the activation of QHD + and 120 Hz, very resource-intensive functions.
For recharging, Samsung and Apple remain cautious by offering a power measured by wire: 20W for the iPhone 12 and 25W for the Galaxy S21, against 55W for the Mi 11 which is far above. The brand talks about a full charge from 0 to 100% in just 45 minutes. What we can verify in a future test.
On wireless charging, Xiaomi is still well ahead with its 50W, more than three more than what Samsung and Apple offer us (15W). All three devices have reverse wireless charging powerbank functionality to charge other devices and accessories with their battery. Once again, it is the Mi 11 which is the most generous with a power delivered up to 10W in this way, while the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 are satisfied with 4.5W and 5W respectively. It must also be said that the Mi 11 has more energy to share thanks to its enormous accumulator.
As a reminder, the three manufacturers have decided to remove the charger from the box of their smartphone. It is therefore necessary to invest in a charger in addition to a smartphone if you do not already have a model compatible with the fast charging of your new mobile. Xiaomi should still offer a smartphone + charger bundle at the same price, leaving the choice to users to have a charger delivered or not.
Winner: Xiaomi Mi 11
The Xiaomi Mi 11 clashes with its main 108 MP photo sensor and f / 1.9 aperture, but a high number of megapixels is not necessarily synonymous with good photo quality. It is combined with a 13 MP, f / 2.4 ultra-wide-angle 123˚ module and a 5 MP, f / 2.4 macro lens.
Three lenses also for the Galaxy S21, whose photo setup is composed as follows: a main sensor 12 MP and f / 1.8, an ultra wide-angle 120 ° of 12 MP, f / 2.2 and a telephoto lens of 64 MP, f / 2.0 allowing a 1.1x optical zoom and a 3x hybrid zoom. The iPhone 12 relies on two sensors, 12 MP f / 1.6 and ultra-wide 12 MP, f / 2.4, 120. In all three cases, the main module (and the telephoto lens of the S21) benefits from optical stabilization. and phase detection autofocus.
On the video, it is possible to shoot in 8K at 24 or 30 frames per second on the Mi 11 and in 8K at 24 frames per second on the Galaxy S21. No 8K for the iPhone 12, only for Pro models. 4K is available at 24/30 fps on the Mi 11 and S21 and at 24/30/60 fps on the iPhone 12. In 1080p, Xiaomi offers us slow motion up to 480 fps, against 240 fps for the other. Samsung goes up to 960 fps, but only 720p. The Galaxy S21 can record in HDR10 +, the iPhone 12 in HDR and Dolby Vision, with stereo sound for both.
Regarding the front camera, Xiaomi is less bling-bling since the 20 MP sensor of the Mi 11 only shoots in 1080p, while the 10 MP f / 2.2 modules of the Galaxy S21 and 12 MP f / 2.2 of the iPhone 12 offers 4K up to 60 frames per second. Samsung’s smartphone stands out with dual pixel phase detection autofocus, the iPhone 12 with the capabilities of True Depth sensors for depth of field and augmented reality.
Nowadays, manufacturers mainly stand out for their software processing for the photography capabilities of their devices. We mainly mention technical aspects here to compare these three models, but nothing beats a test to realize their potential in photo and video. Do not hesitate to consult our various tests of the 3 devices:
Winner: the iPhone 12 in photos and video, but the S21 is a few millimeters behind
The first question to ask is: Android or iOS ? It is not a question here of comparing them in detail, that would take too long and that is not the subject here. The two operating systems are increasingly similar, but disparities remain. Android is much more customizable and open than its competitor, iOS is rather recommended for those who want a turnkey interface, efficient without having to enter the parameters. Attention cloud gaming enthusiasts, Apple makes life difficult for this type of service. No application available for Stadia and others, so you have to be content with the web version of the platforms, necessarily less efficient. And Microsoft’s xCloud, for example, is not yet available in this way, and therefore absent from the iOS ecosystem.
If you prefer Android (bravo), then you have to decide One UI 3.1, the Samsung overlay on the Galaxy S21, and MIUI 12.5, Xiaomi’s home interface that powers the Mi 11. Both based on Android 11, the latest major update to Google’s mobile OS. We much prefer the South Korean manufacturer’s proposal. Interface, fluidity, features, One UI is a joy to use. MIUI is not bad, far from it, but seems a little less good in all sectors. In either case, the two manufacturers can be annoying with their preinstalled applications highlighting their own services, Samsung and Xiaomi having created a gigantic software ecosystem. Another good point for the Galaxy S21: its DeX mode desktop experience that allows you to connect the smartphone (wired or wireless) to a monitor or television to use it as a central unit.
Winner: Galaxy S21 or iPhone 12, depending on taste
Here are the prices without promotional offer displayed for these three models:
- Xiaomi Mi 11: 799 euros (8/128 GB) and 899 euros (12/256 GB)
- Samsung Galaxy S21: 859 euros (128 GB) and 909 euros (256 GB)
- iPhone 12: 909 euros (64 GB), 959 euros (128 GB) and 1079 euros (256 GB)
Apple maintains a stable pricing policy this year, but as always exaggerates the price of the increase in storage space. Samsung has lowered its prices, which is explained by a Galaxy S21 with a slightly thin technical sheet compared to the Galaxy S20. Xiaomi, which has seriously turned to premium, remains at the same level as last year, which saw the Mi 10 explode in prices for the Mi 9.
Winner: Xiaomi Mi 11
In terms of price-performance ratio, there is in our opinion no photo: the Xiaomi Mi 11 is the big winner of this comparison. The brand offers us a very complete high-end smartphone that has only a few flaws, and this for less than Samsung and Apple. Only those allergic to MIUI or users who prefer a more compact smartphone will find fault with the new Xiaomi flagship. Beside, the Galaxy S21 suffers from the comparison, but can count on One UI and Samsung branding to stand out. The iPhone 12 will convince anyone struggling to quit iOS or budding videographers.