Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Review: The Flawless One

Mi 11 Ultra

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is the company’s ambitious phone so far. This device boasts a camera supposedly comparable to that of a DSLR, packs in all high-end specifications one could ask for, and comes with a unique secondary display on the back. With a starting price of Rs 69,999, the Mi 11 Ultra is the most expensive Xiaomi smartphone in India till date. Although on paper this smartphone meets benchmarks for a smartphone at the price tag of Rs. 69,999, how does all of this translate into real-world performance?  Here’s our review of the Mi 11 Ultra.

Xiaomi’s new flagship has to take on other devices from competing brands in the same price segment, including the OnePlus 9 Pro, the iPhone 12 mini, Vivo X60 Pro Plus, and the Samsung Galaxy S21. Read our review to know how it fares against these devices.

Whats Warped:

  • The Mi 11 Ultra boasts a  6.81-inch WQHD+ AMOLED quad-curved display on the front which scales to 1700 nits in brightness at peak levels and can be viewed comfortably even under direct sunlight. It is by far the best screen on a smartphone we’ve used. The fact DisplayMate rates the screen an A+ Rating shows how wonderful the display is. Thanks to the new E4 AMOLED technology, the screen can now refresh at various levels including 120Hz, 60Hz, and 30Hz, thus bringing down the battery consumption levels. For gamers, there’s a touch response rate of 480Hz, the highest ever seen on a smartphone.
  • Despite being heavy and massive at 234 grams, the phone feels comfortable in the hand, thanks to the back panel being made out of ceramic. It also gets IP68 water and dust resistance. The curvature of the screen is also subtle which makes it very ergonomic to use, at least, the most ergonomic phone, amongst the phones using the curved screen. 
  • The 5,000mAh battery beneath easily lasts for a 12-hour workday with over 5.5 hours of screen-on time on a single charge. The charging speeds on the smartphone are impressive. You can also charge it quickly within an hour by using the wired charger supplied. The company is awaiting certification for its 67-watt charger, which could make the speeds even faster. In addition, the company is in talks to bring the insane 80-watt wireless charger to India. Charging this phone at 67-watts is insane for a phone of this size. With the 10-watt reverse wireless charging, you can top up your accessories such as your Truly Wireless Earbuds wirelessly through the phone.
  • Mi 11 Ultra wows with its camera performance, as expected. The primary shooter, about an inch in size, with 1.4um sub-pixels at a 50-megapixel resolution, shoots some mind-boggling images. The sensor can take in some seriously large amount of light. The phone’s imaging capabilities combined with Xiaomi’s color processing techniques enable this phone to capture well-detailed photos, have a good dynamic range, vividness, and a sense of nice natural depth. Things go even spectacular when the lighting conditions are nearly dead black. With the night mode turned on, you get images that cannot be distinguished whether captured in bright daylight or pitch-black conditions. With this camera, you can capture stars twinkling in dark conditions and even in pitch-black scenarios. 
  • While the primary sensor is a mammoth, the other cameras aren’t bad as well. These lenses rank among the best in the industry. The ultra-wide takes some of the widest 128-degree photos the primary camera can produce while retaining much of its signature colors. With the telephoto lens, you can get excellent zoom capabilities as good as those seen on the significantly higher-priced Galaxy S21 Ultra.
  • Addressing the elephant in the room, the small screen on the back, which is reportedly the same display as seen on the Mi Band 5 allows one to take impressive selfies using the primary and the wide-angle camera. Despite its natural bokeh, the Portrait mode also performs decently but lacks out on the night mode portrait mode that the competition has mastered.
  • The phone can capture 8K and 4K videos in impressive quality, in fact, it is one of the best we’ve witnessed on a smartphone, apart from iPhones. A DSLR-like vibe comes across in the videos with a sense of natural depth and sharpness. A total of three microphone arrays ensures very clear and detailed audio. The folks at DXOMark probably ranked it as the best camera on the planet for a reason.
  • For performance, you’re covered with the best of Android world chipsets, the Snapdragon 888. Other than featuring a powerful Snapdragon chipset, this device also uses liquid cooling. Its software has also been improved, as MIUI 12 has moved away from all the advertisements, and replaced it with a launcher more faithful to stock Android. It’s still one of the best gaming experiences you’ll find on Android with its beautiful graphics and minimal frame rate drops.
Mi 11 Ultra

What’s Not:

  • Mi 11 Ultra features one of the biggest camera modules/bumps we’ve seen till date. Weighing in at 234 grams, the phone is quite bulky.
  • Our variant of the Mi 11 Ultra with the Ceramic Black color looks good, but it’s a fingerprint magnet and is extremely reflective like a mirror. Though, the Ceramic White variant should solve the problems.
  • In India, Xiaomi will have a hard time convincing Indian consumers to fork over a whopping price for a flagship made by them. That’s an image the company is slowly attempting to change. We await to see if the Mi 11 Ultra will alter that perception further.
  • While MIUI has grown in sophistication since its humble beginnings and now offers some nifty features that one quickly becomes accustomed to, there are some improvements which the company is yet to make.
  • The Macro camera is one of the biggest disappointing segments of the Mi 11 Ultra. There were too many bugs in the performance. No matter how close we managed to get to an object, it never delivered the kind of details we aspired for. 

Finally, in short, it is one of the best smartphones you can buy if you’re looking for an Android phone specifically. The Mi 11 Ultra however falls short of the iPhone 12 Pro models. There isn’t a better camera phone on the market in 2021, overshadowing the Vivo X60 Pro+, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (read our review here), and the OnePlus 9 Pro (read our review here). Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, the Mi 11 Ultra offers great value for money. It costs only Rs 69,999 in India, which makes it a more affordable option. While it is not perfect, it manages to check all the categories for a flagship priced Rs.69,999. It is perhaps the only no-compromise flagship Android phone in India.