Smartphones

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra : an ultra premium smartphone that rivals the best

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Smartphone Review
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Smartphone Review

After a half-hearted Mi 11, here comes the Mi 11 Ultra, a real showcase of Xiaomi’s know-how and which comes to rub shoulders with the flagships of the market. An ambitious bet.

Strong Points

  • Premium finishes.
  • Very good Amoled slab.
  • Top-of-the-range performance.
  • Very good daytime photo component.
  • Waterproof (IP68).
  • 5G.

Weak Points

  • Aesthetically dividing photo island.
  • The night photo part that could have been better.

Technical Sheet / Characteristics

Dimensions 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.38 mm
Weight 234 g
Screen diagonal 6.81 inches
Screen definition 3200 x 1440 px
Resolution 515 dpi
Screen type Super Amoled
Part of the screen on the surface 91.73%
Mobile chip Snapdragon 888
Processor Kryo 680 – 2.84 GHz
Number of cores 8
Integrated GPU (iGPU) Adreno 660
Random access memory (RAM) 12 GB
Internal memory 512 GB
Memory card No
Battery capacity 5000 mAh
Video capture 8K
Operating System (OS) Android
OS version tested 11
Connectivity Usb-c
Fingerprint sensor Yes
Wi-Fi type Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax
Bluetooth type 5.2
NFC Yes
4G (LTE) Yes
5G Yes
eSim No
Dual-sim Yes
SIM card format Nano
Exposure level (SAR) 1.992 W / Kg
Sealing type IP68
Gyroscope Yes
Removable battery No
4G frequency bands B20 (800), B3 (1800), B7 (2600), B28 (700), B1 (2100)
Induction charge Yes
Shockproof No
Jack plug No
Rear photo module 1 50 MP, wide-angle, f / 1.9.5
Rear photo module 2 48 MP, wide-angle, f / 2.2
Rear photo module 3 48 MP, telephoto, f / 4.1 (x5 optical)
Rear photo module 4 ,,
Front Photo Module 1 20 MP, wide-angle, f / 2.2
Repairability index 8.1 / 10

In 2020, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra had remained confined to Asia so as not to cannibalize the Mi 10 Pro on the old continent. For 2021, Xiaomi seems to want to operate differently: no Pro model in Europe, but a Mi 11 Ultra. The smartphone of disproportion for the Chinese manufacturer, which acts as a technological showcase, in particular with a brand new photographic module and a 1 “screen placed in the photo island.

And this flagship comes at a high price. Count € 1,199.90 to get your hands on it. A high price that places it among very high-end smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra , the Oppo Find X3 Pro or the Huawei Mate 40 Pro , or even the Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate .

Ergonomics and design

The Mi 11 Ultra adopts the aesthetic codes of the most high-end smartphones on the market. Thus, the back features ceramic (white or black depending on the version) reminiscent of the Huawei P40 Pro +. A very pleasant finish, but quite reflective and which rather easily retains fingerprints. But this back is not only beautiful, it is also loaded: the upper part accommodates a huge photo island which includes 3 modules, a flash, as well as a 1 inch Amoled screen. The latter allows you to display the time, to control your music, but also to take your most beautiful selfies with the main module. Too bad it does not seem possible to display notifications there. Still, for many, this display could quickly turn out to be useless.

Xiaomi Mi 11 ultra Design Review
Xiaomi Mi 11 ultra Design

 

At the front, this Mi 11 Ultra offers a 6.81-inch slightly curved panel with very thin borders. Even the punch housed in the left corner is reduced to a minimum, which allows the smartphone to offer a display area of ​​almost 92% of the front panel. In use, coupled with the refresh rate at 120 Hz, this brings a certain comfort.

In hand, the 234 g place this smartphone among the heaviest on the market; and its photo island does not provide excellent weight distribution, the upper part being heavier than the base. The island is very thick (12 mm instead of 8.38 mm on the rest of the smartphone). The photo unit may also interfere with the natural grip, the index often coming to rest on it when the smartphone is in hand.

Xiaomi Mi 11 ultra Design
Xiaomi Mi 11 ultra Design

 

The connection comes down to a USB-C socket on the lower edge, where there is also a speaker and a dual-SIM slot. The start and volume control keys are located on the right side.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Audio

No mini-jack therefore, but the sound part is provided by two speakers. The first is quite visible since it is on the lower edge. It also adopts the same sound waveform as the Mi 11. The second speaker is quite discreet, housed between the top of the screen and the frame.

The sound reproduction is very good in all situations, whether it is video on YouTube, film on Netflix or listening to music. The sound is powerful enough to do without a portable speaker on some occasions.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Screen

This Mi 11 Ultra offers a 6.81-inch Amoled panel with WQHD + definition (3200 x 1440 pixels) and a 20: 9 ratio. Suffice to say that it is a very large screen. It has an adaptive refresh rate of 120 Hz. The display is one of the best that we have passed in our lab. But to achieve such a result – the default result is already good – you will have to go through the settings and select the “natural colors” setting. We thus go from a Delta E of 3 to a Delta E of 1.1. The color temperature increases slightly and goes from 6557 Kelvin to 6656 Kelvin, which however remains sufficiently close to the video standard (6500 K).

The maximum brightness reaches 818 cd / m² and is extremely comfortable for reading outdoors; especially since the reflectance was measured at 48.1%. At a minimum, the brightness can drop to 2.2 cd / m², which is pleasant in the dark. Oled technology requires, the contrast ratio is close to infinity, the afterglow time is nonexistent and the touch delay is 47 ms.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Performance

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra arrives with a configuration more or less similar to that of other very high-end smartphones. Thus, the onboard processor is the Snapdragon 888, coupled here with 12 GB of RAM. The performances delivered by the Qualcomm chip are identical to what we had already measured on other mobiles integrating the SoC.

Thus, this Mi 11 Ultra reaches an overall index of 105, therefore at the top of the basket. Its score of 101 for RAM reflects the absence of slowdowns in use. Multitasking is extremely well handled, and background apps are no problem with fluidity. In game, the smartphone is more than capable and holds an average of 62 fps. All the games run perfectly. An excellent smartphone for mobile gaming, but still behind a Mate 40 Pro or a ROG Phone 5 Ultimate which both exceed 80 fps.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Photo

Xiaomi’s new flagship offers 3 photo modules. The main one is a new Samsung ISOCELL GN2 1 / 1.12 inch 50 megapixel sensor. Expected at the turn, this module promises to offer very bright shots thanks to photosites of 1.4 μm. To this main module, Xiaomi adds an ultra wide-angle and a telephoto lens of 48 megapixels each. The latter allows 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom, and 120x digital zoom. A first !

Xiaomi Mi 11 ultra photo
Xiaomi Mi 11 ultra photo

 

It’s rare enough to be underlined, but be aware that it is possible to capture full definition images on the 3 photo modules. Usually, this is only possible on the main module which, by default, photographs in 12, 16 or 27 megapixels, depending on the maximum definition of the sensor (48, 64 or 108 megapixels). Here, we therefore get shots in 12.5 or 50 megapixels with the main module, and 12 or 48 megapixels for the secondary modules. As a reminder, it is the pixel-binning technology that varies the definition of the photos. By merging four photosites, the pixels in the photo become larger and store more light. What to gain in quality in low light … in theory.

MAIN ULTRA WIDE ANGLE 5X TELEPHOTO LENS
50 megapixels 48 megapixels 48 megapixels
f / 1.9 f / 2.2 f / 2.4
eq. 24 mm eq. 12 mm eq. 120 mm

Main module: 50 megapixels, f / 1.9, eq. 24 mm

With its main module, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra therefore captures shots in 12 megapixels by default. It is possible to force full definition through the options of the photo application and choosing the cleverly named “50” mode, for 50 megapixels. To compare the two definitions, we isolated a 0.92 megapixel area on each shot.

By day, this increase in definition allows a much more comfortable cropping. The mobile also takes the opportunity to offer more details. The result is very good in full definition.

At night, Xiaomi lightens the image processing in full definition. We thus find a little more details, despite a generally smooth rendering. We also note a slightly more pronounced contrast.

Now let’s compare the mobile with its most direct opponent, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra .

By day, the Mi 11 Ultra displays very good quality. Despite the slightly reddish tones, the photo is very detailed, offering very clean colors. The S21 Ultra strengthens the contrast a bit, but still delivers a shot that’s a little more pleasing to the eye.

At night, Xiaomi falls back into its old ways. The mobile tends to smooth more than it should and lose color. Even if the rendering is more successful than that of the Galaxy S21 Ultra , it lacks detail to position itself well against the best, whether it is the Galaxy S20 Ultra or Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro .

Ultra wide-angle module: 48 megapixels, f / 2.2, eq. 12 mm

The change in resolution on the ultra wide angle leads to the same conclusions as those of the main module: more details, but only in good light conditions.

The result is also very good in the center of the photo in full daytime definition, with excellent sharpness.

In low light, at full definition, the smartphone delivers a very rough, smooth, blurry shot and with a lot of digital noise.

At the center of the shot, the Mi 11 Ultra manages to offer a more detailed shot than that of the S21 Ultra. The software processing is very light and the sharpness more important. There is still a colorimetry that draws towards the red and a barrel deformation of the photo.

In the difficult exercise of the ultra wide-angle night shot, the Mi 11 Ultra does well. Although displaying a warm tone, it offers overall more detail than the competition, with less pronounced smoothing.

5x telephoto module: 48 megapixels, f / 4.1, eq. 120 mm

While the full definition was relevant for the previous two modules, this is not the case here.

By day, full definition suffers from too strong software processing that smooths out the cliché and drowns out the details.

At night, the cliche is simply unusable at full definition. You might as well prefer the default mode to shoot 5x.

Here, the S21 Ultra only offers 3x optical zoom, where the Xiaomi opts for 5x. Despite a greater distance from the stage, the image of the Mi 11 Ultra offers a much more detailed rendering than that of its Korean opponent. Note also that the center of the photo of the Mi 11 Ultra is covered with digital noise.

In low light, the difference is quite obvious between the two smartphones. The shot of the Mi 11 Ultra turns out to be much less smooth than that of the S21 Ultra. We are therefore dealing with a photo with better sharpness, and therefore more flattering.

Front module, portrait and video mode

On the front, the Mi 11 Ultra offers a 20 megapixel module, the same as that of the Xiaomi Mi 11. The quality of the selfies is good in all light conditions. But the subtlety of this Ultra model lies in its screen placed at the back, which allows you to take your best self-portraits with the main 50 megapixel module.

For portraits, the smartphone also excels. He manages to cut out a subject suitably without stumbling over the usual small details of small hair and beard hair.

In video, the Mi 11 Ultra is capable of filming up to 8K at 24 fps. It is possible to shoot in 4K at 30 or 60 fps without HDR. With HDR enabled, 4K is only available at 30 fps. The optics being stabilized, the captured images do not move, but to benefit from them, it will be necessary to make a concession in the level of the recording definition which is limited to 1080p at 30 fps.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Autonomy

The Mi 11 Ultra arrives with a large 5000 mAh battery that allows it to last for 18 h 03 min according to our SmartViser test protocol. This excellent score corresponds to two days in real conditions, if you are not too big a consumer of the toddler screen.

Xiaomi Mi 11 ultra autonamy
Xiaomi Mi 11 ultra autonamy

 

For recharging, the flagship of Xiaomi can count on its large block of 67 W. Thanks to it, it regains its full autonomy in just 35 minutes. This Ultra can also be recharged wirelessly at 67 W. However, it does not offer reverse charging.

Interface & OS

The Xiaomi MI 11 Ultra comes with Android 11 as well as MIUI 12 in its latest version. To discover the features of Xiaomi’s software interface, you can read this dedicated section:

Conclusion

With the Mi 11 Ultra, Xiaomi offers itself a convincing technological showcase. Its performance and autonomy are solid, its screen is excellent and it embeds everything expected of an ultra high-end smartphone in 2021. In this sense, it leaves the Chinese competitors that are the Oppo Finds behind. X3 Pro and other OnePlus 9 Pro . This Mi 11 Ultra comes boxing in the category of giants and is almost as good as the two flagship references of the moment, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max .

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