There are so many phones released from Xiaomi over the past 12-18 months that everybody is confused about which one is which, including the all-new Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE. But there are some really good phones at this price point that might surprise you for the value they provide.
With a new style of nomenclature for the Xiaomi series phones, Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G represents a small jump in price but it could be the best mid-range device at this price. As an affordable alternative to the flagship Mi 11, Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G reflects a bold 2021 design and also indicates technical improvements but with a pocket-friendly price tag.
The phone manages to do all this with a sleek design that is as skinny as it is light. The phone does have a plastic frame but its glass back looks and feels really premium. So I have been using the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE for a few weeks and here is my review.
Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G is available to buy in India from Amazon, Mi.com store, and other retail partners. The phone is available in three colour variants which are Diamond Dazzle, Jazz Blue, Tuscany Coral, Vinyl Black. The 6GB and 128GB of Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G variant is priced at Rs. 26,999 and 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage is priced at Rs. 28,999.
The box for Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE comes with a carbon-fibre texture. Here are the things you get inside the box:
- Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE device
- 33W Charging Adapter
- Type-C charging cable
- SIM Eject Tool
- Phone Case
Let’s talk about the on-paper specifications of the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE at first:
- Display: 6.55 inches, FHD+ (1080 x 2400 pixels), AMOLED display with HDR10+ and 90Hz refresh rate
- Camera: 64MP + 8MP + 5MP | 20MP Front Camera
- Battery: Li-Po 4250 mAh Battery with 33W fast-charging
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM7350-AB Snapdragon 780G (5 nm)
- RAM & ROM: 6GB/8GB/ | 64GB, 128 GB, 256GB
- Dimensions: 160.5 x 75.7 x 6.8 mm
- Weight: 159 grams
The Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G has a considerable design improvement over the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite but it also keeps a couple of bolder elements of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite. Moving away from the old waterdrop notch for Mi 11 Lite 5G selfie camera the company has decided to opt for a punch-hole alternative on the top left-hand corner of the display. The phone has thin bezels but it is slightly thicker around the chin, which gives a visual confirmation that it is a budget-friendly phone. In terms of in-hand feel, the device feels quite comfortable to hold in hand and with such astounding thin and light design, the phone certainly feels very premium to carry around.
While the Mi 10 Lite did not have any IP certification, it only came with a P2i nano-coating to save the phone from minor splashes. But thanks to Xiaomi the Mi 11 Lite comes with an IP53 certification. This means the device is protected against dust and against water splashes.
The trend that also Samsung and OnePlus have included in their phones is a thick plastic buffer between the flat screen and the shiny plastic rim. This is not much of a compromise as it also adds a layer of protection to save the screen from shattering.
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Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G has a really flashy design at the rear and it shines all thanks to its glass-back design and makes a statement, providing a premium feel to the phone. The satin-finish glass rear, distinctive logo, and combination of bold colours make the phone feel much more expensive.
It is also an easy phone to play around at just 6.8mm thick and weighing around 159g, it is easy to carry and use with one hand. It’s not as small as the iPhone 12 Mini, you still get the large 6.55-inch large display and the overall device footprint is also bigger. But it is a lot easier to handle than the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite. The bottom portion of the phone houses a USB-C port, SIM tray, and speaker grill, while there is nothing on the top edge of the phone. Despite being a budget-centric phone Xiaomi did not include a headphone jack.
Similar to the Mi 10T Lite, the phone includes a fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button on the right side. This is much more convenient and also what more expensive smartphones have adapted instead of the in-display fingerprint scanner. It saves money as well as works a lot better than the latter one. It is also more preferable than the rear-mounted budget alternative as with this you can access the phone without picking it up. Also, the company’s implementation is suitably fast and reliable, probably among the best that I’ve seen among phones in this price range.
Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE packs a 6.55-inch display that provides a resolution of 1080 x 2400 resolution along with a 90 Hz refresh rate. When you compare it to the Mi 10T Lite it is smaller and technically less fluid in use and not to mention the much cheaper Poco X3 which also has a 120 Hz display. But the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G has the added benefit of being an AMOLED panel. And it is not just an ordinary Amol panel but one with 10-bit color depth support that is capable of outputting 1.07 billion colors that is 64 times more than its predecessor.
You also get the added advantage with the AMOLED display being able to output true blacks which really comes into handy when you have the always-on display activated and turned on subtle edge notification lighting animations. On balance I found this combination more comprehensive than the LCD alternative.
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The display has a 90 Hz refresh rate which is still plenty smooth and you won’t even notice the difference between 120 Hz and 90 Hz unless you have a 120 Hz phone in your hand for direct comparison. In fact, in a side-by-side comparison, I found the Mi 11 Lite 5G’s display to feel more responsive than the 10T Lite and the credit goes to its 240 Hz touch sampling rate.
The display is able to output a peak brightness of 800 nits which is not what a top-level OLED display can provide but a typical brightness of 500 nits makes a device comfortable for viewing in broad daylight conditions. It is also ready for HDR 10+ content which means your multimedia experience will be great with Xiaomi 11 Lite.
Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE is the first phone that includes the new Snapdragon 780G 5G processor by Qualcomm. The processor is supposed to be in an improved version of last year’s Snapdragon 855 flagship processor with a slightly better chip and GPU. Plus this is manufactured by Samsung on a 5nm fabrication line versus 7nm TSMC process on the old Snapdragon 845 which means it emits less heat and provides better battery efficiency.
Thankfully the Snapdragon 780G appears to be a well-balanced piece of hardware that delivers a lag-free performance with improved battery life. Paired with 6 or 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM the Snapdragon 780 supplies fluid and fast experience. The device impressively provides performance close to the Oppo Find X3 Neo which is a much more expensive device running on Snapdragon 865 which was launched in 2020.
In the CPU benchmark tests on GeekBench the Snapdragon 780G comes out ahead of all the chipsets launched this year in the mid-range segment. Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE manages to score 2909 points which is much better than 2574 for POCO X3 Pro. In single-core score too the device scores an impressive 803 points and also tops the list while POCO X3 grabs the second spot with 735 points.
In terms of GPU performance, the phone is really good too. Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G is among the best in its class and only gets out-performed by the Snapdragon 860’s Adreno 640 which is included inside the Poco X3 Pro. It seems that the Adreno 642 is a bit slower than the older Adreno 640 but as far as the real-life experience course you won’t be able to feel that 10% gap in performance.
Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE is truly a very capable mid-range device as it has the processor and graphics to support all kinds of heavy-duty tasks and games. It can run compatible apps and games with 90fps (modded) such as PUBG, Fortnite, and Battlegrounds Mobile India with its powerful GPU. The phone also remains cool enough to be handled very well. It also scored 91% stability on the 3D Mark Wildlife Stress Test which is an excellent score but it does get warm enough but not too hot to handle.
Overall performance from the phone is incredibly close to the Poco X3 with NFC and Mi 10 Lite which are both more expensive than Mi 11 Lite 5G. The only thing that makes me question the value proposition of Mi 11 Lite is when I compare it to the likes of Poco F3 which comes with Snapdragon 870. But the difference isn’t much if you take a look at the phone’s sleek design.
Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE runs MIUI 12 on top of Android 11 just like its big brother Xiaomi Mi 11. The custom skin is not the most tasteful Android skin on the market, it is one of the better ones with all-around performance and loaded with dozens of useful features.
Although I find way too much bloatware that may cause users some suffering when they initially start using the phone. I mean there is a clock app that can easily be replaced with the Google clock. Xiaomi’s own suite of apps also includes music, video, gallery, security, and theme apps. There is also a cleaner app that you can tidy up the memory-hogging files and apps which might come handy but you also get a full-page advertisement every time you try to use that app. I found this to be very annoying and spoils the user experience.
Aside from bloatware, the MIUI has really grown to become a very powerful Android skin. It comes with the ability to split the notification bar into dual drop-down menus where one is for notification and the other is for control shortcuts which come in very handy. You can also opt for the traditional Android-type notification pane from the settings.
I was clearly able to see that customization is the biggest asset of MIUI 12. Their theme store is full of bespoke looks for your home screen and also has live super wallpapers which are really impressive if you don’t mind them draining your battery life. I often used the wallpaper with rings of Saturn that seems to swoop into a fresh angle every time I unlock the phone.
The MIUI settings menu is somehow a counter-intuitive nightmare with everyday options hidden in different settings. I had a really hard time trying to find the option to change the screen on time options. It is not in the Display settings where you would expect it to be but instead, they’ve hidden it inside the ‘Always-on display’ menu. While most of the options turned out to be the same where you would expect them to be, it still takes quite a while to find many basic settings.
Overall Xiaomi has added a lot of useful features to the MIUI 12 but the added bloatware, random ads, and the confusing settings menu spoil the user experience. I hope the upcoming MIUI 13 fixes all these.
Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G comes with a triple camera setup on the back that includes a 1/1.97-inch 64MP wide sensor, 8 MP 1/4-inch ultra-wide sensor, and a 5MP macro sensor. By default, the 64 MP wide sensor captures photos with only 16 MP shots through using a 4-in-1 pixel binning technology.
I took the phone out for a spin and was amazed to see how good the camera performs in natural lighting conditions. On a couple of sunny days, I was able to capture genuinely striking shots of flowers bursting with vibrant colors. Xiaomi’s in-build AI mode generally does very well at picking appropriate scene profiles and color balance. The company has also improved its image processing game and the images had a high dynamic range with crisp focus. Overall the daytime shots were impressive and you can trust this device to capture amazing shots during the daytime.
The 8MP ultra-wide sensor is a bit of a letdown from the primary camera. It neither provides any detail in the photos nor a proper color balance. The shots I took with these tend to look murky and distinctly lacking in detail. The portrait mode works just fine but sometimes produces images with a background that looks slightly weird almost like a painting and the subjects fail to pop as they do on flagship devices. But I want to categorically mention how beautiful the macro shots come out of the Xiaomi 11 Lite’s 5MP telemacro lens. I could capture even the slightest of the details without losing focus or clarity of colours.
The night mode provides some mixed results. I was not expecting great Pixel-like night photos from a budget phone but I compared the shots captured in low light from both Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE and the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite, but I would stick with the latter to capture photos at night.
The phone offers a pretty good list of features for a budget device. It can record 4K videos at 30fps or 1080p at up to 120fps. The 4K footage I captured looked very nice and stable with electronic image stabilization applied. Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G also comes with a 20 MP selfie camera that isn’t too bad when provided with a fair amount of lighting.
Mi 11 Lite 5G performs very well in terms of camera, the poor camera results in low light getting balanced by the great performance in good lighting conditions. Unlike the Mi 10T Lite, the 4K footage I shot with Xiaomi 11 Lite looks nice and stable thanks to the electronic image stabilization (EIS).
The Mi 11 Lite 5G comes with a 4250 mAh battery that is a downgrade when compared to the 4820 mAh of the Mi 10T Lite battery and way smaller than the 5160 mAh battery of Poco X3 NFC. But while Poco has an LCD display and Xiaomi doesn’t have to worry about Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G thanks to its 90Hz AMOLED display which is far more economical in terms of battery.
The phone lasts very well though with medium to heavy use throughout the day. I used it for the full day and had about 50% battery left. I was able to get 3 hours of screen-on-time throughout the day. I pushed the battery test further with 720p video looping and brightness cranked up to max, the phone had about 11% of charging left after that. It is better than the average 120Hz phone but can still be improved. The 5G connectivity should even consume more battery theoretically, but since 5G is not available in India, I can’t comment on that, but the battery should take about 15-20% with 5G enabled at all times.
To charge the device, Xiaomi does include a 33W charger inbox which certainly falls short in comparison to the competition. But it is still an improvement compared to what Samsung and Apple are offering even with their mid-range devices. With the 33W fast charging, I was able to charge the battery from 20% to 82% in an hour. It can come in handy when you are in an emergency.
The device supports 5G and Xiaomi has provided 13 bands for its consumers. So it is safe to buy the phone as to when 5G is available in India you can easily use it. In terms of audio, the top edge bezel conceals an earpiece that also provides a clear stereo speaker setup. This provided a much more robust sound than anything I had expected from the phone. The fingerprint scanner located on the power button is very reliable. I had no trouble unlocking the phone using it. There’s also an option for face unlock available.
Talking about the rest of the connectivity features, Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G includes WiFi 802.11 which is also dual-band, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NavIC, and even an infrared port that we see in all smartphones made by Xiaomi.
The previously launched Mi 11 Lite was a great device from the company, including so many features in such a slim profile and I can say the same for its 5G variant. Despite its thin and lightweight profile, the device delivers an impressive performance. Even without its physical aesthetics the device provides very well-rounded progress and manages to stand out from the competition. If you are interested in a lightweight phone with a good camera that also performs decent enough then you should go ahead and pick up the Mi 11 Lite 5G.