Xiaomi 11i Review
You’d be mistaken if you assumed Xiaomi’s sprawling Mi 11 series for 2021 was over. If you look at the current lineup’s pricing, you’ll see a gap between the premium Xiaomi Mi 11 and the mid-range Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite, which is what the Xiaomi 11i aims to fill. There’s also a 120Hz AMOLED display, IP53 water protection, and a 3.5mm jack on the inside for gaming and everyday use. However, coming to low-light photography, the phone falls short of its competitors. Another disappointment for me is that it runs Android 11 out of the box which could have been upgraded to Android 12.
Everyone thinks that the Xiaomi Mi 11i is a more compact form of the Mi 11, but it’s more than that. It’s clear proof that the smartphone “budget flagship” trend is still going strong. The phone does have certain advantages and drawbacks, which we will cover in this detailed review, so make sure you go through the entire review before purchasing the Xiaomi 11i 5G.
Xiaomi 11i Prices in India, Variants, Availability
The Xiaomi 11i 5G is priced at Rs. 24,999 for the 6GB + 128GB variant and Rs. 26,999 for the 8GB + 128GB variant. Pacific Pearl, Stealth Black, Camo Green, and Purple Mist are the four colours available for the Xiaomi 11i. Coming to availability, the Xiaomi 11i 5G will go on sale in India on January 12th. It will be available on Flipkart, Mi.com, Mi Home stores, and offline merchants.
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Xiaomi 11i Box Contents
Users will get the following items inside the box of brand new Xiaomi 11i:
- Power Adapter
- USB Cable
- SIM Eject Tool
- Warranty Card and User Guide
- Clear Soft Case
- Screen Protector Pre-Applied on the Phone
Xiaomi 11i Specs at a glance
Before we talk in detail about the Xiaomi 11i, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like:
- Display: 6.67 inches AMOLED
- Chipset: MediaTek Dimensity 920
- RAM & ROM: 6GB RAM 128GB Storage, 8GB RAM 128GB Storage
- Software: Android v11
- Rear camera: 108MP + 8MP + 2MP
- Selfie camera: 16 MP
- Battery: 5160 mAh
- Weight: 207 grams
- Dimensions: 163.6 x 76.1 x 8.3 mm
Xiaomi 11i Design and Build
If there’s one consistent thing about Xiaomi’s mid-range lineup’ design, it’s that it’s always changing. With the 11i, Xiaomi abandons its ‘EVOL’ design language in favour of a flatter, boxier look similar to the ‘Lite’ series. The first time you hold the phone, you get a strong sense of the iPhone. Thankfully, Xiaomi has put some care into making the 11i comfortable to carry, unlike the iPhone, which leaves an impression on your palm if you use it for an extended period of time. The chamfered edges seen on the ‘Lite’ smartphones make a nice return here.
Turning it over reveals a massive camera module that resembles the latest Redmi Note devices. More on the camera unit: it protrudes a lot, like a lot wobbly, but Xiaomi is including a transparent case in the package, which solves the problem without detracting from the device’s charm. Then, at the bottom, there’s a subtle “Xiaomi” branding to remind you that it’s a 5G smartphone, else who would remember?
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It comes in four different colours: Pacific Pearl, Stealth Black, Camo Green, and Purple Mist. Except for Pacific Pearl, all three colours have a matte finish. So, if you don’t want smudges on your smartphone, the Stealth Black, Camo Green, or Purple Mist are the best options. It features glass on the backside, but the frame of the phone is made of plastic. Finally, at 208 grams, the Xiaomi 11i is a large and heavy phone, at least for me. There will be no guns fired here because some people prefer huge phones, and Xiaomi compensates for the size with a 5160mAh battery.
Xiaomi 11i Display
The Xiaomi 11i (and 11i HyperCharge) has a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with an FHD+ resolution that is pleasing to the eyes. The display has a peak brightness of 1200 nits and a touch sampling rate of 360Hz. The display has vibrant colours and deep blacks, as well as sufficient brightness for both indoor and outdoor use. The display is also HDR10 and Widevine L1 certified, so you won’t have any trouble watching HDR videos on Netflix, Prime, or Youtube. It also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.
The display also supports 120Hz for a more fluid scrolling experience. The phone is set to 60Hz by default, but you can change it to 120Hz in the settings. I’m disappointed that there isn’t a dynamic refresh rate option. The 120Hz refresh rate will also come in very handy when playing games or using the smartphone in everyday life.
As previously stated, it has a high brightness of 1200 nits, which means it will be visible in direct sunlight. The viewing angles were also good, making it easier to use the device outdoors. Overall, the Xiaomi 11i 5G has a fantastic display for the price, and there are no complaints.
Xiaomi 11i Performance
The Xiaomi 11i (and, of course, the 11i HyperCharge) are powered by Mediatek’s Dimensity 920 processor. The chipset is combined with 6GB/8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128/256GB UFS 2.2 onboard storage under the hood. It may appear to be a step down from the Snapdragon 750 in the Mi 10i, but it isn’t. The Dimensity 920, which powers the Xiaomi 11i, outperforms most of the Snapdragon 7 series chipsets.
During my time with it, it worked well in everyday use. The animations were smooth, and there were no big jitters or lags with MIUI 12.5 Enhanced Edition, however, there were a couple of times when the phone slowed down. I also played PUBG Mobile, CoD Mobile, and Asphalt 9 among other games. And I am happy to tell you that the Dimensity 920 is good enough for playing these games on medium graphic settings without any frame drops. You also get to see the Virtual RAM memory expansion feature in Xiaomi 11i with upto 3GB of extra RAM. Now, this feature helps in multi-tasking and fastens up the overall heavy usage experience.
The MediaTek Dimensity 920 is a capable processor, but it’s not designed for mobile gaming. You would only be able to enjoy games smoothly at medium settings. The problem can be solved with an OTA update, but Xiaomi’s decision on whether or not to do so is up to them. Aside from that, there will be no issues using smartphones in everyday life; it will work flawlessly.
Xiaomi 11i Software
The Xiaomi 11i comes pre-installed with MIUI 12.5 which is based on Android 11. Xiaomi claims that the 11i would be one of the first devices to receive MIUI 13, but I’ve learned not to trust the company when it comes to software updates because it has made far too many blunders. For now, all you need to know is that you’ll receive Android 11 out of the box, and because Xiaomi won’t guarantee three Android updates, you’ll only get till Android 13.
Xiaomi has also reduced the amount of bloatware and adverts on its phones, and the Xiaomi 11i is fairly nice to use. However, there are a few annoyances that remain; Xiaomi’s first-party apps continually bombard you with alerts, which became so bothersome after a time that I simply disabled notifications for such apps. You can change practically everything, such as whether you want a regular home screen or the one with an app drawer. You can select between Gesture navigation or the old-school buttons (you may also change their layout and configure them to perform certain tasks), and there’s a system-wide Dark Mode.
Then there’s the reality that Xiaomi is typically slow to deliver software updates. On its mid-range phones, Samsung performs a far better job with system and security updates, and Xiaomi’s Chinese competitors are starting to do the same.
Xiaomi 11i Cameras
The 108MP Samsung HM2 sensor from the Mi 10i returns in Xiaomi 11i, along with an 8MP ultra-wide lens with a 120-degree field of view and a 2MP macro sensor. The back camera can capture 4k videos at 30fps and 1080p videos at 30/60fps, but the front camera can only capture 1080p videos at 30fps. Because the phone lacks OIS support, it must rely on EIS. Although the video clip will be a little shaky, it will be usable.
The 108MP sensor takes decent shots with enough details, sharpness, and even dynamic range. The photos, on the other hand, are a little mellow. Even with HDR enabled, it’s hit or miss because it seems to over sharpen colours, especially greens and reds. The ultrawide camera isn’t really impressive. Even in bright daylight, it takes photos that are quite soft.
In low-light situations, things get a lot worse. Even with Night Mode set on, the 108MP sensor struggles to preserve detail, and things don’t seem to get any better. Meanwhile, users can’t even use its ultrawide lens without Night Mode.
The camera configuration on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max may have spoiled us. Despite being a year old, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max matches the Xiaomi 11i in terms of camera performance. An interesting fact: the 108MP Samsung HM2 sensor is shared by both the Xiaomi 11i and the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. Yes, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max takes the same high-quality photos and costs a little low at Rs 19,999.
The 16MP selfie camera captures fantastic images as well, but it makes the images a little white, so you’ll appear whiter than you are in real life. By the way, I had no problems with the dynamic range, which is a good thing.
The 11i has several camera features, like Pro mode, 108MP photo mode, VLOG mode, and Long exposure, just like every other Xiaomi smartphone.
The cameras are excellent no doubt, but I feel like they are not worth the price of Rs. 25,000. The same picture quality can be found in a smartphone under Rs. 20,000.
Xiaomi 11i Battery
It all basically comes down to how long your phone will last. The Xiaomi 11i has a big 5,120mAh battery with 67W charging support, and I am happy to inform you that a 67W charger is included in the box. Yes, it won’t be as fast as HyperCharge’s 120W charger, but it’ll suffice for most people. The 67W charger, according to Xiaomi, can charge the Xiaomi 11i from zero to 50 per cent in just 15 minutes. But, in actual life, how fast is it? It took roughly 40 minutes for the 67W charger to charge it from 0 to 100 per cent. You can have long gaming sessions and binge-watch the latest Netflix release without worrying about the battery.
Overall, the battery of Xiaomi 11i will last a day, and even if you drain the battery during the day, you can just use the 67W charger to charge it from 0 to 100 per cent in under an hour.
Xiaomi 11i Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics
The Xiaomi 11i 5G boasts dual speakers, so you won’t be disappointed with the sound quality. It also features a secondary noise cancellation microphone and carrier aggregation, both of which will be quite useful during calls.
Xiaomi has also included a 3.5mm audio jack, which is a welcome addition. All in all, the audio and call quality are excellent, and there are no issues. It features 7 5G bands which include N1, N3, N5, N8, N41, N77, and N78.
A few words should be dedicated to the side-mounted fingerprint scanner. It’s lightning-fast and very accurate, especially if you register your thumb twice. It’s a great trick that I personally use.
Xiaomi 11i Pros & Cons
- Superfast display
- 67W fast charging
- 5G chipset
- Large battery backup
- 108MP primary rear camera
- Corning Gorilla Glass 5
- Big and Bulky
- Poor low light camera performance
The Xiaomi 11i is a solid smartphone that starts at Rs 24,999. It’s not the best smartphone on the market, but it’s a well-rounded package. You get a stunning display, a strong processor, and a long battery life with the Xiaomi 11i. However, in terms of cameras, it falls behind the competitors and other Xiaomi devices. So, if you’re in the market for a new 5G smartphone, the Xiaomi 11i could be your best friend.
Xiaomi has also released the Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge 5G, which boasts a 4,500 mAh battery and supports 120W fast charging. Other than that, the Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge 5G has the same specifications as the Xiaomi 11i 5G. If you want the 120W charger, you may spend an extra Rs. 2,000 and buy the Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge 5G. By the way, The 67W isn’t even that slow.