Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review: New Android champion

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review: New Android flagship champion

Xiaomi is the numero uno mobile brand in India and primarily, the credit goes to the cost-effective and feature-rich mid-range phones it offers. However, historically, the company's premium Mi series phones failed to elicit a good response from the consumers.

Xiaomi is not the one to give up easily and it sees this as a marathon than a 100m sprint. This attribute is exactly why it is perched at the top of the table today. It has launched Mi 11 Ultra with a price starting at Rs 69,999, the company's most expensive commercial phone to date.

Xiaomi has beefed up the Mi 11 Ultra with top-end hardware on par with top Android phones in the market. But, does it deliver? let's check it out.

Design, build quality, and display:

As I mentioned during the first impression article, the Mi 11 UItra looks big (164.3mm) to the eyes but really compact in terms of width (74.6mm). Xiaomi has done a fine job in crafting the phone with a ceramic finish, and yet offers a really good grip for the hands. 

However, in terms of weight, it is on the heavier side. The phone is almost a quarter of a kg (234g), but this aspect can be excused, as it comes with premium quality build materials and a big battery, that can last two full days with normal usage. 

Also, it also happens to house one of the biggest primary camera module on a phone. The protrusion on the back comes out long, but again the genius engineers have ensured the phone doesn't wobble much on the flat tablet and stay stable.


The big camera module with a special display panel on the back. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

A unique aspect of Xiaomi's flagship phone is the special functional screen beside the camera module on the back. It sports a 1.1-inch always-on AMOLED display with 126 x 294p resolution and offers a peak brightness of 450 nits. This comes in handy to take a selfie with the rear-side primary camera.

As far the durability is concerned, it comes with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus shield and IP68 certification. The device is well protected from daily wear-and-tear such as keys in the pocket, sharp fingernails and also can sustain water splashes, moderate rain and even drop in the swimming pool (up to five feet for close to 30 minutes).

Xiaomi has incorporated a dual-speaker tuned with Harman Kardon that promises to offer outstanding audio clarity. In real life, the device's audio output is just top class. It is capable of blasting music in max volume and yet there is very little loss of clarity and livens up any big room of the house.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

On the front, it sports a  6.81-inch Quad HD+ (3200×1440p) AMOLED screen. It offers a peak brightness of 1700 nits, and supports HDR10 +, 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, and an in-screen fingerprint screen.

It has a small front camera in the top left corner and this design makes for obstruction-free viewing on the big screen. Also, the AMOLED panel on the Mi 11 Ultra is the brightest display I have tested over the years.

I had a delightful time watching high-resolution wildlife documentaries on the colourful screen. While browsing the web and viewing contents on the phone, it was a smooth fluid experience and also my eyes never felt any uneasy during the entire testing period.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra with in-screen fingerprint sensor. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Also, the in-screen fingerprint sensor works like a charm. It quickly identifies the finger and unlocks the screen with a very low false rejection rate.

Performance:

Inside, the new Mi 11 Ultra comes packed with a Snapdragon 888 octa-core chipset, Qualcomm's latest and most powerful silicon to date. It is backed by 6400Mhz 8GB/12GB LPPDDR5 RAM, 128GB/256GB/512GB (UFS 2.1) storage, and Android 11-based MIUI 12.5.

Xiaomi's premium phone delivers a buttery smooth performance. There was not one instant of trouble in completing a task. Hardcore gamers will find the Mi 11 Ultra to be an absolute beast. They are sure to have a lot of fun playing the upcoming Battlegrounds Mobile India game.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra comes with Android 11-based MIUI 12.5 OS. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

On Geekbench 5.0 performance testing app, it scored an impressive 4,668 on OpenCL. And on single-core and multi-core tests, it got 1,114 and 3,665 points, respectively.

The Mi 11 Ultra comes equipped with a massive  5,000mAh cell. Under normal usage, it consistently gave two days of battery life.

It supports a 67W wired and wireless charging capability via a USB Type-C charger. During our testing, it was able to fully charge the phone from zero to 100 percent in under 75 minutes.

Camera:


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

The new Mi 11 Ultra houses a feature-rich triple camera module-- main 50MP (1/ 1.12-inch Samsung ISOCELL GN2 sensor, 1.4μm pixel size, f/1.95, OIS: Optical Image Stabilisation) +  48MP 128-degree ultra-wide-angle lens (Sony IMX586 sensor, f/2.2) +  48MP telephoto camera (Sony IMX586 sensor, OIS, f/4.1, 5x optical, 10x hybrid, up to 120x zoom) backed by an LED flash,  dToF (direct Time-of-Flight) sensor, flicker sensor. 


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

It takes stunning pictures in the sunlight. The subjects particularly flowers and leaves come with punchy warm colours with minute details. The picture quality is top-notch even in the night mode.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Wide-angle shots too impressive and cover a lot of area in the landscape mode with minimal structure bending to accommodate more information in the frame, compared to rival brands.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

The 120X zoom is a novelty feature and it excels to an extent of up to 10X and after that, the images do get grainy. But, the important fact is that I was able to identify animals and birds several hundred meters away. So, big thumbs up to the engineers. Check-out at the wide-angle shot above with a circle marked around a bird atop the building (almost 20 metres from my place). I tried my best to get the quick perfect snap of the bird in the 120X zoom, but it just flew just before I could middle it in the viewfinder scope. But, still, its nothing short of feat for a phone to capture such kind of long shot. 


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's camera sample with Zoom feature. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

My only advice to the Mi 11 Ultra consumers is to utilize this feature responsibly and not misuse it for prying on neighbours. Try getting good pictures of the birds and insects around the house, it is a good activity to pursue to refresh your mind.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Also, as said before, it features a special 1.1-inch AMOLED selfie display with dual-LED flash. It is a handy tool to get a perfect selfie with the main camera module.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's camera sample with night mode on. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

As far as video is concerned, it is capable of recording up to 8K at 24fps, 4K at 30fps/60fps, full HD 1080p at 30fps/60fps, boasts gyro-EIS (Electronics Image Stabilisation) for stable videos. It excelled in all situations. The videos are really good and most importantly, they were stable despite taking them while walking on the uneven muddy surfaces in my backyard.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

On the front, it houses a 20MP front snapper with 0.8μm pixel size and f/2.2 aperture. 

The picture quality is really good in almost all lighting conditions. Overall, it is on par with the top flagship phones in the market.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's camera sample with night mode on. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Final thoughts
Like the Redmi Note series, Xiaomi has made sure, there are no serious complaints to talk about the Mi 11 Ultra. It comes packed with top-of-the-line hardware and features, which we look for in a flagship mobile and it delivers efficiently with elan.

Hope Xiaomi makes Mi 11 Ultra available to the consumers at the earliest. As of now, there is no phone in its class that can give any competition to the Mi 11 Ultra at least in the first half of 2021.

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