Xiaomi Mi 11 Review: A Loaded, Value-Priced Android Flagship

Xiaomi Mi 11 Review: Audio Quality, Performance, And Battery Life

We tested the Mi 11 on AT&T's and T-Mobile’s LTE networks in San Francisco, CA and in Portland, OR, and didn’t experience any problems with call quality or data speeds. Obviously, the Mi 11 supports 5G, but we were unable to connect to 5G despite sub-6GHz bands n5 (850MHz, AT&T) and n41 (2.5GHz, T-Mobile) being listed in the specs, and the 5G icon sometimes lighting up. In addition, the Mi 11 didn’t work with our Verizon SIM.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Audio, Data, and Call Reception

Xiaomi Mi 11 04

The Mi 11’s stereo speakers -- tuned by Harman Kardon -- sound fantastic. We feel that, along with the 2020 Moto G Stylus and G Power, the Mi 11’s speakers are among the best we’ve heard on a smartphone to date. As a bonus, the Mi 11 also packs a 24-bit 192KHz DAC, a quality amp, and supports both analog and digital USB Type-C wired audio devices, plus LDAC and aptX HD codecs for lossless audio over Bluetooth.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Performance

Between Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888 silicon, that slick 120Hz display, and Xiaomi’s optimized build of Android 11 (MIUI 12), the Mi 11 delivers outstanding performance. Not only does it feel exceptionally responsive, but it also tops our benchmarks -- ASUS ROG Phone 5 notwithstanding. But it’s the Mi 11’s sustained performance that’s impressive. It shows none of the throttling we experienced with Samsung’s Galaxy S21.

That Snapdragon 888 SoC is paired with 8 or 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and 128 or 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage -- without microSD support, so choose your storage option wisely. Needless to say, the Mi 11 ran everything we threw at it like a champ -- from our day-to-day productivity and entertainment apps, to the most graphically intensive games. And while gaming handsets clearly serve a purpose, the Mi 11 easily fulfills that role as well.

Geekbench 5
Synthetic CPU Benchmark

geekbanch xiaomi m11

GeekBench isn't our favorite benchmark, as it's purely synthetic and can be heavily targeted for optimization. Regardless, the Mi 11 and its Snapdragon 888 processor deliver a noticeable improvement in single thread performance and a marginal improvement in multi-threaded performance over previous generation Snapdragon 865-equipped Android flagships. It also beats both the Galaxy S21 and ROG Phone 5 to take the top spot in multi-threaded performance.

Futuremark PCMark For Android
General Purpose Pocket Computing Performance Metrics
Futuremark's PCMark for Android is an excellent suite of tests if you want to benchmark a wide range of tasks on any handset -- things like image and video editing, as well as lighter-duty, everyday workloads such as email and web browsing. When you see the test running live, it's clear the scripted application tests are carefully selected and tuned to make use of the each mobile platform in a very controlled way...

pcmark xiaomi m11

Here the Mi 11 shows similar performance to previous generation flagships, falling just behind the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The Galaxy S21 performed better on this benchmark.

AnTuTu 8
Platform Benchmarks
AnTuTu’s latest benchmark returns a number of metrics ranked with somewhat nebulous scores, rather than frame rates or time to complete. Here we're running the latest version of AnTuTu across multiple Android devices. AnTuTu returns four top level performance results which are all included here: CPU, RAM, 3D, UX (or User Experience), along with a total score...

antutu xiaomi m11

According to AnTuTu, the Mi 11 offers a significantly more substantial increase in performance vs. previous generation Android handsets, beating the Galaxy S21 in all but the memory test, and coming very close to the ROG Phone 5.

3D Graphics Benchmarks: GFXBench and 3DMark Sling Shot
Pushing The Pixels
Next we're checking how the Mi 11 compares in GFXBench, which has been one of the standard mobile graphics/gaming performance benchmarks for years. To ensure that display refresh (v-sync) and resolution aren't limiting factors, we're comparing off-screen test results here. GFXBench tests OpenGL ES graphics workloads and we're specifically testing OpenGL ES 2...

t rex xiaomi m11

manhattan xiaomi m11

Now we're seeing the kind of performance improvement we expected from the Snapdragon 888-equipped Mi 11. This new phone clearly beats Snapdragon 865-powered devices, and even comes out ahead of Samsung's Galaxy S21.

Futuremark's 3DMark Sling Shot is a newer benchmark module that's been added to the 3DMark mobile suite. Unlike previous gen 3DMark mobile tests, Sling Shot is a much more advanced OpenGL ES 3.1 and Metal API-based benchmark that employs more advanced rendering techniques, like volumetric lighting, particle illumination, multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback.

3DMark Sling Shot
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Benchmark

We're running this test in off-screen mode once again to remove display resolution differences from the equation. This lets us compare cross-platform results more reliably...

sling shot xiaomi m11

Again here we see a more modest improvement to the graphics score over Snapdragon 865-equipped flagships. Still, the Mi 11 performs extremely well in this test, beating the Galaxy S21 and almost matching the ROG Phone 5 in X-Mode.

3D Graphics Benchmarks: 3DMark Wild Life Stress Test
Keeping It Cool
3DMark Wild Life is the latest cross-platform test from UL. Its primary purpose is to measure GPU performance across platforms, and two distinct tests are available. The standard Wild Life test is designed to give feedback on how a game performs over a short period of time. With mobile games, people typically play in brief spurts when they find some free time; be it on the bus, on the subway, or a quick battle royale session over lunch break. The 3DMark Wild Life Stress Test, on the other hand, shows how a device performs over a longer stretch of time, and takes note of performance degradation that might crop up due to increased heat levels and throttling.

3dmark wild life
screen shot

wild life xiaomi m11

3DMark Wild Life is a significantly more taxing graphics benchmark that employs cutting-edge mobile game engine technologies to deliver impressive visuals -- as you can see in the screen shot above. Here Xiaomi's Snapdragon 888-powered Mi 11 delivers a massive improvement in performance versus some of the fastest Snapdragon 865-equipped devices (Galaxy S20 Ultra and S20 FE), matching the ROG Phone 5.

The good news is that Mi 11 doesn't exhibit the excessive throttling we experienced with the Galaxy S21, managing a stability score of 90.5%. As such, it's an ideal smartphone for hard-core gamers.

Mi 11 wild life stress test score

Xiaomi Mi 11 Other Features and Battery Life

Looking at the rest of the specs, there’s sub-6GHz 5G (SA / NSA), LTE, dual-band WiFi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2 (LE), NFC, IR, and dual-band A-GPS / GLONASS / Galileo / BDS / QZSS / NavIC, plus the standard roster of sensors. The linear vibration motor provides excellent haptics, but while the optical in-display fingerprint scanner is pretty fast, it’s less reliable than others we’ve used. Face unlock works fine, though.

battery life xiaomi m11

The Mi 11 uses a 4600mAh battery. Our PCMark battery test ran for 10 hours and 18 minutes (1080p, 120Hz, 5G enabled), which is adequate, but not spectacular. Lower the refresh rate and battery life increases to over 13 hours. Basically, a full charge should last a day with moderate to heavy use for most people. The dual 2300mAh cell setup enables 55W wired charging (with USB PD 3.0 and Quick Charge 4+ support) and 50W wireless charging (plus 10W reverse wireless charging). Best of all, there’s a 55W charger in the box.

Next up: the software, pricing, and the verdict...

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