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

Xiaomi Mi 11 Review: Software, Pricing, And Final Verdict

Xiaomi Mi 11 Software And User Experience

When it comes to software, the Mi 11 runs Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 skin on top of Android 11, and despite being much improved, it’s still a mixed bag. Like Oppo’s Color OS, MIUI is now better suited to global markets than it was even just two years ago. Xiaomi has done a lot to bring the user experience closer to stock Android (like adding the Google Discover feed to the launcher), and to streamline overall performance.

That being said, the notification shade, settings menu, home screen, app drawer, and recent apps are still heavily customized. Most of it can be tweaked to behave as expected, but not everything. Notifications have to be swiped right (but not left) to be dismissed, and recent apps have to be swiped left or right (instead of up) to be closed. Also, the settings menu is a complete hodgepodge of familiar items and bespoke options.

Xiaomi Mi 11 05

For example, settings for Xiaomi’s system apps (like the camera, notes, voice recorder, etc.) are located in a section of the settings menu, just like app settings in iOS. Yet these settings can also be accessed directly from within each app. Ultimately, we’re not fans of MIUI 12 -- Xiaomi’s skin is still too heavy-handed for our tastes. It’s just not the best user experience, in our opinion. Then again, some folks really like it, so your mileage may vary.

Besides Xiaomi and Google’s usual collection of apps, the Mi 11 comes with minimal bloatware pre-installed -- all of which can be removed. This includes Amazon Shopping, LinkedIn, Netflix, WPS Office, plus a handful of casual games.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Pricing And Competition

The Mi 11 is available for about $750 / €750 and up (depending on configuration) from various online retailers like Gearbest, AliExpress, and Bludiode. As such, you should be able to import it into the US -- as long as you can live without 5G. Its main competitors are Samsung’s Galaxy S21 ($700) and Galaxy S21+ ($800), both of which lack a Quad HD+ display and 55W fast charging, but offer a 3x telephoto (albeit using a 1.1x zoom lens and cropped 64MP sensor).

Additionally, we’ll have to see what the OnePlus 9 series brings to the table when it’s unveiled next week. But for now, Snapdragon 888 alternatives are few -- the Galaxy 21 Ultra, Oppo Find X3 Pro, and ASUS ROG Phone 5 are significantly more expensive than the Mi 11.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Final Verdict

Don’t let the $750 / €750 price tag fool you. The Mi 11 is a bonafide Android flagship that’s packed with both features and value. We like the inspired design, outstanding screen, excellent cameras, superb audio, and top-notch performance. Still, there’s room for improvement. The Mi 11 lacks an official IP rating, a telephoto lens, and 5G support here in the US. Battery life is decent, but nothing special, and Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 skin isn’t for everyone.

With specs like a Quad HD+ 120Hz AMOLED display, 108MP main sensor, plus 55W wired and 50W wireless fast charging, the Mi 11 matches (and even surpasses, in some areas) Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra. Yet it costs about the same as the base Galaxy S21 -- and still manages to have a glass back and include a 55W fast charger in the box. So yeah, the Mi 11 is definitely worth checking out on value and features alone, especially if you live abroad.

approved hh

  • Unique design
  • Beautiful display
  • Solid cameras
  • Fantastic audio
  • Impressive performance
  • 55W fast charger in the box
  • No official IP rating
  • No telephoto shooter
  • No US 5G support
  • Middling battery life
  • Heavy-handed MIUI 12 skin

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