Hey, another Xiaomi smartphone? Yes… for several months, the manufacturer has not been idle and has been bombing Europe at all costs. If we count again correctly, the Mi 11 Ultra that we are testing here is the eleventh model announced in France since the start of the year. Or the tenth, we don't know anymore: it's difficult to find our way around.
What we are sure of is that it is a very high-end model, especially in terms of photography. In theory, the Mi 11 Ultra is enough to stand up to the big names like Samsung's Galaxy S21 Ultra, Oppo's Find X3 Pro and who-you-know's iPhone 12 Pro Max. Very good, but what does that look like in real life? Nothing better than a test to find out!
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is available in France in 12 GB RAM/256 GB Flash version for 1199 euros(excluding subscription). It comes in two shades: Marble White and Ceramic Black.
Are you looking for a light and compact smartphone? Go on your way!With its 6.81” diagonal screen and 234 grams, the Mi 11 Ultra has everything it needs. Slightly more compact than the Galaxy S21 Ultra (164.3 x 74.6 x 8.38 mm versus 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm), it has the luxury of being heavier (234 g versus 227g). It therefore weighs down its owner's pocket, especially if you add a protective case! It benefits from IP68 certification, making it resistant to temporary immersion as well as splashing water.
Traditionally, the screen occupies most of the front panel. A perforation in the panel located in the upper left corner frees up the space necessary for the integration of the front camera. The fingerprint reader is housed under the screen and offers reliability and convincing responsiveness. The vertical edges of the slab are of the waterfall type in order to almost eliminate the black borders surrounding the slab. The forehead and chin are very discreet.
© Lemon squeezer
© Lemon squeezer
Made of polished metal, the chassis of the Mi 11 Ultra houses the classic mechanical control keys (power and volume control) on the right side. The USB-C port and the card drawer (2 nano-SIM) are located on the underside. Like its opposite, this has a series of perforations intended to let the sound created by the pair of stereophonic speakers pass through. Let us note in passing the presence of an infrared transceiver on the upper side, which Xiaomi seems to be very keen on (unlike the audio jack output, which is still absent for subscribers).
The first contact with the rear panel generates what some in the Editorial team do not hesitate to describe as an absolute horror of visual shock. Instead of confining the back camera to its usual strip or domino, Xiaomi spreads it without complexes over the entire width and a quarter of its height.
Particularly visible on our test version made of white ceramic, this growth protrudes from the shell, locally bringing the thickness to 12.5 mm. It not only houses the three camera modules, but also a micro OLED screen. This displays some essential information when the Mi 11 Ultra is in standby and placed on a table. Whether we like this design or not, we must at least recognize one quality: the device is no longer wobbly when it is laid flat, making it more pleasant to use.
The Mi 11 Ultra features a 6.81'' AMOLED panel displaying 3200 x 1440 pixelsin 20:9 format (515 ppi density). It produces images of excellent quality that remain readable whatever the ambient light conditions. Being 10-bit compatible, it can generate 1.03 billion colors and benefits from HDR10+ and Dolby Vision certifications.
The colorimetric fidelity is remarkable, as is the fluidity of the image thanks to a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. By default, this is set at 60 Hz in order to save battery and automatically varies depending on the content displayed (30, 60, 90 or 120 Hz). Xiaomi has chosen to protect the front with a Gorilla Invictus glass panel from Corning, the most resistant at the moment.
The use of an AMOLED panel allows the implementation of the permanent display. Known as Always on display, it allows you to keep an eye on the device's essential data when it is in standby (date, time, notifications).
As mentioned previously, the Mi 11 Ultra benefits from a second screen housed on the rear side. Measuring 1.1'' diagonal and 126 x 294 pixels, it displays in reduced format the same information as the permanent display. This is not its only use since it can serve as a control monitor when shooting with the back camera.
This little monitor is, in our opinion, largely underused. Instead of offering automatic activation when shooting, you have to look for an option in the camera settings menu to activate it. Its use in photo mode is surprising since it is impossible to activate it in portrait mode or when capturing a video. Why? We don't have the slightest idea. Hopefully a future update will correct this.
High-end positioning requires, the Mi 11 ultra is logically built around a Qualcomm SnapDragon 888 SoC. It is supported by its faithful companion, the Adreno 660 graphics processor and has 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM.Storage consists of 256 GB of UFS 3.1 Flash memory, which is non-expandable. Enough to see widely coming. According to a study conducted by a competing manufacturer (Oppo, in this case) only 2% of users used more than 200 GB of storage before the end of a smartphone's life cycle. The vast majority never exceed more than 80 GB.
In the benchmark game, the Mi 11 ultra displays a score of 775,254 Antutu points, 3617 Geekbench points (multi-core, 1131 single-core points) and 5619 3D Benchmark points. Doesn’t that resonate with you? So, just remember that the Mi 11 Ultra is a racing beast. In this spring of 2021, no Android application can really stand up to it. Whether it's video editing, 3D games or multitasking, it responds to all requests. Its interface remains very fluid and you can run very resource-intensive applications simultaneously. A real pleasure to use, even if it sometimes gets a little warm.
The 2021 vintage of Xiaomi smartphones is accompanied by Android 11 and the in-house MIUI 12 overlay. This, already seen on the Mi 11 and the Note 10 Pro, is present here in version 12.0.6. We're not going to make a fuss about MIUI 12: this has already been done previously! We will just say all the good things we think of this responsive, light and intuitive overlay.
However, it is not perfect since it comes with a host of bloatware that we will hasten to uninstall. On the other hand, the advertising that is sometimes found in entry-level and mid-range models is absent here. In our opinion, this is the least we can do given the price of the smartphone!
In terms of features, MIUI 12 has everything you need. Instead of reinventing what exists, Xiaomi uses the official applications of skill. Multitasking and multiwindow management is basic, but effective and we did not encounter any particular problem or glaring functional lack during our tests.
If we quibble, we might just regret the impossibility of personalizing application icons without using a third-party launcher. It’s a detail, of course, but it may be important for some users. Manufacturers like Oppo and realme natively support icon packs downloaded from the Play Store from their in-house overlay. Let's hope that Xiaomi will get started quickly!
The Mi 11 Ultra has a 5000 mAh battery, a rather generous capacity. It is certainly not the only one to be equipped with it, but in our opinion it is essential for a product with a large screen, 5G and a very powerful processor.
If you take care not to overuse the good things (3D gaming, photo and video recording galore, etc.), the device will last almost a day and a half. To do this, you will need to limit the screen refresh to 60 HZ (60 fps display) and allow the brightness to adjust automatically. It's not extraordinary, but rather about average at the moment.
By using the Mi 11 Ultra like a geek gamer, you will still reach a day of battery life. Here too, nothing to get up at night (or to recharge the smartphone battery), but nothing to be ashamed of in the face of the competition either.
Much more impressive, fast charging takes the capacity from 0 to 100% in around forty minutes. This more than honorable performance is due to in-house technology using a 67 Watt power supply supplied as standard.
Finally , induction charging is included, as is reverse charging. We can thus give a boost to a Qi compatible device (headphones, watch or other smartphone), the function being able to provide power of up to 15 Watts with compatible devices.
The back camera of the Mi 11 Ultra has three modules. The main one is built around a 50 Mpxl sensor and a 24 mm f/1.95 lens. Without going into too much technical detail, we will specify that it is a large sensor since it is 1/1.12 '' type, one of the largest that can currently be found on a smartphone. This large size largely explains the overhang of the photo module from the rear shell, the distance between the sensor and the outer lens of the objective being inevitably greater.
The zoom and the ultra-wide-angle both feature the same 48 Mpxl sensor.The first benefits from a 24-120mm f/4.1 periscopic lens, giving it a 5x optical zoom. It can be increased to 10x in hybrid operation (optical zoom + a dose of AI). Beyond that, the digital zoom takes over up to 120x, with the known inconveniences (loss of image details, lack of sharpness). The ultra-wide-angle is equipped with a 12mm f/2.2 lens.
At ultra wide angle, the sharpness in the center is very good, but the edges show a certain softness. Good management of the extended dynamic range on this scene, yet quite difficult to reproduce © Presse-citron
Ultra wide-angle + medium brightness + movement © Presse-citron
The images produced with the Mi 11 Ultra are generally of excellent quality.And frankly, the differences with a smartphone like the Galaxy S21 Ultra are starting to become very subtle. During the day and outdoors, the quality is there. Of course, there is a certain softness at the edges of the wide-angle image and the AI is very enthusiastic when it comes to boosting the colors. Nothing dramatic in all this and the images remain clean, especially if you take the trouble to shoot in Pro mode.
On the other hand, we regret a small latency when triggering. When taking a photo, it can sometimes take up to 0.5 seconds between pressing the shutter button and the image actually being recorded. Is this a bug or technical limitation? In any case, let's hope that a solution will be quickly found to this annoying defect.
Portrait mode: the AI is fooled by not blurring the triangular area drawn by the statue's legs. © Lemon squeezer
Large sensor + very bright lens = natural background blur without relying on AI. Thank you laws of optics! © Lemon squeezer
Portrait mode, which generates artificial background blur, sometimes gets caught in complex scenes. Paradoxically, it's not really a big deal. Because the wide aperture of the main lens (f/1.95) and the large sensor create a very satisfying natural background blur (and much more convincing than that tinkered with by the AI).
Night mode, ultra wide-angle © Presse-citron
Night mode, 5x zoom. OK, the photographed scene is dark, but the low aperture of the lens doesn't help matters © Presse-citron
The night mode does an excellent job when shooting with the main module, producing defined and very reasonably noisy images. They are of good quality in ultra wide angle, the wide aperture of the lens compensating for the defects due to the less efficient sensor. Ultimately, only the zoom does not really stand out: the average aperture of the lens (f/4.1) is partly compensated by the effective stabilization. But in the end, the image produced turns out to be much less luminous and less defined.
Ultra wide-angle © Presse-citron
Main sensor © Lemon squeezer
5x optical zoom: so far so good. © Presse-citron
10x digital zoom: a slight myopia, perhaps? © Lemon squeezer
120x zoom, mainly present to look pretty on the technical sheet (or for lovers of images without any detail) © Presse-citron
The Mi 11 Ultra excels in video capture. Capable of recording sequences in 8K 24 fps (which is not of much use currently), it gives the best of itself in 4K 60 fps. The sound is very good and we appreciate the video night mode, which is actually quite pleasant. We also like the presence of slow motion that can go up to 1920 fps in Full HD and a 4K time-lapse that is easy to handle.
The AI sometimes boosts the colors with endearing enthusiasm. © Presse-Citron
Vlog mode allows the automatic creation of short rhythmic clips that you will enjoy sharing on social networks. There are also video effects that allow you to create spectacular sequences without too much effort. We like the production of multicamera sequences or the very original Super Moon mode which we did not have the time to evaluate during this test.
Macro on a moving subject (lots of wind). Notice the quality of the background blur, naturally generated by the lens and sensor. © Presse-citron
Macro mode, focus on the flower on the right © Presse-citron
Ultra wide-angle over extended dynamic range (HDR) © Presse-Citron
Simple to use, packed with possibilities, each one more fun than the last, the photo/video function of the Mi 11 Ultra is a great success. We must recognize here that it is indeed among the leaders in the production of animated and still images. Only the small latency when capturing a still image slightly tarnishes a largely positive assessment.
Without a doubt, the Mi 11 Ultra is a very successful high-end smartphone. We expected no less given its price! The quality of the screen, its overall performance and its plethora of equipment quickly make us forget about autonomy that we would have liked to have been a little better. Among its strong points is the excellent job done by Xiaomi in terms of image processing. Whether it's capturing photos or video footage, the Mi 11 Ultra is undoubtedly one of the most capable in its class.