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Xiaomi Mi 11X review: affordable flagship killer that ticks most boxes

On: May 29, 2021

As OnePlus moved away from the flagship-killer domain, the gap was open for taking. There have been several contenders for the title over the past few years, and the recently launched Xiaomi Mi 11X priced at Rs 29,999 has a good shot at claiming the flagship-killer badge for itself.

Also read: Mi 11X Pro review: powerful, no-frills flagship

At this price point, Xiaomi has managed to undercut the competition to a large extent. Notably, the Mi 11X is the most affordable smartphone to offer the Snapdragon 870 processor in the country. But does it have what it takes to go head-to-head with the competition? I’ve been using the smartphone for a week to find out and here’s what I think.

Design and display

  • 163.7 x 76.4 x 7.8mm, 196g
  • 6.67-inch E4 AMOLED, FHD+, 120Hz refresh rate, up to 360Hz touch sampling rate, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, HDR 10+, MEMC

The Xiaomi Mi 11X shares its design and dimensions with the Pro variant, which means it’s equally sleek and good looking. At just 7.8mm in thickness and weighing 198g, the Mi 11X is among the most ergonomic devices available in the market. Thanks to the all-glass construct, the handset looks quite premium as well. However, I advise against opting for the glossy Cosmic Black variant — which I received for the purpose of this review — as it’s a smudge magnet. You’ll be better off with the Celestial Silver or Lunar White colours.

Xiaomi is bundling a transparent protective case with the smartphone, which you will need for more than one reason. Not only does it keep the smudges at bay, it reduces the wobble on a flat surface due to the protruding camera module.

As for the ports and buttons, Mi 11X has the same arrangement as that of the Pro model. You get a dual nano-SIM tray, Type-C port, a noise-cancelling mic, and a speaker grill at the bottom. The top is home to a second speaker grill, with the IR sensor cleverly hidden inside in one of the holes. There’s nothing on the left side and the right side is home to the volume keys and power button/fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner and integrated face unlock are both fast and accurate.

The Mi 11X’s window to the world is a 6.67-inch, Full HD+ E4 AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 120Hz. The screen offers vibrant colours with inky blacks and sharp text. With up to 1,300nits of peak brightness, the screen is legible even in direct sunlight. There’s HDR10+, AI HDR enhancement, Super Resolution, and MEMC support. These features enhance the video viewing experience and work as advertised.

I streamed Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead on the Mi 11X, which is an HD title and the viewing experience was top notch. Thanks to the minimal bezels and the tiny punch-hole cutout, the experience is immersive as well. Furthermore, the stereo speaker setup has a loud output, which further improves the video streaming experience for the user. On the flip side, while Mi 11X ships with Hi-res audio certification, the company has skimped on the 3.5mm audio connector. You do get a USB Type-C to 3.5mm convertor in the packaging.

Cameras

  • Rear: 48-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 5-megapixel telemacro lens
  • Front: 20-megapixel sensor

On to the cameras, the Mi 11X features the same stack as the Mi 11X Pro but with a downgraded 48-megapixel, f/1.79 Sony IMX 582 primary lens. The main lens is accompanied by an 8-megapixel,f/2.2 ultra-wide lens and 5-megapixel, f/2.4 telemacro camera. On the front, there’s the same 20-megapixel, f/2.4 selfie camera.

In the camera UI, you’ll find features like Movie Frame, Super Macro, Tilt-shift, Pro Colour, Pro mode, Portrait and Portrait Mode. There are additional dedicated modes like Night mode, 108MP mode, short video, panorama, VLOG mode, slow motion, Time-lapse, Dual video, Movie-effect, and Long exposure, in the More section, you see on the viewfinder.

To the naked eye, the daylight pictures appear sharp with good details. However, it falls short when it comes to the dynamic range and also crushes the details in shadows even during the daytime. There’s a tiny amount of noise present as well when you zoom in on shots and a warmer colour temperature.

Regular
Wide Angle
1X
2X
5X
10X
Portrait
Normal
48MP
Normal
48MP
Normal
Night Mode
Macro
Macro
Macro
Macro

Move to the dedicated sensors, the 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens offers a wider perspective as it should. However, the pictures are soft on details and there’s a visible colour disparity from the primary lens. The 5-megapixel telemacro lens is the same as the one on the Redmi Note 10 Pro series. As expected it does take admirable close-up shots. You can tap on the subject on the viewfinder to focus. Moreover, Mi 11X offers 2X zoom in the macro mode to get closer to the subject and get sharper details.

The nighttime photography prowess of the Mi 11X was decent in my experience.  The images are noisy when taken in standard mode. Turning on the dedicated night mode exposes the frame well and compensate noise to some extent but it tends to oversharpen the images. There’s a night mode for the wide-angle lens as well but the pictures remain quite noisy.

Coming to the selfies, the 20-megapixel snapper on the front captures good self-portraits with accurate skin tones in daylight but suffers during the night. The portrait mode is commendable as it detects edges accurately with aesthetically pleasing bokeh background.

In terms of video recording, the Mi 11X can shoot up to 4K at 30fps. There are various video modes like short video, vlog, slow-mo, time-lapse, dual-video, and movie effects, to name a few.

Performance, software, and battery

  • Android 11 with MIUI 12
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 with Adreno 650
  • 6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB
  • 4,520mAh battery, 33W fast charging

The Xiaomi Mi 11X stands out from the crowd in the sense that it’s the cheapest smartphone with the Snapdragon 870 processor in the country. The 3.2GHz octa-core processor is based on 7nm fabrication and comes with X55 5G modem. The internal storage configuration is 128GB UFS 3.1 with either 6GB or 8GB LPDDR5 RAM, depending on the variant you pick. Unfortunately, there’s no expandable storage support.

Getting down to the brass tacks, the Snapdragon 870 performs admirably in day to day usage. I had over a dozen apps running simultaneously in the background, the Mi 11X still performed admirably with no lags while multi-tasking. What’s more, the app launch times are super fast and thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, the overall experience feels much faster as well.

In terms of gaming, I played a few sessions of Genshin Impact, Alto’s Odyssey, Badlands, and Brawl Stars. I didn’t mess with the game settings and the Mi 11X handled every game with ease without any jarring effects or frame drops. I did notice a little heating after a session of 35-40 minutes but it’s not unbearable to the extent that you can’t hold the phone. In case you take your gaming seriously, the Mi 11X will serve you well.

Xiaomi has pre-installed MIUI 12 on top of Android 11 in the Mi 11X. As is usual with the MIUI interface, the software is loaded to the brim with features like a built-in theme store, AOD clock styles, Game Turbo, Floating Windows, and a built-in screen recorder to name a few.

On the flip side, the software has a fair amount of bloatware as well with the most annoying one being Xiaomi’s proprietary app store called GetApps. It will constantly send notifications to install recommended apps, which is quite annoying. The Mi 11X is set to receive the MIUI 12.5 in near future, which should iron out most niggles and brings the ability to remove even the stock Xiaomi apps.

The Xiaomi Mi 11X has the same 4,520mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging as the Mi 11X Pro. The bundled 33W fast charger juices up the battery from zero to 100 percent in just under an hour. In my stint with the smartphone, I was using it primarily for YouTube, communication on Slack and WhatsApp, and a little bit of gaming. With this usage, I had around 20 percent battery still left in the bank at bedtime.

Bottomline

The Xiaomi Mi 11X is a perfect stop-gap offering for the brand to pave the bridge between its affordable and high-end devices. At a starting price of Rs 29,999, the Mi 11X with its 120Hz E4 AMOLED panel, Snapdragon 870 SoC, stylish design, and decent battery backup is very much a flagship killer.

In case you can stretch your budget a bit for a better camera experience and a cleaner, stock-like interface, iQOO 7 starting at Rs 31,990 is a commendable choice. You get some similar specifications including a 120Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 870 SoC, and 4,400mAh battery. However, it gets a better 48-megapixel customised Sony IMX598 primary sensor and 66W fast charging.

In a nutshell, the Xiaomi Mi 11X is a good value for money offering that gets a lot of things right. It could do better with camera performance, but the price to value proposition compels me to recommend the Mi 11X to anyone looking for a good smartphone under Rs 30,000.

Pricebaba’s rating: 8 / 10

What works

  • Great performance
  • Stunning display
  • Aesthetic design
  • Hi-res audio

What doesn’t

  • Average cameras
  • Bloatware in MIUI
  • Lack of expandable storage
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.