Xiaomi decided to break into the "big leagues" and release the most packed flagship with no compromises, which were previously applied to reduce the cost. And you could well call the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra a successful first experience for the company. With a few caveats, though. The smartphone has all the features necessary for a modern flagship, and even more. Great AMOLED-display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, flagship hardware, expensive materials, high-quality stereo speakers and protection against dust and water in accordance with IP68. There is a smart set of cameras, which shoot very well in most situations. And very fast charging, both wired and wireless. And a bonus to all this is the extra display on the back.
Among the minor complaints, it's worth noting the very large camera module and the resulting unusual weighting. And this is enhanced by the fact that the smartphone is heavy. Besides, overheating and trotting at maximum load are a bit frustrating. Yes, while in everyday tasks it is not critical, but the demands of games and applications are growing very quickly, and you are buying this smartphone obviously not for a year.
quality body materials, IP68 protection against dust and water
overheating and throttling during prolonged peak loads
large weight of the smartphone and huge main camera module
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Design
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra looks relatively familiar, like other flagship smartphones. A huge screen with slightly rounded side edges and a small hole for the front camera in the upper left corner. The screen has very neat curves and there were no false alarms during use. There are some peculiarities in the case materials. The entire front panel is covered by Gorilla Glass Victus, the side frame is metal, and the back panel is made of ceramic.
The back panel houses the most recognizable element of smartphone construction and design. A huge block of the main camera. It occupies the entire width of the smartphone and protrudes very noticeably above the body. This is due to three highly advanced cameras, including a 5x zoom periscope, and with additional screen next to it. It is similar to what the company puts into Mi Band 5 fitness bracelet. It can display useful information: clock, notifications, charge level. So also serve as a viewfinder in order to take self-portraits on the rear camera. This is not the first smartphone with an additional screen: once Meizu made the same experiment in its PRO 7 and PRO 7 Plus smartphones.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra itself turned out to be very weighty: 234 g and a large camera module significantly shifts the center of mass. Because of this, it feels like it can easily slip from your hands. So a protective bumper will be very useful. The smartphone will obviously not survive a fall on a hard surface. There is a white and black version. The last one is with us. It is glossy and collects fingerprints instantly.
The frame is made of metal. But there is a glass insert on the top edge. Besides the usual additional microphone, an IR transmitter was placed on top for controlling electronics and a second external speaker. And next to it you can see a Harman / Kardon company logo, which was engaged in "tuning" the sound of the smartphone.
On the bottom there is an external speaker, microphone, USB Type-C connector and tray. Only 2 SIM cards can be inserted into it. There is no place for a memory card.
The rest of functional elements arrangement is familiar. The left side is empty, while the right side houses power and volume buttons made of metal.
The smartphone looks and feels expensive, as befits an expensive flagship. The controversial features are unusual weight distribution due to a huge camera module and rear panel in black version easy to collect fingerprints. It is also worth mentioning that Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is the company's first smartphone with IP68 dust and water protection.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra has a large 6.81-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 3200x1400 (aspect ratio 20:9) and a pixel density of 515 ppi. The display refresh rate is 120 Hz, the smartphone can automatically switch between 30, 60, 90 and 120 Hz depending on the content on the screen. The refresh rate of the sensor layer is 480 Hz. To save energy, you can switch to FullHD + (2400x1080) and 60 Hz, but ypu won't feel any need for that. The screen supports HDR10 +, Dolby Vision, maximum brightness in the automatic mode 900 cd / m 2 and a peak 1700 cd / m 2 are also expected. In addition to the frequency setting, there is a dark interface theme, several color display modes, manual color temperature adjustment, DC Dimming and a reading mode.
There is an Always on Display function with different dials and pictures to choose from.
It is also worth remembering about the settings for the additional screen. It can be used to display all sorts of useful information (battery charge, notifications, clock) when Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is "face down". But there is no full-fledged Always on Display function. It automatically turns on when the smartphone is turned over and appears on a flat surface with the screen down, or is activated by a double tap. You can choose the duration of the activity: 10, 20, 30 seconds. You can select any picture, clock or inscription, as well as the displayed information.
Now let's go back to the main screen. It looks gorgeous. Perhaps one of the best at the moment. This applies to the brightness, and the quality of the picture itself, and the smoothness of the work together with a very fast shell. The maximum brightness was very impressive - 498,377 cd / m 2. At the same time, as befits AMOLED screens, the color gamut is much wider than sRGB. There is a slight overabundance of the blue component, as a result, the screen goes a little into cold shades. If desired, you can adjust it in the settings.
In "native color" mode, the color gamut is close to sRGB, and the color rendition tends to the reference values. But maximum brightness is slightly lower: 441,667 cd / m 2 .
To determine the owner of a smartphone by biometric features, an in-screen fingerprint scanner and face recognition by a front camera are used. The scanner is optical. And, it is worth noting, it works great: both speed and accuracy. And you can't expect anything else from a flagship smartphone. Face recognition works at a good level, taking into account the technical capabilities (no additional sensors). Fast and accurate with adequate lighting.
The under-the-screen scanner also has one additional function. It knows how to measure the pulse. According to personal measurements, the error does not exceed 3%, but it is there. Which is quite expectable.
The interesting thing is that to use the heart rate scanner, you need the Mi Health app. But it is not pre-installed on the smartphone and is not available on Play Market. Although it is easy to find and install it.
Performance, Memory, Sound and Battery Life
Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 888 processor is responsible for the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's performance. Perhaps the most productive solution on the market at the moment. With a decent performance reserve for the next couple of years. It is an octa-core 5-nanometer processor that includes one 2.84GHz Kryo 680 core, 3xKryo 680 2.42GHz and 4xKryo 680 at 1.8GHz. The Adreno 660 booster is responsible for the graphics. The amount of RAM is 12 GB, fast LPDDR5 is used, the built-in storage is 256 GB of UFS 3.1 standard. Quite expectedly, the smartphone demonstrates very impressive results in synthetic tests.
However, the cooling is not so good. In the CPU Throttling stress test the performance begins to drop significantly after about 3 minutes of the test and can drop to 76%. In this case the whole smartphone body is noticeably warm. Under real conditions, however, no harm is done. The smartphone gets a little warm during a long game or while actively using the camera. But it does not affect the stability and speed of operation in any way.
The smartphone copes with games without problems. Call of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9 and Shadowgun Legends run at maximum settings at a stable 60 FPS. Only in Genshin Impact the situation is worse: the frame rate fluctuates in the range of 30-35 FPS. For games, a corresponding proprietary utility is provided with performance settings, disabling notifications and other useful things.
Wireless interfaces: dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz with support for the new 6e standard, Bluetooth 5.2 LE (aptX HD, LDAC codecs are supported) and NFC for contactless payment. Supported global positioning systems GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS, QZSS, NavIC. There is an infrared port for controlling home electronics with the corresponding application.
We should also say a few words about the sound. Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is equipped with stereo speakers. And they sound very impressive, both in quality and in volume. There are even hints of low frequencies. As for the sound in the headphones, it is rather difficult to evaluate the work of harman / kardon: there is no 3.5 mm jack and the smartphone itself came to us without a kit (and, accordingly, an adapter). Listening to music is possible exclusively via Bluetooth. The player has an item harman / kardon in sound effects menu. It really changes the general character of the sound a little, but this is not for everybody.
The smartphone has a 5,000 mAh battery, which is not much, considering the screen, performance and other technical aspects. But the main feature is the use of a new type of battery with a silicon dioxide anode Si-O2 instead of the standard graphite. In theory, this allows you to reduce the size of the battery for the same power capacity, and also allows you to use a very fast charging. Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra supports the proprietary 67W fast charging, from which it can fully charge in just over half an hour.
And wireless charging is of similar power. We, unfortunately, were not able to assess the charging speed due to the lack of a kit. The smartphone also supports Quick Charge 4+ and Power Delivery 3.0 standards, and also has a 10W reverse wireless charging feature. In terms of battery life, no records, but it's perfectly fine.
With all on at maximum: resolution 3200x1400, 120 Hz, calls, mail, social networks, messengers, web surfing, camera, games, the smartphone battery lasts for a day. With less functions used - a day and a half.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra runs on Android 11 with MIUI 126.96.36.199. Commercial samples are already running on the newer MIUI 12.5. MIUI 188.8.131.52 looks and feels quite familiar, just like the recent previous versions of the shell. It is very fast, with nice animations and works stably. The overall behavior is familiar: there is a choice between the desktop and the option with a separate application menu, screen layout, different options for navigating the system and other things that have become customary.
What I've noticed unusual (I've never seen before in MIUI) is the ability to open an application in the reduced window mode from the application manager:
Standard set of stock applications:
One of the most interesting and important features of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is a very advanced set of cameras. There are three of them on the back. The main module has a resolution of 50 megapixels. A brand new Samsung sensor with an impressive physical size of 1/1.12 inches is used. The optics are 24 mm EFR, f/1.95, there is optical stabilization, Dual Pixel PDAF and laser autofocus. It shoots at either 12.5 or 50 megapixels. The periscopic telephoto module is 48 megapixels, f/4.1, 120mm EFR, 1/2.0", 0.8µm, has PDAF and optical stabilization. 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid and up to 120x digital. The third module is a 48 MP, f/2.2, 12mm, 1/2.0", 0.8µm ultra-wide lens. It has two important features: a very wide angle of 128˚ as well as PDAF autofocus, which is still very rare. The front camera is 20 MP, f/2.2.
The camera app is user-friendly and straightforward. Horizontal carousel of modes, basic settings on the main screen, a drop-down menu with additional important settings (resolution, etc.), professional photo and video modes. Of the additional interesting modes there is a supermoon (the purpose is clear by the name), video blog, cinema effects (with a bunch of interesting templates) and long exposure (also with a bunch of templates). In a word, there is something to play with. True, for long exposure effects it is highly desirable to have a tripod for obvious reasons.
It is worth noting that the main camera shoots really well, both during the day and at night. Pictures have a wide dynamic range, good detail and relatively natural color reproduction. But in some cases, the automatic system does not work quite correctly and the picture can turn out too overexposed, especially it concerns the night mode of shooting.
With ultra-wide-angle camera it is quite possible to take very decent pictures in the evening. Although the decrease in detail is very noticeable. And autofocus in this camera was a nice surprise.
A telephoto module with 5x zoom is a great and useful thing. But in the evening it is not so easy to take a clear picture with it due to the long exposure. Just a small movement - and you can see it.
And yes, it is really quite possible to shoot the moon on a smartphone, even "from hand":
The smartphone is able to write video up to 8K (which is not too much). 4K 60 fps video is very decent quality, without significant shaking. Stabilization works well. There is a separate item "stabilization" in the settings, which works only at FullHD 30 fps. Probably more aggressive stabilizer operation.
4 Things to Know about Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is equipped with the top-end hardware at the moment and an excellent AMOLED screen with a resolution of 3200x1440 with a frequency of 120 Hz.
The smartphone has a small additional screen next to the rear cameras, which can display useful information, as well as work as a viewfinder for self-portraits on the main camera.
The rear camera has three modules: 50 MP main, 48 MP periscopic telephoto with 5x zoom and 48 MP ultra-wide with a viewing angle of 128°.
This is the first smartphone from the company with IP68 protection.
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