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Xiaomi Mi 11X Review: Good Bargain Despite Some Compromises
Mi 11X is the company's most affordable handset in the new series. Available in two RAM variants, the smartphone has been aggressively priced at 6GB/128GB- Rs. 29,999, 8GB/128GB- Rs. 31,999 and is available via Mi.com, Mi Homes, Mi Studios, Amazon.in and in Xiaomi's partner offline retail stores.
- Sleek Design & Premium Looks
- Vibrant 120Hz OLED Display
- Smooth Performer
- Good Battery Life
- IP53 Water-Dust Resistant
- Good Macro Camera
- Camera Performance Could Have Been Better
- No microSD Card Slot
- No 256GB Storage Variant
- No 3.5mm Headphone Jack
The Mi 11X is one of the few value flagship devices in India to incorporate the latest 8th-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset. It takes the fight to the slightly expensive Vivo X60 and the OnePlus 9R, another two handsets drawing power from the same SoC.
We have tested the Vivo X60 and briefly used the OnePlus 9R. Today we are taking a closer look at the Mi 11X. Does its low price high value approach translate to good real-life performance? Let's find out.
Xiaomi Mi 11X Design
The Mi 11X has almost all the elements of a well-designed handset. It is sleek (7.8mm), lightweight (196g) and looks premium for its price. The smartphone also does well with ergonomics and can be used with one hand with no major handling issues, despite flaunting a big 6.67-inch display.
The side bezels are quite thin and the phone rests comfortably in the palm. The power button doubles up as a fingerprint scanner and is very snappy and accurate. The frame is made up of plastic but does not feel cheap. The screen is protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Front & Back And IP53 Rated Body
One downside is the glossy back surface (especially in the Black color variant), which is a fingerprint magnet and also makes the device slippery. A good case is recommended for better handling of the device.
It is worth mentioning that the back panel is essentially a layer of the Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which should offer some level of protection against scratches and accidental drops. Also, the phone is IP53 rated, which isn't mind-boggling but is better than no rating at all to offer some protection from water and dust. The Mi 11X is available in three color options- Cosmic Black, Lunar White, and Magic Celestial Silver.
No 3.5mm Headphone Jack, No microSD Card Slot & No 256GB Variant
The Mi 11X lacks two important features which could be disappointing in daily usage. The phone comes sans a 3.5mm headphone jack (Type-C to 3.5mm audio adapter in the box) and also lacks a microSD card slot.
The lack of storage expansion becomes a bigger issue when you realize that Xiaomi does not offer a 256GB storage variant of the handset. The Mi 11X is only available in 128GB storage with 6GB and 8GB RAM. Xiaomi should introduce at least a 256GB version of the device since the phone skips on a microSD card slot.
Xiaomi Mi 11X Display- 120Hz E4 AMOLED
The Mi 11X has one of the best displays on a sub-30K smartphone. The handset flaunts a 6.67 FHD+ (2400x1800 resolution) E4 AMOLED panel, which is vivid and offers an immersive video playback experience. The AMOLED screen comes with a best-in-class 120Hz refresh rate and a respectable 360Hz touch sampling rate, which creates a fluid UI and gameplay experience.
8-Bit Panel With HDR10+ Support
The 8-bit AMOLED screen has HDR 10+ support and a claimed peak brightness of up to 1300 nits. While it cannot display the full range of colors, it still feels adequately vivid and produces excellent colors. The outdoor visibility is also not an issue on the Mi 11X.
Importantly, Xiaomi has also offered MEMC technology, a feature usually seen on premium flagship smartphones. While it smoothens the video playback experience by reducing motion blur, the feature also creates a soap opera effect. If you aren't a fan of MEMC tech, you can switch off the feature from the display settings.
AI-HDR Enhancement & All Required Color Spaces
The display setting also offers AI-HDR enhancement which on paper enhances the video watching experience by bringing in more details in the lighter and darker areas; however, its real-life impact seemed almost negligible to eyes while streaming content in OTT apps. Moving on, you can choose from various color schemes to alter color reproduction as per your liking.
The display settings offer Auto, Saturated, Original and Advanced color option that further allows you to tweak color gamut settings (Enhanced, Original, P3 and sRGB). The ‘Original' preset in advanced settings offered us the most realistic and vivid color output.
Overall, the Mi 11X has a fine display on a budget. It is big, bright, vivid, and fluid and serves well for all smartphone-related requirements.
Xiaomi Mi 11X Camera Performance- Good Everyday Camera
The Mi 11X has a pretty basic camera setup that doesn't excite much but proves to be a good everyday camera. The handset sports a triple-lens camera setup featuring a 48MP primary camera, 5MP telemacro camera, and an 8MP ultra-wide camera. For selfies, the Mi 11X boasts a capable 20MP front shooter. The MIUI's camera app offers all required software features that are usually seen on high-end flagship phones. For instance, you can capture in RAW with manual mode with both primary and wide-angle lenses. The camera lacks OIS, which is understandable at this price.
Fast Autofocus, Vivid Colors, But Average Details
The 48MP sensor captures decent daylight images. The colors look realistic but the details aren't very inspiring. Both 48MP and 12MP pixel-binned pictures show noise and lack of details upon closer inspection. The sensor also struggles to get the exposure right, especially while shooting indoors. Images look darker and sometimes lifeless. The dynamic range could have been better too in outdoor conditions.
While we mostly recommend shooting with the AI mode disabled on Xiaomi phones, it would be better to shoot with AI mode enabled or with the vivid filter on the Mi 11X. The AI mode will give you pictures with better contrast and lifelike colors on the Mi 11X.
Decent HDR Performance
Thankfully, the autofocus is snappy which means you will rarely see blur images on the Mi 11X. Also, the HDR mode works well on the handset, especially in high contrast situations and uneven lighting.
Good Macros And Pleasing Portraits
The Mi 11X is a capable macro shooter. The 5MP autofocus enabled macro sensor can deliver some amazing results in good lighting conditions. Images show impressive details and good color science. As far as portraits are concerned, the Mi 11X's cameras manage to create a pleasing bokeh effect if not perfect. Skin tones look softer in indoor lighting but the depth-of-field is rather impressive.
Decent Wide-Angle Images & Poor Zoom Results
The 8MP ultra-wide camera with f/2.2 aperture captures 119° FOV and there's no major distortion around the edges. Details aren't mind-blowing and textures look dull; however, the overall results are pleasing for the price. The 8MP wide-angle camera also lets you capture night pictures but as expected, results aren't quite appealing. There's no far-field zoom on the Mi 11X. You can capture crisp 2x zoom shots but beyond that, the images are barely usable.
Pretty Ordinary Night Camera With Useful Software Modes
The available lighting becomes more important during low-light and night photography. In the case of the Mi 11X, the sensor demands decent artificial lighting to create good low-light pictures. For instance, the above low-light shot came out decent because there was a source of light in the park to help the sensor capture fine details. The dramatic clouds formation in the background and the white building creates a good contrast in the overall scene.
Dedicated Night Mode Results Could Have Been Better
The dedicated night mode can pull up some details in the darker spots and also improves the overall contrast and colors. You can also capture wide-angle shots with the dedicated night mode but don't expect mind-blowing results.
MIUI Camera App- An Excellent Resource For Artists
What I like most about the MIUI camera app is the number of modes and filters. There are plenty of software features to let you make the most out of any given camera hardware. If you like to tweak picture settings and know a bit about post-processing, the MIUI camera app will keep you busy throughout the day.
Overall, if you are a casual photographer and mostly like to experiment with software features, the Mi 11X's camera will not disappoint you. For avid photographers, the Mi 11X isn't the ideal choice.
Smooth Performance- Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 + 6GB/8GB RAM Options
The Mi 11X blazes through day-to-day smartphone jobs. The phone feels buttery smooth with tasks as basic as UI navigation to as heavy as video-editing and graphical intensive gaming at max settings. Similar to the Vivo X60 (Rs. 37,990), the Mi 11X is also powered by the latest 8th-gen octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset. The graphics are handled by the Adreno 650 GPU. As far as RAM-ROM is concerned, the phone is available with 6GB and 8GB LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB UFS 3.1 storage.
The slightly amped-up version of the SD865 chipset is fabricated on a 7nm process and is a powerhouse, especially at this price point. The 5G SoC uses the same Cortex A77 cores but has a slightly higher 3.2GHz clock frequency as compared to 2.84GHz on the Snapdragon 865. On papers, the new SoC offers up to 12% better performance when compared with its predecessor and it shows in real life.
I also did not notice any alarming heating issues, even with heavy games. A 15-minute COD session (at higher settings) only marginally heats the back panel, which is very normal at max settings. Lastly, the Mi 11X's stereo speakers are a good addition to the overall package. The dual stereo speakers produce loud and clear sound but don't expect thumping bass at this price-point.
MIUI 12 Is Cleaner Now But Not Flawless
Our Mi 11X unit came running the MIUI 12.0.4 version based on Android 11. If you are familiar with Xiaomi's MIUI skin, you will quickly adapt to the Mi 11X software and its features. The navigation gestures on the Mi 11X are very smooth and there's no dearth of customization features, useful features, and utilities. The Mi 11X uses Google's native dialer and message application but there's some amount of bloatware too that might disappoint you if you prefer a clean Google experience.
No Ads/Spams But Not Bloatware Free
And while I like the MIUI for its rich features and customization options, there are some things that Xiaomi needs to address. For instance, the GetApps, one of the most irritating bloatware still cannot be uninstalled from the phone.
Also, Xiaomi needs to stop forcing users to check out the Themes app every time you change the wallpaper from within the gallery app. These are little things but make a huge impact on the daily routine. Overall, the MIUI 12.0.4 is good skin but it might not suit everyone's taste.
Xiaomi Mi 11X Battery Life & Connectivity
The Mi 11X has decent battery life. The 7.8mm sleek phone houses a 4,520mAh battery cell that can last one day if you are a moderate user. Gaming and long video playback take a toll on the device's battery life. As far as the charging is concerned, the phone supports 33W charging, and Xiaomi ships the fast-charger in the box. The bundled charger can refuel the battery from flat to 100% in about 57 minutes.
For connectivity, the Mi 11X has a dual Nano SIM card slot. The phone has a USB Type-C charging port but it supports USB 2.0 standards and not the latest USB 3.0, which means data transfer speeds are not the fastest. The phone has Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NaviC support, and also comes equipped with the company's signature IR blaster.
The Mi 11X's aggressive price and good hardware performance make it a great value flagship handset. The 5G-enabled smartphone's key selling point is its snappy performance and vivid 120Hz AMOLED display that serves very well for gaming and multimedia jobs. There are some compromises such as average camera hardware, no microSD card slot, no 256GB storage, etc. that can prove to be a deal-breaker if you are eyeing an all-rounder value flagship device.
For better camera and similar hardware performance, the Vivo X60 is worth considering. And if you are looking for a cleaner software experience with similar hardware performance, the OnePlus 9R is a good choice; however, please note that you have to shell some extra thousands for both these handsets.