First Xiaomi Mi 11 release date and design leak shows it could be a real Galaxy S21 rival

Xiaomi Mi 10
Xiaomi Mi 10 (Image credit: TechRadar)

Update: A second leak has stated the image from the initial leak is not the Xiaomi Mi 11 at all, but in fact the Vivo X60. This information comes Sparrow News, and it's a little unclear where that information came from, but some are taking this to mean the leak is fake.

Since there's no certain information either way, we're keeping our initial news story live and unedited below, based on the first leak from a day prior. However take this as a pinch of salt that this might not actually be the Mi 11 after all.

We thought the Xiaomi Mi 11 would be one of the biggest phones of 2021, but we might be wrong - because the anticipated Xiaomi phone might be out at the end of 2020 instead.

This comes from Digital Chat Station, a reliable leaker, posting on Chinese social media platform Weibo. The post contains an image, supposedly of the Xiaomi Mi 11 and Mi 11 Pro, with the caption 'see you at the end of the year'.

We already heard the Xiaomi Mi 11 is expected to have the Snapdragon 875 chipset, and that processor is launching in December - could the caption refer to the Mi 11 coming in December, instead of February as we expected?

The image shows two phones that are certainly distinct from the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro. What's supposedly the Mi 11 has a screen that's flat at the edge, not curved as in the Mi 10, and has a colorful red power button. In addition, the screen cut-out for the selfie camera isn't in the top-left but the top-middle.

The Mi 11 Pro image does show curved edges, as the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, and also the same central cut-out of the Mi 11. There's no visible volume rocker, despite the Mi 10 Pro having it above the power button. That could be on the other edge of the phone, or maybe there's a digital version in a similar way to the Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

In general, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro doesn't appear like a huge design improvement over the Mi 10 Pro, and the base Mi 11 actually looks quite boring compared to its predecessor, but we could see some new features, as well as a more competitive price, to make up for it. 

As with all pre-release leaks, though, take this with a pinch of salt. However, with Xiaomi's push towards more flat-edge-screen phones with the Mi 10T line, the Mi 11 change makes sense.

Taking the fight to Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S20

Samsung Galaxy S20 (Image credit: Future)

We can't help but think about Samsung when viewing this leak.

The biggest news of the last few weeks was that the Samsung Galaxy S21 could be launching in mid-January. That's instead of late February as we originally expected, and rumors suggested this was so the company could better rival the iPhone 12 and the Huawei P50, likely launching around April 2021.

Well, it sounds like the Xiaomi Mi 11 might steal the Galaxy S21's thunder in terms of early releases if it does come out around December. People looking for a great Android phone might find the Mi 11 a better choice, and some people could opt not to wait for Samsung at all.

The design of the phones doesn't exactly dispel this thought - central punch-holes are something we see in many Samsung phones, but not many from other companies, and the choice between flat-edge or curved-edge phone echo the distinction between the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (flat-edge) or Galaxy S20 (curved-edge).

Early rumors point to the Galaxy S21 being pretty uninteresting, and a minor step up over the Galaxy S20, so if Xiaomi brings out some great new smartphones it could rival Samsung's top spot in our best phone rankings.

Still, there's a lot we don't know about the Xiaomi Mi 11, so we don't know right now if it will be a better or worse buy than the Galaxy S21. Rumors are really ramping up of late though, so stay tuned for news on the phones as we get it.

Via Gizchina

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.