Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3's flagship feature could come to... a cheap Xiaomi phone?

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite review
(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

There are already two different versions of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite - one with 5G which came to many regions, and one with 4G which only came to a few - but according to a rumor, two new versions of the phone are planned, and one might have a surprisingly top-end feature.

This comes from Twitter where @Xiaomiui posted an infographic about two new versions of the phone. It's not clear why Xiaomi would make four different versions of the same phone, but it's possible the devices in question could actually be Lite versions of the anticipated Xiaomi Mi 11T instead.

Apparently, the first of these new devices is codenamed Lisa, but will come out as the Mi 11 Lite NE (presumably New Edition). The rumor suggests it will have a 1080 x 2400 90Hz screen and will use the Snapdragon 778G chipset.

The second, codenamed Mona but with no actual release name yet, sounds similar in terms of screen resolution and chipset. However apparently it'll use a 120Hz screen and, in a surprise twist 'may have CUP', which is Xiaomi's name for 'Camera Under Panel' or an under-display selfie snapper.

Beyond the leak, we've no actual information about these two upcoming phones, so take them with all the salt in the sea.

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Analysis: a top-end feature for a budget phone

Under-display cameras are 2021's new tech innovation - first the Axon 20 5G had one, then another ZTE phone had one, but they were both early-days versions of the tech which we weren't impressed by.

Then, over the course of two days, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 were announced, both of which hid their selfie cameras under the screens too. We weren't wowed by Samsung's use of the tech on its phone; the Mi Mix 4 only launched in China, so we didn't get to test it, but reports suggest it's way better than what Samsung or ZTE did.

All these phones are definitely mid-rangers or premium handsets though, so if the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite or Mi 11T Lite actually uses the tech, it'll be a startling change for the price-locked feature.

Xiaomi's whole 'schtick' has been bringing top-end features to low-end phones, so if any company is going to democratize this hidden-selfie-camera trick, it's the big X. But usually when we see big innovations trickle down to budget phones it takes years, not months.

Plus by using the Mi Mix 4's version of the tech, unlike Samsung's or ZTE's, it might actually work, and not take ugly photos or be clearly visible under the screen.

As we said already, this is tentative information, so it's perhaps not worth getting your hopes up for this super-sounding Mi 11 Lite just yet. But thanks to Xiaomi's reputation, we're hopeful.

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. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.