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Xiaomi Mi 11X review

The budget flagship for the masses

Xiaomi Mi 11X
(Image: © Srivatsa Ramesh)

TechRadar Verdict

The Xiaomi Mi 11X is a great flagship phone on a budget with a great value for money proposition. The device ticks almost every aspect of an affordable flagship phone but falls short in terms of camera.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent display

  • +

    Performance

  • +

    Macro camera

Cons

  • -

    The black variant is a fingerprint magnet

  • -

    Camera performance

  • -

    Prone to heating

2-miute review

Xiaomi is primarily known for its Redmi budget phones. However, in 2020, the company entered the premium space with the Xiaomi Mi 10 series. In 2021, the company announced three new flagship phones - the Mi 11X, Mi 11X Pro and top of the line Mi 11 Ultra.

The Mi 11X is the cheapest and is also the affordable flagship phone priced aggressively and packed with impressive specs. The Xiaomi Mi 11X starts at Rs 29,999 and falls in competition with the OnePlus Nord, iQoo 7, Pixel 4a, and Realme X7 Pro. In short, the Mi 11X is an impressive phone with all the bells and whistles that a 2021 mid-range phone needs to succeed. 

Being the affordable flagship phone for the season, the Mi 11X comes with an excellent Samsung E4 AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. This is the best panel we’ve seen on a smartphone under Rs 30,000 to date. In terms of hardware, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor is in the heart which files through anything thrown at it. 

The chipset is paired with LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage which makes things even smoother. However, the phone tends to heat while gaming and stay warm on most occasions - a concern that could be fixed with an OTA update.

With all the aforementioned impressive features, the Mi 11X falls short in the camera department with its average performance. MIUI 12 is still not the perfect software - it has its feature set as well as bugs. But, the ad-free experience is refreshing. The battery life is on par with other flagship smartphones, but the charging speeds are not the best in the segment.

The Mi 11X ticks every box that you’d expect from a budget flagship phone in 2021. The Xiaomi Mi 11X feels like a OnePlus flagship from a couple of years back with the top of the line hardware that is let down by the cameras. We’d recommend the Mi 11X to anyone but shutterbugs.

Xiaomi Mi 11X price and availability 

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Buy Xiaomi Mi 11X on Amazon (opens in new tab)

6GB +128GB: Rs 29,999

8GB +128GB: Rs 31,999

The Xiaomi Mi 11X is priced at Rs 29,999 for the base variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The 8GB +128GB variant is priced at Rs 31,999. In terms of colour options, you get Celestial Silver, Lunar White and Cosmic Black. Amazon (opens in new tab)is the official e-commerce partner. 

You can avail of Rs 2,500 cashback with HDFC bank debit, credit, and EMI transactions. This offer is valid till May 31, 2021

Design

The Xiaomi Mi 11X looks quite stunning in the first look. The device is straight on 2021-ish  when it comes to the design of a flagship phone, be it the tiny bezels, small punch-hole camera cutout, a frosted glass design, and stand out rear camera design. The Mi 11X is available in Celestial Silver, Lunar White and Cosmic Black colourways. We are using the Cosmic Black colour option for the review and here is what we think. 

The Black variant looks beautiful on the first look but it takes a lot of effort to keep it away from fingerprints and smudges. The back of the phone is glossy and looks almost like a mirror. The frosted glass on the back is plain and doesn't have any pattern or texture. During our usage, we had to clean the phone’s back multiple times to keep it clean. Taking pictures for review was very hard as well. 

Personally, I think the Celestial Silver and Lunar White colour variants are better off when compared to the Cosmic Black unless you really need a black phone. The Celestial Silver is a pretty cool colour that changes the colour with each angle and as it gets light from different angles. 

The Mi 11X is reasonably light at 196 grams and quite thin at just 7.8mm profile, making it easy to handle in the pocket as well as hand. The weight distribution and in-hand feel are quite good here. To the right, you get a power button that also doubles up as a fingerprint reader, unlike the other fingerprint scanners we’ve seen in the past, the one here slightly comes out of the body like the volume button. The volume rocker is placed on top of the power button. On the top, you get the speaker grille, earpiece, and an IR blaster. On the bottom, you get a SIM tray, Type-C port, and loudspeaker.  

Xiaomi Mi11X

Back panel just after few minutes of usage (Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The phone’s front is dominated by the display and a small punch-hole selfie camera is placed on the top centre along with a ring around the selfie shooter. The device is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front as well as on the back sandwiched between a plastic frame - which isn’t a deal breaker. IP53 dust and water resistance also make the cut.

Overall, we did like the design of the phone (Black variant) but the back of the phone is too glossy as well as attracts fingerprints and smudges easily, which makes it look much less attractive than it was out of the box. The company is also offering a free transparent case in the box and there is a pre-applied screen protector on the front.

Display

The Xiaomi Mi 11X comes with a gorgeous display and is certainly one of the star features of the device. With Mi 11X you are getting Samsung’s E4 AMOLED panel and on top of that, you also get a 120Hz screen refresh rate, 360Hz touch sampling rate, and 1,300 units of peak brightness. You are looking at a 6.67-inch display with Full HD+ resolution and  Widevine L1 certified along with support for HDR content. This is also the cheapest E4 AMOLED panel right now in India. The E4 AMOLED is probably the best screen panel available for smartphones right now. It reduces power consumption by 15% compared to the last generation and also comes with MEMC for low frame rate content. 

The Mi 11X’s panel is one of the best flat displays we’ve come across - it is vibrant, colourful, punchy and has the right balance to it. Moreover, you have the option to calibrate the display under settings. The default calibration is slightly oversaturated which most people actually prefer. The blacks are deep and the display is amazing to watch a movie or a show thanks to the dual stereo speaker setup as well. 

The readability of the indoor and outdoor conditions are both great; we had no issues with it at all. However we did face one weird issue while we were outdoors, with brightness set to 100% with auto-brightness turned off, the phone couldn't keep up the brightness level longer than 10-15 seconds. This usually happens outdoors and when the phone starts heating, more on that in a minute. 

The brightness control seems very aggressive here, so we hope an upcoming OTA update should be able to fix this issue. Apart from that, the device also misses out on adaptive refresh rate which means you are getting 120Hz or 60Hz and nothing in between. Most of the time the refresh rate is at 120Hz which also includes games. But, YouTube app UI, as well as videos, run at 60Hz. 

We are quite impressed with the E4 AMOLED panel on the Mi 11X, barring a couple of issues that we think can be fixed with an update. The display on the phone is one of the best in the sub Rs 30,000 segment.

Performance

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Another feature that makes the phone stand out from the crowd, the Mi 11X is the cheapest phone with Snapdragon 870 processor - it even undercuts the iQoo 7. It is an octa-core processor with a clock speed of up to 3.2GHz. It is based on a 7nm process and comes with X55 5G modem. Graphics and gaming content are handled by Adreno 650 GPU. It is a 5G enabled chipset with support for n77/n78 bands. 

The device is available in two configurations 6/8GB of LPDDR5 RAM paired with 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage. There is no microSD card slot to expand the storage, so you will have to deal with 128GB internal storage no matter which configuration you choose. 

As you’d expect, the Snapdragon 870 is quite a capable hardware and it performs really well no matter what task you throw at it, which may include apps, games, or be it camera apps like snapchat, camera, and Instagram. Apps load fast and the overall UI is also smooth thanks to the powerful processor. 

Xiaomi Mi 11X

Always on Display (Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

We played games like Asphalt 9, CoD Mobile, PUBG with maxed out settings and all of them performed well, but the heating issue was heating. While it does shine at performance, the phone also heats up quickly with regular use and gets hot while gaming for 10 to 15 minutes and it becomes quite hot especially around the top half and we had to quit the game just because the heat was unbearable. Apart from that, the phone is also on the warmer side most of the time given the summer season. And, we think this is also one of the reasons why the brightness level also acts up often. 

The heating issue here is real and if you are a gamer, you might want to wait for a few days so that the company can fix the issue with an update. Apart from that, the Mi 11X is a champion when it comes to performance. We also did not face any issues with calls, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth connectivity. 

Cameras

The Xiaomi Mi 11X packs in a  triple-camera setup with a 48MP (Sony IMX582) main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 5MP macro shooter with a 50mm focal length. Selfies are handled by a 20MP punch-hole camera. During our initial testing, we were able to capture some good images with the primary camera while the macro camera impressed us the most. Also, you can’t record 4K videos at 60fps on the camera as it is the limitation of the Sony sensor. 

Xiaomi has set a standard pretty high in the budget segment this year especially with the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. The Mi 11X on the other hand is a more premium phone, but the cameras aren’t the area in which it shines - allow us to explain. 

Starting off with the main camera, where the phone falls short compared to the competition. The 48MP Sony IMX582 primary shooter takes some decent pictures in the day with good details but falls short in terms of dynamic range and when you slightly zoom in, one can also notice some noise. During the night time, the images come out with noise. The Night mode does help to an extent by making the image brighter and getting the right exposure, the overall image itself isn't improved when compared. 

Simply put, this isn’t the best primary camera in the segment as the competition offers better output with 64MP, 108MP, or even the Pixel 4a with a 12.2MP main camera. 

The 8MP wide-angle lens creates a wider view by adding more perspective, but in the process, it also makes the images softer and it performances poorly after the sunset. Night mode for the wide-angle camera is also available, but it adds more noise to the image. 

The 5MP macro camera is probably the best performer out of all three cameras. It also gets 2x magnification which means you can get closer to the subject and capture some crisp shots. The focus is fairly good and the light sensitivity is also accurate here. This is also the same macro lens that we’ve seen on the Redmi Note 10 Pro series

In terms of selfies, the 20MP is also pretty average here as the camera seems to mess with skin tones more often than not. But, it does serve the purpose of social media posts and video calls. 

As for the video recording, you can record up to 4k @ 30fps and the device also comes with a mic on the camera module, the audio pick up from that mic is pretty good and for those who need to record something quick with good audio quality, the Mi 11X won’t disappoint you. 

Apart from these, the MIUI camera also offers multiple modes and filters including a short video, vlog, panorama, document, slow-mo, time-lapse, dual-video, movie effects, and pre-set long exposure. 

Overall, as a package, the Xiaomi Mi 11X fails to impress us with its cameras and is certainly not the best in the segment. If the camera is your top priority, the Pixel 4a or even the iQoo 7 is a better choice. 

Software

(Image credit: Future)

Out of the box, the device runs on MIUI 12 based on Android 11. The MIUI 12.5 update should be arriving a couple of months from now, but we don't have an exact timeline for the same. In terms of design, the MIUI is still the same with a tonne of customization options as well as a few bloatware. Unlike other Android skins, the MIUI offers a selection between two notification panel - the traditional one with notification toggle + notification section or the new Control centre. 

The phone does come with some pre-installed apps while some of them can be uninstalled, certain apps can’t be uninstalled or disabled. The most annoying out of the lot is the GetApps which is a play store alternative that keeps pushing notifications regularly. It is also worth mentioning that we did not see any ads during our usage. You get a bunch of privacy and security related features on the phone along with Always on Display, which time stays on all the time. 

Further, the Xiaomi Mi 11X also comes with features like a quick ball, gesture shortcuts, one-handed mode, clear speaker, Game turbo, video toolbox, floating window, second space, and lite mode. 

MIUI 12 is still not bug-free software, during our testing times we did notice a few bugs. A few times the camera apps crashed when we opened the app and the RAM management was good for most times, but on a few occurrences, the apps had to reload after a short span of time. Also, the battery optimization is too aggressive and we did miss out on push notifications from apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and more even though, the battery optimization was turned off. 

The software is good and usable for the most part, but we really hope Xiaomi can squash the bugs and also provide MIUI 12.5 soon which also brings the capability to remove some of the inbuilt apps. 

Battery

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The Xiaomi Mi 11X’s power is delivered by a 4,520mAh battery unit with support for 33W fast charging. Xiaomi claims the phone can reach 50% in 19 minutes and a full charge takes about 51 minutes. However, we got a full charge in 63 minutes on average, which is not exactly what the company claims, but still acceptable. 

(Image credit: Future)

In terms of battery life, we got around five to six hours of screen on time regularly, which is just above average. Five hours is what we got with an hour of gaming and six hours on a day when we did not play games, but just social media and work-related apps. We did have a massive overnight drain (~30%) on one occupation, but it never occurred again.

With each cycle, we did manage to get through the day’s use and we have to plug only at the time of dinner. If anything, we’d like to see Xiaomi offer faster-charging speeds - for now even the Rs 12,000 Redmi Note 10 offers the same and the competition of Mi 11X offers up to 65W fast charging.

Everything else

The Xiaomi Mi 11X comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is pretty convenient and works well. In addition, you also get face to unlock which is snappy. The device is also packed with a dual speakers setup and three microphones, the speakers are good and the audio pickup from the mic is excellent. It also supports Dolby Atmos and Hi-Res wired and wireless audio. The device misses out on the 3.5mm headphone, so you will have to rely on wireless earbuds or Type-C earphones. IR Blaster, dual-frequency GPS with NavIC Support, X-axis linear vibration motor are also present. 

Should I buy Xiaomi Mi 11X?

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Buy it if...

You want an excellent screen

The Samsung E4 AMOLED panel is one of the best screens we’ve seen on a phone in this price segment. This combined with a 120Hz refresh rate is certainly the best you’d get on a flagship phone. 

You want best-in-class performance

The Snapdragon 870 handles every task efficiently be it apps or graphics-intensive gaming, the phone shines. The class-leading performance is yet another reason to get the Mi 11X. 

You want a capable macro lens

We’ve been seeing phones with a 2MP macro shooter being pretty much useless, even on a flagship phone. The Xiaomi Mi 11X’s 5MP macro shooter with 2x magnification is one of the best tertiary cameras we’ve come across and it can click great close-ups. 

Don't buy it if...

The camera is your top priority

The phone’s major disappointment comes in terms of the primary which is just average when compared to the competition

You want faster-charging speed

We’ve seen phones with 50W and 65W charging speeds in the same price segment, but Xiaomi still bundles 33W fast charging, which takes about 60 minutes to charge the device. 

You can extend your budget

If you want a better camera and you can expand your budget, you can get the Mi 11X Pro or even the newly launched iQoo 7 series. 


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Buy Xiaomi Mi 11X on Amazon (opens in new tab)

6GB +128GB: Rs 29,999

8GB +128GB: Rs 31,999

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Srivatsa Ramesh
Srivatsa Ramesh

Srivatsa is a prolific writer who spearheads the core writing team on tech news, buying guides, reviews, and all gadget articles. He is passionate about technology.