Mi 11 Ultra hands-on: Xiaomi has truly outdone itself with this superphone

     Xiaomi’s Mi 11 Ultra permits you to customise the “signature” on its rear show. 
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    Are two screens higher than one? Xiaomi hopes to show so with the Mi 11 Ultra. Announced final month, it is the Chinese firm’s newest superphone and rounds out its new Mi 11 lineup. With the common Mi 11, Xiaomi already gave us a superb machine, packing practically every thing we anticipate from an Android flagship in 2021. But Xiaomi has outdone itself with the Mi 11 Ultra. After every week with the Mi 11 Ultra, I can say Xiaomi has as soon as once more leveled up its flagship sport by stacking a wonderful array of options — it actually left me shocked.Xiaomi has tons of brag materials right here. The Mi 11 Ultra has the world’s largest digicam sensor, the world’s widest ultrawide digicam, one of many brightest screens round, it shoots 8K video on all three cameras, and naturally there’s that headline-making second display on the rear.

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    But that second show is absolutely simply icing on the cake. The Mi 11 Ultra holds its personal with out it. There’s additionally a 6.5-inch OLED panel, Qualcomm’s quickest chip, the Snapdragon 888, a pointy and punchy entrance show, and a loud set of stereo audio system co-developed by Harman Kardon. Xiaomi normally will get a small ding in our protection for leaving out the IP ranking for water and dirt resistance, however that is now not the case: the Mi 11 Ultra’s IP68 ranking means it is waterproof.One factor absent within the Mi 11 Ultra is a reminiscence card slot for expandable storage, however this telephone has 256GB of storage — at the least the European model I used to be given did — so most will not want the additional storage, at the least not for some time. Models are more likely to fluctuate relying on the nation.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    If I needed to nitpick, the Mi 11 Ultra would lose factors for not totally dwelling as much as what Xiaomi says it may do, at the least in my expertise. For occasion, Xiaomi markets its second display in its place always-on show, however it may’t truly try this. In truth, the longest it may keep on is 30 seconds. Admittedly, whenever you’re utilizing it as a viewfinder, you will not run into this subject. Also, regardless of the various fancy options Xiaomi can brag about, a number of of them are gratuitous — however perhaps that is OK, as a result of is not that what a superphone is all about?Either approach, there is no denying that is one in all Xiaomi’s smartphone jewels, however you will must import if you would like in — there aren’t any plans for a launch stateside. You will not have to purchase a Chinese model, which does not have Google, because the Mi 11 Ultra will launch in Europe for 1,119 euros, which converts to $1,435, £970 or AU$1,860. That’s nearly precisely the identical because the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s beginning worth of 1,124 euros, which incorporates Europe’s 20% gross sales tax. The S21 Ultra begins at $1,125 for the 256GB model within the US, for comparability.The rear preview of my selfie.
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    Mi 11 Ultra design: Business in entrance, celebration within the againThe Mi 11 Ultra options the design trappings of a regular Android flagship in 2021 — from the entrance, at the least. It has a hole-punch notch housing the entrance selfie digicam, a gently curved show and ports or buttons of their normal locales. Once you flip this behemoth of a handset over, you will not miss the standout function: a second show, dwelling in a supersized digicam bump that takes up roughly 1 / 4 of the Mi 11 Ultra’s rear. It’s most likely the largest digicam bump I’ve ever seen and eclipses the huge bump seen on 2020’s Galaxy S20 Ultra.The finest use of the 1.1-inch AMOLED display is to show selfie previews, which means you have got the privilege of utilizing the three higher-resolution cameras, normally reserved for normal pictures, that will help you nail selfies or group pictures. But when the telephone’s foremost display is going through down, the second display can show notification alerts from apps like WhatsApp, or present you what audio you are listening to, or inform you the time. That mentioned, the second show actually contributes to the Mi 11 Ultra’s weight, which provides as much as 234 grams (8.25 ounces), so it most likely will not be snug to make use of one-handed for most individuals.Customization suite for the rear show.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    Meanwhile, the entrance show is similar as on the Mi 11. There’s a 6.81-inch AMOLED with a 120Hz refresh price, besides it is brighter with a peak brightness of 1,700 nits. Unlike most flagships, which usually use glass shielding, the Mi 11 Ultra has a ceramic rear, which is taken into account to be extra sturdy than glass. Corning’s robust Gorilla Glass Victus is on the entrance.  Mi 11 Ultra’s rear show is the icing on the cakeAlthough telephones sporting rear shows do exist (the Nubia Z20, as an example), it is a uncommon function that appears much more uncommon contemplating the Mi 11 Ultra is not foldable. Plus it is the primary time I’ve ever used one, so I’m positively soaking all of it in. Customizing the picture or signature on the rear show added an additional layer of personalization, a cool contact that made the telephone really feel much more my very own.At the identical time, nevertheless, I am unable to say I’m satisfied the second display will catch on. It has limitations in its present type. It’s difficult to see any element when snapping selfies because you’re relying on a tiny show, however it does operate as a tough information. You can solely take 15 seconds of video utilizing the selfie viewfinder, and portrait mode cannot be used in any respect. By the best way, the selfie preview function is not a part of the default settings, and must be switched on from the Special Features menu in settings.The selfie display could be custom-made with photographs or signatures. It additionally reveals battery life and notifications like incoming calls or messages from apps like WhatsApp.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    Mi 11 Ultra has the biggest digicam sensor on a smartphone proper nowThe celebration on the again of the Mi 11 Ultra continues with the stellar digicam module, composed of three rear sensors: a 50-megapixel foremost lens with a 1/1.12-inch sensor; a 48-megapixel ultrawide lens, with a 128-degree area of view; and a 48-megapixel telephoto lens. The 1/1.12-inch sensor on the principle digicam, Samsung’s GN2, might be the biggest ever on a smartphone. Bigger sensors can let extra gentle enter, serving to produce all-around higher pictures, particularly at evening. For context, the GN2 sensor is almost 20% bigger than the one on the S21 Ultra, and greater than 18% greater than the one within the iPhone 12 Pro Max.Those aren’t simply numbers: Taking vibrant and detailed pictures was easy. Zoom was spectacular too. The Mi 11 Ultra has 120x zoom, which based mostly on the specs at the least, means it is higher than the 100x zoom of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, however I did not have a Galaxy machine readily available to match. Either approach, photos taken with 120x zoom have been a jumble of pixels and completely unusable. You can get away with crisp pictures up till 15x zoom, perhaps 20x on a transparent day, however after that it will get fairly blurry.Taken with evening mode off.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    Photo taken with evening mode activated. You can see the way it brightens up the picture and lightens the plant on the bedside desk, including some element.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    This digicam simply captures pictures with pretty depth of area.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    Selfie taken with the ultrawide digicam at evening.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    Hong Kong earlier than sundown. Taken with the ultrawide digicam.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    Taken on default settings.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    5x zoom.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET
    10x zoom.
    Sareena Dayaram/CNET

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    Auxiliary options not forgottenThe Mi 11 Ultra is a meticulously designed machine, and it is clear that Xiaomi paid consideration to auxiliary options that do not catch consideration on different gadgets. For occasion, the flashlight’s highly effective rays beam vivid and much because of its triple LED lights. Using the Mi 11 Ultra, I managed to make it by an in any other case darkish evening with restricted visibility. I’ve harped on at size earlier than in regards to the Mi 11 lineups’ wonderful stereo audio system, so if you wish to learn in regards to the high quality, check out my evaluate of the Mi 11. The Mi 11 Ultra makes use of the identical speaker system, co-developed by Harman Kardon. As has been the case with the remainder of the Mi 11 lineup, Xiaomi contains equipment that foremost rivals Apple and Samsung have faraway from their packing containers. There’s a 67-watt charger, a plastic case and a USB-C cable contained in the Mi 11 Ultra’s black field.Mi 11 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S21

    Mi 11 Ultra

    Galaxy S21 Ultra

    Display measurement, kind, decision

    Front: 6.81-inch AMOLED show, 3,200×1,440 pixels. Rear: 1.1-inch AMOLED, 294×126 pixels

    6.8-inch Edge Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 3,200×1,440 pixels

    Pixel density

    Front: 515 ppi. Rear: 291 ppi

    515 ppi

    Dimensions (Inches)

    6.4×2.93×0.32 inches

    2.97×6.5×0.35 inches

    Dimensions (Millimeters)

    164.3×74.6 x 8.38 mm

    75.6×165.1×8.9 mm

    Weight ( Grams)



    Mobile software program

    Android 11

    Android 11


    50-megapixel (foremost with 1/1.12-inch sensor), 48-megapixel (ultrawide with 120-degree FOV), 48-megapixel (telephoto)

    108-megapixel (huge), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 10-megapixel (3x telephoto), 10-megapixel (10x telephoto)

    Front-facing digicam



    Video seize




    Snapdragon 888

    Snapdragon 888 64-bit octa-core processor 2.8GHz (max 2.4GHz+1.8GHz)


    256GB (in Europe)

    256GB, 512GB



    12GB, 16GB


    5,000 mAh

    5,000 mAh

    Fingerprint reader






    Headphone jack



    Special options

    Rear show, 120x digital zoom, 10x optical zoom, 5G, 67W wired and wi-fi charging, 10W reverse wi-fi, 120Hz show, Samsung GN2 sensor

    IP68 ranking, 5G-enabled, 100x Space Zoom, 10W wi-fi charging, 10x optical zoom

    Price (USD)

    Euro worth converts to $1,435 (256GB)

    $1,200 (128GB), $1,250 (256GB), $1,380 (512GB)

    Price (GBP)

    Euro worth converts to £970 (256GB)


    Price (AUD)

    Euro worth converts to AU$1,860 (256GB)


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