Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review: Xiaomi can be top class, but
The Mi 11 Ultra should take a new direction for Xiaomi. Instead of flagship killers, now set new standards. You can find out whether the device made it in our test.
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Design and workmanship
The Mi 11 Ultra has an interesting and new design. The front is already known from the Mi 11. The front camera sits in a “punch hole” on the left side of the display, the sides are slightly rounded. The volume rocker is on the right side of the device, underneath the on / off button. But it gets interesting on the back of the device. The camera "hump" is more of a camera "attachment". The main camera and ultra-wide-angle camera are arranged horizontally, with a 120x zoom camera underneath. In the same "hump" next to the cameras there is a small second display, which is the identical 1,1 "display from the Mi Band 5.
The processing of the device is high quality in all respects. The back is made of ceramic, the front of the latest Gorilla Glass Victus. The frame is made of aluminum and also feels very high quality. The camera "attachment" has advantages and disadvantages. The device does not wobble when typing on the table. On the other hand, it slips when the display is on the table and is very clunky in everyday life. In summer with shorts it becomes very difficult to stow the device well and it is also heavy with 234g. The opinions on this design were very balanced in my environment. While some found the camera boom simply "ugly", others were impressed by the size and felt it was a "real camera in a smartphone".
Despite everything, I'm very impressed with the design and workmanship, Xiaomi has done a really good job here.
Let's talk about the display, or rather the displays. Because the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra has two of them, although only one is really useful. The 6,81 “display on the front is huge and the best I have ever seen in a smartphone. With a maximum resolution of WQHD + (1440 x 3200) and a refresh rate of 120 Hertz, it is really a very good OLED panel, and the device also achieves top values in terms of color fidelity in the DCI-P3 and sRGB + gray values color space.
Anyone who likes to watch films or series on their smartphone will be very satisfied with the display. Only the rounded corners are annoying in everyday life, but they have also partly become trademarks of Xiaomi flagships.
The second display
The second display, on the other hand, disappointed me. What hadn't I imagined, battery indicator when charging with a nice animation, brief overview of notifications or fitness values? What remains is the time and date. Xiaomi has not fully exhausted the potential. There would have been a lot more inside here. There are currently three modes: date/time, an animation or a saying (which can be customized). In addition, notifications are displayed as they arrive. Unfortunately, you cannot interact with them. There are rumors about an upcoming update, but " Rate it Proproduct never after what it should be, but what it actually is".
A nice feature of the second display is its use as a viewfinder for the front camera. This means that selfie shots can also be taken with the good sensors on the back. It's a little cumbersome, but the results are surprisingly good. The music player I used the most, but also hated the most. Anyone who likes to listen to a lot of music at the same time will love the idea of a rotating record on a small display. Stopping the music for a moment or jumping forwards and backwards is a great thing and it worked well in everyday life if it weren't for the incorrect entries. The second display is also activated from time to time in your pocket, which leads to unwanted jumps in the playlist. I got that resolved Problem by turning the device with the display "up" in my trouser pocket, it was still annoying.
When it comes to hardware, Xiaomi only uses the latest and best, with one small exception. as ProThe processor uses Qualcomm's best SoC, the Snapdragon 888, with 12 gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of internal memory. The device is the first Xiaomi smartphone with an official IP certification, the smartphone is IP68 waterproof. The storage is very fast with UFS 3.1, and apps install pleasantly quickly. The modem enables WLAN 6e (ax), Bluetooth 5.2 and 5G, the current and future-proof mobile phone standards.
The speakers are located above and below in the frame of the device and are convincing across the board. Strong and loud sound, especially in the middle. Xiaomi has always set standards in the speaker area for smartphones, now one more time.
A real point of criticism is a small detail. Xiaomi uses 67 watts for both wired and wireless charging, but only USB 2.0 for data transfer. The device is marketed as a “smartphone with which movies can also be shot”, but if the entire gigabyte can only be transferred slowly to the computer, then one component is missing when “making films”. The battery is big on paper with 5000 mAh, but a 6,81 “display and the Snapdragon 888 draw a lot of power. But more on that later in the text.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: cameras
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra has four cameras installed, a 20 megapixel front camera and three cameras on the back. The main camera has a resolution of 50 megapixels and is a wide-angle camera. This works hand in hand with two 48 megapixel sensors for ultra-wide-angle shots and zoom shots. A 5x optical zoom is possible, probably the most frequently used for many in everyday life.
I had hoped a lot from the cameras from the Mi 11 Ultra. Did i get disappointed? No! Was I pleasantly surprised? Also no. I think the camera is good, one of the best in a smartphone so far. But is it the best ever? No.
The pictures are really good, the colors (especially in daylight) are very clear and portraits are captured well. The large sensor pays off with bokeh. This is also the case with the Pixel 5, but it has two much more inconspicuous cameras. Zoom shots are where the Mi 11 Ultra really shines. 5x, 10x and even up to 120x zoom is possible. The latter usually doesn't bring usable images, but it is really impressive to read small details or text. These are functions that I expect for an MSRP of 1199 euros. Night shots are good, but Huawei or Samsung are still superior.
Xiaomi really shines and surprises with its unique functions in the camera and gallery app. Xiaomi's approach is clever: make complex effects as simple and user-friendly as possible. Regardless of whether people "clone" or supermod: the Xiaomi camera app offers many functions. They are rarely used in everyday life, but when they are needed, they are fun.
Another strength (which was very underrated for me) is the Xiaomi gallery app. Photos can be post-processed there in "Photoshop Style". With one click, people disappear from pictures or the sky is subsequently exchanged. It works surprisingly easily and is currently out of competition.
Videos can be in 4K with 60 frames pro second or 8K and 24 frames pro second to be recorded. These look really nice and well stabilized. So if you like to film a lot in everyday life, you will like the Mi 11 Ultra very much. But after 4-5 minutes of filming in 4K, the device quickly gets hot.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: battery
The battery is 5000 mAh, but the 4500 mAh on the Mi 11 were quickly drained. Unfortunately, this is no different with the Mi 11 Ultra. The battery life levels out at 3 to 4 hours of "screen time". A maximum of 6 hours was achieved. It also practically doesn't matter whether the resolution is WQHD + or FullHD +, you can't get by with the device for more than a day. It is an advantage that Xiaomi includes a 67 watt quick charger with every user, but my press sample did not come with one. That's why I used my 33 watt fast charger. But colleagues speak of a charging time of less than 40 minutes from 0 to 100. The device can also charge wirelessly with the full charging power of 67 watts, the charger is available from Xiaomi for 100 euros.
All in all, the battery is not a "monster", but it can be recharged quickly. Here I would have wished for better software optimization. Of the Prozessor eats up a lot of battery and could have been throttled more in many everyday apps.
Xiaomi's MIUI 12 runs as software on the device, an update to MIUI 12.5 is available for direct download. This is based on Android 11, an update to Android 12 will follow at the end of summer / year. Unfortunately, Xiaomi does not make an update promise. At a price of 1199 euros, that's a big point of criticism. There are usually two major updates, but manufacturers such as Samsung, OnePlus, Oppo and Google guarantee three major OS updates. Xiaomi definitely has to follow suit, especially at such a price.
The software itself has gotten a lot better (in my opinion) over the years. The apps and settings appear tidy, the software appears fluid thanks to many animations and there are many setting options. Especially the "super wallpapers" are a real eye-catcher and well integrated. I have already read about the camera app in the camera sectionprochen, the rest of the in-house apps also work well.
A Problem i have with advertising apps. With cheap Redmi devices, I can understand that advertising apps can reduce the price by a few euros, but that's not possible with a flagship. Sure, the apps can be deleted with a few clicks, but they really shouldn't be there.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: conclusion
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is one of the best smartphones out there, without question the best Xiaomi device ever. A great display, very good equipment and a very good camera, which can definitely keep up with Samsung and co. But you can tell that it is the first real “ultra flagship” from Xiaomi. The software and hardware do not yet work together as perfectly as with Samsung or Apple and there are still some issues. Xiaomi would like to set new standards with anomalies such as the second display or unique camera functions. That definitely works with the camera functions, the second display is still more of a gimmick to date. Can I recommend the device for a price of 1199 euros?
Difficult, you should definitely have it in your hands in the store. Because if the haptics and the large camera hill bother you, then you will have a hard time with the device in everyday life. A far better solution from Xiaomi would be the normal Mi 11. If this isn't for you ProIf you are a fan of second displays, then the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is a flagship phone with a very good display and good camera. But I had hoped that the price would quickly fall below the 1000 euro mark, which is unfortunately not the case. Because the Mi 11 Ultra is not the only flagship on the market and with the OnePlus 9 Pro, Galaxy S21 Ultra and Oppo Find X3 Pro three very strong Android phones as competitors, all three of which are already below this 1000 euro mark. You should definitely have a look at these three phones before you buy them.