Mi 11X Review: Who Says You Have to be an All-Rounder?

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The Mi 11X from Xiaomi is the most affordable of three new models in the Mi 11 family. It’s priced a bit lower than the Mi 10T but offers plenty of updated features, most notably its Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC which is only one step below the current flagship level. Priced starting at Rs. 29,999, this phone could offer a lot of bang for the buck – as long as you aren’t looking for every possible premium feature. While some phones these days go heavy on camera or battery performance at the cost of everything else, and others try to be well-balanced all-rounders, the Mi 11X is all about its processor.

That said, the Mi 11X does also have other noteworthy features, particularly its display and design. So who will this appeal to? Gamers make up a significant segment, and considering that dedicated gaming phones are often much bulkier and more expensive, there should be plenty of people who like this approach. If you’re not sure whether the Mi 11X is right for you, read on.

Mi 11X price in India and buying options

Xiaomi has launched the Mi 11X in two variants. The base version has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 29,999, but you can also get it with 8GB of RAM and the same amount of storage for Rs. 31,999. Depending on what bank you use, you can get up to Rs. 3,500 off. With only a Rs. 2,000 difference between variants, the higher priced one seems to make a lot more sense. The lower starting price might work great psychologically, but given the high-end processor, it makes sense to spend a little more for the potential added future-proofing. The phone will be available officially on Mi.com and Amazon as well as at Xiaomi’s own retail locations and other offline stores.

Along with the Mi 11X, Xiaomi has also launched the Mi 11X Pro, which shares the same body and is priced starting at Rs. 39,999. This upgraded model features the flagship Snapdragon 888 SoC and a 108-megapixel main rear camera, but both have the same screen, battery, and other features. Both phones are available in the same three colours: Cosmic Black, Frosty White, and Celestial Silver.

Xiaomi uses different branding and positioning strategies in different countries, so you might see the Mi 11X sold as the Redmi K40 or also as the Poco F3. There might be minor differences to suit each market but it appears that they all come from the same mould, so don’t be confused by mentions of these other names online.

The Mi 11X has an extremely reflective rear panel made of Gorilla Glass 5

 

Mi 11X design

The Mi 11X looks refreshingly plain, with no elaborate flourishes and no over-the-top branding elements like we’ve seen from some of the competition of late. The camera module on the rear is noticeable but not attention-grabbing, and doesn’t protrude much even with its two-step design. Just like the Redmi Note 10 series, the frame is slightly flattened on the top and bottom, and bulges on the right where it envelopes the power and volume buttons.

The Cosmic Black and Frosty White options are pretty plain, while Celestial Silver appears to be a subtle gradient finish. My black unit picked up a lot of smudges and fingerprints as soon as I started using it. The rear panel is extremely reflective but thankfully not too smooth or slippery.

Having a 6.67-inch screen makes this phone pretty tall and wide, but it is fairly average in terms of thickness and weight at 7.8mm and 196g respectively. Like we saw on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max (Review), the front camera hole is very small but is unfortunately surrounded by a silver ring which can be very distracting. My review unit came with a pre-applied screen protector but it was slightly misaligned, which made the camera hole even more noticeable – though this is a minor, subjective issue.

There’s a speaker grille for stereo sound and Xiaomi’s trademark infrared emitter on the top. The power button on the right has an integrated fingerprint sensor, and my right thumb rested on it naturally. The volume buttons are above it. On the bottom, you’ll find a dual Nano-SIM tray, a USB Type-C port, and the primary speaker. A Type-C to 3.5mm audio adapter is included in the box, along with a clear plastic case, the 33W charger, and a USB cable.

We’re always happy to see an IP rating, and the Mi 11X is dust and water resistant up to the IP53 standard. The front and rear are made of Corning Gorilla Glass 5.

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The Mi 11X has a 6.67-inch full-HD+ AMOLED screen

 

Mi 11X specifications and software

The Snapdragon 870 has so far only been seen in a small number of phones such as the OnePlus 9R (Review) and Vivo X60 Pro (Review), both of which cost more but also boast of other high-end features. iQoo’s recently announced iQoo 7 is a closer match in terms of pricing. The Snapdragon 870 is a very minor refresh of the Snapdragon 865, but as we’ve already seen, it’s still a powerhouse. Xiaomi has also used UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR5 RAM.

For gaming and entertainment, the choice of a 6.67-inch AMOLED panel should work well. It has a full-HD+ (1080×2400) resolution, 120Hz maximum refresh rate and 360Hz touch sampling rate, and HDR10+ with a 1300nit peak brightness rating. Colour reproduction is said to be 100 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut. There’s also support for MEMC motion smoothing which is said to potentially make low-framerate content look more fluid, as well as AI-based HDR enhancement. There isn’t an in-dispay fingerprint sensor – you’ll find it integrated into the power button on the side.

Xiaomi has gone with a 4,520mAh battery and promises up to 11 hours of gaming per charge. You get a 33W fast charger in the box, which should support the USB-PD and Qualcomm Quick Charge standards and deliver a full charge in under an hour. The Mi 11X also has stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos said to be added in a future software update, and high-res certification for wired and wireless headsets.

There are two Nano-SIM slots but no provision for microSD storage expansion. You get Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and multiple navigation systems including NavIC, but no NFC (the company’s website did list NFC support until Gadgets 360 contacted a representative for confirmation). A haptic motor provides physical feedback for gestures and taps. One potential minor inconvenience is that the USB port works only at USB 2.0 speed for data transfers.

Xiaomi ships the Mi 11X with MIUI 12.0.3, and I received an update to 12.0.4 during the review period. This is based on Android 11, and my unit had the April 2021 security patch. The experience is pretty much the same as on other recent Xiaomi phones including the Redmi Note 10 series. One continuing issue is the prevalence of advertising and promotional notifications. You have the choice to disable ‘Glance’ content on the lockscreen during setup, which I would highly recommend. Xiaomi has said that MIUI 12.5 will remove this and also allow users to uninstall nearly all of the preloaded apps, which I look forward to.

MIUI 12 has loads of customisation options including themes, an optional app drawer, navigation gestures, a Lite mode, a secure Second Space for private data, and an always-on display mode.

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There’s a dual Nano-SIM tray on the bottom but no microSD card slot or 3.5mm audio socket

 

Mi 11X performance

This phone is designed to deliver class-leading performance for its price, and so of course it does well when it comes to ordinary usage. It feels responsive when performing actions, especially when using MIUI’s navigation gestures. The 120Hz screen refresh rate does seem to help the experience feel snappy. The fingerprint sensor worked well, but its location means that it is easy to activate inadvertently while just holding the phone.

The screen is bright and vibrant, making the Mi 11X great for watching videos on. Together with the processor, it means that games are also highly enjoyable. The main complaint I have is the silver ring around the front camera – although Xiaomi boasts of how small the hole is, the ring still calls attention to it which is distracting when trying to focus on content on screen. There are options within the Android Settings app to tweak the colour profile and toggle the reading mode. AI HDR and video smoothing do make slight differences, but you’ll need specific kinds of content to really notice them.

One pleasant surprise is that the speakers are quite well balanced and produce a very wide, engaging sound. Bass is definitely lacking but the sound doesn’t distort even at high volume, and most music as well as spoken content sounds good. Dolby Atmos can be tweaked using the Video Toolbox overlay, and the improvement in clarity is immediately audible.

Xiaomi blocks many benchmarks on its pre-release phones, but AnTuTu 9 was able to run and reported a score of 673,855 which is marginally higher than what the OnePlus 9R managed. Games were quite smooth – both Asphalt 9: Legends and Call of Duty Mobile ran well at their highest settings, but the screen refresh rate seems limited to 60Hz and 90Hz respectively. The upper back of the phone did get a bit warm after about 10 minutes of playing.

I was able to use the Mi 11X for a full day without worrying about the battery running out. With a few hours of video streaming, gaming, camera use, and general Internet usage, you shouldn’t have any trouble lasting at least from morning to night. Our HD video loop test ran for 17 hours, 16 minutes, which is good but not spectacular.

The Mi 11X did charge very quickly – I logged the battery level at 67 percent after being plugged in to the bundled charger for 30 minutes and hit 100 percent after just 56 minutes, which is just slightly over what Xiaomi claims but still very convenient. The phone was off, but its entire body got extremely hot while charging.

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The silver ring around the front camera can be distracting. An IR emitter is located in the speaker grille at the top.

 

Mi 11X cameras

Xiaomi has resisted the temptation of marketing and gone with only three rear cameras on the Mi 11X: a 48-megapixel primary rear camera with a Sony IMX582 sensor and f/1.79 aperture, an 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, and a 5-megapixel “telemacro” camera with 2X zoom. The front camera has a 20 megapixel resolution and f/2.45 aperture.

The MIUI camera app is not entirely straightforward – some controls such as switching to the Macro camera are buried in menus, although other things like switching video resolutions are more accessible than usual. The main carousel of modes is customisable so you can choose which ones you want at your fingertips and which can live in a spillover menu. There are lots of camera modes and options to play with.

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Mi 11X daytime camera samples (top: standard; bottom: ultra-wide) (tap to see full size)

 

While the 48-megapixel primary camera is quite good in general, photo quality isn’t the main priority that went into developing this phone – that’s a key differentiator for the more expensive Mi 11X Pro. Still, the industry standard is high enough that you won’t be left disappointed. Photos taken in the daytime were a little lacking in terms of dynamism and vibrance, whereas other phones tend to saturate colours to make everything pop. Detail is good when subjects are well lit, but you might find textures a little lacking if you magnify photos all the way on a big screen. Portrait mode also does a good job.

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Mi 11X daytime macro camera sample (tap to see full size)

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Mi 11X daytime portrait mode camera sample (tap to see full size)

 

The ultra-wide camera doesn’t do a bad job but you can expect some distortion at the edges of the frame. The “telemacro” camera is much more interesting – this seems to be similar to the implementation on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, and it’s just as impressive. You can capture detailed macros without needing to be too close to your subject, which means you don’t obstruct light and framing is easier. However, there’s no focus guide on screen which means a lot of trial and error is needed. If you take your time, you can get some dramatic results.

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Mi 11X low-light camera samples (top: standard; middle: night mode; bottom: ultra-wide) (tap to see full size)

 

 

Details get a bit murky in photos taken at night, and there’s plenty of noise. Night mode definitely makes things brighter and helps with exposure balance, but there isn’t necessarily any improvement in definition and there’s potential for shots to be affected by motion blur. As expected, the ultra-wide camera does a very poor job at night, with poor exposures and weak detail. However, night mode actually makes it usable. You can capture some reasonable shots in the dark. The macro camera also struggles to pick out small subjects.

 

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Mi 11X selfie camera samples (top: daytime; bottom: low-light) (tap to see full size)

 

Beautification is on by default with the front camera. Skin textures didn’t look too good when magnified but portrait mode creates good-looking depth behind the subject.

Video recording goes up to 4K 30fps (the Mi 11X Pro can do 4K 60fps plus HDR). Quality is good at 1080p as well as 4K. Footage shot in the daytime isn’t too shaky despite the lack of OIS, but there’s severe juddering if you record video while walking at night.

mi 11x cameras ndtv mi 11x

Xiaomi has gone with three rear cameras on the Mi 11X

 

Verdict

Smartphone makers have limited ways in which to make their offerings stand out, and with premium features constantly becoming available at lower and lower prices, there isn’t that much room for differentiation at each price level. Xiaomi already has a portfolio stuffed with feature-rich phones across its Mi and Redmi series, plus the recently spun off Poco brand. With the Mi 11X, Xiaomi has chosen to tilt the scales in favour of processor power and overall polish, somewhat sacrificing camera quality in the bargain.

If you aren’t too concerned about camera quality, this is a great phone for around Rs. 30,000. Games run well, and thanks to the slick screen plus powerful SoC, there’s a lot of potential for entertainment as well as general-purpose use, and some degree of headroom for future needs is built in. I also like the small touches, like good stereo speakers, an IP rating, and fast charging. With the promised MIUI 12.5 update, the software should become much more user-friendly, but that isn’t a factor we can take into account yet while adding up the scores.

Ultimately, the Mi 11X is a strong contender but not as an all-rounder. If your needs align with what it offers, you’ll be happy with it – especially considering the price.



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