Historically, Xiaomi has been a consistent contender to launch the first phones with next-generation Qualcomm silicon. It’s taken the lead again this year by announcing its Mi 11 series of phones complete with the Snapdragon 888. With that new engine comes a cavalry of other upgrades.
While some goodies sprout from the Snapdragon 888 such as Wi-Fi 6, better 5G, and more powerful AI processing, others are around to augment its abilities — faster memory in the form of UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR5 dual-channel RAM and some liquid cooling infrastructure.
The giant pumpkin weighing contest of the smartphone industry seems to be in the display department and Xiaomi has contributed its webpage inches to a lot of boasting: 10-bit AMOLED display with refresh rate of up to 120Hz, touch sampling up to 480Hz, maximum brightness of 1,500 nits, contrast measured at 5 million to one, and an A+ rating from DisplayMate. It’s big at 6.81″ across, but tall with a 20:9 aspect ratio, and topped off with this year’s Gorilla Glass Victus from Corning. The screen is accompanied by stereo speakers with Harman Kardon branding.
Another spec fight, this one particularly attuned to Chinese OEMs, is with power. The company has decided to go with 55W wired charging and 50W wireless charging — this guarantees a zero-to-full pump cycle in 53 minutes or less — with 10W reverse charging via Qi. Through USB-C, the Mi 11 supports Power Delivery as well as Qualcomm’s proprietary Quick Charge 4.
For this phone, Xiaomi is more or less sticking with the Mi 10’s camera combination which includes Samsung’s top-end HMX 108MP sensor (though at a very slightly slower aperture), a 13MP wide-angle camera, and a macro camera rated at 5MP.
The phone comes in three glass finishes and two cut from vegan leather — far away from the days of the Moto X with its vegetable-tanned Horween leather, but maybe we and the animals we derive the material from are better off for it. Speaking of conservation, the company will only be supplying chargers to customers who purchase the phone with a separate accessories bundle (free of charge right now, but an extra ~$15 for later purchases), but they will at least be compact and sleek gallium nitride wall warts.
The base model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage starts at 3,999 yuan (~$612) with the 12/256GB config going for 4,699 yuan (~$719).