Mi 11 Ultra review: Xiaomi unsettles the smartphone segment led by Samsung

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Xiaomi is no newbie in the premium smartphone segment, but in India it is not so well known for its flagship offerings as it wasn’t until recently that this Chinese technology company started bringing such products here. Expanding its premium smartphone portfolio, the company recently launched the Mi 11 Ultra in India. Touted as ‘the Superphone’, this flagship smartphone is brimful with industry-leading features and specifications. That said, the Mi 11 Ultra is capable of beating other premium smartphones on more parameters than one, but the real-life experience shows it wanting in some areas.

Beginning with strengths, the Mi 11 Ultra is a spectacular smartphone with regard to display, audio, imaging, performance, and battery efficiency.

The display is sharp, bright, vivid and responsive. It is loaded with value-added features like an adaptive refresh rate, motion smoothing, support for high dynamic range content (HDR10+ and Dolby Vision), etc. That said, the display is full of surprises and does not fail to impress, irrespective of what you throw at it to handle. Complementing the spectacular display are the stereo speakers tuned by Harman Kardon. The speakers are loud, clear and full of depth. They complete the audio experience by taking away the need to use an external speaker or any other audio accessory to amplify the sound.

Coming to the cameras, the Mi 11 Ultra ticks the boxes where it means the most. The smartphone has three camera sensors on the back, and each one has an independent utility. Importantly, each sensor has its own strengths and together they deliver a versatile and dependable imaging experience. The Mi 11 Ultra is equally good for videography too. It can record videos in the 8K resolution. Moreover, it is one of the few phones that support video recording in high dynamic range (HDR10+). Both photography and videography experience here is complemented by several value-added features and tools. That said, the imaging experience is in line with what one expects from a premium smartphone.

Completing the package is its sleek performance. Be it regular daily operations or processor- and graphic-intensive tasks, the Mi 11 Ultra handles every job with ease. It warms up significantly at times, especially after extended graphic-intensive gaming and video recording, but not so much as to become uncomfortable to use.

While the Mi 11 Ultra justifies its ‘Ultra’ moniker every bit, there are areas where the phone could have been better. For example, the smartphone’s big, heavy and bulky design makes it less suitable for extended usage. It becomes uncomfortable to hold and operate after a while. Its display is excellent but most of its value-added features that enhance the user experience are hidden and scattered all over in the settings; that makes it difficult to find and use them to fully realise the potential of an otherwise spectacular panel. The cameras are good and cover a wide spectrum of imaging, but they miss out on basic stuff like macro photography. Even the much advertised 120x zoom periscope lens is not as efficient as the one available in the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (review).

Mi 11 Ultra review: Verdict

The Mi 11 Ultra is among the best Android smartphones currently available in India. It not just rubs shoulders with other premium flagships but outpaces them on several parameters. There is barely a smartphone as rich in features and tech as the Mi 11 Ultra. That said, Xiaomi’s premium flagship justifies its price tag of Rs 69,999 simply because it is significantly cheaper but in no way inferior to its peers that cost over Rs 100,000. In this price segment, it is a clear winner with no other smartphone competing with it.

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