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Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review, a camera that also makes a phone

The Xiaomi Mi 11 today welcomes a big brother, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. Is he as “Ultra” as he claims? Verdict!

It has just been announced in France, and we had the opportunity to test it for a week. Here is the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, the ultimate of the Chinese brand in terms of smartphone, which intends to compete with the most premium devices on the market, including the Galaxy S21 Ultra from Samsung, theOppo Find X3 Pro or the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max. Are we really playing in the same court? This is what we will see in this test!

Features of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Screen – 6.81 inch AMOLED panel
– Definition 3200 x 1440 (WQHD +)
– Density 515ppp
– HDR10+
– 120Hz (touch sampling à 480 Hz)
– Hallmark
SoC et GPU – Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
– GPU Adreno 660
– 5 nm
Memory – 12 Go of RAM
– 256 or 512 GB of storage
Colors – Noir
– Bleu
– Blanc
Camera – Capteur principal 50 MP ((f/2.0, 24 mm, 1/1.12″, 1.4µm)
– Capteur ultra grand-angle 48 MP (f/2.2, 12mm, 128˚, 1/2,0″, 0,8 µm)
– 48 MP telephoto lens (f / 4.1, 120mm, 1 / 2.0 “, 0.8µm, 5x optical zoom, 120x digital zoom)
– Caméra frontale 20 MP (f/2,2, 27 mm (large), 1/3,4″, 0,8 µm)
Audio – Harman / Kardon stereo speaker
– No 3.5mm jack
Drums – 5 000 mAh
– 67W wired fast charging
– 67W wireless fast charging
– Reverse charge 10W
– Port USB-C
Connectivity – Optical fingerprint reader integrated into the screen
– Bluetooth 5.1
– WiFi 6
―― 2x nano-SIM
– 5G sub-6G
Software – Android 11
– MIUI 12.5
Height and weight – 164,3 x 74,6 x 8,4 mm
– 234 g
Price NC
availability date N/C

Design, Screen and Audio

At the launch of the Xiaomi Mi 11, the brand had decided to bet on a single model without compromise, or almost. The firm nevertheless had a little surprise in store for us, as evidenced by this Ultra model, a smartphone whose name obviously recalls the one it wants to compete with, the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

So what does this model have to « Ultra » what does his little brother not have? You just have to turn the smartphone over to see it: its gigantic photo block. Once is not custom, we will first approach the back of the phone rather than its front, because this is the first time that we see a smartphone with such overweight. This block occupies almost a quarter of the rear face of the smartphone, and protrudes very far from the case (at least 5 mm at first glance). So why is it so big? Already, this photo block houses three large sensors, which we will describe in more detail in the section “Photo and Video” of this test. Above all, there is a screen. Yes, you read that right. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra therefore has two screens, including a small 1.1-inch AMOLED panel on the back.

What is this rear screen for? Also, don’t expect to browse your Twitter feed or write messages with it, no. Instead, this miniature screen allows you to have access to the time, date and battery level. It also allows you to see at a glance if you have pending notifications. It is therefore an excellent way to help you concentrate since you will just have to put your smartphone face down on the table to have access to essential information without getting lost in a multitude of notifications, a bit like a watch or a bracelet. connected. Moreover, the format of this screen strongly reminds us of that of the brand’s latest connected bracelet, the Mi Smart Band 6. A sort of two-in-one, in short. This screen also allows us to have access to a viewer in order to capture selfies with the quality of the rear optics, but that, we will come back to it at the end of this test.

In addition to this unmissable photo block, the back of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is made of ceramic, a noble material that will prove to be much more resistant than glass or plastic in use. Nonetheless, it comes at the cost of the weight. With its ceramic back, its huge photo block and its generous dimensions, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is frankly heavy with 234 grams on the scale. It is also rather thick with 8.4mm thick. Yes, it is an “Ultra”, with all that that entails as advantages and disadvantages.

Now let’s move on to the front of the smartphone, where we find a large 6.81-inch AMOLED panel with WQHD + resolution (3200 x 1440 pixels), a refresh rate of 120 Hz and touch sampling of 480 Hz. for foolproof responsiveness. In use, this screen is simply splendid, with vivid and accurate colors, exceptional brightness (Up to 1700 nits, all the same!) And perfect viewing angles. Finally, at the top left of this screen, there is a small punch welcoming the front camera. This panel also accommodates a fingerprint reader which never gave us a problem during this short test period.

On the sound side, we take advantage of rather convincing speakers signed Harman Kardon, placed on the lower and upper edge of the smartphone. With these speakers coupled to this excellent screen, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra will therefore prove formidable for the consumption of content, especially since it incorporates a “Super resolution” mode for upscaling content from Netflix, YouTube or any other video streaming application by tripling the resolution.

The rest of the smartphone turns out to be quite common. There is a steel rim, a USB-C port on the lower edge, and the various buttons arranged on the right edge. Premium requires, there is no jack.

Performance, Autonomy and Software

Like its little brother, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra incorporates Qualcomm’s latest high-end chip, the Snapdragon 888, and also has a larger RAM endowment (12 GB as standard). The power of the smartphone is, therefore, rather colossal, and rare are the uses that will manage to overcome it. The games run smoothly with the graphics at full blast, no slowing down or even heating up, even when recording 8K video. Admittedly, we usually won’t need this avalanche of power right now, but with the Snapdragon 888, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra will be able to deliver excellent performance for many years to come. In addition, this chip gives it 5G compatibility. Ready for the future!

In terms of autonomy, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is even more enduring than the Mi 11, which is already quite efficient at this level. With its 5000 mAh battery, it greatly exceeds the day of use, and we can happily hold up to two days by limiting its uses. In addition, this Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra offers a stunning charging speed. It is also capable of being recharged at 67W wired as well as wireless, allowing its battery to be fully refilled in the space of a good half an hour: 36 minutes wired, 39 minutes wireless, after the mark. Unfortunately, we could not test wirelessly for lack of a powerful enough charger, but wired, the promise is kept. We also have the right to reverse charging at 10W, which will give your headphones a little juice when you do not have a power outlet nearby.

Finally, on the software experience side, we find MIUI 12, the latest iteration of the manufacturer’s software overlay. To find out more about it, we invite you to read yourselves our handling of MIUI 12, but, in a few lines, this interface has definitely convinced us. The place is made for animations of all kinds, with a rather spectacular side, but also with the arrival of a whole new dark mode, and new parameters of protection of the private life, previously one of the black spots of the Mark. The interface itself reminded us a lot of iOS, with a special mention for the Control Center pane, located in the same place as at Apple. Nevertheless, Xiaomi has really fine-tuned its interface, and despite the similarities to a certain Apple OS, MIUI 12 offers a clearly pleasant experience, with a mess of options that will suit a very large majority of users. Above all, with the 120 Hz AdaptiveSync screen of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and its Snapdragon 888, we enjoy a perfectly fluid experience. After all, it’s the manufacturer’s best-off smartphone.

Photo and Video

Here is the big advantage of this Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: its photo block. Admittedly, it is imposing, but it also embeds a muscular configuration based on three sensors. First of all, we find Samsung’s latest high-end sensor, the GN2, which is currently the largest smartphone photo sensor on the market with its size of 1 / 1.12 ”. This sensor offers 50 MP of 1.4 µm each, an aperture at f / 1.95, and it employs Pixel Binning technology transforming 4 pixels into 1 in order to offer shots of 12.5 MP in output. In use, this sensor has been frankly convincing. The shots benefit from an exceptional sharpness, the exposure is perfectly managed, the low-light performance is excellent, and due to its large size, the shots offer unprecedented depth from a smartphone. A small downside, however: we find that the images that emerge sometimes present colors that are a little bit artificial, in particular the yellow-orange hues. But we quibble.

To go with it, there is a 48 MP ultra-wide-angle lens opening at f / 2.2 and offering a field of view of 128 degrees. As a result, it is able to capture frankly striking shots, where some competitors do not exceed 120 degrees. Even in low light, this sensor does extremely well, and delivers noise-free shots, with always fair exposure and colors.

Finally, we appreciate the fact that the company has swapped the telemacro anecdotal of the Mi 11 to integrate a real telephoto lens into its Mi 11 Ultra. It is a 48 MP sensor surmounted by a telephoto lens capable of offering 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom and digital zoom up to… 120x. Yes, you read that right. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra thus exceeds the 100x of the Galaxy S21 Ultra and becomes the smartphone equipped with the longest zoom ever seen on this type of device. Let’s face it, we will rarely use such a long zoom, since the quality is execrable in 120x digital, except to spy on his neighbors (stop right away, we see you) and impress his friends. However, by offering such a wide range, we are able to go up to 20x, 30x or even 40x with excellent image quality. The 5x zoom is exceptional, and so is the 10x. This is really one of the major arguments of this Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Note that all these sensors offer an automatic night mode, a bit like Apple’s iPhones. In video, the smartphone is also capable of filming in 8K at up to 30 frames per second.

If this photo block is so imposing, it is also and above all because it houses a screen. To let you take advantage of the excellent rear equipment for your photos (or videos), this small 1.1-inch AMOLED panel transforms into a small viewer allowing you to easily frame yourself. Although the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra offers a rather decent 20 MP front sensor, we will soon be using this secondary screen to capture much more qualitative shots. It’s up to you to see if it will be a simple gadget or a real game changer, especially for lovers of selfies. In any case, we find it a shame that this screen cannot be used as a return to video, which could have made life easier for videographers who film themselves with their smartphone. On our side, we still find that this screen is ultimately not that useful, especially as it clearly contributes to the enlargement of the photo unit more than measurement and certainly to increase the weight of the smartphone. It’s up to you to define the usefulness or not of this small secondary panel.

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