Mi 11 Lite quick review: a rare skinny machine from Xiaomi with awkward positioning in the market

Xiaomi’s not-so-secret recipe for success has been to deliver reasonably good hardware at an extremely competitive price. It was with the Mi 11 Lite that he stepped out of his comfort zone and launched a device that focuses more on looks. Mi 11 Lite ditches the 5G chipset, has a modest battery, and still uses a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. Instead, you get a compact form factor, a glass back panel, and a trendy design that are largely properties you would otherwise associate with Vivo smartphones. By now, you may already know that it is also the thinnest and lightest smartphone of 2021.

It is the fourth smartphone in this premium series and can be found under the Mi 11X, Mi 11X Pro and Mi 11 Ultra. The smartphone is priced at Rs 21,999 for the basic variant. This puts the Mi 11 Lite in direct competition with the iQOO Z3, OnePlus Nord CE 5G, Poco X3 Pro and also Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. I have been using the Mi 11 Lite for about 48 hours now and have mixed feelings about it. Here are some first impressions.

Mi 11 Lite Quick Review: Design

I can’t remember the last time I held such a sleek and light smartphone. The Mi 11 Lite is only 6.8mm thick and weighs around 157 grams. The Vivo X60 Pro, which was arguably one of the thinnest smartphones of this year, was 7.67mm thick. The 0.87mm difference in thickness might not have a huge impact on your daily use, but it’s that weight that can be a game-changer here.

The Mi 11 Lite is comfortable to hold and use. It is available in three color variations – Jazz Blue, Tuscany Coral and Vinyl Black. I had the Tuscan Coral color variant for review, and it looks gorgeous. In fact, all three color variations look great in photos. The only other Android smartphones that are probably also coming are Vivo’s X and V series devices. The back panel doesn’t catch too many fingerprint marks and Xiaomi has used a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on this phone.

Mi 11 Lite Quick Review: Display

Xiaomi has tried to make up for other things with a great display on the Mi 11 Lite. The smartphone features a 6.55-inch 10-bit Full HD + AMOLED display with a 20: 9 aspect ratio and 90Hz refresh rate. The screen also comes with a touch-sensitive sample rate. of 240 Hz and has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the top.

You can get 120Hz displays on Redmi Note 10 Pro Max (AMOLED) and iQOO Z3 (LCD) for about the same price, but the 10-bit panel Xiaomi uses here really makes a difference to your viewing experience. The colors are beautiful on Mi 11 Lite. The panel saturates them little and the contrast level also remains good in most cases.

The screen has a small hole to house the selfie camera and is also HDR10 compatible.

Mi 11 Lite Quick Review: Camera

You don’t get anything fancy in the camera department. The configuration is very similar to that of the Redmi Note 10 Pro. The Mi 11 Lite has a 64-megapixel main sensor, an 8-megapixel and 5-megapixel telemacro sensor. The camera configuration supports video recording up to 4K at a frame rate of 30 fps. On the front, you get a 16-megapixel selfie shooter.

I spent little time with the phone but took few photos. The colors and details were very impressive. The images from the main camera were sharp. The portraits were also good but the colors were slightly oversaturated. It was the macro camera that impressed me the most on Mi 11 Lite.

The camera app has a lot of options for photography enthusiasts. There are common options like Photo, Video, Portrait, Pro, and Night modes. Xiaomi has also equipped the Mi 11 Lite with 23 director modes for vloggers and users who like to shoot videos on the phone.

I’ll be testing the Mi 11 Lite’s camera in detail over the next few days and discuss its performance during our full review of the Mi 11 Lite.

Mi 11 Lite Quick Review: Performance

There are two reasons to raise a few eyebrows when it comes to the performance of the Mi 11 Lite. Firstly, the smartphone does not support 5G which is disappointing because Mi smartphones are essentially the most premium smartphones. Xiaomi has said it could bring the 5G variant to India later if the network rolls out or if there is enough demand, but there are too many ifs and buts involved.

Second, Xiaomi used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G processor on the Mi 11 Lite. This is the same processor used on the Redmi Note 10 Pro and Note 10 Pro Max as well as last year’s Poco X3. At least two of these smartphones cost Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 less than the Mi 11 Lite. Thus, Xiaomi has left its customers with an extremely difficult decision to make.

Either way, the Mi 11 Lite comes in two variations. It costs Rs 21,999 for the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage configuration while the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant is priced at Rs 23,999. Both variants will be available for Rs 1,500. less as part of an advance offer. In addition, there will be a discount of Rs 1500 on purchase via HDFC Bank debit and credit cards.

I haven’t played a lot of games on the phone yet, so stay tuned for India Today Tech’s full review of the Mi 11 Lite for more on the performance.

The review unit I was using MIUI 12.0.3 on Android 11 while an MIUI 12.0.4 update was already waiting to download. The software experience is similar to that of other Xiaomi smartphones.

Mi 11 Lite Quick Review: Battery

Xiaomi packed a 4,250mAh battery on the Mi 11 Lite despite the phone being so thin. That’s of course not huge by today’s standards, but some of the more premium smartphones like OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro pack 4,500mAh batteries. In comparison, Xiaomi didn’t hurt that bad either. The smartphone comes with a 33W fast charger.

Mi 11 Lite: first impressions

There is no doubt that Xiaomi has made the bet by launching a smartphone that we would not usually associate with it. Some believed that the Mi 11 Lite is likely to lead a losing battle in India. Still, I think this smartphone has little going for it and if it succeeds it could start its own trend. The design, shape, grip, display, and cameras are all great. The processor and battery leave you wanting more, especially with today’s standards. More than anything else, it’s the positioning of the Mi 11 Lite that can go against it. For more thoughts and our final verdict, stay tuned to India Today Tech. A

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