Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G review: that's what WAS MISSING in this 2021 (but 4G better)

Lo Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite is one of those smartphones that you buy for two very specific reasons: lightness and reduced thickness to the bone. And considering the trends of the last few years, it is Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite it's almost like it's an oasis in the desert. A desert made up of dozens of cheap and mid-range smartphones, all heavy as a boulder and thick as a cast iron griddle on which to roast.

Of course, it is not among the most powerful devices on the market, but the design is reminiscent of the more handsome Xiaomi Mi 11 (which we have reviewed in the limited edition Lei Jun Limited Edition) and is equipped with a hardware all in all more than enough for the target audience to which it is addressed.

The price? In line with what it offers, even if it was on offer for a few days, immediately reaching its historic low: the 6 + 64 Gb version is on sale at 299,00 € on Amazon, which become 349,00 € for the 6 + 128 GB variant. But, you know, the price of Xiaomi's smartphones over time is more variable than the weather forecast.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G review: features, display, camera, battery and price

Design and materials

6.8 mm thick and 157 grams of weight for the 4G version, which become 159 in the 5G version. These are the two strengths of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite, and they are all in the design and convenience of using the smartphone. With a look very similar to the big brother, it is clear that with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite all those people tired of having a heavy and bulky device in their pocket will probably find the only alternative suitable for their needs. And for this we must give credit to those of Xiaomi: the Chinese company had been trying to produce such a device for years, it never gave up, and in the end it succeeded.

In terms of design and materials, the 4G and 5G versions are identical. The colors change which, in my opinion, are more beautiful in 5G. The frame of the device is made in plastic, as well as the back which is characterized by a matt finish and, in the sample we received as a test (which was delivered to us without packaging, so I didn't talk about the content), the coloring is particularly beautiful to look at.

The typical is present at the rear bump room of the company, and here too we see the work that those of Xiaomi have done to ensure that their smartphones are easily recognizable, while the fingerprint sensor it has been positioned on the side power button, placed at the right height and extremely comfortable to use.

It does not have the entrance for the jack from 3.5 mm and in the lower area of ​​the frame the USB-C port, the trolley for the microSIM and one of the two have been positioned stereo speaker: the other is integrated into the ear capsule.

In short, regardless of plastic (which can hardly be distinguished from glass, given the excellent workmanship), it is Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite conveys a beautiful feeling of solidity and quality, but you must be careful not to confuse its subtlety with a general compactness: the dimensions are of 160.53 x 75.72 x 6.81 mm which, on some occasions, could still make it necessary to use it with both hands.

Display

And these dimensions were substantially made necessary, in addition to the battery (which we will talk about shortly), by the size of the screen that was integrated: the panel (which is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 5) has a diagonal of well 6.55 inches, is of type AMOLED and is able to guarantee a resolution FullHD + with a maximum refresh rate of 90 Hz and a pixel density per inch of 402 ppi. The strange thing is that out of the box the smartphone is set by the company to 60 Hz, and to use the highest refresh rate, you will need to enter the system settings and change the setting.

Either way, it's a great panel. In addition to the support of the standard 10-bit HDR (8 + FRC) and a peak brightness of approx 800 nits, the panel used in the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite it is able to guarantee deep blacks and well saturated colors which, combined with a good quality white balance (even if tending to cold shades) makes viewing multimedia content and games very pleasant. The point, however, is that considering the quality of the panel and evaluating it based on the sale price of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 4G, the wow effect is much greater than the same panel but used in the 5G version because it is significantly more expensive.

There is also a always-on display, even if those of Xiaomi have thought of cutting the legs to the mode, allowing it to be displayed only at the touch of the screen: in a nutshell, of "always" has well poco, and I honestly don't understand why.

The only note I feel like making to the panel of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite it's a slight ghosting when you set the minimum brightness: for heaven's sake, it is nothing transcendental, but especially with fast-moving images you may experience the creation of an annoying "trail of pixels" which however completely disappears when you raise the lighting of the LED.

Hardware

I'll tell you right away: in the price range in which it fits Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G, those of the company could have dared a little more, integrating 2 GB of RAM more. In this way, and with this design, the little one of the Mi 11 series would have been a real game changer. Too bad, even if it must be admitted that it is Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite gets along well in all common situations.

Sure, with hers Snapdragon 780G the performance is 15% higher than the processor used in the 4G version, it will certainly not be among the most powerful SoCs on the market, but the GPU Adreno 642 also makes it suitable for some complex gaming sessions. However, Xiaomi has also saved on memories: the RAM, which is 6 GB in the 4G version and 8GB in the 5G version, it is of type LPDDR4X, while the internal memory is of type UFS 2.2.

Let's be clear, this is a hardware suitable for the vast majority of uses, but it is clear that those of Xiaomi wanted to differentiate the 4G + version from the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G especially in the data sheet: the variant capable of connecting to fast networks not only integrates a 5G modem, but also a hardware capable of guaranteeing higher performance by about 15%. Although I'm honest: I don't think this increased speed will change users' lives.

Excellent audio in the capsule, as well as the connection 6 WiFi. Present the NFC and the IR blaster to use the smartphone as a remote control, and the stereo audio is also quite balanced: the second speaker is integrated in the ear capsule and all in all the sound is of good quality, even if I would have liked to hear a little 'more low frequencies. Internal memory is expandable via microSD, but at the cost of having to give up a slot in the dual-sim.

But even though I'm not a fan of wired headphones in smartphones, I have to say the lack of a 3.5mm input you feel a lot: in this price range, not everyone wants to buy TWS earphones even if, and we must admit, they have now become very cheap.

Camera

The camera compartment of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite was entrusted to three cameras. The main one is from  64 megapixels ƒ / 1.8, which is flanked by a wide angle from 8 megapixels ƒ / 2.2 and a macro from 5 megapixels ƒ / 2.4. And, macro aside, it is a rather interesting configuration, able to guarantee good quality shots (for the price range in which the smartphone is sold), which however suffer from some shortcomings. It is clear, however, that it is Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite it's not one of those devices you buy for cameras.

In good light conditions, the shots taken with the main camera are sufficient quality. The management of the chromatic range is correct, as well as the balance of hues and saturation. Good focus, even if it cannot be considered lightning-fast, and I must say that those of Xiaomi have also managed to manage the lens quite well. In short, the 1 / 1,97 ″ sensor and 0,7um pixel does its job.

Things change slightly with the ultra-wide angle camera, which pays for the 8 megapixel resolution and f / 2.2 optics. Let's be clear, the 1 / 1,4 ″ sensor and 1,12um pixels does the best it can, and is also helped a lot by the software processing, but the qualitative difference between the two lenses is more than notable even in conditions of good brightness.

But as darkness falls, the main camera starts to trudge too. Ok, there night mode it makes the scenes brighter and does a good job (especially considering the limitations of the two sensors), but in extreme light conditions such as indoor environments, the photos become decidedly less detailed especially when viewed with a 100% crop. The noise is handled quite well, but it continues to be present, but the focus begins to falter becoming slower.

La selfie front camera with 16 megapixel ƒ / 2.5 it's a bit subdued, and seems to suffer from some dynamic range management issues.

Discrete also the videos, which can be recorded at the maximum resolution 4K is 30 fps but in which one feels the lack of optical stabilizer. However, it is an absence that, considering the sales piece, one can accept, above all because by going down in resolution and recording at 1080p the EIS does a good job of stabilization.

And as well as in the big brother, the camera app comes with most of the functions “Cinema”, with which it is possible to record videos using very nice effects and practically ready for sharing on social networks.

Software

Nothing to say about the software. The Mi 11 Lite is the typical Xiaomi with Android 11 and customized by MIUI 12 which by now we have come to know very well. Okay, it's not one of my favorite graphical interfaces and it offers everything except a stock Android experience, but it's a complete GUI that integrates a number of truly remarkable features.

Without going into too much specifics, because by now we have talked a lot about MIUI 12, but they are present all the functions you expect from a Xiaomi, including the ability to customize your smartphone with hundreds of themes, resize all graphics, and the ability to use your smartphone with one hand.

It is also available but "video tools" section with which you can activate some advanced features for the reproduction of multimedia contents, and everything flows which is a beauty, without any slowdown and with always fluid animations especially by setting the display to 90 Hz.

Battery

The battery was another pleasant surprise in the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite. Because from such a thin and light smartphone, everything is expected except that it integrates one 4250 mAh. And you want for its large capacity, you want for the energy optimization of the MIUI 12, with the little one (so to speak) of Xiaomi and you get to the end of the day without any problem and with practically all types of use even by setting the screen to 90 Hz. It must be said, however, that between the 4G and 5G versions there is a small difference in terms of autonomy: at the end of the evening, with the more fast, I arrived with 17% less battery than the 4G model.

There is no wireless charging nor is it Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite has the intelligent charging function, but it is still possible to recharge it in a short time using the fast charging a 33w which is able to fully recharge the smartphone in about 1 hour.

Price and considerations

The official price of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite varies according to the version chosen: the one from 6 + 64 Gb is for sale a 299,00 euro on Amazon, which become 349,00 euro for the variant from 6 + 128 GB. Mi 11 Lite 5G, on the other hand, is available in a single memory cut (i.e. 8 + 128 GB) and costs 449 €: will be on sale by the end of April 2021. However, I recommend that you always keep the box at the bottom of the article, in which we will always publish the Best price currently available (at the time of writing the review, for example, you can buy the 128 GB internal memory variant on Amazon discounted at 319 euros).

All in all, these are prices in line with the market, even if I am of the idea that for now the real best-buy is the 4G version with 64 GB of internal memory, which at 299 it is practically unbeatable. Honestly, I would recommend the 5G version only to those who already take full advantage of the ultra-fast connection, or to those who intend to buy the smartphone to keep it at least 3 years. If you live in an area not covered by 5G, or do not need to take advantage of this type of connection, you could aim for Mi 11 Lite 4G without too much delay: the performances are slightly lower, it is true, but it is a really irrelevant thing when compared with the economic savings, the increase in battery life and the weight of a few grams less.

But, regardless of the hardware and the value for money, we must acknowledge that those of Xiaomi have managed to produce probably the only type of smartphone which had long been missing in the market: the company has at least 2 more powerful alternatives on the market, but what was really missing in 2021 was a smartphone so light and thin that it hit those who use it for this very reason.


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