Xiaomi 11T Review: Bang for your Buck
The Xiaomi 11T is one of the first phones to land in the west without the classic ‘Mi’ branding. It was released alongside its slightly pricier and fancier sister handset, the Xiaomi 11T Pro.
The phone is remarkably similar to the Xiaomi Mi 11, albeit with a few tweaks including faster-charging speeds, a refreshed design and a slightly different camera set-up. I’ve been testing out the Xiaomi 11T over the last few weeks to see how it holds up under day-to-day use.
Design and build
- Uninspiring design
- Picks up fingerprints easily
- No microSD card slot
The Xiaomi 11T comes in a choice of three colours: Moonlight White, Celestial Blue and Meteorite Gray. Sadly, the design is uninspiring and generic – it’s hard to tell this phone apart from the ever-growing market.
Make no mistake, this is a big and chunky phone, measuring 164.1 x 76.9 x 8.8mm, making it both bigger and heavier than the Mi 11. In everyday use, the phone is not the most practical for slipping inside pockets – particularly if you wear women’s jeans.
The only good thing about the size of this phone is that it means video playback looks great on that large display. The body itself is made up of a robust aluminium frame, along with a polycarbonate back which houses a hefty rectangular camera module.
Whilst the rear is so reflective that it can double as a hand mirror, it also picks up a lot of fingerprints if not covered by the accompanying case. In addition, it doesn’t feel as high-end to hold as more premium rivals.
The phone comes with an IP53 rating, making it both dustproof and splashproof. You get a USB-C slot for charging, plus a dual-SIM slot, but no microSD card slot. There’s also a side-mounted fingerprint scanner for biometrics, which I found to work just fine.
Display and audio
- Crisp 120Hz display
- AMOLED screen
- Dolby Atmos support
The Xiaomi 11T boasts a 6.67in, flat, FHD+, AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus screen. The punch hole selfie camera on this phone sits at the top centre of the display.
This is further bolstered by a 120Hz refresh rate, which delivers smooth visuals. Unfortunately, there is no VRR (variable refresh rate), leaving you with the choice of just 60Hz or 120Hz. The phone also boasts a touch sampling rate of up to 480Hz and supports over 1 million colours.
The specs on paper are just as good in everyday use. The phone is bright even under direct sunlight and provides excellent colours and details for watching videos and playing games – it’s without a doubt one of the standout features of the 11T.
Like many other phones, the Xiaomi 11T does not include a 3.5mm headphone jack. However, the dual speakers produce punchy sound, and there is support for Dolby Atmos. If you’re desperate for private listening, you can always opt for wired headphones via USB-C, or connect a pair via Bluetooth.
Specs and performance
- RAM capped at 8GB
- MediaTek Dimensity 1200-Ultra processor
- The phone can get hot
You can get the Xiaomi 11T in two configurations. Both come with 8GB RAM, and then either 128GB of storage, or 256GB of storage.
This is paired with the MediaTek Dimensity 1200-Ultra sensor. Whilst still a flagship chip, it’s not quite as powerful as the Snapdragon 888, which the 11T Pro houses. That said, the Xiaomi 11T still packs a punch when it comes to figures.
Our official benchmarking tests show it ranks up there with the likes of the Nord 2 and the Pixel 6.
Day-to-day performance is also impressive. The phone is fast and capable of doing multiple tasks side by side without any lag.
It does occasionally get a little hot when performing something heavy-duty and during charging. However, thus far this hasn’t affected the performance of the phone.
- Impressive main sensor
- Mixed portrait mode
- Rare dedicated telemacro lens
The Xiaomi 11T is packed with a rear triple-camera setup. This is led by a monster 108Mp lens with an f/1.75 aperture, which is complemented by a Samsung ISOCELL HM2 sensor which is also seen on the Pro version of the 11T.
I was pleased by the images produced by this camera. They were clear, crisp and colours appear true to life rather than overblown – something cheaper phones often deliver. There is a drop in quality with shots taken indoors compared to those taken in bright daylight, but that’s quite common on mid-range phones.
Portrait mode on the rear camera did at times have trouble locating the subject from the background, making it not as intuitive as other phones I’ve tested. However, when you did get a shot, it had just the right amount of background blur.
Night mode automatically triggers on this phone, which does lift the colours, but it isn’t anything remarkable. There is a dedicated option for night photography, but this takes an age to shoot and the results it delivers are barely noticeable from what you get on the automatic option.
The 8Mp ultra-wide sensor has a decent field of view, but there is a noticeable drop in quality compared to the main camera. This is best for travel shots, or large group photos. Otherwise, stick with the main camera where possible.
One unique feature of the 11T series compared to other mid-range rivals is the inclusion of a 5Mp ‘telemacro’ lens, which can be used both for 2X telephoto images and for macro photography. The 11T is decent at both – unusual for a phone of this price.
On the front, there’s a 16Mp selfie camera. The portrait effect seems more reliable here than on the main camera, though on occasion I did find that it struggled in my very bright office to find the most optimal lighting conditions. That said, I was impressed by the images taken here, with accurate colours and good textures.
You can record video up to 4K at 30fps, though there is no optical stabilization.
- Big battery life
- 67W fast-charging
- No wireless charging
The Xiaomi 11T is packed with a big 5000mAh battery, which as you’d expect, delivers solid use. I could easily use this phone, watching Twitch, using social media, and more for around two days – providing I keep the refresh rate on 60Hz.
Toggling it up to that 120Hz refresh rate does drain the battery quicker, but not as much as what I’ve seen on rivals.
In the box, you get a 67W fast charger. This can juice the cell from flat to 87% in just 30 minutes. Whilst these figures aren’t quite as impressive as those seen from the 11T Pro (which ships with a 120W charger), this is still right at the upper end of charging speeds – especially considering the very decent battery life overall.
Unfortunately, wireless charging isn’t available on the Xiaomi 11T.
- Android 11
- MIUI falls short of rivals
- App clutter
Whilst on the surface the MIUI 12.5 Android skin looks similar to Android 11, there are some bugbears that other Android skins don’t feature.
Whilst notifications and settings can be accessed by swiping downwards from the top of the screen, confusingly one is from swiping on the left-hand side, and the other is from the right.
I much prefer the standard Android version, in which notifications and settings are packed in together, with the latter being accessed via a drop-down arrow. Having the options on either side of the screen means that swiping down quickly can bring up the wrong option – annoying if you’re trying to open something quickly.
There’s also some pre-installed app clutter, some of which can’t be removed from the phone. In addition, just like the Mi 11, you can’t get Disney+ on the 11T – though the reason for this is currently unknown.
Price and availability
The Xiaomi 11T comes in two configurations. For 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, you’ll pay £499/€499. This jumps up to £549/€549 for 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. For that price, you get a heck of a lot. The decent triple-camera set-up, long battery life and an impressive display.
You can currently buy it directly from Xiaomi, or on Amazon. This device isn’t available from US retailers, but you can get it imported from the likes of AliExpress.
Of course, if you want better performance, prices for the Xiaomi 11T Pro start from £599. For that £100 extra, you upgrade the processor to a Snapdragon 888, get faster-charging speeds and the option of 12GB RAM.
The compromises that the 11T makes in comparison to the 11T Pro are in the right areas, making it a better buy overall. Of course, there are other mid-range competitors such as the OnePlus Nord 2 and the Honor 50 to consider which excel in other areas.
The Xiaomi 11T is not without its faults, with its dull design and cluttered MIUI software which isn’t anywhere near the same high standard as rivals.
That said, the crisp 120Hz display, decent performance, long battery life and compelling camera set-up make this a good mid-range offering, and more competitive than the Xiaomi 11T Pro.
Xiaomi 11T: Specs
- MIUI 12.5 skin of Android 11
- 6.67in, FHD+, AMOLED, 120Hz, flat display
- Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
- MediaTek Dimensity 1200-Ultra
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB/256GB storage
- 108Mp, f/1.75 main camera
- 8Mp ultra-wide camera
- 5Mp telephoto macro camera
- Up to 4K @ 30fps rear video
- 16Mp front-facing camera
- Dual speakers
- Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.2
- 5000mAh battery
- 67W charging
- 164.1 x 76.9 x 8.8mm
- Launch colours: Meteorite Gray, Moonlight White, Celestial Blue