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Xiaomi Mi 11i review: Cutting the right corners


Today we’re taking a look at the Xiaomi Mi11i, the budget flagship device from the Chinese device maker. Coming in at just $499 when it first launched, the Mi 11i offers a laundry list of premium specs with some smart omissions to keep costs low.

You may not have heard of the Mi 11i unless you’re an Android enthusiast, and there’s good reason for that; it’s hard to come by here in the United States. You can’t officially purchase the device in the States so you must go through an importer, which can add fees and delays to any purchase. Those are factors that you have to take into consideration when looking for a device at this highly competitive price tag.

The Mi 11i goes up against other great devices like the Samsung Galaxy A72, Realmet GT 5G, and the ZTE Axon 30 Pro. Everything in that list could be a flagship phone replacement so where does the Xiaomi Mi 11i stand out? Let’s take a look.

Design and Feel

One thing that’s immediately clear when you unbox the Xiaomi Mi 11i is that Xiaomi’s engineers absolutely know what they’re doing. It should be no secret by now that massive companies like Xiaomi can pay out endlessly for R&D and then use the findings and breakthroughs on many different devices. That is to say, it’s a lot easier for a company like Xiaomi to design a premium smartphone for $500 than a smaller company like Apple.

Alright, all jokes aside, Xiaomi has produced a stunner with the Mi 11 lineup and the Mi 11i is a fantastic example of it. The rear glass panel is simply gorgeous, even though it does pick up fingerprints regularly. It’s not among the worst I’ve ever dealt with, but I do hope someone figures out OnePlus’ sorcery and does away with fingerprints entirely. As much as I love the rear glass, I have had some issues with it, as well. Xiaomi saw fit to make this one of the more slippery devices on the market and I’ve more than once watched it slide off of a flat surface. You really have to watch this phone when you put it down.

The rear camera module follows the 2021 trend of huge, protruding lenses, flashes, and sensors. It’s done tastefully so it doesn’t look terrible but it does raise off the back of the device quite a bit. And as it isn’t centered, using your phone while laying on a table is very difficult.

The front of the device finds us looking at a gorgeous 6.67-inch display with a selfie camera dotted in the top center of the display, rather than the top corner. The bezels are a tad bigger than some will be used to on flagship devices from Samsung or OnePlus, but I really enjoyed the flat display and bezels as it actually allowed me to grip the phone without touching the screen.

The rest of the device is rather standard with a single speaker and SIM card tray on either side of the USB C port, a volume rocker just above the power button which houses the fingerprint scanner, and a speaker grill up top.

There’s nothing here to blow you away but the Mi 11i looks and feels far more expensive than it is. A real win for Xiaomi and its customers.

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