Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro Review: controversial advantages at a high price

Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro is not much different from the younger model and is more expensive. Should I take it? Understanding the review.

After the release of Xiaomi Mi 11, there was a long lull, and now we can finally look at the new Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro. In the Pro version, Xiaomi has improved many parameters, including the camera, battery and cooling. But is there any point in these improvements and is it worth overpaying for them? Let’s figure it out.


Same design and increased price

First of all, compared to the look and design of the Xiaomi Mi 11 and Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro does not bring much improvement. In contrast, the Pro’s body feels a bit bulkier at 8.53mm thick and weighing 208 grams. So if you’re really worried about weight, the Pro might be disappointing because the difference between the 11 and 11 Pro is so big.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro

Another thing to look out for is the high price tag. At the moment, the Pro version is only available in the Chinese market, and models from China should generally be slightly cheaper than the global versions. The starting price of the Pro is 1,000 RMB higher than the Mi 11, while the global version is priced at least $100 higher than the global price of the Mi 11.

To understand where this price comes from, let’s move on to the advantages of the Mi 11 Pro over the Mi 11.


Mi 11 Pro hardware also remained unchanged

But first, I would like to remind you which components from Mi 11 are used in the 11 Pro. For example, this is a great display that both the regular and Pro versions got, it is still one of the best displays for smartphones, so this decision does not raise questions and seems to be reasonable.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro

The hardware that provides performance is also the same in both smartphones. For example, this is the Snapdragon 888 chipset paired with UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR5 memory, which is also one of the best combinations you can find among Android smartphones in 2021. It’s also still enjoyable to listen to the stereo speakers created in collaboration with Harman Kardon Tuning.


Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro cameras are something worth paying for

But, of course, the most significant advantage of the Mi 11 Pro over the regular model is the rear camera block. The main camera has a Samsung GN2 sensor, which is the largest you can find on a smartphone right now. The Mi 11 Ultra, the best and most expensive model from the Mi 11 series, is also equipped with this sensor in the main camera.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro camera

The useless 5MP tele-macro camera from the Mi 11 is not suitable for the Mi 11 Pro, and Xiaomi has replaced it with an 8MP telephoto lens that supports 5x optical and 50x digital zoom.

As for the wide-angle lens, Xiaomi has kept the 13MP module from the Mi 11 here.

So let’s see what the main camera of the Mi 11 Pro can do. Thanks to the larger sensor, the photos taken with the 11 Pro were very contrasty and had better noise control in dark areas than the Mi 11. And if you look closely at the colors, it’s not hard to find that the 11 Pro delivers richer colors without loss of naturalness, but nevertheless, sometimes you might think that the images have been reprocessed after all. Another advantage of the large sensor is the natural bokeh effect of the aperture. Compared to the Mi 11, the out-of-focus bokeh blur is really closer to the optical effect that we usually see on mirrorless cameras.


Mi 11 (left) vs Mi 11 Pro (right):

But the Mi 11 Pro failed to achieve a complete victory in terms of the main camera due to the 50 megapixel resolution. The 108MP resolution on the Mi 11’s main camera delivers sharper images with more detail, whether you’re shooting in 24MP normal or 108MP native.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro

From the photographs taken during the day, it is not difficult to imagine what result we will see in the night conditions. Undoubtedly, the larger sensor of the Mi 11 Pro improves night photography compared to the Mi 11. On the 11 Pro, it is much easier to get a brighter image with better noise control and more detail. And more importantly, shooting is much smoother and faster than the standard Mi 11. Also, in the 11 Pro, you no longer need to enable Night Mode in most night scenes. Instead, it is sometimes possible to get better quality images normally using the built-in AI.


Auto-mode (left) versus night mode (right):

When it comes to the ultra wide-angle camera, there isn’t much difference between the standard and the Pro model. They are both good, but there is nothing outstanding about the photographs. It is worth noting that there have long been flagships with much better quality ultra-wide-angle modules. Even Xiaomi already has one phone offering the best wide-angle camera, this is the Ultra version.


Superwide Mi 11 (left) vs Mi 11 Pro (right)

Although the cameras are the same hardware-wise, I would still like to point out a slight difference in the resulting photos. Distortion is visible on the 11 Pro, which is most likely the result of unoptimized software. You will also likely notice color differences between the models.

Another significant advantage is the 5x optical zoom. The Mi 11 Pro telephoto lens shoots really well. Although it only has a resolution of 8MP, the resulting image looks sharper and clearer than when using the digital zoom of the Mi 11. This also improved the quality of photos when zooming in at night, the images are brighter and clearer.


Games and performance

In terms of performance, there is no obvious gain in it, since both the 11 and 11 Pro use the same chipset. On the contrary, the Mi 11 seems to perform better after being regularly optimized over the past couple of months. In benchmarks, the Mi 11 scores slightly better than the Mi 11 Pro. For example, in the Geekbench 5 multi-core test, it got a slightly higher score and ranks high in the new Antutu benchmark, as well as slightly better in the 3DMark graphics benchmark. In addition, the results of our gaming tests also confirm the fact that the performance of the Mi 11 Pro at the moment does not live up to its name, although Xiaomi claims that it has an advanced cooling system.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro

PUBG Mobile for China 11 Pro supports 90 frames per second at maximum graphics, while the global version has a limit of 60 frames per second. So, in order to test with a higher frame rate, it was done with the China version. The Mi 11 Pro coped with ease, maintaining 90 fps throughout the gameplay.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro

In fact, in the Genshin Impact, the Mi 11 Pro performed quite well and averaged 52.16 frames per second. But I also found that it often has a drop in performance from the 9th minute of the game, probably due to an old problem with overheating of the Snapdragon 888 chipset. Now let’s see what the regular Mi 11 is capable of. It was able to show a higher clock rate in 55.12 frames per second and maintain high performance for a longer time. Its decline took place, but less rapidly and intensively. And if we look at the temperature of the smartphone chipsets, it’s not hard to find that the Mi 11 has been operating at a higher temperature. The Mi 11 Pro probably does have better cooling, but that won’t matter until it gets better in terms of gameplay.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro

In fact, during the 30-minute gaming test, the surfaces of both smartphones were quite hot. No kidding, if not for the gaming test, I would never have played games on these two models for more than 10 minutes at maximum graphics settings.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro

In Nimian Legend, the situation was much the same. The frame rate of the Mi 11 Pro was still slightly lower than the standard model. The heating issue still existed on the 11 Pro, and the surface temperatures of both smartphones also climbed to around 50 ℃ during the gaming test. Therefore, for those who want to play on smartphones of the Mi 11 line, I advise you to use additional cooling.


Battery life and charging

The battery for the Mi 11 Pro has also been tightened up. It took just 37 minutes to fully charge the smartphone using the included 67W power supply. In addition, wireless charging has been greatly improved, which can deliver up to 67W of power. In a real test, it took several minutes longer to fully charge the battery.

As for its 5000mAh battery, the advantage is not so obvious.


Conclusions

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro has a larger body and a similar design to the Mi 11, a kind of compromise between the standard and Ultra versions. Compared to the Mi 11, the 11 Pro has an improved camera and battery, but costs significantly more.