The Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G is a flat screen phone done right
I seem to be in the minority among my peers and colleagues in the tech media scene, but I actually like curved screen phones. Curved screens not only look visually appealing to me — especially with the way visuals seem to spill off the edges like an infinity pool — but also make for a more comfortable in-hand feel. Flat panels by and large don’t feel as premium to me. But Xiaomi’s new Mi 11 Lite is the exception — it’s a flat panel that feels good.
Here’s why I usually dislike flat screens: the corners where the display ends and the chassis begins can result in a sharp edge, which is the case with the Galaxy S20 FE, Realme 8 Pro, and more than a few Redmi devices. If that chassis is too thick like on an iPhone 12, then the whole phone feels angular and blocky.
But the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite is a flat panel done right. The screen itself doesn’t curve, but the edges are chamfered just enough, and the chassis rounded, to make for a device that doesn’t have sharp sides. It feels like the Google Pixel 5 — another flat screen phone that I actually think feels great in the hand.
It’s also very light and thin at just 159g (0.3lbs) and 6.8mm, providing a welcome reprieve from the big, heavy phones I’ve been testing like the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
|Specification||Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 4G||Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G|
|Dimensions & Weight||160.53mm x 75.72mm x 6.81mm, 157g||160.53mm x 75.72mm x 6.81mm, 159g|
|RAM & Storage|
|Battery & Charging|
|Security||Arc side-mounted fingerprint, PIN/Password, Pattern||Arc side-mounted fingerprint, PIN/Password, Pattern|
|Front Camera(s)||16MP in-display selfie camera||20MP in-display selfie camera|
|Port(s)||USB Type-C||USB Type-C|
|Audio & Vibration|
|Software||MIUI 12 based on Android 11||MIUI 12 based on Android 11|
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite comes in two versions: a 4G model that is powered by a Snapdragon 732G and a 5G model running on the brand-new Snapdragon 780G. The latter SoC features Kryo 670 CPU cores clocked at up to 2.4GHz frequency and a triple ISP.
I have the Mi 11 Lite 5G model. Unfortunately, because the device is an early review unit, all the popular benchmark apps from Geekbench 5 to PCMark have been blocked, so I can’t test the phone yet in terms of benchmark performance. I also haven’t had the phone long enough to give definitive impressions about performance and battery life.
But as I said at the beginning of the article, the Mi 11 Lite feels very good in the hand. It’s a typical glass sandwich design, with a 6.55-inch AMOLED panel that refreshes at 90Hz. The back panel has a matte-frosted coating that is grippy yet doesn’t attract fingerprints — but it’s just standard glass, not Gorilla Glass.
Despite the device’s 6.8mm thinness, Xiaomi managed to cram a 4,250 mAh battery inside the Mi 11 Lite, as well as very loud stereo speakers. There’s a triple camera array headlined by a 64MP camera and flanked by an 8MP ultra-wide and 5MP macro lens, as well as a 16MP selfie camera.
I haven’t had much time to test the cameras much, but it seems to be on par with Xiaomi’s more entry-level offerings. What the Mi 11 Lite lacks in hardware prowess, though, the software makes up for.
The cinematic shooting modes that Xiaomi introduced with the Mi 11 are available here too, as is the clone photo/video feature, which has been very fun to play with.
Xiaomi is selling the Mi 11 Lite 5G for ¥2599 in China and €369 in Europe. At these aggressively low prices, Xiaomi obviously had to compromise somewhere, which is why the Mi 11 Lite lacks wireless charging, an IP water resistance rating, or an in-display fingerprint sensor. Instead, the phone comes with a 33W wired charger and uses a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The latter may not actually be a bad thing, as it’s easier to find by touch and very fast to respond.
This is just my first impression of the device. We’ll be back with more in-depth testing, so keep an eye out for future content on not just the Mi 11 Lite but also the Mi 11 Ultra as well!