Xiaomi 11T Long-Term Review
The Xiaomi 11T may be a over generation-and-a-half old (14 months since it’s release) but great durability, constant support from Xiaomi, and an Android 13 update makes this phone as viable an option as when it first went on sale. Improved RAM management, a plethora of features and capable MediaTek Dimensity processor keeps it in the contender’s race.
- Great Display capable of over a billion colors
- Versatile 108MP Main Camera
- Powerful, efficient MediaTek processor
- programmable IR blaster
- No wireless charging
- No water-resistant IP58, only IP53
Working as a tech analyst and getting high-end, flagship level smartphones to review on a regular basis can do one or two things for you. It can make you a spoiled, out of touch tech consumer who picks up an expensive habit of blowing money on the latest and greatest gadgets of the new year; or it can make you a shroud and analytical buyer who’s not bedazzled by the newest marketing slogans aimed at getting you to part with your hard-earned dollars.
While I admit to being guilty of swaying to both extremes, I can proudly declare I’ve settled into the “Unlocked, directly from the manufacturer” bunch. I whole heartedly shun carrier subsidized devices, which I believe are designed to keep you locked into long term relationships with one company – regardless of the newest specials or offers by competitors at any given time. This hunt for the best smartphone value has led to the discovery of a global brand known as Xiaomi.
Xiaomi’s devices are not readily available in US stores (since the closure of Fry’s Electronics) and can only be reliably purchased from third-party sellers on Amazon, or online vendors like Wireless Place, where I purchased my Xiaomi 11T .
I settled on this device looking for an powerful, unlocked smartphone that had flagship features and a midrange price. At the time of purchase, the Xiaomi 11T had $1000 flagship specs for less than half the price. I thought to myself, “This should be a smart buy, even if I update my phone in a year and it doesn’t get consistent updates.” But when I received the device in the mail and held it in my hands for the first time, I was impressed at how the build gave the impression I was holding a true flagship. Especially when I saw the display come to life for the first time.
Although the excitement settled, admittedly due to the distractions of new devices arriving in our offices and being bombarded by their million-dollar marketing campaigns – after a week or two I recall always coming back to the Xiaomi 11T, the ONE device that I actually spent $450 to buy myself. There was always that ONE FEATURE that the latest iPhone, Galaxy or Pixel didn’t have, that led me to putting my personal SIM card back into the 11T. And while I do admit I always get a kick out of getting a new smartphone for review, when I was greeted with a surprise update to Android 13 on the 11T earlier this week, I came to the realization that the China-based company was more dependable for Android updates than most domestic smartphone manufacturers.
Xiaomi’s flavor of Android is called MIUI (Me UI) and it’s current version rests at 14, which is parallel to Android 13. It’s known for packing a lot of extra features in Android, such as a robust theming engine and Xiaomi’s own app ecosystem. One cool feature that enhances the look on and feel of the 11T is Super Wallpapers.
|Screen||6.67-inch FHD+ AMOLED Display (1080 x 2400 Pixels, 395 ppi) with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, 20:9 Aspect Ratio, 120Hz Refresh Rate, HDR10+, and punch-hole|
|OS||Android 11 with MIUI 12.5 (Upgraded to Android 13 with MUMI 14)|
|Chipset||MediaTek Dimensity 1200-Ultra|
|CPU||Octa Core CPU|
1x Cortex-A78 @ 3.0GHz , 3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.6GHz & 4x Cortex-A55 @ 2.0GHz
|Rear Camera||Triple Cameras:|
108MP Main Camera (f/1.8 Aperture, 1/1.52″ sensor, Autofocus)
8MP Ultra-wide (f/2.2 Aperture, 1/4″ sensor, 120˚ FoV)
5MP Telephoto/macro (f/2.4 Aperture, 1/5″ sensor, Autofocus)
-Dual-tone LED Flash
-Up to 4K@30fps Video Recording
|Front Camera||16 Megapixels (f/2.5 Aperture, 1/3.06″ sensor|
|Storage||128GB or 256GB|
|SIM Card||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM)|
|Cellular||5G, 4G LTE (with VoLTE), 3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE & GPRS Networks|
|Positioning||GPS with A-GPS (dual band), GLONASS, GALILEO, and BeiDou|
|Sound||Hi-Res Audio with Dolby Atmos and Dual Speakers|
USB Type-C Audio Output
|Security Sensors||Face Recognition & Fingerprint Sensor (side mounted)|
|Battery||5000 mAh Li-Po Battery (Non-removable)|
67W Fast Charging (Turbo, 100% in 36 minutes
|Material||Glass Front and Back with Polycarbonate coated Aluminum Frame (IP53 Splash and Dust Resistance)|
|Dimensions||164.1 x 76.9 x 8.8 mm|
|Colors||Meteorite Gray, Moonlight White, and Celestial Blue|
|Launch Date||October 23, 2021|
|Price||$297 (8GB + 128GB) – $382 (8GB RAM + 256GB) |
One thing you must be cautious of, is making sure the carrier you’re using has 5G and 4G bands supported when purchasing an international version of a Xiaomi device to the US. While you’re pretty much ok with ATT or T-Mobile or any of their pre-paid MVNOs (Metro by T-Mobile,Mint, etc.) Verizon’s cellular network doesn’t accept Xiaomi devices at all, even though some of their bands are supported.
The 108MP Main Rear camera on the 11T is as full-featured as camera apps come, offering just the right amount of modes and features without being too overwhelming.
(Camera Samples Pending)
All-Around Well Rounder
I have used the Xiaomi 11T to create all sorts of content, from B-roll footage, music compositions, professional photography, to video editing. It has never failed, and always stood toe-to-toe if not exceeding the results produced by more popular brands. It is the one device that has given me confidence that I could create content that met the standard threshold of quality of the recording industry and professional media with one device.
All of my mobile music production workshops for Labfreq have been produced and demonstrated on the Xiaomi 11T. Every other device that I’ve tried to use has ran into a limitation at some point in the process before completion. That’s the main reason why this device has had so much staying power over the last year or so.
The Xiaomi 11T has left a lasting first impression of what Xiaomi has to offer, and they do have lots of products with feature packed value available. While there are many great options in the smartphone market, none encapsulates what I look for in a device in one place the way the 11T does. Even in 2023, it still moves like a high-scoring rookie of the year.