Now that the Pro moniker has gone mainstream, it's Ultra that has come to represent the cream of the crop, and the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra can wear that badge proudly. Limited to its home market last year, the ultimate Mi has gone global this time around, and we're happy to have it for review today.
We're torn whether it's the camera system's physical appearance that is more striking or the hardware inside. A simply massive raised area on the back looks bolted on, almost after the fact, it's hard to miss, and it's a great conversation starter even if it's not everyone's cup of tea.
But its size is warranted - the main camera packs the largest sensor used on a modern-day smartphone, and next to it - two more modules unmatched in their own fields, in one way or another. Oh, and yes, there's also a display here - because why not, but also because it can be useful.
There's a lot more than 1.1 inches of OLED on the front. The 6.81-inch Super AMOLED is all kinds of great - high resolution, high refresh rate, high brightness, HDR, a billion colors, you name it. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 888 underneath is second to none as chipsets go this year and with 256GB of base storage, should we even mention the lack of expansion capability as a con?
Xiaomis don't normally have dust and water protection, but that's changed this year with the Mi 11s - both the Pro and the Ultra have an IP68 rating, and that's a most welcome development. Conversely, a staple of the brand's handsets, both affordable and expensive, the IR emitter remains. Stereo speakers have been making their way to the Xiaomi midrange, so it's only natural that the high-end models have them, and these have been tuned by Harman/Kardon, that couldn't hurt.
An increase in battery capacity compared to last year's model is another upgrade we can appreciate. On the other hand, they did downgrade the charging - instead of the Mi 10 Ultra's 120W, you only get 67W here. Tsk-tsk.
The packaging has lost the flair of the Mi 10 Ultra's presentation, and the Mi 11 Ultra showed up in a standard black box with copper lettering (or is it rose gold?). What's inside that?
Our EU-bound retail bundle includes the 67W charger - that's not the case in all markets with chargers coming as a free-of-charge option in some places (China, maybe other parts of Asia). It's a proprietary adapter with a USB-A output, so it won't please USB PowerDelivery die-hards. There is a USB cable included too.
A headset may be missing, but there is a USB-C-to-3.5mm dongle included so you can use your own. Also inside the box is a transparent soft silicone back cover. While the (free) protection is appreciated, the look and feel of the thing is no match for the phone itself.