The Xiaomi 11T & 11T Pro Review: Two Chips, With a Battery Focusby Andrei Frumusanu on September 15, 2021 9:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Xiaomi 11T
- Xiaomi 11T Pro
Today Xiaomi is announcing three new devices – the 11T, the 11T Pro and the 11 Lite 5G NE. We’ve had the first two in for review for a bit now and are able to give some first-hand experiences with the phones today.
The Xiaomi 11T series – which by the way isn’t called anymore “Mi” in the name, it’s literally just “Xiaomi 11T” now, are supposed to be additions to the company’s flagship line-up, but coming in at lower price points. We had reviewed the Mi 11 back in March and the big brother, the Mi 11 Ultra in July, so make sure to read those pieces as the 11T series fits into the line-up, albeit being different.
What defines the 11T series is the fact that they’re slightly lower priced and more budget than the original Mi 11, notably on the display side which has now been reduced to a 1080p panel. Build quality is also different, and finally, we’re seeing a different set of SoC options depending on whether you get the regular 11T or the higher-end 11T Pro.
|Xiaomi 11T Series|
|SoC||MediaTek Dimensity 1200
1x Cortex-A78 @ 3.00GHz
3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.60GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 2.00GHz
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
1x Cortex-X1 @ 2.84GHz
3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.42GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.80GHz
Adreno 660 @ 840MHz
|DRAM||8GB LPDDR5-6400||8/12GB LPDDR5-6400|
2400 x 1080
HDR10+ / 10-bit panel
|Battery Capacity||5000mAh (Typical)
|Main||108MP HM2 1/1.3" 0.7µm
9:1 Binning to 12MP / 1.4µm
|Telephoto||5MP (Macro only)
|Wireless (local)||802.11 (Wifi 6),
|Cellular||4G + 5G NR NSA+SA Sub-6GHz|
|Special Features||Capacitive side fingerprint sensor (power button)
Full-range stereo speakers
|Splash, Water, Dust Resistance||No rating|
|Launch OS||Android 11 w/ MIUI||Android 11 w/ MIUI|
|Launch Price||8+128GB: 499€
Starting off with the SoCs, the two 11T devices are absolutely interesting phones as besides the usual Samsung Galaxy devices each year who are powered by Snapdragon and Exynos SoCs, Xiaomi is employing a similar strategy here with the 11T series in dual-sourcing both from Qualcomm and from MediaTek.
The regular 11T is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 “Ultra” – we’re not sure what the Ultra here stands for but it seems it’s related to a high clocked NPU – there are no differences on the CPU clocks. The SoC features a Cortex-A78 at up to 3.00GHz, three A78’s at 2.60GHz, and four A55’s at 2.00GHz. The GPU is a MaliG77MP9, although we can’t confirm the frequency. This is MediaTek’s highest end chip at this moment in time, so it’s quite interesting. What also makes it special is that it’s on TSMC’s 6nm process node, and it’s the first chip we’ve had in our hands on this node.
The Snapdragon 888 needs no introduction, and that’s what’s powering the 11T Pro. There are a few oddities with the chip though, which we’ll cover in the system performance section, but the way Xiaomi is configuring the chip isn’t quite flagship level in terms of behaviour.
What’s very exciting about the two devices with differing SoCs is that both phones are otherwise absolutely identical in specifications. It’s essentially the same phone, just with a different SoC, and different charging capabilities. For apples-to-apples chipset comparisons, it rarely gets better than this, though we’ll see that there are behavioural discrepancies.
The back of the phone is relatively generic with its glass back. One thing to note here is that the phone is a bit more on the wider side at 76.9mm. Weight is reasonable at 203-204g due to the 5000mAh battery.
In general, the build quality and design of the phone isn’t quite as attractive and sleek as what we saw on the Mi 11, and it does feel like a slightly cheaper / lower end model in the Mi 11 flagship series.
On the camera side of things, Xiaomi is employing a 108MP sensor, but this is not the HMX that was found in the Mi 11 but rather the smaller HM2 sensor which uses 0.7µm pixels compared to 0.8µm on the sibling. The optics are 24mm equivalent focal length at f/1.75 aperture, but without OIS.
There’s a 5MP telephoto module but this is only used for macro shots, it can’t be used for any actual zooming in.
Finally, there’s a basic 8MP ultra-wide with f/2.2 and 120° field of view – it’s really basic. In general, the whole camera setup is simple and Xiaomi doesn’t give it too great specifications.
Xiaomi is focusing around fast-charging in these devices, notably the 11T Pro comes with a 120W charger. It performs as advertised; however, we’ll be talking about the topic in more depth in the review.
The 11T starts at 499€, which is quite reasonable, and the 11T Pro starts at 649€ - which is actually quite steep given that one can have the Mi 11 for around 715€ nowadays, the phone would have to somehow rationalise itself in its differentiations compared to its series sibling.
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beginner99 - Thursday, September 16, 2021 - linkHence you should disable fast charging and only enable it when your really need it. Plus not go below 20% too often and not leave it plugged in at 100% overnight.
philehidiot - Thursday, September 16, 2021 - linkMyself I have a balance between battery and lifestyle. I'm not rearranging my life around battery longevity and I've a local phone shop that does reasonably priced battery swaps. You lose waterproofing, though. I slow charge with a slow wireless charger overnight (to preserve the USB port which is a known weakness on my phone) and have "fast cable charging" disabled. So when I go on holiday, I take a normal wired charger and the super fast one. The super fast cable charging is enabled but there's no way of mixing it up as it's the only time I ever use that charger and I have to consciously get it. When you're in a rush, the last thing you want to do is mess around with charging options.
It's not the most optimal solution for battery life, but I also bought a phone with a battery that would easily last a day and a half when I got it, so there is room to drop before it really impacts my routine.
I'll be very interested to see what this article has to say on the effect of fast charging on battery life. It's infuriating that people just aren't aware of the problems to the point that they'll actively challenge something that has been well established for decades - fast charging repeatedly damages batteries.
timecop1818 - Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - linkxiaomi makes a lot of USB power banks, so they should have experience with high charge/discharge battery cells
ssdj - Thursday, September 16, 2021 - linkXiaomi has a share in sunwoda, world's leading battery manufacturer on par with coslight.
abufrejoval - Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - linkWell, it is becoming more and more difficult to achieve the miracles vendors want to sell and consumers want to brag about...
But will consumers be unhappy with these devices, even when they are throttled to where they no longer burn their fingers (and the battery)? Probably not.
The main message for me is: Little benefit from new devices in terms of performance.
Limited battery life time, ever more fragile devices and limited software support unfortunately won't let us just keep our existing phones until things get interesting again.
GC2:CS - Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - linkWell thanks for your work an article on those FTL charging methods would be greatly appreciated.
I do have a suspicion that something is wrong with "charges in 15 minutes and 120W in phone thing" when the basics are still lithium ions and cobalt oxide housing. They do not like high currents and high temperatures. And nobody talks about negatives. All I see is fanboys screaming "ur phone charges slower than a snail !"
So a thorough deep dive would be appreciated. Should I charge my notebook at 5W then ?
dragosmp - Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - linkProbably not at 5, but not at 120W either. For every battery chemistry and build quality there is a "maximum" charging speed for which there is no heat accumulation and no separator damage. If it's a "power" cell, aka a cell with a thinner and more permeable separator, then you can charge at higher power, but you get less Wh per volume. Power cells also tend to get higher self-discharge. At 5000mAh, so 5Ah, for an average 3.8V, 1C charging is 18W. 18W is surely safe, and probably somwere between 18 and 36W is safe too below 80% SoC. For more than that, it depends on the cell, heatsink/phone and charging curve - which is why I'm with Andrei on testing the battery inside the phone, as opposed to on a table with open airflow and maybe too keeping temps in check.
Wrs - Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - linkThere is already so much one can do with lithium and cobalt (or manganese sometimes).. what it boils down to is how good the design is and how well it's manufactured. Remember years back when we worried about whether 15W quick charging would lead to shortened lifespan compared to 5W charging? You could say back then designs were less advanced - production methods were not as refined, and the product has to be perfect btw, one mistake and a fire erupts in someone's pocket.
I'm of course curious about how much degradation happens at 120w peaks compared to 15 or 25w. Someone will have to test that long-term. And then we'll have to ask whether that's significant or practically meaningful. Degradation is not really a fixed percentage; it's more like an added resistor to the battery. Draw high testing current and you'll see much higher % aging than if you draw low current. All that is relative to battery size. That's why Apple had that "fiasco" with performance throttling on older iPhones. Their battery designs tend to be smaller and more conservative (less cutting-edge). I will say I appreciate seeing a contrasting manufacturer who keeps pushing the edge - all this research prepares us for what we might see as standard tomorrow.
NextGen_Gamer - Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - linkSmall (but funny typo): after making a point of talking about how Xiaomi has dropped the Mi branding from the 11T series, you then proceed to call them just that in the spec comparison table right afterwards haha
Andrei Frumusanu - Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - linkThanks, I had written the header table before Xiaomi emphasised the Mi removal.