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Xiaomi M11 Ultra: Aiming for the Moon

Boasting a big camera module with the latest flagship processor, the Mi 11 Ultra aims for the moon. Mi 11 Ultra is a hefty, bulky device with a raised humongous camera module at the rear.

Xiaomi M11 Ultra: Aiming for the Moon

Price: Rs 69,999

Specs: 6.81-inch AMOLED DotDisplay with 3200x1440p resolution, 1.1-inch rear display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 12GB RAM with 256GB storage, 50MP wide angel camera + 48MP ultra-wide camera + 48MP telephoto camera, 20MP front camera, MIUI 12* based on Android 11, 5000mAh battery, supports 67W wired turbo charging/67W wireless turbo charging

Colour: Black, White

Chinese smartphones OEMs - OnePlus and Oppo - have been trying to challenge Samsung's dominance in the flagship smartphone space for some time now. Joining them is Xiaomi with its superphone - Mi 11 Ultra. Boasting a big camera module with the latest flagship processor, the Mi 11 Ultra aims for the moon.

Mi 11 Ultra is a hefty, bulky device with a raised humongous camera module at the rear. This makes the Ultra a little unbalanced too, especially while typing in portrait mode. While some loved the design, many reminded me that it resembled the unbranded Chinese phones with huge camera bump that stormed the Indian market about a decade ago. But the ceramic rear makes it feel much premium. Other than the regulars on the side panels, Mi 11 Ultra has an IR sensor at the top, paired with the Mi Remote app, that bundles it as a universal remote.

Contrary to the design, displays are the winner. The primary display is sharp and vibrant, ideal for reading and entertainment. Although by default 60Hz display has been activated, it can be switched to 120Hz from the display settings. The latter can be turned on with QHD+ resolution too. And then, there is a secondary display too. No, it doesn't have a foldable design but other than the main display, Xiaomi has added one small 1.1inch display at the rear, next to the camera sensors. A tap on that rear one shows time, controls while playing music and rear camera preview in default photo mode. The preview feature can be turned on from the camera settings.  If wondering why one needs this in the world of super selfie cameras on the smartphone, my argument is why would one not like to click perfect selfies using this superb camera?  Also, it might come a little handy when capturing a picture of someone as they can see the preview but this 1.1-inch screen feels rather small from a distance.

Xiaomi is betting big on the camera as this triple camera setup includes a 50MP (f/2.0) main camera sensor, 48MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera and 48MP (f/4.1) periscope camera capable of 5x optical and 120x digital zoom. Without a doubt, the 50MP main camera captures stunning images which are vibrant with a great amount of details. By default, the main sensor captures images using pixel binning. However, I was able to capture at 50MP resolution from the camera settings. The large main sensor does a great job in low light too as the images with minimal noise.

Zooms can be tricky. The 5x optical zoom is lossless, as the images captured are crisp without distortion. Even the ones captured at 10x that combines digital and optical zoom were also usable. But zoom in further, and the images tend to lose clarity. Frankly, the 120x zoom is not much of use. I only ended up capturing shots of the moon. For the 120x zoom, a small viewfinder over the overall image appears helping identify the subject. While I always believe a little weight helps in holding the hand still while capturing images, this one's a little too heavy, which poses a challenge when trying to use the super zoom. Ideally, the best is to mount it on a tripod. There is also a supermoon mode that goes only up to 60x zoom. The ultra-wide camera has one of the longest field of view at 128 degree that helps in capturing a larger area but at times edges are distorted. It doesn't score high on macro mode either. The 20-MP front camera is good at capturing selfies with natural-looking skin tone.

Photography isn't about just capturing images but editing them too. And the Mi 11 Ultra is a powerhouse that handles everything smoothly. I edited some heavy - 25 MB images captured at 50 MP resolution and even 4K videos - shot on the device itself and there wasn't any lag. Professional photographers are going to love this smartphone, also because of the manual settings they can play around with.  The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 is the flagship processor best in the business and manages to handle all tasks without slowing down. However, even though Xiaomi has added layers of thermal cooling, it does heat up a bit with prolonged camera usage and gaming.

5000 mAh battery is good enough to last a day with extensive camera usage and screen time. Mi 11 Ultra supports a 67W wired and wireless charger that juice up the phone from 0 to 100% in less than 40 minutes. But I only had access to a 55W charger which juiced it to 100% in less than an hour.

Frankly, all Android smartphones offer a similar set of features. What comes down to is the camera and overall performance, where the Mi Ultra scores high but at the same time faces tough competition from the OnePlus 9 Pro with Hasselblad partnership and no fancy zoom. It also competes against the Samsung S21 Ultra with 100x zoom retailing at Rs 1,05,999.  

Also read: Redmi Note 10 review: Sleek, lightweight, value for money

Also read: OnePlus Nord CE launched in India; Check out specifications, price

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