Like its predecessors, the Xiaomi 11T is a great alternative to the company’s flagship releases.
The Xiaomi T series offers flagship-level hardware, but has been watered down so they can be relatively cheaper. Not midrange-phone-cheap, but Xiaomi places them in the sub-Php21,000 range for those who want more than a budget phone. But do they really have a place in the market? Or are you better off spending more and get a proper flagship?
We find out here in our Xiaomi 11T review. Bear in mind that the one we’re reviewing is the base model with an 8GB/128GB configuration that retails for Php21,990.
Xiaomi 11T Specs
- Android 11, MIUI 12.5
- Dual SIM, Dual standby
- 6.67-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, 394ppi
- 120Hz dynamic refresh rate, 480Hz touch sampling
- P3 color, 1000-nits peak brightness, HDR10+
- Corning Gorilla Class Victus
- 3.0GHz MediaTek Dimensity 1200 Ultra octa-core processor
- Vapor Chamber cooling
- 8GB LPDDR5 RAM
- 9-core Mali GPU
- 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 internal storage, non-expandable
- 16-megapixel front camera
- 108-megapixel (f/1.75) + 8-megapixel (120-degree ultra-wide) + 5-megapixel (telemacro) rear cameras, LED flash
- Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
- Stereo speakers
- Hi-Res audio, Dolby Atmos
- WiFi 6
- Bluetooth 5.2
- dual-band GPS, A-GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BDS
- USB Type-C
- Dimensions: 164.1 x 76.9 x 8.8mm
- Weight: 203g
- Colors: Celestial Blue, Meteorite Gray, Moonlight White
- 5,000mAh non-removable battery, 67W Xiaomi HyperCharge
Design and Build Quality
As stated earlier, the Xiaomi 11T is a cheaper alternative to the Mi 11 flagship series. You can notice it in their design. The 11T has a more industrial feel to it. Compared to the Mi 11, it feels chunkier and larger. It lacks the finesse that a real high-end phone has. However, its bulky design prefaces the impressive hardware inside.
The curved glass back panel is extremely prone to fingerprint smudges. So if you want to keep it clean, then you might want to use the free clear case in the box. Actually, it’s okay to put on a case on this thing, since the brushed aluminum look that the material below the glass tries to mimic doesn’t look too appealing, either.
There’s quite substantial glass on the top left that houses two large camera circles, with a lip on the right for the LED flash, Laser AF, and the 108-megapixel camera logo. By the way, the unit we’re reviewing is the Meteorite Gray color. It’s also available in Celestial Blue and Moonlight White.
You can also notice that the Mi emblem is now gone since Xiaomi has completely omitted it on their branding.
We may not be big fans of the back design, but we like how the shiny surface, thick build, and curved corners make it really nice in the hands.
On the front, we have a large 6.67-inch display. Thanks to the AMOLED panel and punch-hole for the camera, the bezels were kept at the minimum, resulting in a cleaner look.
We also liked the unique side-mounted fingerprint scanner. It looks different than what other phones have as it’s curved and protruded, making it really easy to press as it also works well as a lock/power switch.
The volume control is on top of it, which is also very tactile and clicky when pressed. The left side is clean.
There’s the secondary speaker grill prominently displayed on the top letting everyone know that it has stereo speakers. Opposite that is the second microphone for noise isolation.
The Xiaomi 11T is one of those phones with the SIM tray at the bottom. As expected, it can house two nano SIMs back to back, but no space for a microSD card for storage expansion.
Next to it is the primary microphone, USB Type-C port, and the primary speaker.
Display and Sound Quality
The Xiaomi 11T display has all the bells and whistles on paper. It’s large at 6.67-inches, vibrant with its AMOLED panel, smooth with its 120Hz dynamic refresh rate, and responsive with its 480Hz touch sampling. It also has HDR10+ support and P3 color.
That said, display quality is superb on this device. But we suggest picking the right color scheme to fit your needs. Vivid is set out of the box, which offers vibrant colors and contrast for better multimedia consumption.
But if you’re a content creator who edits a lot of pictures or videos, you might want to go with Orignal Color for a more realistic color rendition. You can also adjust the colors yourself by going with the advanced settings.
The HDR feature works on both Netflix and YouTube but is a little shaky on other apps.
Meanwhile, the 120Hz feels really smooth, which is also thanks to the capable processor. Sadly, there’s no adaptive feature, so you have to manually choose between 60Hz or 120Hz.
The large secondary speaker up top makes for loud and distinct stereo separation. Sound quality and balance are noticeable too, especially with Dolby Atmos-enabled.
However, since the top speaker doubles as an earpiece, people next to you may also be able to hear the person you’re talking to during calls.
Hardware and Performance
The Xiaomi 11T boasts a Dimensity 1200, which is MediaTek’s most powerful 5G chipset. It came from a 6nm process with one powerful Cortex-A78 clocked at 3.0GHz, three standard Cortex-A78 at 2.6GHz, and four Cortex-A55 efficient cores at 2GHz. It also has a Mali-G77 MC9 GPU. The device only comes with 8GB of RAM and an option between 128GB (the one we’re reviewing) and 256GB of fast UFS 3.1 storage.
Xiaomi 11T benchmark scores
Having one of the top-performing chips around, it’s no surprise that the 11T provides fast and reliable performance. From basic to demanding tasks, this device can handle it all.
It goes without saying that gaming performance was superb on this thing. Call of Duty Mobile, under Very High graphics quality and Max frame rate, ran smoothly with stunning colors thanks to the OLED panel.
MediaTek chips are prone to overheating. It wasn’t a big issue during our time with it, but it’s still something to be aware of.
Software and User Interface
The Xiaomi 11T ships with the Android 11 operating system with the brand’s MIUI 12.5 interface on top.
Overall, the interface looks a little too much, especially if you prefer that clean, stock-Android look. But upon spending some time with it, you’d realize that some of its quirks make sense.
For one, the drop-down menu has large buttons for essential toggles like Mobile Data, WiFi, and Bluetooth. The flashlight button was also enlarged so you can spot it instantly in case of an emergency. Also, to summon the drop-down menu, you have to swipe from the right side of the screen. The swiping from the left reveals the notifications tab. What’s neat is, if you’re in the notifications tab, you can swipe left to go to the drop-down menu, and vice versa.
Upon boot up, you’d be asked to choose if you want the app drawer enabled or disabled. We chose the latter as it gives you a more organized look at your apps. They are sorted by category, with a search button at the bottom that’s easily reachable so you can look for the app you want in an instant.
This means that the home screen is clean. There’s also the Google desktop tab, that lets you easily access Google search, current weather, and news relevant to you. You can also enable the “Okay Google” voice command in the settings if you want to ask something or have something done immediately.
But just like most Android phones, you’re not safe from bloatware and pre-installed apps. Some redundant apps like the Mi Browser can be uninstalled if you prefer Google Chrome. However, apps like Mi Video are here to stay.
You can also long-press apps from the home screen or app drawer to see quick actions. It works on most native apps and third-party like Spotify, FB Messenger, and Instagram.
If you’re heavy on customization, the 11T has a dedicated store for Themes and Wallpapers right in the settings menu.
Thanks to its AMOLED panel, the Xiaomi 11T offers an always-on display feature with deep customization. You can choose from different neon wallpapers made specifically for AOD. You can opt to use your own image, quotes, etc. You can also include the time and notifications, so you can see if something important is buzzing you without having to unlock the phone.
AOD works well with the Notification Effect, which lights up the edges of the screen when you get a notification. Only three designs are available to choose from, we wish there was more.
For better multitasking, you can do split-screen mode, or have one app in the floating mode so you can keep using it while accessing different apps.
You can access different multitasking options by launching the taskbar button and long-pressing the main app you want to multitask with.
If you’re sharing a phone with someone, you can enable the Second Space feature that separates your data to keep them safe. Lite mode is also present that enlarges all the icons, texts, and makes the UI cleaner and more straightforward, and less complicated for someone who doesn’t have enough technical know-how.
Google Keyboard is a standard issue on Android phones, like the Xiaomi 11T. Hate the autocorrect function? You can disable it in the settings, which you can access right from the keyboard itself. You also have quick access to GIFs, stickers, and more.
The camera app is intuitive and easy to use, letting you take full advantage of its camera prowess.
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Despite its OLED display, Xiaomi chose to settle with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. We take no offense since we actually prefer a physical sensor as it’s more reliable. And since it doubles as the power button, you can unlock the device faster.
Meanwhile, the face unlock uses the 16-megapixel front camera to detect your face fast, even in low-light scenarios.
You can also use passwords to protect private items. Plus, you can enable the Emergency SOS which sends an SOS text message to your chosen contact when you rapidly press the power button 5 times.
The Xiaomi 11T shares the same camera setup that the Pro model has. It boasts a 108-megapixel ISOCELL HM2 main sensor with f/1.75 lens, 8-megapixel ultra-wide with 120-degree field-of-view, and a 5-megapixel telemacro lens.
Let’s jump to the image quality. The main camera, unsurprisingly, takes incredibly detailed photos. We’re noticing some artifacts when we zoom in or try to add some filters, but nothing too alarming.
It also offers vibrant colors without being oversaturated. Dynamic range is acceptable, although it struggles to handle really bright areas of the image resulting in overblown highlights, especially if you’re shooting in the afternoon.
The ultra-wide camera, despite having a traditional 8-megapixel sensor, takes surprisingly detailed images with good dynamic range and acceptable — albeit imperfect — colors. Edge distortion is not a big issue, either.
Meanwhile, the 5-megapixel telemacro lens has unsurprising results. The macro shots are fine, but as a 2x portrait lens, you’re better off using the main camera and just crop in if you want that effect.
Low-light performance on both the main and ultra-wide cameras is good. For better results, you can enable the Night Mode, which takes long-exposure shots to make the image brighter. Just make sure you have steady hands as it lacks optical image stabilization (OIS).
The 16-megapixel main camera could use some work. For this type of sensor, images lack detail and sharpness. Exposure and dynamic range struggles, too. These features shouldn’t matter much if you plan on using the portrait mode and face beautification anyway.
The Xiaomi 11T is rigged with all the connectivity features you might ever need on a smartphone. There’s the latest WiFi 6 standard, Bluetooth 5.2, dual-band GPS, NFC, USB Type-C, and of course, 5G.
Of course, there’s also the IR blaster that lets you control non-smart TVs, Airconditionair, and more. However, it’s hard to find a remote app that’s compatible with a lot of local appliance brands.
The Xiaomi 11T is equipped with a large 5,000mAh battery. As you can see in the screenshot below, it performed well in PCMark’s battery stress test.
However, the story is a bit different in real-life use. The standby performance is not the best, and even worse when you enable AOD — still, no complaints. Under light to moderate use, the device was able to last us for an entire day.
But if you tend to browse on 5G a lot, then you might have to reach for the charger before the day ends. Alas, since this phone comes with a 67W adapter. During our test, we were able to go from 14% to 76% in only half an hour.
As said earlier, the Xiaomi 11T is for those who want more than just a cheap midrange phone, but don’t want to pay the price of an actual flagship device. Our testing reveals that this smartphone did just that.
While a lot of midrange phones already offer stellar performance, the 11T takes things up a notch by having a more vibrant and smoother screen, a more robust performance, faster charging, and an ultra-sharp main camera.
Still, it’s not a perfect smartphone. For one, we wish it has OIS, a better selfie camera, and the battery efficiency could use some looking-into, too. But obviously, the pros overshadow the cons, making the Xiaomi 11T an easy recommendation to anyone shopping in this price tag.
Xiaomi 11T price and availability in the Philippines
The Xiaomi 11T has a starting price of Php21,990, that’s the 8GB/128GB variant that we just reviewed. There’s also an 8GB/256GB model for Php24,990. Meanwhile, the 11T Pro retails for Php27,990 and Php29,990 for the 8GB/256GB and 12GB/256GB, respectively.
- Chunky build makes it ergnomic
- Large, colorful, and smooth display
- Reliable processing performance all around
- Rear cameras are good
- Fast charging
- No OIS
- Selfie camera could be better
- Battery efficiency could be improved