Mi 11 will undoubtedly see various tweaks to its performance, design and cameras that help make the new Xiaomi phone competitive in 2021. However, early rumours suggest this could also be the first Xiaomi flagship with a 2K display.
Xiaomi has previously kept away from Quad-HD displays, to keep down prices and to promote longer battery life. This makes sense, because value is synonymous with the Xiaomi brand – but with Mi 10 we saw the company move away from its traditional sub-£500 price point with a £300 price hike, so could we see a continuation of this theme?
There is always a danger of associating strong value with cheap. Even the most expensive phones can offer great value when that price is paired with a formidable feature set. With the addition of 5G, UFS 3.0 storage, LPDDR5 RAM, a 108Mp quad-lens camera and some display improvements, we think Xiaomi is realising that its customers don’t necessarily want cheap – they want the best.
As it happens, the 2K display rumour might be better taken with a pinch of salt. It stems from concept renders shared online by igeekphone (source: new.qq), some of which have been used to illustrate this article.
Xiaomi Mi 11 specification rumours
Igeekphone is among those using the renders to back up claims that this 2K screen will be a 6.9in Samsung Super AMOLED curved panel with a 144Hz refresh rate and HDR10, and that Mi 11 will feature a 96-97% screen-to-body ratio and a Snapdragon 875 processor with up to 16GB of RAM.
Furthermore, it claims the primary camera will be upgraded to a quad assembly with 192Mp (up from 108Mp), 40Mp zoom, 21Mp wide-angle and 8Mp macro lenses, with support for PDAF and optical image stabilisation. The battery, meanwhile, could hit 5500mAh with 100W charging, 40W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging – and that’s quite a jump.
The processor rumour is simply common sense, and we thoroughly expect Xiaomi to specify whatever is the latest generation of Qualcomm’s top-end chip at the time the phone is announced (this processor won’t be announced until December).
Tipped to be built on a 5nm manufacturing process, the SD875 will almost certainly be more powerful, and also more efficient, which may well pave the way for higher-resolution displays that place less of a strain on the battery.
But, for now at least, the rest could be little more than fantasy. Concept renders – at least until we get closer to the announcement date – are rarely created on the back of any solid information. They are designed to impress, sometimes to surprise, and above all to be shared and go viral. They are simply an artist’s impression of what might happen.
Don’t get us wrong – we’d love to see a 2K screen on Mi 11, but we’d also like to be able to configure Full-HD as the default (as you can on Samsung’s Galaxy phones) to preserve battery life. With Xiaomi increasing the price and specification of flagship, it could happen, but this rumour is by no means confirmation.
Speculation has also been rife on the possibility of Mi 11 having a 32Mp under-display camera, which has come from Xiaomi recently demonstrating third-generation under-screen camera tech. It’s allegedly at the mass production stage, but won’t be commercially available until 2021. Ergo, Mi 11 could feature this tech – although Mi Mix 4 might be a better playground in which Xiaomi can experiment.
Mi 11 or Mi 20?
What the next Xiaomi phone will be called is a pertinent question: it’s not unusual for phone makers to jump from 10 straight to 20 in their model names, so we could well be seeing a Mi 20 from Xiaomi rather than a Mi 10.
This is a practice Samsung and, even closer competitor, Huawei have both followed, so it’s certainly not out of the question. So far there is nothing official to suggest one name is more likely than the other, but we will be keeping our ears to the ground.
How many Mi 11 models will there be?
This is difficult to guess, because Xiaomi’s strategy for Mi 10 has been entirely different than it was for Mi 9.
With Mi 9 we additionally saw the Mi 9 Lite, Mi 9 SE, Mi 9T and Mi 9T Pro, while in China there was also a Mi 9 Pro and Mi 9 Explorer Edition.
With Mi 10 we have seen the standard model and Mi 10 Lite in the UK, and elsewhere in the world the Mi 10 Pro and Mi 10 Ultra. Later today a Mi 10T will be added to the mix. Xiaomi has, of course, separately updated the Mi Note line with the Mi Note 10, Mi Note 10 Pro and Mi Note 10 Lite.
We think the latter strategy is most likely to remain, with Mi 11, Mi 11 Lite and Mi 11 Pro announcements happening together in early 2021, and a Mi Note 11 family being announced separately – potentially before Mi 11, as Mi Note 10 was announced in November 2019.
When is the Mi 11 coming out?
Traditionally, all the big phone refreshes have tended to fall in line with Mobile World Congress, typically held in late February in Barcelona. In 2021, however, MWC has been pushed back to the end of June, so what will this mean for the usual release date calendar?
It’s worth pointing out that in recent years the likes of Samsung, Huawei and LG have held their own events separate to MWC, in an effort to launch their new flagships away from the noise of the competition. So there’s nothing to say they will push back release dates to tie in with the new dates for MWC.
It’s also notable that while Xiaomi tends to hold its European launch of its flagship phone at MWC, it usually announces that same phone in China as much as a week earlier. And it’s not at all uncommon for Xiaomi’s UK and European launches to take place several months after the Chinese launch.
With this in mind, it’s entirely possible that we will see a Q1 launch for the Mi 11 in China, but a later European launch in June.
How much will Mi 11 cost?
Xiaomi isn’t about to backtrack on any of the new features that pushed up the price for Mi 10. We expect that rather than reducing the price it will look to add value at the same price point, with the Mi 11 coming in at a Mi 10-matching £799/€799 for the base model.