Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi is known for its line in “flagship killers” – that is, phones that try to do everything an expensive top-end phone can do, but for less. The quality of the brand’s phones has increased dramatically over the last few years, and now they really can be discussed alongside top brands, but what does Xiaomi’s latest offering bring to the table?
Taking its place at the head of the new 11T range, the Xiaomi 11T Pro is an impressive handset overall, but we did encounter one or two small design flaws during our tests. Released on October 1st 2021, the phone has a great camera and a smooth user experience, all backed up by a powerful chipset.
Xiaomi aims to produce a phone to rival flagships priced around the £1000-mark, but sell it for £599. By and large, the Chinese company has achieved this, and ultimately the phone is a good value proposition, packing more power than most comparably priced phones. Within the Xiaomi range – and the wider smartphone marketplace – this phone sits somewhere between a typical “mid-range” phone and a top-end flagship, at least in terms of price. While this handset is at the head of the 11T range – which also contains a standard non-pro version – it’s still a cheaper option than Xiaomi’s previous Mi 11 range, which included the £1199 Mi 11 Ultra. For more on that phone, read our full Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review.
So, is the 11T Pro a genuine flagship killer? Can it really compete with top handsets? Could it even claim a place on our best smartphone list? Our experts tested the phone and several direct competitors to determine whether or not it’s worth your cash. Read on for the full breakdown of the phone’s design, battery, features and more.
- Xiaomi 11T Pro review: summary
- What is the Xiaomi 11T Pro
- What does the Xiaomi 11T Pro do?
- How much is the Xiaomi 11T Pro?
- Is the Xiaomi 11T Pro good value for money?
- Xiaomi 11T Pro features
- Xiaomi 11T Pro battery
- Xiaomi 11T Pro camera
- Xiaomi 11T Pro design
- Our verdict
- Where to buy
It’s seemingly an important year for Xiaomi. The Chinese tech giant recently stepped into second place in terms of global market share of smartphone shipments, according to figures from Canalys. With 17% of global smartphone shipments, Xiaomi overtook Apple (14%), with only Samsung still holding a larger share (19%).
On the back of that success, the Chinese phone-maker is releasing its 11T range, headed up by the 11T Pro, which offers all the features of a top flagship for a lower price – or so Xiaomi claims.
The Snapdragon 888 chipset at the heart of the 11T Pro makes for a smooth, user-friendly experience with genuine power and an impressive camera.
Price: £599 (128GB) £699 (256GB)
- Variable refresh rate display (120Hz/60Hz)
- Snapdragon 888 chipset
- 6.7 inch AMOLED display
- 108MP main camera
- 120W fast charging
- Very fast charging
- Value for money
- Good camera
- Marks up easily
- Poor fingerprint scanner
There’s lots to like about the Xiaomi 11T Pro, and it occupies an interesting space in the market, positioned between real high-end flagships and more affordable mid-rangers. We tested the phone out to see how it compares to the best phones in both categories.
Xiaomi recently made the decision to drop the ‘Mi’ moniker from its new handsets, and the 11T range is the first set of Xiaomi phones to be released without it. The 11T Pro is the big brother of the range, which also includes the standard 11T.
As discussed in the features section, the Xiaomi 11T Pro packs some pretty impressive specs – notably that Snapdragon 888 processor – and as a result, it can pull off a wide range of tasks. That chipset means the phone is more than capable of gaming, though extended bouts of this kind of use will lead to the phone heating up slightly.
This processing power also helps with other tasks such as photo and video editing and makes the general experience of using the phone a smooth one. So, you’ll have no problems streaming content from Netflix and Disney Plus, touching up your latest photos, or uploading content to social media.
Equally, the phone’s 5G capabilities mean that video calls are an absolute breeze when you’re in 5G-equipped areas. To see how the 11T Pro stacks up against the 5G competition, take a look at our best 5G phone page.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset
- 5G connectivity
- Fast charging (around 20 minutes 0-100% with in-box fast charger)
- 108MP camera plus two more lenses on rear and selfie camera
The Xiaomi 11T Pro costs £599, though there is a limited early bird discount price of £549 available to some buyers. To be clear, there aren’t too many phones at this price point that are this powerful and feature-packed. It’s £150 cheaper than the Xiaomi Mi 11, with only a few minor specs concessions – including the absence of the Mi 11’s IPX68 waterproof rating.
If you’re a fan of Xiaomi phones but want something cheaper, take a look at our Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Review. It’s just £249 (currently available for less, see below), and our reviewer described it as “one of the best budget Android phones on the market”.
The iPhone 12 now costs around £679 – thanks to a price drop brought about by the iPhone 13’s announcement – which brings these two into close competition. For some, the decision will be one of personal preference and habit. Are you already integrated into the Apple product ecosystem? Or, do you prefer the layout and wider cross-compatibility of Android devices?
Take a look at our full iPhone 12 review for more info on Apple’s popular handset or – if you’re looking to purchase an iPhone 12 – you can pick one up using the links below.
It’s also worth comparing the Xiaomi 11T Pro with the Google Pixel 5, which also currently retails around £599 but can be picked up for less.
In our full Google Pixel 5 review, we gave the phone a four-star rating and generally found it to be a good all-round performer. The camera set-up is fantastic for both photography and 4K video, and it certainly trumps Xiaomi in the functional fingerprint scanner stakes. Equally, if you’re a user that likes a smaller handset, the Pixel 5 may be a better choice for you than the 11T Pro. However, for the money, the Pixel 5 packs far less power – a lowly Snapdragon 765G chipset – and can’t really handle demanding tasks, like complex games.
Overall, in terms of power and potential uses, the Xiaomi 11T Pro does seem to compare more closely with top-end flagships than it does with phones around the same price point. However, for basic day-to-day use, some of those similarly priced phones – and some of the best mid-range phones – can deliver a similar overall experience.
The Snapdragon 888 chipset that powers the Xiaomi 11T Pro knits its feature suite together nicely, powering a smooth experience, sharp photography and a visually appealing display. Backing up that chipset is 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage – which unfortunately can’t be expanded on.
Users can manually switch the AMOLED display between a 60Hz or 120Hz refresh rate or leave this to the adaptive refresh rate system, which delivers a higher refresh rate when needed but reduces when it can conserve battery power.
The display really is a stand-out feature. It renders colours brilliantly, it’s bright, crisp, and Xiaomi has also been keen to shout about the phone’s speakers – which were “tuned by Harman Kadron” – and in fairness, they are relatively impressive. The speakers offer clear sound even at high volumes and higher volume levels than some comparable Android phones.
One noteworthy issue is the phone’s tendency to get hot after long periods of intense use. There have been several reports of this flaw, and we experienced it during our tests too.
Additionally, the phone’s fingerprint scanner is near impossible to use. This isn’t necessarily a major drawback, but we have found scanners a handy way to unlock phones, and the difficulty in using biometric ID – for online banking and similar apps – is an inconvenience. The scanner is placed on the side of the phone rather than on the back as competing handsets positioned it. This makes it trickier to use, and on numerous occasions, during our test, the phone did not register a fingerprint at all.
The fast charge capabilities of the Xiaomi 11T Pro are one of its stand-out selling points. The Chinese smartphone maker has prioritised this feature for a while now, and the new handset ships with a pleasingly speedy 120W USBC charger.
This thing really is hideously fast – taking your phone from 0% to 100% battery in around 20 minutes. So, if waiting for your current handset to charge is the bane of your life, the Xiaomi 11T Pro could be the perfect upgrade for you.
In terms of battery life, we found that the 5000mAh battery comfortably lasted all day, with some to spare – even with lots of video streaming, scrolling and audio playback with the 120Hz refresh rate enabled. The battery life is far from the best out there, but it outperforms the iPhone 12 relatively comfortably and is very fast to recharge.
Three lenses make up the 11T Pro’s rear camera array. The 108mp (f/1.75) wide-angle lens and the main camera work well in conjunction with the Snapdragon 888 chipset, generally capturing rich, detailed photographs.
There’s also an 8mp (f/2.2) 120-degree ultra-wide-angle lens and a 5mp (f/2.4) 2x telemacro lens that offers crisp up-close detail. This is a very similar rear array to that which appeared on the Xiaomi Mi 11, though the ultra-wide and selfie cameras on the 11T Pro are slightly lower on megapixels than they were on the more expensive Mi 11.
During testing, we found both the front and rear cameras performed well but only produced their very best images with favourable lighting. There is also a high-res ‘Pro’ mode and a portrait mode to help users make the most of the camera.
In terms of video capture, the Xiaomi 11T Pro can record in 4K HDRO10+ quality and features an ‘audio zoom’ feature, which adjusts the volume as you move closer to a subject. On test, we found that the phone was easy to film with and captured impressive video and audio.
Take a look at some examples of photographs captured on the Xiaomi 11T Pro below:
The handset is sleek and tactile. We loved the shiny, reflective effect on the rear casing, but unfortunately, it’s a real magnet for fingerprints. The whole phone collects fingerprints, marks and dust frustratingly easily. There is a basic case included in the box to reduce this problem, but this spoiled the phone’s hand-feel, leaving it a little on the bulky side.
The phone also includes a pre-installed screen protector. This is generally a good thing and a nice touch but does feel very slightly cheap when compared to some of the top-end phones the Xiaomi 11T Pro is trying to rival. The edge of the screen protector is most apparent around the cut-out selfie camera. Of course, in trying to provide a flagship experience at a lower price point, there are bound to be one or two small corners that get cut, but this is one of them.
The Xiaomi 11T Pro is a great option for those who want high-end specs and features for a little less. Admittedly, the £599 price tag is still plenty, and there are plenty of competing options on our best mid-range phone list that come in at around £400. However, they lack some of the ‘pro’ flagship touches of the Xiaomi 11T Pro and that high-end processing power.
The camera, the appealing 120Hz AMOLED display and the smooth user experience – all powered by that Snapdragon 888 chipset – do make the phone feel genuinely high-end in places. However, there are a few cost-saving measures that shatter that illusion now and again. The constant smudgy, dusty, fingerprint-hoarding surfaces are probably foremost among these. That’s a small bugbear, though, in the grand scheme of things and will bother some users more than others.
If you’re a ‘power user’ on a budget – and can’t stretch to the £1000+ that top-end phones are currently demanding – then the Xiaomi 11T Pro could be the ideal upgrade for you. There may be one or two small irritations, but this phone has an awful lot to offer.
Value for money: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 4/5
You can order the Xiaomi 11T Pro right now via Xiaomi or on Amazon following its October 1st release. Follow the link below for more information and to purchase.
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