Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Review: Do Photos Justify the Hump?
It means the world’s largest image sensor on a smartphone and, as a result, the world’s largest camera bump on a smartphone. All of this is enough to get xiaomi and me fans excited, but does the me 11 ultra hit the mark? Hi i’m michael josh, your gadget, matchmaker helping you find the right device to match your needs. This is our xiaomi me, 11. Ultra review Music straight off the bat there’s, no way to ignore the massive camera bump on the me11. Ultra there’s never been one larger. Well, maybe the pureview 808, but that was from another time, although its similarities are not lost on me, there’s. A practical reason for this bump mind you, the image sensor for the phone’s main camera is 1 over 1.12 of an inch that’s larger than the huawei p40. Pro plus the samsung galaxy s21 ultra larger, even than the iphone 12 pro max, which is estimated to be around 1.1 over seven to one over one point: eight don’t quote me on that now i think more importantly, it’s getting closer to that one inch sensor. The same one that’s on the semi pro point and shoot sony makes the rx 100. The second reason for it being so large over here on the edge of the phone there’s, actually a second display, basically the same one used on the me band 5.. This oled display is big enough to show you the time date and battery levels, there’s, also an option to enable a notification light.
So you’ll know if you’ve got unread notifications, you can also do away with a clock and replace it with text or an image. All of this can be customized by diving into settings. Special features rear display, while it’s described as an always on display in settings that’s actually incorrect. The rear display isn’t, always on the most it will stay on, is for 30 seconds, but you can always double tap to wake it up for a more practical standpoint. This display also works as a tiny monitor for taking photos that way. If you’re photographing someone else, they can look at the display and get a preview of the shot so that they can adjust their pose, but even better. You can also use it for taking selfies using the main camera. How much of a difference does that make? Well, for one, the image quality is definitely better. Also it’s, a different kind of framing so you’ll get a different feel to your selfies. You can also, if you want use the ultra wide angle, camera and the zoom lens, but ironically, you can’t use portrait mode, which kind of defeats the purpose now to get it to work. You have to do a bit of digging from the camera app dive into settings, this hamburger menu over here and then turn on rear display preview. If you ask me, i’m, not bothered by the size of this camera, hump, it screams ultra like hey, take a look at my phone.
It’S got some of the most high tech specs in the market today and, at the very least, the phone doesn’t rock on a table like most phones do these days, even with the bump, the phone isn’t significantly bigger than its competitors, it’s, not crazy, heavy too. Overall it’s still a well designed phone i’m glad i got the ceramic white version. I hear the black model is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. That said, i kind of missed that see through option that was available on the me 10 ultra. In my videos. We usually leave the camera discussion for last, but because that’s, what this phone is all about, let’s just dive straight in the me 11 ultra – has three cameras. Earlier i talked about its 50 megapixel main camera with a near one inch sensor, there’s, also a 48 megapixel ultra wide angle, camera with 128 degrees field of view similar to last year and still the widest that’s available on a phone. Finally, there’s a 48 megapixel periscope camera with 5x optical zoom and up to 120x digital zoom, which you can’t miss because it’s printed on the back of the phone on paper, it’s, an impressive complement of cameras and just recently dxomark ranked it as the best camera smartphone. It’S ever tested, but i wanted to see how it lived up to the gadget match style of testing. So i took the phone and a few other favorites on a photo walk.
The best way to give you a simulation of what the phone’s camera can actually do. Let me start with a few photo comparisons versus the me 11 and the me 10 ultra tldr. The me 11 ultra is much better than the mi 11 and trickier shooting conditions, it’s. Also, a big improvement over last year’s me 10, ultra in terms of color accuracy, dynamic range and low light performance. Alright, first let’s take a look at that. Telephoto lens i’ve said this. Before for everyday use, i prefer the 2.5 x and 3x zoom lenses on the iphone 12 pro max and the s21 ultra 5x just seems too much and it’s not like you can punch out, because if you manually try and get to 3x using the 1x zoom Lens that’s zooming in digitally the only other camera in its league with a 5x optical zoom lens is the vivo x60 pro plus so here’s a side by side comparison. And if i were to pick one i’d say the vivo has a slight edge in terms of sharpness and luminance, but i think the me11 ultra did the better job in this silhouette photo of some seagulls during sunset when it comes to pushing in further the mi 11, ultra can go all the way to 120x, but, as you can see from this example, it’s difficult to frame a shot when zoomed in all the way, the galaxy s21 ultra lets. You go up to 100x, but at least has a new feature that uses ai to keep the subject in frame and no matter how many photos you take.
None of these photos of lady liberty shot at 120x on the me11 ultra is worth posting anywhere. 30X is probably, as far as i’d push and in this comparison photo you’ll find the 5x lens on the mi. 11 ultra did a good job versus the s21 ultra, which has a second 10x optical zoom lens, which it uses for its space zoom feature. Definitely the takeaway here should be. The me11 ultra has a wider ultra wide angle lens than anything we’ve seen from its competitors on paper that’s, a 128 degree field of view versus the usual 120 degrees that’s on the iphone and s21, because low light is where camera shootouts are decided. I shot a few comparisons during sunset and after dark in this first one. I think the me11 ultra did a good job. I love how rich and blue the sky is this one taken at the oculus late in the evening is okay, but the mi 11 ultra is not the best one in this bunch, but it’s better, at least than the iphone alright. Now, on to that main camera, the one with that large image sensor, does it really make a difference? Let’S see, let’s start with this shot from golden hour. Given the conditions the sky should be blue, the buildings should be golden. The me11 ultra’s photo is a bit gloomy for my tastes, even if the buildings are bright and golden compare that with the rest of its competitors.
I love the blues and the iphones photo, but i realized in the shootout that the iphone’s main lens isn’t as wide as the rest of them notice, the sidewalk didn’t even fit into the frame. I took this next shot in the shadows, a more challenging situation that mimics a cloudy day i’m looking for some pop in these photos, despite the more dreary lighting situation and the x60 pro plus from vivo, delivers notice, the red and the yellow man it’s also sharper, And has surprisingly greater depth of feel you’d expect the xiaomi to have creamier bokeh, considering its larger sensor. Also, the me11 ultras is the only photo that blew out the sky. In the background this next shot i took on another day. I wanted to revisit that whole larger image sensor equals shallower depth of field principle. Let’S take a look at the me 11 ultra photo on its own first, while the eyes of this mech are sharp notice. The objects around it are already out of focus it’s. The nature of the lens, but in cases like this, it also means that your entire subject might not come out as sharp. This is something that samsung tried to fix with its dual aperture technology, which was a feature that used to be available on its phones. Somehow the iphone 12 pro max, even if it has the second largest image sensor of the group, has more of the monkey’s face in focus here’s another example: i took this next shot as the sun was setting and in the shade, so there was less available light.
The iphone 12 pro max has a sharpest photo and it’s rich saturated colors. The vivo x60 pro pluses is also very vibrant notice, though, because of that shallower plane of focus, the me11 ultras tulip looked softer now. Let’S take a look at some hdr tests. Hdr stands for high dynamic range, which has to do with the bright and the dark spots in a photo highlights and shadows when shooting with your subject in the shadows, against a bright background, getting a good balance can be tricky, so look out for chai’s face. You want it well lit and you want the background not to be blown out either. All photos preserve the background. Well, the sky is blue and the colors are punchy across the board. The s21 ultra struggled with focus, i think the vivo and the iphone did the best job. Overall, this next photo was meant to be more artsy, so picking the best one is extra subjective. The goal was to create a silhouette, but hdr tech. These days is so aggressive that most phones will brighten the subject because in most cases that’s better. Thankfully you get a lot of preserved detail. Nothing is blown out so that way you can go into an editor and punch up the contrast for even more drama. If you’re a regular on here, you know that i’m, a sucker for a good reflection shot in this next photo. The mi 11 ultra stood out from the rest, but not in a good way.
It’S, the darkest photo of the bunch and, while that’s closest to what our eyes could see the rest did a better job overall in bringing in more light, we like the iphone and, to some extent the vivo’s best, because look at the glass in the building in The background you can almost feel the sun’s light, almost bringing this building to life inside that glass building is a mall. Where i shot these indoor low light photos again. The iphone’s photo is the sharpest but vivo reproduced the scene best with the artificial light that’s cast against the tree. Xiaomi and samsung were soft and lacked punch, here’s a super tough one. It was already dark out, but the sunset was bright enough to make it even trickier. I’Ve got ta hand it to vivo for identifying that i was a subject and almost bringing in another light sword to light me so to speak. So not only is my face. Lit if you zoom in you, can see the outline of my sunglasses and a tiny bit of print on my shirt, excellent job. The me 11 ultra didn’t do well. Its photo was dark and the focus is shot blue hour. My favorite time of the day to take photos. I call this one: a tie but it’s worth noticing how bright the me11 ultra’s photo is, and that clearly is thanks to its larger sensor. That said, for all the expected benefit of the larger sensor, it doesn’t seem to give me 11 ultra an edge here.
All other phones produced a good image. In fact, the mi 11 ultras is my least favorite in this shot of a cocktail at the french restaurant. Le district it’s dull, with hardly any color the photo, not the cocktail. The galaxy s21 ultra did the best job here, also the best white balance but yeah at a french resto. I know, but we needed something pretty to photograph. It was pretty dark where we were sitting, so this was a good low light test, especially for those of you who like to take food photos at restaurants. I was surprised to see how many phones struggle with producing a sharp image this time around. The me11 ultra did better than the vivo and the samsung, but the iphone was again the sharpest and the most vibrant the photo that best matched the dish. And yes, it was yummy Music, it’s, interesting, almost weird, if you think about the me 11 ultra as the successor to last year’s, me, 10, ultra, maybe it’s, just that last year’s phone was the 10th anniversary edition. So it came in a fancy box with a model that had a transparent case, so you could see its insides, but there are emissions too, like the fact that xiaomi removed last year’s headline feature 120 watt charging and pairing it down to a still impressive 67 watts. This doubles the time it takes to fully charge a phone from zero from the insane 23 minutes for a full top up on the me 10 ultra to 41 minutes on the me 11 ultra this year, apart from the processor bump, the mi 11 ultra’s main upgrades.
Come in the form of its new main camera and the addition of harman kardon tuned, dual stereo speakers, which sound great and, very briefly, if you compare it to the mi 11 and mi 11 pro you’ll find these are the most significant value adds to, and the Reasons to consider this phone over the rest of the me 11 lineup. All three phones have the same display size and specs with the mi 11 ultras just being a whole lot. Brighter all run the same snapdragon triple 8 processor and come with 5g support. So is the xiaomi mi 11 ultra your gadget match the whole point of a phone that’s priced above a thousand dollars or euros with superlatives, like ultra max or pro plus, is that it’s supposed to represent a device that’s packed with all of the most advanced features That are currently available in the market and in paper at least on paper. The me11 ultra is exactly that. That close to an inch camera sensor is a feat of hardware engineering, but as we’ve come to realize, and google is probably the best example of this camera hardware is only half the story told in fact, i think software accounts for about 70 to 80 percent of How a photo actually looks like – and this is where the me 11 ultra pales in comparison with likes of the iphone, the s21 ultra and surprisingly, the vivo x60 pro plus, which consistently did better than this phone, at least in my test.
So what i said in my review, video of that phone – you can click over here to watch it later, where i called it. The android camera smartphone to beat still holds true. Perhaps a software update can fix it. Xiaomi’S excellent and the customizations are practical, so maybe in time the mi 11 ultra’s camera can live up to what its hardware promises to deliver, but until then save your money and look elsewhere, and that was our xiaomi me 11. Ultra review. If you like, review videos, consider subscribing to this youtube channel and hit that bell icon so that you get notified as soon as we upload. Follow me on social media for all the behind the scenes, fun stuff and, as always, make gadgetmatch.