Xiaomi 11T Pro: 4 reasons you should be excited about this new flagship phone
Dare I say this could be a flagship killer?
Sareena DayaramSenior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
has unveiled the 11T smartphone series, its new midrange lineup, designed to succeed the Mi 10T series. The announcement was made at a virtual event on Wednesday, where the company introduced three models, the 11T Lite 5G, 11T and the 11T Pro.
The highest-end 11T Pro is the most compelling phone of the trio, and lets Xiaomi offer a more budget-friendly alternative to the Chinese phone-maker's pricier Mi 11 flagship series. The 11T has a 6.7-inch AMOLED screen, two powerful chipsets and an 108-megapixel lens leading its camera array, but the headline feature is the charger. The 11T comes with a 120-watt in-box charger, a first for Xiaomi as well as the broader industry.
The Xiaomi 11T Pro starts at 649 euros (roughly $770, £560 or AU$1,060) for the base model, which has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, going up to 749 euros ($890, £640, AU$1,210) for 12GB/256GB. The 11T starts at 499 euros ($590), while the 11 Lite 5G NE starts at 369 euros ($440). The 11T series is slated for a global rollout, but as is the norm with Xiaomi
, it will not get a stateside release. So if you're interested, you'll have to import.
I put out a Mi 11 review earlier this year, and I got my hands on its fancier sibling, the Mi 11 Ultra, so take a look at those pieces for a better understanding of how the 11T series fits into the lineup.
Need for charge speed: There's a 120W brick inside the box
At a time when industry juggernauts
have removed their in-box chargers (for "environmental reasons" they say), Xiaomi is doubling down. The company says its 120-watt charger delivers a full charge of the 5,000-mAh battery in just 17 minutes. And a number of reviews seem to back that up, putting the charge time between 15 and 21 minutes, which blows the competition out of the water.
Xiaomi hasn't shied away from first debuting high-end features, or in this case best-in-class features, on its midrange phones, and it fits in with the Chinese phone-maker's strategy of offering exceptional value. This is also a feature I'd expect to make its way to the pricier Mi 12 flagship series (the name isn't yet confirmed), which is expected early next year.
Two Qualcomm chipsets, including the flagship Snapdragon 888
The 11T Pro has a flagship processor -- none other than Qualcomm's top-of-the line Snapdragon 888. This chipset is found in several of Samsung's premium phones including the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G and the $1,200 Galaxy S21 Ultra. Xiaomi's 11T Pro is by no means the first midrange phone to come with a flagship processor, but it's definitely a welcome addition, considering Qualcomm promises 25% to 35% better processing and graphics card performance with the 888 than the 865. There's also Qualcomm's X60 modem which the company says was "built to allow more networks to achieve faster, low-latency 5G," though the experience will likely vary depending on carrier support and 5G availability.
120Hz display makes for zippy scrolling
Xiaomi's 11T Pro has an adaptive 120 Hz display, which means it can automatically switch between 60Hz and 120Hz depending on the type of content displayed. It's also one way the phone saves on battery life. Most phones have a 60Hz refresh rate, which means the phone refreshes 60 times a second. With a 120z display, gaming and navigating between apps will be much zippier and you'll get a generally more fluid experience. Apple's newly announced iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max also have 120Hz displays.
So how did Xiaomi save on costs?
With all these high-end features, you're probably wondering how Xiaomi managed to hit an affordable price tag for its 11T Pro. Compared to its flagship Mi 11 series, the company did dial down on some features. One of the hallmarks of a truly high-end phone is the coveted telephoto lens, which lets your phone capture crisp images of faraway subjects through far-reaching optical and digital zooms. While the 11T Pro has a respectable camera set-up -- one that includes a 108-megapixel wide shooter -- a telephoto lens is absent. Xiaomi's Mi 11 Ultra superphone, which launched at roughly $1,119 euros ($1,435, £970 or AU$1,860), has a periscope-style telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom.
The 11T Pro isn't the most durable of phones, based on the specs at least, as it's only splash-proof with an IP58 rating. That means it can't handle underwater submersion. The highest-end phones tend to have an IP68 rating making them waterproof. And finally, it doesn't have the same build quality as a true flagship, relying on a plastic back side apparently prone to lots of fingerprints to shield it from drops.
Also it's worth noting that part of Xiaomi's business strategy is capping net profit on margins at 5% for its hardware products. In turn, smartphone prices are kept at a reasonable level, and the company is able to deliver on a value-for-money promise that has helped the company grow from an upstart to the second-largest smartphone company in the world.
To learn more about Xiaomi's new 11T Pro, take a look at the specs chart below.