Xiaomi 11T Pro review: Super-fast charging at sub-flagship pricing

There’s much to unpack about what has the makings of a standout value flagship device, but how does it go up against the competition?

author_img Tushar Kanwar Published :  21st February 2022 01:32 PM   |   Published :   |  21st February 2022 01:32 PM
Xiaomi 11T Pro

Xiaomi 11T Pro

2022 has started with a spate of launches in the value-flagship segment, with the OnePlus 9RT and the Samsung S21 FE. Not to be outdone, Xiaomi’s landed with the successor to the Mi 10T Pro, the Xiaomi 11T Pro – a phone that packs in the latest flagship Qualcomm chip, a snappy 120Hz display and a headlining 120W fast charging, all at a sub-40,000 starting price. There’s much to unpack about what has the makings of a standout value flagship device, but how does it go up against the competition? Here’s my take on the Xiaomi 11T Pro 5G.

A quick look at the variants before we dive in deep – you start with two 8GB memory variants, one with 128GB at 39,999 and the other with 256GB storage at 41,999, and an additional two grand (Rs. 43,999) will get you a bumped up 12GB variant. All three variants come in Celestial Magic, Meteorite Black and Moonlight White colorways.

Unless you’ve picked up the Celestial Magic variant with the color-shifting gradient on the rear panel, you’re in for a subtle and somewhat staid affair with the white and black variants. It’s got a bit of a Redmi Note 10 Pro Max vibe to the design, which isn’t a good look for something twice as pricey. It skips the in-screen fingerprint scanner for an extremely snappy side-mounted module that sits atop the power button, again like the Redmi Note 10 series. My bigger issue is the phone’s size, and what exacerbates the issue is the unwieldy width and 204g weight. Despite Xiaomi’s best efforts at curving the glass back into the polycarbonate frame for better grip and in-hand feel, this is not a device to be handled casually in one hand. There’s a splash-proof IP53 rating, and Harman Kardon-tuned dual speakers, the latter offering good separation and a decent amount of grunt for a phone speaker setup. 

The design may be rather samey, but the display is anything but. The finger-stretching size affords the 11T Pro a 6.67-inch full-HD+ 10-bit AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and Dolby Vision/HDR10+ certification…plus Gorilla Glass Victus protection. Coupled with its thin bezels and a centered hole punch for the selfie camera, the phone offers a great media consumption experience, especially while you throw some HDR content at it. Even for everyday stuff, the rich colors, good viewing angles and 1000nits brightness make using the phone a breeze indoors or outdoors, and Xiaomi packs in a bunch of display tools to adjust color balance, a dedicated Reading mode and sunlight mode, and a handful of Always-On displays for the lock screen as well. 

It’s a familiar story on the hardware side of things, with the Snapdragon 888 providing quite frankly all the overkill grunt you’d want from a top-tier chip, and there’s LPDDR5 memory and UFS 3.1 storage to boot. It’s only in extended gaming sessions of 45 minutes or more that you see any signs of throttling, but even so, the headroom the Snapdragon 888 affords means you’re probably going to not notice much of a hit. Gamers will appreciate the panel’s touch sampling rate of 480Hz for extra responsiveness during gameplay, although most games I played were capped at 60Hz, which I think really ought to be unlocked in software. Speaking of, the phone runs Xiaomi’s MIUI 12.5.2, which is based on Android 11, and minor nitpicks about uninstallable bloatware aside, this is a phone that really ought to have launched with Android 12 out of the box. Anyhow, MIUI 13 should be here soon enough, and the 11T Pro will be the first smartphones to get the update…plus a committed 3 years of Android updates and 4 years of security patches. 

Now, with the 5000mAh battery, the phone delivered as expected – two days of light use or well over a day and then some on heavy use. But it’s the charging tech that’s worth noting – this is only the second phone after the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge to offer 120W wired charging. Xiaomi splits up the 5000mAh battery capacity into two 2500mAh cells that charge simultaneously, but obviously only if you use the large, bundled 120W charger. What this allows is for the charger to top up the battery from empty in a little over 25 minutes if you set it down to exclusively charge – pick it up and use the phone alongside and the phone will rapidly scale down the charging speeds to prevent overheating. Do these insane charging speeds kill battery longevity though? Xiaomi claims that there won’t be any significant battery degradation even after 800 charge/discharge cycles, so let’s go with that for now. Net net, between the capacious battery and the insane charging speeds, you’re going to have to have a particularly niche edge case (or very bad charging habits) if you’re going to run out of battery on this device. 

Coming to the cameras, the 11T Pro ships with three rear cameras – a 108-megapixel primary, an 8MP ultra-wide angle and a 5MP macro…and there’s a 16MP selfie up front. The primary sensor is a known quantity by now, and for good reason – images taken in daylight are well saturated, with good dynamic range but oftentimes ends up being a tad overprocessed in the shadows. Low light shots are good too, with the camera eking out details without adding too much noise. The ultra-wide is impressively sharp even around the edges, and the 5MP 50mm telemacro was better than anything I’ve seen in its class. Daylight selfies were good, but quality dipped in low-light. 

If it wasn’t obvious by now, there’s a lot to like about the Xiaomi 11T Pro, and I’m not just saying that due to its impressive sub-40,000 start price. Let’s reel it off – an excellent display with Dolby Vision support, good speakers, competent cameras, Qualcomm’s 2021 flagship chip and that 120W charging that really has to be seen to be believed. One wishes that the design was a little more refined and polished, and this would have earned an unqualified recommendation… even without it, it’s still an incredible value pick in the segment, which has a whole bunch of options, like the Samsung S20FE 5G with its wireless charging and IP rating, or the OnePlus 9RT with its vapor cooling solution on top of the same 888 chip, and the iQoo 7 Legend with its slicker design. There’s even last year’s Mi 11X Pro which packs in much of the same hardware, minus the bigger battery and the super-fast charging.

Xiaomi 11T Pro 

Pros: Excellent display and stereo speakers, top-notch performance, 120W fast charging, good macro and primary camera results

Cons: Bulky design, no IP rating, ships with Android 11

Rating: 8/10

Price: Rs. 39,999 onwards

Tushar Kanwar is a tech columnist and commentator, and tweets @2shar