Back in 2015, Xiaomi launched the Mi 4i — a phone specially tailored for the Indian market as denoted by the letter ‘i’ in the moniker. However, the brand went silent soon after with no new launches in this series. Fast forward to 2021, Xiaomi resurrected the series with the Mi 10i, this time with a slightly different approach. The ‘i’ now stood for innovation which made sense given that the Mi 10i was one of the first phones in its segment to come with a 108MP camera. Building on those innovations, Xiaomi has now launched its first phone of 2022 — the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge with the key innovation now being the 120W charging.
The Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge is the first phone in India to come with the super-fast 120W charging tech. While that’s certainly impressive, there are several other pillars that contribute towards making a smartphone a worthy purchase. Does the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge deliver on those fronts? Let’s go beyond the 120W hype train to find out!
About this review: Xiaomi India sent us the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge and the device was used for a period of one week before writing this review. Xiaomi did not have any input into the contents of this review.
Xiaomi 11i and Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge: Specifications
|Specification||Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge||Xiaomi 11i|
|Dimensions & Weight||
|RAM & Storage||
|Battery & Charging||
|Front Camera(s)||16MP, f/2.45||16MP, f/2.45|
|Colors||Pacific Pearl, Stealth Black, Camo Green, Purple Mist||Pacific Pearl, Stealth Black, Camo Green, Purple Mist|
Battery and Charging: Full Charge in 15 minutes?
Let’s first address the elephant in the room. The Xiaomi 11i ships with a 120W charger in the box that claims to charge the phone completely from 0-100% in 15 minutes. I’m not sure what conditions Xiaomi tested this in, but I wasn’t able to achieve this feat. I charged the phone from 2-100% a total of 6 times during my usage and found that the average time taken to completely charge the phone was about 20 minutes.
Now, while this is also insanely fast, the 15-minute claim had my hopes higher. This is because some phones with 65W charging capabilities and a similar battery capacity can fully charge in about 28 minutes. So, an 8-minute reduction with double the wattage doesn’t feel all that impressive. Not taking away from what Xiaomi has achieved here, though. If you told me a few years back that I could charge a phone entirely in just 20 minutes, I wouldn’t have believed it. But of course, it’s a reality now.
When your phone is charging this quick, 2-3 minutes here and there don’t really make a difference but I wish the reality was closer to marketing. Even just 10 minutes with the charger gets you close to 70% charge, which is rather insane — just not as much as Xiaomi is claiming it to be.
Note that these charging speeds are with what Xiaomi calls Boost Mode turned on. Boost Mode allows the phone to charge at the highest wattage while not worrying too much about thermals. The phone does tend to get warm when charging but it doesn’t get unusually hot. What I found to be a little weird is that Xiaomi disables the Boost Mode setting by default when you buy the phone. It’s buried under Settings > Battery & Performance > Battery > Boost Charging Speed. If you want your phone to charge as fast as possible, you will have to manually turn this setting on.
Fast-charging is the main highlight of the device and disabling a setting that allows you to charge the phone at the fastest possible speed seems a little odd. In fact, you even get a prompt to turn off Boost Mode while charging which beats the entire purpose of giving users the option to enable it in the first place.
Xiaomi says this was done to keep the thermals under check which is understandable. However, the option to pick between faster charging or less heat generated should be given to the user at the time of setup. An average user wouldn’t even know there’s a Boost Mode somewhere that unlocks the full charging potential of the device, something that they paid extra for.
With Boost Mode turned off, the phone took about 25 minutes to charge which is also fast but is a good 10 minutes higher than the claimed time of 15 minutes. Someone who doesn’t know about Boost Mode might feel disappointed seeing their phone take 10 minutes longer to charge than what was advertised. While 10 minutes may not seem like much, the point here is that there’s a gap between what Xiaomi is advertising and what an end-user will experience.
Apart from the charging speed, there are two more aspects that need to be discussed when talking about fast-charging at such high wattages — safety and battery health. Xiaomi has covered both of those bases. There are 34 protection features along with TUV Rheinland certification for safe fast charging on the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge. Double Overcharge protection and a Real-time temperature monitoring system are some other features that ensure safety when charging the phone even at 120W. As for battery health, Xiaomi claims to retain up to 80% battery health after 800 charge and discharge cycles (~2 years) which seems good. How well it translates is real life is not something we can answer right now.
Along with the ability to charge extremely fast, the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge also lasts pretty long thanks to the 4,500mAh battery. I was constantly able to get upwards of 6 hours of screen-on time with moderate usage while ending the day with 20% in the bank. You can certainly rely on this phone to last you a long day, which means you can leave your power bank behind. This combo of great battery life and extremely fast charging is rare, as often phones use one to justify the lack of the other. Xiaomi has packed in both at quite an affordable price point which is commendable.
Build and Design
The Xiaomi 11i adopts flat edges similar to what we saw on the iPhone 12 last year. I’m personally a fan of the flat-edge design, but only on small-ish phones. Having a 6.7-inch display means that the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge is a big phone and when you pair that large form factor with flat edges, it gets slightly uncomfortable to grip. The phone feels quite heavy and since there are no curves to wrap your palm around, this is a two-handed device at all times. This gets further emphasized when using a case.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since a lot of people seem to like big phones. Holding the phone actually gives you a solid feel in the hand and that’s something I liked. It does feel like a premium smartphone despite the fact that the side rails are plastic. The back is glass though, which adds to the overall look and feel of the device. Speaking of looks, we have the phone in the Pacific Pearl colorway that looks fantastic. It’s a subtle hue of white, blue, silver, and some shiny elements that reflects light in multiple ways.
Just like most phones from the brand recently, the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge also gets a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that’s blazing fast and accurate. The SIM tray on the bottom can take in either two SIMs or a SIM and an SD card. Both SIM slots have support for 5G. There’s an IR blaster up top along with the beloved 3.5mm headphone jack and a secondary speaker that supports Dolby audio. You also get an IP53 rating for splash resistance so the occasional outing in the rain shouldn’t cause any issues.
An aspect of the Xiaomi 11i that I absolutely loved and even spoke about in the Redmi Note 11T 5G review is the haptics. Xiaomi has been doing a fantastic job with regard to haptics on all its new devices. The haptics on the Xiaomi 11i is easily the best in the segment. This is something you need to experience to get an idea of what I’m talking about. I found myself randomly unlocking and locking the device repeatedly at times just because the haptics were so satisfying!
Apart from haptics, another department where Xiaomi has impressed us on its recent phones is the display. It started with the Redmi Note 10 series that came with AMOLED displays and has since continued. The Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge also gets a Full HD+ AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 120Hz. The panel is HDR 10+ certified and produces some beautiful colors. It’s a huge display at almost 6.7-inches which means watching content is an awesome experience.
The phone is Widevine L1 certified so you can watch Full HD content on Amazon Prime and Netflix. In fact, you can also enjoy HDR shows and movies on Netflix via this device. Even when you’re just scrolling through your homescreen or doing something mundane on your phone, you would realize how nice the display is and how the colors absolutely pop. Something else I noticed is that the punch hole cutout for the selfie camera is one of the smallest I’ve seen on any phone. It’s little things like this that make you appreciate the thought put in while designing the phone.
You will be very content with the display on the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge regardless of what you’re going to do on the phone. Be it gaming or binging your favorite sitcoms, you’re going to enjoy the experience.
Performance and Software
There’s not much to talk about here other than the fact that MediaTek has been doing a great job with all its chipsets of late and the Dimensity 920 on the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge is no different. I’m not going to delve deep into benchmark numbers since real-world performance is what matters the most. If I have to give you a gist of my experience using this phone, I’ll just say that this is by far the smoothest Xiaomi phone I’ve used around the ₹25,000 (~$340) price point. This isn’t only to do with the chipset, but also with how well MIUI works on this device.
The Dimensity 920 is a powerful chipset that does not break a sweat while performing any day-to-day activities. Scrolling on social media feeds is smooth as ever and switching between apps is also a breeze. On some older Xiaomi devices, I’d experienced some lags or jitters when scrolling at 120Hz but this phone does not have any of those problems. Even playing games on the phone was a nice experience. BGMI runs at Smooth + Extreme graphics so you can get a nice 60fps gameplay on the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge.
MIUI 12.5 based on Android 11 is what you get out of the box and while it would’ve been great to see Android 12, the software on the Xiaomi 11i is optimized very well. Like I said before, this is one of the smoothest experiences I’ve had with MIUI. Apps open up quickly, animations are smooth And there’s not a lot of unwanted bloatware when you first boot into the device. Yes, there are some pre-installed apps but the experience has improved considerably from what it used to be before.
Some quirks like an emoji keyboard being the default input method instead of Gboard and unwanted notifications from GetApps are still irritating, but those can be disabled easily and don’t really affect the end-user experience a lot. I can confidently recommend a phone with MIUI now without worrying about ads or promoted content.
While most things about the Xiaomi 11i have been positive so far, this is the area where it loses some points. It’s not the first time Xiaomi is using a 108MP sensor on its phones. In fact, it has been almost two years since Xiaomi introduced its first phone with a 108MP camera. Even after having so much time to work on their image processing, it doesn’t seem like the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge is making full use of the sensor. Dynamic range is good but images lack details when you zoom in. The camera also tends to oversharpen images resulting in pictures that are not very pleasing to look at, especially when you zoom in. The colors look slightly dull too, which I’m assuming is due to the phone under saturating the images.
What’s surprising is that the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max from last year seemed to produce better images overall when you compare it with the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge. This could be due to the fact that the ISPs on Qualcomm and MediaTek chips are different so the imaging pipeline is different. It could also be that since the Dimensity 920 is a relatively new chip, Xiaomi hasn’t had enough time to optimize the image output. Low light performance seems pretty good in terms of the amount of light captured, but the lack of details can be observed here as well.
What I’m trying to say is that while the image output isn’t really bad and the phone still clicks some good pictures, it’s not at the level that you expect a phone costing upwards of ₹25,000 to perform. Hopefully, with software updates, the image processing algorithms can be improved since the sensor itself is more than capable from what we’ve seen in the past from Xiaomi’s own smartphones.
The 8MP ultra-wide shooter is also fairly decent but lacks details. A higher resolution sensor would have surely helped here but it’s understandable that these are the areas where Xiaomi has cut corners to accommodate the charging tech while maintaining a reasonable price. The 2MP macro camera is also a downgrade from the 5MP telemacro shooter on some Xiaomi phones. Selfies look great in terms of colors and dynamic range but the skin tones are a hit or a miss most of the time. It also tends to oversharpen the face making the images look slightly grainy at times. Edge detection in portrait mode looks good, though.
Verdict: Should you buy the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge?
For bragging rights, yes! Otherwise? Still yes if you want a big phone with a nice display, solid performance, good media consumption experience, and reliable battery life. Of course, the 120W charging is an added bonus then. The standard Xiaomi 11i is ₹2,000 cheaper and comes with a larger 5,160mAh battery but “slower” 67W charging. If you don’t mind charging your phone for an extra 10-15 minutes, that phone makes more sense since I would pick a larger battery over faster charging any day.
That’s subjective though, so if you want the fastest charging phone in India right now and don’t mind compromising a little in the camera department, the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge is the phone to go for. If you’re looking for a more well-rounded phone, I would say the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G is arguably a better pick for a similar price. It’s got a beautiful design, better cameras, a similar display, and solid performance. Yes, you lose out on the ultra-fast 120W charging but that’s the trade-off you’re making for better cameras and usability. Pick your poison accordingly.
There’s definitely more to the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge than just the 120W hype. While some may argue that the phone is priced on the higher side, it’s important to know that new technology and innovations like the 120W charging on the device require lots of R&D and are hence expensive. As the tech gets democratized and more brands and products start using it, it will get cheaper. You’re essentially paying for a feature that’s very new at this point and that exclusivity comes at a price.
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