By Edward Lim
Let me start off with a caveat. This is my first review of a smartphone that I did not buy and use myself. Previously, I only wrote about smartphones that I paid for — which I usually after lots of deliberation as you can imagine because it’s a price I have to pay for the next two years or more.
When Xiaomi’s public relations agency reached out to review the Xiaomi 11T, I decided to give it a go because it is unlikely that I will be using another smartphone for another two years — I got my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in July.
I have been following Xiaomi since its early days when the Redmi used to be sold out within minutes of release online. The smartphone was highly popular because of its affordability. The Chinese smartphone maker has grown in leaps and bounds since and is currently second only to Samsung in terms of market share globally. And that’s unsurprising because Xiaomi has expanded its range of offerings and added the latest features to match the best.
The Xiaomi 11T is such an example. As a review unit, it came in a nondescript black box instead of a retail box.
At first glance, it doesn’t look much different from many other smartphones. Once powered up, setting up was quick and easy without having to jump over hoops like some other customised Android OS. I must say that the OS is clean and doesn’t feel bloated — which is really important as it impacts ease of use.
Under the hood are a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-Ultra chipset, 5,000mAh battery and 128 or 256MB of memory. Seriously though, most users are not conversant with chipsets — the most important aspect is that the chip must be fast enough to do what it needs to do. The MediaTek Dimensity 1200-Ultra does its job well whether it’s taking a video, running apps and games. It’s claimed that the battery can fully charge in 36 minutes — I cannot validate this because I did not use the phone till the battery was fully drained but charging is certainly fast.
Perhaps the main selling point of the Xiaomi 11T are its video capabilities. The video options are plentiful and a vlogger or wannabes’ dream come true. Dual video, long exposure, short video, and movie effects are just among the many choices to play around with.
As for camera, this phone comes with three at the back (108MP, ultrawide and telephoto macro) and a 16MP at the front for selfies. Honestly, the 108MP may sound impressive but the difference is not really visible to the naked eye. Having said that, I’m glad to have the ultrawide because it’s become a must-have to capture a wider area from a shorter distance.
After trying out the smartphone for a couple of weeks, my conclusion is that Xiaomi 11T is a worthwhile competitor to many flagship options and wins based on it’s price point. At a sensible price of S$629 (8GB+128GB) and S$649 (8GB+256GB), users get a smartphone with loads of camera and video capabilities . My only wish is that Xiaomi consider adding a good video editing app as the icing to the cake in movie-making. After all, the message is Cinemagic, right?