A few hours ago, Xiaomi India’s Sumit Sonal shared a tweet with a message so cryptic that even a 5-year-old can guess without stressing. “Lite and Loaded” is just enough to suggest Xiaomi India’s intentions to bring the Mi 11 Lite smartphone to India. Although the humour isn’t quite on par with that of Apple’s and Samsung’s, there’s no doubt that Xiaomi is bringing a highly compelling product to our shores.
The Mi 11 Lite was launched a few months ago alongside the Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra flagships as a more affordable alternative for the masses. The phone comes in both 4G and 5G variants, of which the latter might be relevant to India at the moment. This could be Xiaomi’s opportunity to take on Vivo and Oppo who have dominated the sub-Rs 30,000 segment for years.
While the launch seems to be sometime away, we take a look at exactly what you can expect from Xiaomi with the Mi 11 Lite when it comes to India.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite roundup
The Mi 11 Lite does not deviate from the Mi 11 series design, which is a good thing for most of us. Xiaomi’s new design language has a global appeal and the Mi 11 Lite takes the charm a step ahead with its flat surfaces – at least what it seems from the official renders. Moreover, you will be able to buy it in several chic colours. You can also be guaranteed of a solid build quality, which has been a priority at Xiaomi since its inception.
Hence, it would be nice to see Xiaomi take on Vivo and Oppo midrange phones that have dominated this segment with style-conscious designs.
The Mi 11 Lite latches on to the AMOLED trend that Xiaomi has embraced this year. You get a 6.5-inch edge-to-edge AMOLED display with Full HD resolution and a refresh rate of 90Hz. The front camera sits inside a hole cutout – the usual stuff here. While AMOLED displays are getting common in the midrange segment, the 10-bit colour support makes it interesting for those who seek vibrant displays. Moreover, it is protected by Gorilla Glass 5.
Specifications at a glance
The headline feature on the Mi 11 Lite is the choice of chips that Europe gets – you can either get the phone with a 4G-only Snapdragon 732G or a 5G-enabled Snapdragon 780G. The latter is the latest and the most powerful midrange chip that Qualcomm makes, second to only the Snapdragon 870 and Snapdragon 888.
It is highly possible that Xiaomi India may choose the 5G version for the country, given the Mi brand’s premium positioning here. Hence, the Mi 11 Lite is likely to up against the likes of the Vivo V21 and the upcoming OnePlus Nord 2, although with much cheaper prices.
In the 5G flavour, the Mi 11 Lite gets up to 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and up to 128GB of UFS 2.2 storage. These aren’t ambitious specifications but they seem to be compromises that the causal user can live with.
Xiaomi is likely to offer the phone with a tasteful serving of MIUI 12.5 onboard based on Android 11. You can also expect lesser third-party apps pre-loaded on the phone, given the premium positioning.
The 4520mAh battery on the Mi 11 Lite isn’t as outlandish as the 5000mAh units of the Redmi Note phones but you can expect a full day’s charge with the power efficient Snapdragon 780G chip (unless you switch on that 5G toggle, in which case we need to see whether it sips or chews through the battery). Xiaomi will continue to offer its standard 33W fast charging solution here.
When it comes to cameras, the Mi 11 Lite brings together a clever combo of Xiaomi’s parts bin. You get the usual 64-megapixel main camera along with an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 5-megapixel macro camera. If previous attempts are to be considered, the Mi 11 Lite should impress for a phone of its class. The 5-megapixel macro camera on cheaper phones is tuned to impress and we expect no less from this one here. Plus, there’s the usual array of Xiaomi’s special camera modes like VLOG mode, dual camera input and more.
This is where Xiaomi can pull of another wonder of the smartphone market. The Mi 11 Lite in its 5G avatar isn’t going to appeal to the Redmi Note-loving audience. There’s the Mi 10i sitting around the Rs 21,000 mark for that. At the same time, Xiaomi can’t price it above the Rs 30,000 mark due to the presence of the Mi 11X, which is a superior phone on paper.
Moreover, the Mi 11 Lite has the right kind of compromises to pull of a sub-Rs 25,000 pricing. Consider this – a 90Hz 1080p AMOLED display, a 4520mAh battery, 33W fast charging, a 64-megapixel main camera accompanying two more at the rear, and a simple design. The Snapdragon 780G is the only premium bit here and Xiaomi is master at justifying this with a jaw-dropping price.
Hence, our guess is at a starting price of Rs 25,000, or as Xiaomi would like to put it – Rs 24,999 (cue to the boom sound effect). Would that be a figure comfortable for your conscience to spend on a midrange yet expensive Xiaomi phone?
We will have to wait until we get the phone for our review.