The smartphone momentum in India has changed drastically this year in terms of pricing. In previous years there was a huge competition between ₹10k-₹15k price range smartphones. We were getting immense value in this segment. Last year due to inflation by Covid, this momentum changed a bit to ₹15k-₹20k. And that’s understandable. But this year there’s a huge margin in the most competitive range. We are seeing value smartphones between ₹20k-₹30k, and specifically value phones after ₹25k.
One of the big contenders here is Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G. It’s the slimmest and lightest smartphone launched this year. And apart from its aesthetics, it packs in some really good specs like Snapdragon 778 SoC, 10-Bit AMOLED Display, Dolby Vision support, 12 5G bands, and lot more. It was launched around 2 months ago and I am using this as my primary device for more than a month now. And now it’s time for a detailed review of the same, so without further ado, let’s get started.
The device comes in a black box, though the color I picked up is Jazz Blue. Inside the box you find the phone, 33W charger, USB-A to Type-C cable, clear TPU Case, Type-C to 3.5mm connector, SIM Ejector tool, and some documentations. It’s nice that Xiaomi is at least providing 3.5mm connector in the box unlike some other premium brands. The TPU Case is good for temporary usage but just like any other transparent case, it will catch yellowish tint in few months. The charger is all white with some orange accent inside the connecting ends. Wish the color would be a bit different because the white Xiaomi chargers are pretty common now. They might have gone for the same color as the phone we choose.
Built & Design:
Starting off with the USP of Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G, the device is marketed it as the slimmest & lightest smartphone of the year, and it really stands out on this. The phone is extremely lightweight at just 158 grams and you can feel the difference when you pick this phone from other regular smartphones. It’s also very slim at 6.88mm thickness, but the weight makes more noticeable change in this phone. The back has glass with matte finish on all color options, and the frame is made of plastic. The phone is protected with Gorilla Glass 5 on front and has IP53 rating for water resistance.
Though the in-hand feel is great, using it without a case for longer period may feel a bit uncomfortable because the edges are not as rounded as other Xiaomi devices like Mi 11X or Redmi Note 10 Pro. So, it would be best if you use a good quality matte case (for comfort as well as protection). Also, this phone is not a one-handed device in some areas like accessing full notification toggles. But the built quality is excellent, one of the best under ₹30,000. And the look of course is the best in this price range.
Display & Sound:
Another part in which this phone excels is the display. The Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G has a 6.55-inch 10-bit OLED Display with Full HD+ (2400×1080) resolution and HDR10+ support. It also has Dolby Vision support, which is rare in Android phones and is generally present in iPhones. The refresh rate on this phone is 90Hz and has 240Hz touch sampling rate. The typical brightness is 500 nits which can go up to 800 nits. The display is covered with Gorilla Glass 5.
Talking about the actual quality, the screen quality is top notch with pretty accurate and vivid colors. HDR10+ & Dolby Vision does make a slight but good viewing difference. HDR10+ gives great Dynamic Range experience and Dolby Vision keeps the colors natural but vivid. And the HDR10+ is supported even on Netflix, so no worries here. In short, this is the best display in this price range for content viewing, but not the best display for gaming. That’s because it only has 90Hz refresh rate, whereas 120Hz is more common in this price. Also, the touch sampling rate is 240Hz only, while other smartphones have 360Hz or even higher than 500Hz. But it does not mean the display is bad for gaming. It’s actually pretty good, just not the best.
Now coming to the sound which adds equal contribution in good content consuming experience, this phone has stereo speakers with one main speaker downside and another one is earpiece doubling as a speaker. And the stereo balance on both speakers is pretty good. The volume goes very loud and the quality also remains intact. Though it lacks the 3.5mm jack, the connector in the box does the job pretty well. And it supports aptX HD, low latency aptX, and LDAC as well for good sound over Bluetooth. All in all, the sound experience on this device is great.
Speaking of performance, the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778 5G processor with Adreno 642L GPU. This is one of the most popular processors in 2021, especially in the price range of ₹25-30k. If we do the comparison this one is head-to-head competed with MediaTek Dimensity 1200 which we found on phones like OnePlus Nord 2 and Poco F3. This phone comes with 6/8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB UFS 2.2 storage.
The phone performs exceptionally well for almost every task. You can through any task and it will get the job done easily. This chipset can run 120Hz screen easily, so the 90Hz is no sweat for this one. But the RAM management is not that great, apps do get killed if it’s kept in background for more than 5 minutes. Hoping it to get better with future updates.
Regarding gaming, it can run pretty much every game out there. In BGMI it can run constant 60fps of gameplay on lowest settings (because 60fps is not available for high graphics). But in the new PUBG New State it can keep constant 60fps even on high graphic settings. I also tried Call of Duty and that too can handle 60fps easily. But sadly, the phone doesn’t run any popular title on 90fps. The reason might be from the game developers end as the device is not registered for 90fps support as of now.
Talking about software, it runs on Android 11 out of the box with MIUI 12.5 on top. And though the UI is stable, I did notice some glitches here & there. It’s like the notification panel got freeze for few seconds but it happened just 1 time. Otherwise, the UI is better than MIUI in Redmi phones. There’s not much bloatware, many unwanted apps can be uninstalled, and I don’t see any time of weird ads. Only ad it shows is of their selective wallpaper ad. Also, the last update I got was a month ago, and the security patch is still on September month. Regardless of this, the UI is pretty much clean but needs more refinement via updates. Xiaomi has also claimed 3 years of software update and 4 years of security update, but we can see the update situation right from the start.
As its too slim, we were not expecting much bigger battery but the 4,250mAh battery present inside the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G does the job pretty well. Yes, it won’t give you 2 days battery unlike other Xiaomi phones, but it can easily last for a full day on a single charge with average screen on time of around 6 hours.
If you use the phone intensely, then you have to charge the phone at the end of the day. And charging is fairly quick with 33W charging support with in box charger and cable. But if we see the competition, there’s OnePlus Nord 2 and Realme X7 Max at similar price but with 65W fast charging, so it’s neither too great but surely not bad as well.
Now let’s talk about the camera, and I would say this phone has good camera but nothing spectacular. The primary 64MP sensor gets some great clicks in daylight and even in good artificial light, but lacks behind in low lighting conditions. Even in difficult lighting situation the exposure balance can be disturbed a bit. Toggling the HDR on makes the photos weirdly artificial and this is the thing which can and should be resolved with software update. And as every other Xiaomi smartphone, this Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G also keeps the saturation a bit on the higher side. In low light the regular photos are just average but if you turn on the night mode, you can get some pretty good photos. Still there also I saw a bit oversaturation at times.
Talking about the 8MP ultra wide angle lens, it’s clearly a buzzy trend of putting 8MP sensor on a phone above ₹25,000 and it should be stopped. Even the sensor quality is not that great. Thus, you will notice a huge difference between the quality of regular shots and ultra wide angle shots. It’s the same sensor used in Redmi Note 10 series as well. Good thing is the presence of same 5MP Macro sensor as the Redmi Note 10 series. Because it’s probably one of those rare smartphones where the Macro sensor actually works great. The front camera is the same 20MP sensor which we find on lots of Xiaomi smartphones and its good but nothing great for the price.
In regards to video recording, it can record videos up to 4K at 30fps with good software stabilization. But it can go only up to 1080p at 30fps on ultrawide angle lens. The front camera too supports only up to 1080p at 30fps.
Security & Connectivity:
This Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G does have a very responsive side mounted fingerprint sensor, but considering the price an in-display sensor would be a better pick. And other security options like face unlock (software based), pin, pattern, etc. are present.
Regarding 5G bands there are 12 bands present on this phone, and both the SIM slots supports 5G. The call quality from earpiece is great and I had no issues with call connectivity. The phone does have Wi-Fi 6 but the Indian unit lacks it. Still the Wi-Fi reception is great. The global variant has Bluetooth 5.2 but the Indian variant has Bluetooth 5.1 which shows two areas where Xiaomi did cost cutting. The Bluetooth connectivity is also nice with good range. NFC is present here too.
If I brief up the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G, this is a very balanced smartphone with some areas where they really check marked the list. The company is marketing it’s slim & lightweight design the most, but I think the biggest USP of this device is its Display. It’s 10-bit display is one of the best in the price range. Surely it’s design is also the best in it’s competition, but the in-hand feel for a long time could have been better with more curve on the edges. Performance is also very good on this one, but nothing extraordinary. Only drawback I found here is it’s camera. The camera is simply not up to the mark for the asking price.
Why Purchase This & Alternatives:
I would say the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G is best for those who likes a phone with everything balanced. Not like some phones which excels in 1-2 department but lacks behind other aspects. The design will be a key factor for many and those who consumes a lot of content online will have a treat with this smartphone. You can do casual gaming but don’t buy this smartphone considering gaming as a priority.
If you want to game a lot then I would recommend Poco F3 GT or Mi 11X. The Mi 11X is also great for those who want to use custom ROMs. If camera is your highest priority then Samsung Galaxy M52 is a great choice, and I would also suggest the same if you don’t want a Xiaomi phone. For clean Android experience the Motorola Edge 20 is only good choice. The reason I am not suggesting OnePlus Nord 2 is because of it’s tricky blast situation.
Now what are your thoughts on Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G? If you have the phone, do you think my points are correct? Let us know in the comment section below.