Bigger, thicker, heavier is the design tone of the season when it comes to phones. Smartphone brands keep adding inches and grammes to their devices and then claim that this additional size and weight give their smartphones an edge. Well, in one context, it might, but the added weight and thickness actually rob us of a good smartphone experience, because hey they make the phones more difficult to handle (duh!). Many phone manufacturers have tried to make lighter phones but these often come with smaller displays which limits their utility (we had pointed this out in our piece on small phones).
Lite in name, light in weight (and less than pencil thin)
The Mi 11 Lite tries to change that. That “Lite” in the name might well be referring to “light” for as per the company, it is the slimmest and lightest (for a phone with a display above 6 inches) phone to be released in the world this year. Yes, it is actually even slimmer than the tiny iPhone 12 mini – the mini is 7.4 mm thin, the Mi 11 Lite is a mere 6.8 mm. And unlike the mini, the Mi 11 Lite does not try to force a smaller display on you – the Mi 11 Lite comes with a proper sized 6.55 inch full HD+ AMOLED display. And it does so while being just 157 grammes in weight, which is much lighter than the iPhone 12 (164 grammes) and iPhone 12 Pro (185 grammes), both of which have much smaller displays. Actually, the Mi 11 Lite is thinner than a pencil or a stack of six credit cards!
Xiaomi is known for making those amazing “value for money” devices which come with great hardware at surprisingly affordable price tags, but this time it seems as if the Chinese brand has gone and put on its designer hat. Instead of the usual display material, it has used a special Flat AMOLED panel and gone with a magnesium alloy frame. The back is completely flat too. A special single fold battery has been used to keep the phone slim too. The result is a phone that seems impossibly slim at 6.8 mm, and incredibly light at 157 grammes.
Classy and glassy looks
And it does look good. The phone comes with a tall, ultra-thin bezel-ed DotDisplay. This is accompanied by a buffed glass back which keeps the phone from getting fingerprints. There are three colour options available – Jazz Blue, Tuscany Coral and Vinyl Black. These classics are nudged up a notch by a few design elements that Xiaomi has added to the mix. For instance, on the front Xiaomi has added symmetrical bezels which is rare to see on smartphones as most come with a slightly thicker bezel on the chin while the other three bezels are comparatively thin.
The matte glass back, a classic design detail, is paired with a fairly flat rear camera unit as opposed to the protruding, bumpy camera arrangements that are a common sight on smartphone backs these days. It is no delicate darling either – it comes with IP 53 rating which gives it protection against dust and splashes.
The slim beauty is not a spec beast
The Lite in its name isn’t just about the smartphone’s weight. Some might point that it comes with a lighter than usual spec sheet for its price by Xiaomi standards. That said, Xiaomi seems to have packed enough to make sure that most users will be able to do their routine tasks easily on it. And a little more besides.
Yes, the Snapdragon 732 processor is not the latest and fastest but it is the same that we have seen in the bestselling Redmi Note Pro series (read more about it here) so it should be good enough for most tasks, short of high end gaming. There is plenty of RAM and storage – you get 6 GB/ 128 GB and 8 GB/ 128 GB variants. The display as we mentioned before is a proper full sized 6.55 inch one with a full HD+ resolution with 90 Hz refresh rate, and is a 10-bit AMOLED panel, which handles colours very well indeed. You also get a good three camera set up with a 64 megapixel main sensor, an 8 megapixel ultra wide and a surprisingly handy 5 megapixel macro sensor. The front has a 16 megapixel selfie camera in a tiny notch.
The slim design does bring its share of compromises – you do not get expandable memory on the smartphone which is a bit of let down considering how many Xiaomi phones come with dedicated slots for microSD cards. The slimness and lightness of the phone also means the phone comes with a slightly smaller battery at 4,250 mAh (mind you, that is remarkably big for a phone this thin), although it does come with 33W fast charge support (and a 33W charger too – we have learned to appreciate this), which means the phone should get charged pretty quickly (0-60 per cent in about half an hour). The 3.5 mm audio jack also unfortunately is sacrificed to make the Mi 11 Lite a lean machine. You do get dual speakers, though.
Space for a slimmer, lighter phone?
Yes, you can get more powerful devices in the market at its starting price of Rs 21,999. But well, the Mi 11 Lite is not just about performance.
That “sinking pocket” feeling you often get while carrying a brick of a smartphone in your pocket?
Well, the Mi 11 Lite makes you bid adieu to it. The smartphone is nothing like a traditional Xiaomi device. It focuses on design and looks of the phone more than it does on the spec sheet. Xiaomi is turning a new, Lite leaf with the Mi 11 Lite. But just well it does will depend on the phone’s performance, but it certainly has ticked the design and size boxes.
The world’s slimmest and lightest (larger than 6 inch display) smartphone is now in India. And we will be telling you how good or otherwise it is in the coming days.