The Xiaomi Mi 11 and the Samsung Galaxy S21 are state-of-the-art Android phones. They offer high-end technology for less money and a smartphone experience that in many ways is not that far removed from $1000 phones.
If you want the most features and the highest quality workmanship you can get for your money, get the Xiaomi Mi 11. It feels like a genuine enthusiast phone, has a more desirable processor, and offers better value for money if you destroy him.
However, it is not the best choice for everyone. The Samsung Galaxy S21 is a much smaller phone, perfect if you’re tired of smartphones bulging out of their pockets. The camera is also a bit more versatile.
Still unsure? Read on for a full rundown of each phone’s best features.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Vs Samsung Galaxy S21: The Main Differences
- The Xiaomi Mi 11 has a much larger screen with a higher resolution
- Samsung’s ultra-wide and selfie cameras are better
- The Xiaomi relies on its very high-resolution main camera for zoom images, while the S21 has a dedicated zoom lens
- We prefer the Xiaomi Mi 11’s Snapdragon processor over the S21’s Exynos processor
- The Galaxy S21 is a much smaller phone
- The construction of the Xiaomi Mi 11 is of higher quality, with curved glass on the front and back
Xiaomi Mi 11 Vs Samsung Galaxy S21: Specifications And Features
These phones may have much more expensive “Ultra” siblings for the buyer willing to spend mountains of money on their next phone, but there’s no performance or performance penalty here.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a Samsung Exynos 2100 CPU, just like the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Xiaomi’s Mi 11 is equipped with the Snapdragon 888, arguably the best Android processor available at the time the phone was launched.
Which one is better? We have to give this to Xiaomi. While Samsung’s Exynos processors have improved quite dramatically this year, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line still leads the way in gaming performance and efficiency.
At this point, we don’t think you’ll notice the difference that much. The Samsung Galaxy S21 and Xiaomi Mi 11 can still handle current Android games just fine, but a little more power may come if you tend to hold onto your phones for as long as possible before upgrading.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Vs Samsung Galaxy S21: Price And Storage
The official prices for these phones are quite similar. But if you go by what you get them for in the manufacturers’ online stores, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is a lot cheaper.
It costs £649 with 128GB of storage or £699 with 256GB of storage.
You’ll pay £769 for the 128GB Galaxy S21 direct from Samsung or £819 for the 256GB version.
That said, the price differences disappear as you broaden your search. At the time of writing, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is available for £649 (128GB version) on Amazon.
So if the price is your main decision, it can be a tough one, as the Xiaomi Mi 11 and Samsung Galaxy S21 cost about the same.
Xiaomi Mi 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S21: Battery Life
Neither of these phones is the obvious choice if you want two days of battery life. Samsung and Xiaomi both produce longer-lasting phones such as the Galaxy S21+ and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro.
The day-to-day experience will be quite similar in both. Having a busy day on YouTube or a long drive to work to play a game? The Samsung Galaxy S21 and Xiaomi Mi 11 may need to be charged if you plan on going out at night and using your phone to listen to a podcast on the way home.
They last a full day for most people, but they don’t really have the extremely reliable longevity that we appreciate. Why? The Samsung Galaxy S21 is a fairly small phone and has a matching 4000 mAh battery. Likewise, the Mi 11’s 4600 mAh battery isn’t huge, given its very large display with a very high resolution. Xiaomi probably had to reduce the capacity a bit to make the phone look thin and sleek.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 has the advantage for real-world use because it charges very quickly. It comes with a 55W charger that charges the Mi 11 from 0% to full in less than an hour.
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 doesn’t come with a charger at all and only supports 25W charging. If you don’t have a 25W Samsung charger at home, you’ll need to buy one for the best charging speed.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 also has excellent wireless charging speed. With 50W, it works twice as fast as Samsung with a cable. It’s an eye-opener. Still, such powerful Qi charging pads and stands can cost £70 or more, so we’d probably advise sticking to a good old wired charger.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 supports wireless charging, but only with 15W of power. You can get a dock with this type of power online for less than $15, so it could be a nice accessory for your desk.
Xiaomi Mi 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S21: Camera
The Xiaomi Mi 11’s camera can make your eyes pop if you don’t follow the phone technology too closely. It has a 108MP main camera which sounds much more impressive than the 12MP camera on the Samsung Galaxy S21.
However, after looking at every piece of the camera puzzle, which there are many these days, we think the Samsung Galaxy S21 range is a bit better. It’s all about flexibility.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a better ultra-wide camera than the Xiaomi Mi 11, a better selfie camera, and better zoom. It uses a 64-megapixel sensor with a 1.1x lens for zoom shots: hardly worthy of a wildlife photographer. But it is then cropped in that camera’s view to producing more detailed images than the standard 12-megapixel camera.
When you use the Samsung Galaxy S21, you always feel like you have a whole host of useful options at hand to help you get more creative when taking photos. It also scores a win in terms of image quality.
The photos on the Samsung Galaxy S21 generally have a significantly better dynamic range than those on the Xiaomi Mi 11. This means you’ll see fewer blown highlights, with the brightest areas turning white diamonds and more detail in the darkest spots. Dynamic range is one of the most important aspects of photography, arguably more important than details in phone cameras.
However, the victory of the Samsung Galaxy S21 is marginal and the cameras of the Xiaomi Mi 11 are excellent. Normal 1x zoom images are sometimes more detailed than Samsung’s, useful if you think you want to blow up vacation photos to hang on the wall. And it has an unusual secret weapon: a telephoto macro camera.
This is a close-up camera with a zoom lens that allows you to focus on subjects near you. It is mainly used for nature photography. We first encountered one of these in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro and it is a lot of fun to play with. Although the resolution is only 5 MP, it is enough to bring out details that the average phone camera cannot. Damn it, he can see things our eyes can’t.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Vs Samsung Galaxy S21: Display
Here we come to the part that reveals why the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Xiaomi Mi 11 are not so similar if you forget that their prices are competing.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 has a very large 6.81-inch screen. The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a relatively small 6.2-inch screen.
We’ll discuss the benefits of going small in the design portion of this equation. But in a pure screen-to-screen battle, Xiaomi wins.
The Xiaomi Mi 11’s large screen is a great canvas for games and streaming videos, and the technology used is truly amazing for the price. It is an ultra-high-resolution display with 3200 x 1440 pixels and still looks razor sharp despite the large screen area.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a lower resolution – 2400 x 1080 pixels panel – although it still looks sharp despite its small size. It’s all about size.
They also share some impressive elements. The Xiaomi MI 11 and the Samsung Galaxy S21 have OLED panels with luminescent pixels for an effective infinite contrast. Samsung’s display arm probably produced both screens.
They have a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz for incredibly smooth scrolling and extremely high brightness for good visibility on sunny days.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 is a step up, but the size is the only difference that everyone will notice.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Vs Samsung Galaxy S21: 5G Capabilities And Connectivity
Do these phones have 5G? Of course, they do. We’d find it hard to recommend phones this expensive to UK buyers if they don’t already have 5G.
In other ways, though, they’re more limited than some of the much cheaper 4G phones we’ll still like and recommend in 2021. You also can’t connect wired headphones without using a USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter.
You can’t insert a MicroSD card, so consider how much storage space you’ll need before choosing between the 128GB or 256GB version, respectively.
However, this will be standard for high-end phones in 2021, and the Xiaomi Mi 11 and Samsung Galaxy S21 both have advanced wireless standards like Wi-Fi 6. You may have stumbled upon it when using your recently updated home internet router. It’s faster and more effective when your home internet is overcrowded with piles of devices.
Xiaomi Mi 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S21: Design
If we were to remove all personal preference questions from this comparison, the Xiaomi Mi 11 would win this “Design” section. It has a great domed glass back and a luxurious domed glass front where Samsung uses plastic on the back of the Galaxy S21 to save some money.
This can pick up scratches more easily and doesn’t feel as expensive.
However, this category is much more complicated. We are fans of the style of Samsung’s S21 series phones. They are distinctive and eye-catching, styled like the cover of a glossy magazine. The Xiaomi MI 11 may look like a very expensive phone, but it is more anonymous and could be mistaken for phones further up the (admittedly excellent) Android range from Xiaomi.
Xiaomi wins for the quality of construction. Samsung wins for style. Ultimately, you have to decide which phone format is best for you.
The Galaxy S21 is 12.6mm shorter and 3.4mm narrower than the Xiaomi Mi 11. That may not sound like much, but it belongs in completely different size classes. The Samsung is a small mobile phone, the Xiaomi Mi 11 a large one.
Sure, the Xiaomi isn’t quite as bulky as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, a tech-packed powerhouse. Thanks to the small bezels, it’s actually relatively small for a phone with a 6.81-inch screen. However, some readers prefer to live with a smaller phone like the Galaxy S21.
It requires no finger exercises and fits more easily in your pockets. Plus, your careless social media scrolling in bed is less likely to cause the phone to fall flat on your face.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Vs Samsung Galaxy S21: What To Buy?
If this is the question of which phone will give you the most bang for your buck, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is the winner. It has a larger screen with a higher resolution, a build quality we’d normally associate with an even more expensive phone, and a slightly better processor. However, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is not far behind. It’s also more stylish, easier to use, and the camera array is a bit more versatile thanks to ultra-wide and higher-quality selfie cameras. A dedicated zoom camera also helps with 3x and 5x shooting.