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Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

AH Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Xiaomi Mi 12 Ultra comparison
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This time around, we’re comparing the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. These two phones are the most powerful offerings from Samsung and Xiaomi at the moment. Both of them have the “Ultra” branding for a reason. If you’re not in the market for a truly large phone, that is also quite bulky at the same time, and has a premium price tag, well, neither of these two phones is for you.

If, on the other hand, you are in the market for such a device, well, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll compare these two phones across a number of categories. First, we’ll list their specifications, and then move to the design, display, performance, battery, camera, and audio sections. That being said, let’s kick off the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra comparison, shall we.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraXiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Screen size6.8-inch WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)Primary: 6.81-inch WQHD+ AMOLED LTPO curved display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)
Secondary: 1.1-inch AMOLED
Screen resolution3200 x 14403200 x 1440
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 888 / Samsung Exynos 2100Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
RAM12GB/16GB (LPDDR5)8GB/12GB (LPDDR5)
Storage128GB/256GB, non-expandable (expandable in some countries)256GB/512GB (UFS 3.1), non-expandable
Rear cameras108MP (f/1.8 aperture, OIS, 0.8um pixel size. Produces 12MP images with 2.4um pixel size)
12MP (ultrawide, Dual Pixel AF, 120-degree FoV, f/2.2 aperture, 1.4um pixel size)
10MP (telephoto, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, f/2.4 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, optical zoom 3x)
10MP (telephoto, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, f/4.9 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 10x optical zoom, 100x Space Zoom)
50MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, Dual Pixel PDAF, Laser AF, OIS)
48MP (f/4.1 aperture, 120mm periscope telephoto lens, 0.8um pixel size, PDAF, OIS, 5x optical zoom)
48MP (f/2.2 aperture, 12mm lens, 128-degree FoV, ultrawide, 0.8um pixel size, PDAF)
Front cameras40MP (f/2.2 aperture, 80-degree FoV, 0.7um pixel size, PDAF)20MP (f/2.2 aperture, 27mm lens, 0.8um pixel size)
Battery5,000mAh, non-removable, fast battery charging (USB PD 3.0), Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare5,000mAh, non-removable, 67W wired charging, 67W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging
Dimensions165 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm164.3 x 74.6 x 8.4mm
Weight229 grams234 grams
Connectivity5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C
SecurityIn-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)
OSAndroid 11
One UI 3.0
Android 11
MIUI 12.5
Price$1,199.99Not yet available
BuySamsungXiaomi (not available yet)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: Design

Both of these phones are quite large, and quite bulky. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is slightly taller, wider, and thicker than the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. The difference is almost negligible. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is 7 grams heavier than Samsung’s offering, as it weighs 234 grams compared to 227 grams of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. The main reason for it are the build materials, quite probably. The Mi 11 Ultra comes with a ceramic backplate, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra includes a glass back.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Hands On AH 7

They both have extremely thin bezels, and curved displays. The same goes for display camera holes, though they’re located in different spots. The one on the Galaxy S21 Ultra is centered, while the one on the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra sits in the top-left corner. Both phones have huge camera islands on the back, with plenty of cameras to go around (more on that later). The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra’s camera island is later, as it not only includes cameras, but a secondary display as well.

Physical keys, on both phones, are located on the right-hand side. Both phones feel good in the hand, but only if you like large, bulky phones. They do feel premium, but are quite slippery at the same time. We highly recommend you to get a case for each of the devices, especially if you don’t baby your phones, and use them with one hand often. Using these two with one hand, without a case, well, it’s not a good idea. Their smooth finish and weight definitely make them two-handed devices.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: Display

The displays are… stunning. This is where both of these phones shine, to be quite honest. They not only feature large, sharp displays, but those panels are also modern, and pack in a lot of tech as well. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a 6.8-inch QHD+ (3200 x 1440) Dynamic AMOLED 2X LTPO display with a 120Hz refresh rate. That display offers an adaptive refresh rate, and it’s curved. It supports HDR10+ content, can get quite bright at 1,500 nits peak brightness, and it’s protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra counters that with a 6.81-inch QHD+ (3200 x1440) AMOLED display. That panel is also of the LTPO variety, and it offers a 120Hz refresh rate. Its refresh rate is adaptive, and the display supports HDR10+ content. It can get extremely bright at 1,700 nits peak brightness, and it’s protected by the same Gorilla Glass Victus protection from Corning. This display can also project 1 billion colors.

Both of these panels are excellent in pretty much every way, and both of them come from Samsung. The Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra have some of the best displays in the market at the moment, if not the best ones. The viewing angles are excellent, the colors are sharp and punchy, the displays are more than sharp enough in general, and the blacks are deep. On top of all that, the displays can get extremely bright when needed, and can be used perfectly fine in direct sunlight. They’re extremely fluid, responsive, and a joy to use.

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Now, it’s also worth talking about that cover display on the Mi 11 Ultra. That panel is extremely small at 1.1 inches, and it’s placed on the back of the device. It is supposed to be used as a viewfinder for the camera, and it does a good job for that. It’s mainly supposed to show you what’s in the frame, so that you can use those rear-facing cameras for selfies and whatnot. Therefore, the Mi 11 Ultra ends up being a truly competent selfie shooter.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: Performance

Performance is excellent, as you’d expect. These are, after all, top-of-the-line smartphones. They’re premium offerings with premium price tags, so excellent performance is kind of a requirement. Both of them deliver in that regard, and that’s not surprising considering their internals. Neither Samsung nor Xiaomi spared any expense on including the very best silicone here, and belonging components.

Both phones are fueled by the Snapdragon 888 SoC, along with LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 flash storage. Those internals are combined with Android 11 on the software side, and Samsung’s and Xiaomi’s Android skins. One UI and MIUI have come a long way over the years, and are extremely competent Android skins, to say the least. They’re extremely fluid, full of customization, and well-optimized.

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When it comes to regular tasks, such as opening and closing apps, browsing, consuming multimedia, and so on, both devices perform about the same. The only difference is in animations, but both load apps instantly, and do everything else regarding regular performance really fast. They can also run top games from the Play Store without issue, the most demanding ones. Scrolling is extremely smooth thanks to their high refresh rate displays, and so on. These two phones are basically on par when it comes to performance.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: Battery

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra pack the same battery capacity. Both devices ship with a 5,000mAh battery. They do offer different results, though, despite the fact they have similar displays, in both size, tech, and resolution. The Galaxy S21 Ultra, in our testing, offers excellent battery life. Getting to 7 hours of screen-on-time with this phone is not out of reach, not at all.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, on the other hand, is closer to 6-6 and a half hours of screen-on-time with regular usage. Do note that gaming wasn’t included in these numbers, and your usage may vastly differ from what we’ve seen. Therefore, you may get considerably different results. The point is, both phones offer really, really good battery life which will be more than enough for the vast majority of users.

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If you, however, end up running out of juice, you have access to fast charging on both phones. The thing is, the Mi 11 Ultra offers more in that regard. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra offers 67W fast wired and wireless charging (with the right wireless charging pad), and 10W reverse wireless charging. The Galaxy S21 Ultra offers 25W wired charging, and 15W wireless charging, in addition to reverse wireless charging. The Mi 11 Ultra can be charged up much faster with both wired and wireless charging, and yet, the device does ship with a charger (wired), unlike the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: Cameras

These two phones have considerably different camera setups. Both phones do offer periscope units, though, and also a main wide-angle one, in addition to an ultra-wide one. The Galaxy S21 Ultra does also have a separate telephoto camera, while the Mi 11 Ultra uses its periscope camera for that purpose. The Galaxy S21 Ultra includes four cameras on the back, while the Mi 11 Ultra has one. Each phone has a single selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Hands On AH 2

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The performance from both devices is excellent in good lighting. They can both provide vivid images, that are plenty sharp, with good white balance, and dynamic range. 108 and 50-megapixel main cameras do an excellent job in that regard, and the same goes for ultra-wide cameras as well. Even periscope shots are great on both phones, but the Galaxy S21 Ultra allows for better images when you zoom in further, the quality decrease is a bit less visible. It offers 10x optical zoom, while the Mi 11 Ultra supports 5x optical zoom.

When the light goes away, neither phone disappoints. They do allow for plenty of light to enter the scene, and do a good job when it comes to balancing such images. They have really capable night modes, in case you need more light. Truth be said, both do preserve quite a bit of detail in low light, and handle light flares really well. The Galaxy S21 Ultra may have a slight advantage when it comes to details and sharpness in such conditions, but… the Mi 11 Ultra is right up there.

Audio

Both of these phones can provide you with excellent audio. They come with stereo speakers that are quite good. Samsung’s are tuned by AKG, while the Mi 11 Ultra ships with Harman Kardon speakers. The sound coming from both sets of speakers is more than loud enough, while it also offers plenty of sharpness. The bass is not great on either set of speakers (though it’s a bit better on the Mi 11 Ultra), but that’s not something you’ll notice all that much, and you have to keep in mind these are only smartphones.

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If you decide to plug in a pair of headphones, you’ll get really good output, as long as they’re good headphones. Do note that a 3.5mm headphone jack is not included, though, but you can connect them via a Type-C port or via Bluetooth. Speaking of which, both phones support Bluetooth 5.2, so you’re good in that regard.