The Mi 11 Lite 5G boots Android 11 with MIUI 126.96.36.199 out of the box. The MIUI 12 launcher has been around for a while, and even if it uses a newer Android 11 base, you can't really tell that as it skins everything thoroughly.
The Mi 11 Lite 5G supports an Always-on display, but it can't be really always-on - it appears for 10s after tapping and that's it. There is no schedule or true always-on option. MIUI 12 has a ton of AOD themes you can choose from and make it yours. You can customize many of those. The Always-on display also supports breathing light - the curved edges of the display will flash with colors upon new notifications.
You unlock the screen via the side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The reader is easy to set up, blazing-fast, and the accuracy is superb. We advise you to set the unlock method to Press as the always-on reader will often attempt reading your palm and/or other fingers and eventually disable the fingerprint unlock until you input your PIN. A 2D Face Unlock is available, too, but it is far less secure than the fingerprint option.
The homescreens are business as usual - they are populated with shortcuts, folders, and widgets. The leftmost pane, if enabled, is Google's Discover.
The high-end phones running on MIUI 12 support these cool Super Wallpapers. Long story short - this is a dynamic wallpaper that zooms each time you pass a certain screen. The Super Wallpapers are not something groundbreaking, but they provide one very coherent visual experience that is a feast for the eyes and, in the meantime - connects the parts of MIUI in a subtle yet striking way.
There are four Super Wallpapers available, and you get a choice of Home (Earth), The Red Planet (Mars), Faraway rings (Saturn), and Geometry.
MIUI 12 offers an app drawer, and it automatically organizes your apps into categories. The first is All, meaning it contains all apps. Then follow Communication, Entertainment, Photography, Tools, New, and Business. You can edit these categories or even disable them altogether.
You can disable the app drawer entirely if that's not your thing.
Another interesting feature is the Notification shade split into Notification Center and Control Center. Indeed, this is precisely what the iPhones do, and you even summon them in the same fashion - pull down from the left part of the screen for the Notification Center, pull down from the right for the Control Center.
If you are not fond of this new split - you can disable the Control Center, and the shade will revert to its normal looks and operation.
The task switcher has not changed much. It shows all of your recent apps in two columns. Tap and hold on a card for the split-screen shortcut, or just swipe it left or right to close it. There is a new Floating Windows button on top, a new option offered by MIUI 12. You can put a compatible app in a floating state, but you only have one floating window at a time.
Themes are a huge part of MIUI, and they are available on MIUI 12, too. You can download new ones from the Themes store, and they can change wallpapers, ringtones, system icons, and even the always-on display style.
Xiaomi enhanced MIUI 12 with a couple of additional privacy options. Now, when sharing stuff, like photos and videos, you can opt to remove location info and/or other metadata (incl. device info) and thus protect your privacy better. Neat.
MIUI also offers a Security app. It can scan your phone for malware, manage your blacklist, manage or restrict your data usage, configure battery behavior, and free up some RAM. It can also manage the permissions of your installed apps and allows you to define the battery behavior of selected apps, and applies restrictions only to the apps you choose.
MIUI 12 packs proprietary Gallery, Music, and Video player. In some regions, the music and video apps may include paid streaming options. Mi Remote for the IR blaster is available, too.
MIUI 12 also enhances the Notes app with even more Task checklists and subtask options.
MIUI 12 supports Dark Mode, too, and you can even force it on wallpapers or restrict its application on incompatible individual apps.
MIUI 12 is fully optimized to work on HRR displays, and it looks gorgeous on the Mi 11 Lite 5G. Everything is smooth and fast; animations are unobtrusive yet impressive, the attention to detail is excellent. We did enjoy working with MIUI on the Mi 11 Lite's 90Hz for sure.
Some MIUI ROMs include ads in the default apps; it is a well-known thing.
The international ROM version of this Mi 11 Lite 5G does come with baked-in "recommendations" or ads, but luckily - you can disable those even if it's a bit tedious to do it. For example, if you are annoyed by the app scanner's ads, just hit the settings gear and disable recommendations. Ads in the File Manager - Settings->About should do it. Themes - go to Settings and disable Recommendations. It's not ideal, sure, but at least you can get rid of them all.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G is the first phone we meet powered by the new Snapdragon 780G 5G chip by Qualcomm. From what we can tell, it seems this SoC is an improved version of 2019's flagship Snapdragon 855 with a slightly better processor and GPU. Plus, this one is manufactured by Samsung on a 5nm fabrication line vs. 7nm TSMC process on the old SD855 - meaning less heat and better battery efficiency.
So, the Snapdragon 780G contains an improved eight-core tri-cluster processor. Headlining these eight cores is Kryo 670 Prime @ 2.4GHz based on the ARM's Cortex-A78 design (vs. A76 in SD855). Next up is a trio of Kryo 670 Gold @ 2.2GHz, also based on the Cortex-A78. Finally, we have four Kryo 670 Silver @ 1.8GHz based on Cortex-A55 for more mundane tasks.
The Snapdragon 780G pack Adreno 642 GPU, which sounds like a revamped version of the Adreno 640 found inside the SD855. We'll see about that in a bit, of course.
The Mi 11 Lite 5G is available with either 6GB or 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, depending on the storage options - 128GB or 256GB. There is an 8/128 version, too.
The SD780G 5G also includes an internal X53 5G/LTE modem, which should cover all modern cellular connectivity requirements. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 are supported, too.
And now, let's run some tests!
The CPU benchmark test GeekBench puts the Snapdragon 780G processor ahead of all chipsets we've tested in the mid-range segment - it is even faster than the Snapdragon 860 CPU inside the Poco X3 Pro.
Higher is better
Higher is better
The GPU performance is really good, too. The Mi 11 Lite 5G is among the best in its class, outperformed only by the Snapdragon 860's Adreno 640 inside the Poco X3 Pro. It seems the Adreno 642 is a bit slower than the 640 model, but as far as real-life performance go - you shouldn't be able to feel or see this 10% gap.
Higher is better
Higher is better
Finally, the AnTuTu scores test puts the Mi 11 Lite 5G ahead of the Poco X3 Pro, and there is only one phone that's faster than the Mi 11 Lite 5G - the Poco F3 with its flagship-grade Snapdragon 870 chip.
Higher is better
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G is one truly capable mid-ranger - it has the processor and graphics to support all kinds of heavy-duty tasks and games. It can run compatible apps/games with 90fps, too, as its GPU is powerful enough. And the cooling seems to be handled very well - the phone scored 91% stability on the 3D Mark Wildlife Stress Test - an excellent score, and the tradeoff is one warm but far from a hot body.
The Mi 11 Lite 5G hardware was picked smart, cooled properly, and the optimizations seem to be done the right way (there is even Game Space, where you can boost your gaming experience even more), so as far as performance goes - the Mi 11 Lite 5G excels in every way.