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Xiaomi has a crazy alternative to the Galaxy S21 Ultra

Published Feb 12th, 2021 7:31AM EST
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Image: Samsung

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  • The unannounced Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra appears to be Xiaomi’s response to the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
  • A YouTuber uploaded a video review of the Mi 11 Ultra by mistake, revealing the main specs and features of the Mi 11 Ultra.
  • The phone features an unusual rear-facing camera module that includes a tiny secondary display.

The smartphone wars have started a little earlier this year, with Samsung unleashing the Galaxy S21 series in mid-January. The novel coronavirus pandemic is partly to blame for Samsung’s aggressiveness. Smartphone sales have dropped during the health crises, but not Apple’s. iPhone is still selling very well, especially the iPhone 12 models that were launched only in October and November. Samsung also supposedly wanted to take advantage of Huawei’s continued absence from the mobile landscape. Huawei can’t compete in western markets because of the ongoing US ban, and Samsung could take advantage of that.

But there was one 2021 phone to be unveiled even earlier than the Galaxy S21. Coming from China, the Xiaomi Mi 11 packs the same Snapdragon 888 processor as the Galaxy S21 and would offer the same general experience for a more affordable price tag than the Galaxy S phones. We heard at the time that the Mi 11 Pro would launch later down the road. It looks like Xiaomi is indeed getting closer to release a beefed-up version of the Mi 11. Only it’s calling it Mi 11 Ultra, the phone that could compete against the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

This purported M11 Ultra device is not official, but a YouTuber apparently got his hands on the device early, showing its features online. The YouTuber made the video private quickly after being discovered, but not before xda-developers got wind of it.

The Mi 11 Ultra appears to be a genuine device, matching recent certifications in India and the EU. Codenamed M2102K1G/Star, the device seems to be the successor of the M10 Ultra.

The Mi 11 Ultra features a few impressive specs, including a 6.8-inch hole-punch quad-curved OLED display with WQHD+ resolution and 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus glass, Snapdragon 888 processor, 5G support, IP68 certification, Harman/Kardon speakers, and a 5,000 mAh battery that supports 67W wireless charging.

The phone features the same 120X zoom as its predecessor — that’s technically a 120X Ultra Pixel AI Camera. The triple-lens camera on the back includes a 50-megapixel primary sensor, 48-megapixel wide-angle lens, and 48-megapixel periscopic telephoto lens. The camera on the front has a 20-megapixel sensor.

What’s puzzling about the phone’s camera bump on the back, which is quite massive, is the presence of a rear-facing display. The secondary screen sits next to the triple-lens shooter. The only reason why you’d want a display on the back like that is to turn the primary camera into a more sophisticated selfie camera. The display is big enough to help you guide your selfie action and ensure you’re capturing everything you want to have in the shot. The rear display will also mirror the action on the main screen.

It’s unclear when the Mi 11 Ultra will be launched or how much it’ll cost. But the Mi 11 is likely coming soon — a version of the original video follows below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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