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24 hours with the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite was met with such a favorable response that the company decided it wanted to release a New Edition a few months later. (Yes, that’s what NE stands for in this new device’s lengthy name). Straight out of the box, I can understand the hype surrounding this phone. It’s so striking yet understated that I’m excited to take it for a spin.

Here’s how my first day with the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE went:

October 23, 2021

3:04 pm

I already opened this phone yesterday to shoot the unboxing video of the Xiaomi 11T, but aside from that, I haven’t used this phone. It’s now time for me to spend my first full day with this phone, and I started that off by topping up its battery. It was at 14% at this point, and I needed it to last me through the next day. So, battery charging test, here we go.

It doesn’t have the Xiaomi 11T’s 67W fast-charging, but it still has a relatively speedy 33W fast charging for the 4,250mAh battery. I expected it to top up the battery soon, and it did. In just five minutes, I was already at 24%. Around 33 minutes, it was at 72%. And it fully charged at around an hour and five minutes.

5:16 pm

I set the phone up a bit to edit my Xiaomi 11T unboxing before tonight’s launch. MIUI provides has a basic editor in the Gallery app. I say basic, but it’s actually more than other smartphones offer. You can add filters, captions, change the aspect ratio, and even add music. But it wasn’t enough for what I needed. I usually download CapCut to make video edits on mobile. And the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE didn’t have any issues with the app. I got what I needed to get the video ready.

Xiaomi equips the 11 Lite 5G NE with a 64-megapixel triple camera setup, paired with an 8-megapixel ultra-wide and a 5-megapixel telemacro lens. The cameras include Night mode with both the front-facing and the primary and ultra-wide sensors. It also features many of Xiaomi’s AI One-Click features that make it easy to record easily shareable videos for your social media. This handset can record videos up to 4K at 30 frames per second.

You have photo modes like Auto/Photo, Pro, Portrait, 64MP, Night, Panorama, Documents, and Long Exposure. As for the video, you can use the Pro, Video, Short Video, VLOG, Slow Motion, Time Lapse, Movie Effects, Dual Video, and Clone. The Movie Effects gets an additional Night Time Lapse, which we haven’t seen in the Xiaomi 11T. But like that phone, it has modes like Magic Zoom, Slow Shutter, Time Freeze, and Parallel World.

8:15 pm

It seemed appropriate to watch the Xiaomi live stream for this device and the Xiaomi 11T series on this phone. I used some wireless buds to tune into the event, and my pair connected quickly with the phone. There is no headphone jack, but Xiaomi will supply you with a USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack if you need it.

Xiaomi proudly touts the “true-to-color” visuals of this phone’s display. The Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE has a 6.55-inch flat AMOLED screen with Dolby Vision support, a full DCI-P3 wide color gamut, and a 10-bit TrueColor color depth. It displays 1.07 billion onscreen colors to offer a high degree of color accuracy. I find the viewing angles to be quite good, and it’s sufficiently bright for me, too.

October 24, 2021

9:35 am

I had to shoot more unboxing footage of this phone because I missed some. But that also meant I got to appreciate the phone even more. Xiaomi designed the 11 Lite 5G NE to be a statement phone. It’s thin, lightweight at 6.81mm thin and 158g light. And it comes in eye-catching, stylish shades that can match your style. It’s available in Truffle Black, Bubblegum Blue, Peach Pink, and the new Snowflake White, which Xiaomi sent over for us to test.

The shade truly lives up to its name. It looks like shimmering snowflakes, but it also reminds me of a pearl or a capiz shell. It’s definitely prettier and more striking in person. The matte frosted glass finish means it doesn’t really show any smudges or fingerprints, but it does make it feel a bit more slippery. I can still get a good grip on it, but I’m not taking my chances (read my first 24 hours with the Xiaomi 11T for context), so I’ll just use the clear case Xiaomi offers with the phone.

As with other Xiaomi devices, it has its fingerprint sensor at the middle right side of the phone, making it easy to access with your right thumb or the left index finger. On top of that, there is the volume rocker. The bottom has a single bottom-firing speaker, USB-C, and a hybrid dual nano-SIM slot. The second SIM slot can also be used for a microSDXC card. The top has the IR port, and the earpiece is hidden within the thin bezels of the flat display. The top left houses the cutout for the selfie camera.

10:49 am

I buckled down to finish some writing, so I used the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE as my secondary screen. I used it to watch some YouTube videos and as a display to view my notes. I can easily view what’s on the screen even when I had the display flat on my desk.

The single speaker is relatively loud. It won’t achieve the quality of devices with stereo speakers, but it gets the job done. I can still hear what I’m watching even if I place it on the desk away from it.

2:23 pm

I took a bit of time off work to play and explore the phone a bit. I pulled up the book I was reading on Scribd (Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix) for a bit of reading. But then I also spent some time playing some Brawl Stars. It’s easy to navigate and play on this device because it supports a higher 90Hz refresh rate and a 240Hz touch sampling rate.

The Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G chipset with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of expandable storage. The unit Xiaomi sent over is the 6GB + 128GB option, sufficient for my typical use. Like the 11T, an update came in for MIUI 12.5 that updated the Android Security Patch to September.

As with other MIUI 12.5 smartphones I’ve used, I appreciate some features Xiaomi includes in this device. It does have an Always-On Display option, but you can’t set a schedule for it. You do have the choice to disable it when Battery Saver is enabled. There are options for the notification light. It has scheduled Dark Mode and different audio options for when you have Bluetooth devices connected or apps running simultaneously (I’ll dive deeper into this in the review).

You can also adjust haptic feedback, change notification and control center look, have an app drawer or just use the home screen, and more. MIUI gives you a lot of room to customize the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE the way you like. And I’ve always appreciated that about it.

First thoughts

The Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE doesn’t look like you’re sacrificing too much for substance for style. It definitely leaves a favorable first impression. I just like the idea of having an eye-catching phone I can pick up with one hand and easily slip into a purse.

The Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE is available in these configurations and pricing:

You can learn more about its pre-order details here.

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