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The world’s first Snapdragon 888 smartphone is here (and it doesn’t come with a charger)

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While some smartphone vendors are busy cryptically teasing their upcoming Snapdragon 888 flagships and other companies continue to slowly build buzz around their fast-approaching next high-end product announcements, Xiaomi has unsurprisingly taken the wraps off the world’s very first mobile device powered by Qualcomm’s latest top-shelf SoC.

Believe it or not, the hot new Android handset is already up for pre-order in China, where shipments are scheduled to begin on January 1, 2021. That basically means this will also be next year’s first high-end smartphone to see daylight in at least one major global market, although for the time being, there are no words on European availability, let alone an official US release.

Gorgeous design, stunning display, unusual camera unit

Following in the footsteps of multiple eye-catching Mi 10-series devices, the “regular” Xiaomi Mi 11 once again opts for pronounced display curves rather than going the flat screen route like Samsung’s impending Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus. Alongside a gracefully arched back made from shiny glass, the dual-edged screen accentuates the slender metal frame of a phone that’s nonetheless capable of packing a generous 4,600mAh battery.

Unlike 2020’s Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, 2021’s Mi 11 will come with a fluid 120Hz panel sporting a QHD+ resolution of 3200 x 1440 pixels that manages to beat even the pixel count of the similarly smooth 120Hz display on the Mi 10 Ultra. 

The Xiaomi Mi 11 is also larger than all three aforementioned Mi 10 family members, with a 6.81-inch screen in tow and a couple of millimeters added to the overall height. The bezels are still incredibly thin, and the tiny hole punch located on the top left corner houses a familiar-sounding 20MP selfie shooter.

Around the back, the Mi 11 marks a clear departure from its forerunners, putting the 108MP primary imaging sensor front and center (at least metaphorically) while moving the 5MP macro camera and LED flash to the side rather than positioning everything below the main shooter. A 13MP wide-angle lens does still sit beneath the aforementioned 108-megapixel cam, with no room for a useless depth sensor this time around.

Plenty of raw power, a very reasonable price, but no headphone jack or charger in the box

Whether or not the Snapdragon 888 will prove speedy enough in real life to eclipse Apple’s A14 Bionic beast found inside the iPhone 12 series, one thing is for sure – the Xiaomi Mi 11 should be faster than every single Android handset released in 2020.
The ultra-high-end chipset will be paired with blazing fast UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR5 memory on the Mi 11, and Xiaomi is preparing three such configurations going all the way up to 256 and 12 gigs respectively. The entry-level 128/8GB variant is almost unbelievably affordable, fetching the rough equivalent of $610 in China.
Unfortunately, that’s without a travel adapter, headphone jack, or microSD card slot, but for what it’s worth, this reasonably priced powerhouse supports both 55W wired and 50W wireless charging technologies. So, yeah, unlike Apple, Xiaomi is probably saving quite a bit of money by not shipping the Mi 11 together with the kind of charger the company would normally provide as standard.

The rest of the features are also pretty impressive for the sub-$700 segment, including standard 5G connectivity, 10W reverse wireless charging capabilities, in-display fingerprint recognition, Harman Kardon-tuned stereo speakers, and top-notch Gorilla Glass Victus screen protection. Why do we need $1,000+ phones again?

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