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Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Xiaomi Mi 11: Which to Pick?

author Luis Silva (May 2021 Updated: August 2021 - 6 min. reading time)

The Galaxy S21 is a little bit more expensive, but it isn't the best of the two.

It has water-resistance and more OS updates (2 additional years). But the Mi 11 brings a glass back.

Anything else?

The Galaxy S21 also features a lightweight body (27 g./0.95 oz less). But the Mi 11 will also give you a larger (+0.6") display, faster-charging speeds (55w vs. 25w), faster wireless charging (50w vs. 15w), and Bluetooth 5.2.

Keep in mind that these are both great devices because they almost share the same score.

How much more are you willing to spend on the Mi 11?

If you're considering a new and unlocked smartphone, you should be saving (close to $100), not paying more.

Just keep reading if you want to know everything about them, how they fare against their competition, and how other specialists evaluate them.

Check prices on Amazon Check prices on Amazon
Click here or scroll down to check prices on eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions.

Samsung Galaxy S21Xiaomi Mi 11

CONTENTS

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Introduction

The Galaxy S21 and Mi 11 started selling last January.

With this article, you'll be able to compare every feature of the Galaxy S21 and the Mi 11. Then, you can decide what model better suits your needs. Let's start.

The weight of each section

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device Galaxy S21 Mi 11
Release Date 2021, January 2021, January 0y.
OS Updates 3 years 1 year -2y.
Security Updates 4 years 4 years 0y.

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

Performance-wise, Geekbench 5 scores the Mi 11 12% ahead in the multi-core ranking. In real-world usage, the difference between them isn't significant.

The Mi 11 also has a performance above the average if you consider related-priced phones. While they got a score of about 2717, it has 3489. That puts it 28% above them.

It's safe to say that both of them can be tagged as high-end.

Performance*
vs.
Features Galaxy S21 Mi 11
SoC Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 888
Graphics Mali-G78 MP14 Adreno 660
Geekbench 5 Score 3113
3489
376
OS Android 11 and OneUI Android 11 and MIUI 12.5
Tek-Score
7.2
7.8
0.6

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Samsung Galaxy S21 front transparent png Xiaomi Mi 11 front transparent png

The Mi 11 has the best screen, but the Galaxy S21 is just as good.

If you're into big displays, the Mi 11 is your holy grail. Most phones from its price range don't even come close.

Usually, devices in this price range only do around 737 nits, but there's a 189 nits gap above that for the Mi 11.

About these two, you should know that 92% of its rivals can play HDR content and have an Always-On display, and all have an AMOLED screen.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features Galaxy S21 Mi 11
Size 6.2
6.8
0.6
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1080x2400
1440x3200
2016000
Refresh Rate 120hz 120hz 0
Dots per Inch 424.48
516.04
91.56
Always-On-Display Yes Yes
Notch Hole Hole
Peak Brightness 856 nits
926 nits
70
HDR HDR10+ HDR10+
Sub Tek-Score
9.2
9.8
0.6
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Tek-Score
9.7
9.9
0.2

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Samsung Galaxy S21 back transparent png Xiaomi Mi 11 back transparent png

By DXOMARK's standards, the Mi 11 is also roughly 22 points above its rivals for the same budget. However, none of these stand out.

About the Galaxy S21: DXOMARK tested this camera and gave it a score of 123. If you also consider its wide-angle lens, that will go up to 137. You can check their review if you click here.

Before moving on, keep in mind that all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. On the other hand, only 4% of them feature a macro lens.

About the Mi 11: DXOMARK has rated this camera with a score of 127. By adding its wide-angle lens, we end up with a score of 138 points. You can click here to check it out.

Finally, just so you know, just like the other device, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. Regardless, none of them feature a macro lens.

If you prefer, we can grade these two as high-end.

A telephoto lens would've been a great addition. If you agree with me, it might be time to consider smartphones like the Sony Xperia 1 II or the Vivo X60 Pro. And if you're willing to take it one step further, smartphones like the Galaxy S21 Ultra aren't too good to be true anymore.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera Galaxy S21 Mi 11
Megapixels 12
108
96
Aperture 1.8
1.9
0.1
Lens 26mm
26mm
0
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 1 2 1
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 4320 4320 0
Score 137
138
1

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) Galaxy S21 Mi 11 vs.
Megapixels 64
13
-51
Aperture 2.0
2.4
0.4
Lens 29mm 14mm -15
Lens Type Regular Ultra-wide-Angle
Megapixels 12 5 -7
Aperture 2.2 2.4 0.2
Lens 13mm -
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle Macro
Score 14 11 -3
Selfie Camera Galaxy S21 Mi 11 vs.
Megapixels 10
20
10
Aperture 2.2
2.2
0.0
Lens 26mm 27mm 1
Galaxy S21 Mi 11 vs.
Tek-Score
8.1
8.1
0.1

Who has the best frame?

The Galaxy S21 does have an advantage here, thanks to its weight and water resistance.

The Mi 11 is 27 g. (1.06 oz) heavier than the other, weighing about 169 g. (5.96 oz). If you're curious, the "weight to display size" score of the Galaxy S21 is 6.6, meaning a pretty nice weight for its display size. The Mi 11, on the other hand, has 5.3, so nothing to state here.

The Galaxy S21 is rated IP68, which means it's water-resistant in up to 1 to 3 meters. That should be for up to 30 minutes, and it's freshwater in standby mode only.

Looks*
vs.
Body Galaxy S21 Mi 11
Size 151 x 71 x 7 mm
(5.33 x 2.50 x 0.25 in)
164 x 74 x 8 mm
(5.78 x 2.61 x 0.28 in)
22041
Weight 169 g. (5.96 oz)
196 g. (6.91 oz)
27
Build Front glass Front and back glass
Colors Phantom Gray, Phantom Violet, Phantom White, and Phantom Pink Horizon Blue, Midnight Gray, Cloud White, Violet, Gold, and Special Edition Blue
Screen To Body Ratio 86.57%
91.99%
5.42
Disp.Size To Weight Score 6.6 5.3 -1.2
Looks 6.5/10
10.0/10
3.4
Waterproof IP68 -
Biometrics Under Display Fingerprint Under Display Fingerprint
Tek-Score
7.7
2.3
-5.3

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.

Which has the best battery?

The Galaxy S21 has a 4000 mAh battery, and the Mi 11 has a 4600 mAh. But according to GSMArena's tests, you shouldn't expect notable differences here.

Fast charging is indeed fast with the Mi 11. Other devices from this price range frequently max out at about 29w.

You'll likewise get quick wireless charging on the Mi 11. That's something you rarely see at this price range.

Battery*
vs.
Features Galaxy S21 Mi 11
Capacity (mAh) 4000 4600 600
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 81% left
80% left
-1
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 62% left
62% left
0
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 67% left
66% left
-1
Bat. To Phone Size Score 6.2 2.7 -3.5
Sub Tek-Score
7.0
6.9
-0.1
Fast Charging 25w
55w
30
Wireless Charging 15w
50w
35
Reverse Charging 4.5w
10w
5.5
Tek-Score
6.9
7.9
1.0

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

None of them has.

Storage*
vs.
Features Galaxy S21 Mi 11
RAM (GB) 8GB
8GB
0
Internal (GB) 128GB
128GB
0
Micro SD No No
Tek-Score
6.0
6.0
0.0

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

I'd go for the Mi 11 if you really value Bluetooth 5.2.

If you love good-old wired headphones, you're out of luck because none of them included a 3.5mm headphone jack. You may go for an adapter as a last resort, but it really isn't the same. You can also check other devices if you don't mind searching for them. Perhaps you don't mind settling with the Sony Xperia 1 II.

Both have a single network variant: (LTE and) 5G.

Connectivity
vs.
Features Galaxy S21 Mi 11
Network 5G 5G
Bluetooth 5.0
5.2
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No
Tek-Score
4.6
5.1
0.5

Which is more affordable?

Here are the prices that we've come across recently:

Samsung Galaxy S21

Reference: $798

Samsung Galaxy S21

Xiaomi Mi 11

Reference: $698

Xiaomi Mi 11

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone (or whatever else you end up buying). You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money Galaxy S21 Mi 11 VS
Amazon 0.82 1.07 0.24
eBay 1.02 - -
Best Buy 1.14 - -
Walmart - - -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.


Related articles:


Best smartphone deals


The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets


Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

So, what about that global score? We'll get there. Just so you have an idea, take a look at where its adversaries average. They aren't that far from 7.0 for these two.

Verdict: Does any of them really stand out?

What can the Samsung Galaxy S21 give you that the Xiaomi Mi 11 can't:

- Lighter (27 g./0.95 oz less)

- Water-resistant

- Front glass

- More OS updates (2 additional years)

What can the Xiaomi Mi 11 give you that the Samsung Galaxy S21 can't:

- More DPIs

- A larger display (+0.6")

- Front and back glass

- Faster charging speeds (55w vs. 25w)

- Faster wireless charging (50w vs. 15w)

- Bluetooth 5.2

Pros Galaxy S21 Mi 11
#1 Performance Performance
#2 AMOLED AMOLED
#3 Always-On-Display Always-On-Display
#4 Cameras Cameras
#5 Fast Charging Fast Charging
#6 Wireless Charging Wireless Charging
#7 Glass Protection Glass Protection
Cons Galaxy S21 Mi 11
#1 MicroSD Slot MicroSD Slot
#2 3.5mm Jack Weight
#3 Price 3.5mm Jack
#4 Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score Galaxy S21 Mi 11
Gaming Score
7.6
8.1
0.5
Tek-Score
7.42
7.44
0.02
Your Score

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

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If you want to know more about them, click here:

About me

Hello!

My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.


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Samsung Galaxy S21 Related Comparisons


Xiaomi Mi 11 Related Comparisons

×

"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

Rivals

As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.


 Samsung Galaxy S21 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $689
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $789
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalMate 30 Pro
    $849
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Ultra
    $846
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698

 Xiaomi Mi 11 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $689
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $789
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $580
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $729
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
×

Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mclass-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

×

About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.



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