The Mi 11 Lite is Xiaomi’s next offering for India in the midrange smartphone space and ahead of its launch on June 22, there’s already a lot about it we know. Earlier reports of a sub-Rs 25,000 pricing broke out whereas another one only hinted at Xiaomi bringing the 4G model only. This has only led to more confusion amongst smartphone aficionados as to what is Xiaomi going to do. Also Read - Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12X, Xiaomi 12 Pro might launch by the end of this month
The company made clear its intentions of going upmarket last year with the new Mi series flagships. But so far, all the Mi 11 series phones have undercut the competition by some margin in terms of pricing and specifications; the Mi 11X is the most affordable Snapdragon 870 phone in India right now. Hence, a phone such as the Mi 11 Lite 4G seems like a misfit in Xiaomi’s otherwise competitive lineup. Also Read - Xiaomi 12 could become first smartphone to launch with Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset
Mi 11 Lite 4G: What is it?
The Mi 11 Lite was announced a few months ago in Europe as a pricey midrange offering for the masses. It was released in both 4G and 5G flavours, with the latter positioning itself as great value for those willing to spend a premium. The 4G variant just exists as an entry point to the Mi series of smartphones. Also Read - Redmi Note 11T 5G vs Realme 8s 5G: Which one is a better option?
Hence, the Mi 11 Lite 4G using the Snapdragon 732G chip and paired with a 90Hz AMOLED display is a decent deal. You also get a 48-megapixel triple rear camera system and a 4250mAh battery here. The design is reminiscent of the Mi 11 but Xiaomi makes copious use of plastic to keep the weight down.
In fact, at 157 grams and 6.1mm thickness, the Mi 11 Lite is indeed among the most lightweight phones in the world of Android.
What about the scene in India?
Xiaomi made a name for itself with highly competitive and affordable smartphones in the mid-2010s. At the same time, brands such as Oppo and Vivo were trying to woo customers with camera phones that tagged along premium price tags. As a result of India’s “more for less” thirst in everything, Xiaomi skyrocketed to the top of the charts in just a few years.
With the Mi 11 Lite 4G, Xiaomi seems to be taking on the opposite role. The Mi 11 Lite in its 4G avatar isn’t a competitive device, especially if Xiaomi is to price around the Rs 21,000 price point. The situation is complicated further by the presence of its own blockbuster hits in the same range – the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max and Mi 10i.
From a specifications point of view, the Mi 11 Lite struggles to make a case for itself against the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. If Xiaomi aims for a sub-Rs 25,000 pricing, the Mi 10i comes across as a better and more future-proof device.
Is the Mi 11 Lite 4G playing a lost battle?
In a way, no. In a way, the Mi 11 Lite is to Xiaomi what the Galaxy A52 is to Samsung – premium devices that build the brand image. Xiaomi has always been looked upon as a phone maker that sells high specs at affordable price. Manu Jain and his boys have been trying to change that this year with the Mi 11 Ultra and the Mi 11 Lite is another step in that direction.
While the Redmi Note 10 Pro is for those who love numbers and seeks high value, the Mi 11 Lite could be positioned as a phone that focuses on the user experience. A lightweight phone easily adds to the user experience and Xiaomi with its updated MIUI 12.5 will try to add to it. Moreover, there’s a section of consumers that seeks good-looking phones over everything else.
This is exactly what brands like Vivo and Oppo have been doing with their V series and F series phones in the past respectively. These phones focus on the design and cameras, stuff that Indian phone users prefer the most. Hence, despite costing more, there are many in the semi-urban and rural markets who prefer these devices over the ones that earn critical acclaim.
Hence, the Mi 11 Lite may end up carving a space of its own in the highly competitive sub-Rs 25,000 space, despite not boasting of cutting-edge specs.