Just when OnePlus assumed that it had shaken off the affordable smartphone space, Xiaomi dropped in with its Mi 11 Lite. Termed as a lightweight smartphone, the Mi 11 Lite aims on getting the user experience right instead of the high-end specs; something very un-Xiaomi like. Obviously, after reviewing both these phones, we had to pit them against one another. Also Read - Best battery smartphones under Rs 15,000: Redmi Note 10T, Realme Narzo 30 and more
The Mi 11 Lite left us impressed in our review with its overall user experience and as solid assortment of good enough features. The OnePlus Nord CE does the same too without offending those who seek more specs. It’s also got support for 5G connectivity, even if there’s just one band supported. Also Read - RedmiBook laptop revelations and expectations: Sub-Rs 40,000 price or higher for 11th Gen Intel?
Hence, if you have less than Rs 25,000 to spare on either of these, which one should you pick up? Also Read - Top 5G smartphones under Rs 20,000 in August 2021: Samsung A22 5G, Redmi Note 10T, etc
Mi 11 Lite vs OnePlus Nord CE
There’s no doubt about the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite taking the crown in this one. The slim form factor coupled with 157 grams weight suggests appeals to the palms more than the OnePlus Nord CE The fit and finish is superior on the Xiaomi and with those fancy colours, it is hard to say no to the Mi 11 Lite.
The Nord CE is heavier at 170 grams and carries a bland-er version of the original Nord’s boring design. In fact, the base version only comes in a glossy black version while the fancy blue and gradient colours are reserved for the top-end variants.
Another win for the Mi 11 Lite in this round. The 6.5-inch display has extremely slim bezels and it contains a 10-bit AMOLED panel with support for HDR10 colours. With 90Hz refresh rate, this is a phone for those who love to watch movies or web shows on the phone all the time.
The Nord CE has a slightly smaller 6.4-inch AMOLED display and doesn’t support HDR10 colours. The refresh rate is optimum at 90Hz but the bezels around it are thicker and unappealing.
This is where the Nord CE takes control of the game. The Snapdragon 750G chip on the OnePlus offers superior performance with its faster CPU. Paired with the efficient OxygenOS 11, you get a clean and smooth user experience out of this. Plus, OxygenOS 11 does not feature system ads and unnecessary bloat. Moreover, the Nord supports 5G networks over a single N78 band, which is an assurity of future-proofing when 5G comes around.
That’s not to say that the Mi 11 Lite is slow. The Snapdragon 732G chip may be old but it still has enough grunt to deliver solid midrange performance. MIUI 12 based on Android 11 is feature-rich and offers hundreds of customisation options but you do witness lots of bloatware. The lack of 5G support may also worry those willing to use it for 2-3 years.
None of these phones have great cameras when compared to the competition. However, it is the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite that pulls off a slight lead over the Nord CE. The 64-megapixel main camera is well tuned for most scenarios and does a good job with colour reproduction. The 5-megapixel macro camera is the best in its class and can deliver social media-ready results. The ultra-wide camera is decent in daylight scenarios. The selfie camera is good enough for most users as well.
The OnePlus Nord CE suffers from the usual OnePlus issues like oversaturation of colours and inability to supress noise properly. The camera setup is fine for most causal users on the go but shutterbugs will be happier with the Mi 11 Lite’s camera.
Both the Nord CE and Mi 11 Lite are strictly one-day smartphones, provided you are on your phone all day. With a fairly normal use case involving texting, shooting photos, browsing social media for 2-3 hours on an average, reading online articles, streaming music, playing causal games, and watching videos, both these phones end the day with almost 30 percent juice to spare.
The 30W wired charging solution on the OnePlus delivers a full charge in close 70 minutes and there’re similar figures for the 33W system of the Mi 11 Lite. On the whole, it’s a draw for both of these.
The Mi 11 Lite starts at Rs 21,999 for the base version with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. For Rs 23,999, you get the version with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage. The Nord CE is more expensive as it starts at Rs 22,999 for the base version with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. The 8GB/128GB version costs Rs 24,999 whereas the 12GB RAM/256GB version costs Rs 27,999.
Both the Mi 11 Lite and OnePlus Nord CE have their fair share of pros and cons. Let’s have a look at these.
Mi 11 Lite
– Superior design and build – 4G-only old Snapdragon 732G chip
– Superior display experience – MIUI 12 full of bloat
– Better camera performance – Competition offers 5G as standard
OnePlus Nord CE
– Superior performance – Bland design
– Clean and smooth OxygenOS UI – Unimpressive cameras
– Support for 5G networks – Only single 5G band support
Both of these phones have their own share of positives and negatives. However, with no 5G networks around, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite with slightly lower price and superior hardware makes more sense to us and hence, is our recommendation out of these two. However, if you seek raw performance and that exclusive OnePlus experience, you won’t be disappointed with Nord CE.