System Performance - Extremely Snappy

When we reviewed the Mi 11 earlier in the year, that should have generally covered the performance evaluation for the Mi 11 Ultra as well as both devices are on the exact same hardware platform and also feature the same OS. However, since the Mi 11’s release, Xiaomi has released and pushed out an update to MIUI in the form of version 12.5 which has promised considerable improvements in terms of performance and responsiveness of the system.

On top of that, this spring, UL has released a new PCMark suite version 3.0 – while the workloads here are generally the same as that of version 2.0, the new application is built using the newest build tools and is now 64-bit capable. In past generation devices, the performance difference between 32-bit and 64-bit was relatively small, however recent generation Cortex CPU cores from Arm have had more stark feature discrepancies in regards to performance of AArch64 vs AArch32, favouring the former newer ISA as next year we expect 32-bit SoCs to be partially deprecated, and see a full shift to 64-bit only in 2023 devices. The new benchmark version here adapts to the shifting landscape, and more accurately represents the performance of today’s devices.

PCMark Work 3.0 - Web Browsing 3.0

The web-browsing workload is sensible to frame-rate of the display, as well as how aggressive the scheduler and DVFS of the chips are. The Mi 11 Ultra here generally performs excellently as is in line with the Mi 11 and the Snapdragon 888 S21 Ultra. There’s a few devices which are a bit more aggressive but this also comes at a cost of more battery drain.

PCMark Work 3.0 - Writing

In the writing subtest which is one of the most representative for general device responsiveness in every-day usage, the Mi 11 Ultra is extremely well performing and just notches out the S21 Ultra – only the Exynos here is slightly even more aggressive. There’s quite a bit of a difference to the Mi 11 which is to be noted.

PCMark Work 3.0 - Photo Editing

Photo editing workloads generally fall back to the GPU via RenderScript, and we see the Mi 11 Ultra take the top spot by a smidge of a performance advantage over the Axon 30 Ultra.

PCMark Work 3.0 - Data Manipulation

The data manipulation test is mostly single-threaded bound and here it depends on how the OS schedules things on the UI. The Mi 11 Ultra falls in the middle of the pack.

PCMark Work 3.0 - Performance

Overall, the Mi 11 Ultra falls in amongst the top performing flagship phones in 2021, which is unsurprising and very much what we expected.

Web Browser Performance

Alongside a new PCMark version, this year we’ve also hit the reset button on our browser benchmark results due to the introduction of 64-bit web browsers. For the same reasons aforementioned in PCMark, the new AArch64-only software packages for browsers mean that the new results can take better advantage of microarchitectural features of CPUs which were previously not used in the 32-bit variants, augmenting the scores for newer generation devices, making the scores incompatible. We’ve retested a range of recent flagship devices:

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView (64b) JetStream 2 - OS Webview (64b) WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView (64b)

In all the web tests, the Mi 11 Ultra also performed admirably, as one of the top-performing Snapdragon 888 devices on the market.

Subjectively, the Mi 11 Ultra is absolutely one of the fastest and most responsive devices on the market right now. When Xiaomi had pushed the new MIUI 12.5 version to the Mi 11 back a few months ago, I immediately noticed the vast improvement in overall UI performance, actually making me rank the Mi 11 and consequently also the Mi 11 Ultra as amongst the fastest Android phones out there.

The only real negatives I would have about Xiaomi’s software stack today is that the devices’ 60Hz mode is still seemingly extremely unoptimized compared to their 120Hz modes. I’m not exactly sure what is happening here, but it feels as if Xiaomi is not properly scaling or altering various scheduler settings to 60Hz down from 120Hz, or I also suspect that Xiaomi is tying the touch sample rate to the refresh rate, as I notice vastly increased delay in the 60Hz mode, something which doesn’t happen or is nearly as noticeable on Samsung’s 60Hz mode on their 120Hz devices.

Introduction & Design GPU Performance: Fast & Hot
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  • iXXeon - Thursday, July 22, 2021 - link

    The Mi11 Ultra got a massive software camera fix in the latest global ROM OTA MIUI 12.5.4. It contains all the tweaks and fixes following the work with the DXO guys that got the Mi11 Ultra the worlds best Smartphone score or 146 in DXOMark. So perhaps revisit the Mi11 Ultra and this time include the iPhone 12 Pro Max, seeing as it is the biggest selling flagship and weirdly missing from this roundup.
  • iXXeon - Thursday, July 22, 2021 - link

    Sorry should have read ‘worlds best Smartphone camera score of 143’
  • Hifihedgehog - Saturday, July 24, 2021 - link

    *Big and fast

    *=for an Android smartphone ;)
  • theblitz707 - Monday, July 26, 2021 - link

    Why is s21 telephoto is listed as 52mm? Isnt the 64MP sensor supposed to give 3x zoom at 12MP? But 52mm means 2x, you must have made a mistake
  • MoggeA - Tuesday, July 27, 2021 - link

    There should be a big improvement in the camera's HDR processing, after update to MIUI 12.5. Did you double-check?
    Also battery life should be much improved in MIUI 12.5..
  • wjohnas - Wednesday, July 28, 2021 - link

    "optimisation" instance... there are some similar cases
    for Asus rog 5, after doing wild life test, its surface temperature reaches up to 68 celecius degree...
  • iphonebestgamephone - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    Thats not the surface temp, probably the cpu, which is normal. Surface is 45, he shows that with his measuring device.
  • prodradesautoparts - Wednesday, August 18, 2021 - link

    i love the he writes thank you for giving an informational article i want want more ASAp
  • mike piria - Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - link

    Have yesterday the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, It is extremely sensitive to the touch and I have not yet been able to transfer the data from my LG G8X ThinQ, despite the fact that I have done it without problems with all the other phones that I bought that are around 50. Any indication?
  • dhatul - Friday, September 10, 2021 - link

    You state that when using the camera, the rear display can also be enabled to act as a preview screen which allows for high quality selfie pictures using the main cameras.

    I am unable to find any such setting. Can you elaborate how the rear display can be used for camera preview?

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