Fast-charging has become an increasingly ubiquitous feature across all smartphone ranges but one of Xiaomi’s most recent devices, the Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge, is pitched entirely around this aspect. To be specific, Xiaomi wants you to buy it mainly because it can charge fully in 20 minutes, as the phone’s name suggests. Should you buy it for this reason alone?
How fast is fast enough?
When it comes to charging a phone quickly, there are plenty of options in the market. Some claim to give you 50% power within 15 minutes or thereabouts. Xiaomi’s claim is not mere hyperbole—as long as you are using the adapter that’s bundled in the retail box, you do get a full charge right on cue, 20 minutes.
The question, however, is if you really need it. The most common need for phones to charge quickly comes up suddenly—when you realise, for instance, that are supposed to join a video conference in a minute and only have 5% charge left. In such cases, almost all the modern fast-charging setups get the job done. Sure, Xiaomi does it better with the 120W charging standard but it’s not revolutionary. For example, the ultra-fast charging standard can be very useful if you travel frequently in areas where access to electricity is limited – but its real-world edge over the 'slower' fast chargers is limited.
The next question is about its charging adapter—the one Xiaomi uses is massive. In fact, it’s just as large as the one HP bundles with its Spectre 14 laptop. Doesn’t that somewhat defeat the point of a smartphone, whose core reason of existence is to facilitate portable usage experience? You can’t substitute it with any other adapter either—without it, the phone is just Xiaomi 11i.
Good but good enough?
The problem with today’s phones is that they are all about decent. Yet, almost none are truly exceptional. The Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge is no different, either.
The 6.67-in display is too large for my liking, though it has become an industry standard nowadays. The display offers acceptable colours, and its default colour balance hits a good note. It’s bright enough for outdoor usage and dim enough for late-night doomscrolling, which means you get good enough usage experience. Like pretty much every phone these days, it has 120Hz refresh rate too.
Performance-wise, you won’t find it to be a problem for most games and regular apps. However, the most graphic-intense games may cause frame rates to drop. I am not too convinced about the MIUI software experience, which feels too bloated and heavy by modern-day Android experience levels. This may slow the phone down in about two years—although MIUI 13 promises to make things better.
The phone’s dimensions feel ungainly owing to its large, flat edges—nor does it make the phone feel seamless in the hand. It does look good from the back, though, and the overall build quality feels assuring. That said, it’s certainly not pocket-able.
If the Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge is a Ferrari by charging speed, it feels more like a multi-axle Scania (the not-so-fast ones) by build quality.
The 108MP triple rear camera is fairly decent, and overall image quality makes it rather versatile. The camera app is fast and responsive, but for some reason, the default image editor is sluggish and takes rather long – disrupting a smooth usage experience. It also asks you for too many permissions – something a bit unnecessary for a photo editor app. If you want an acceptable camera for most occasions, the main camera of the Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge will work.
The battery life is good enough for seven hours of a tedious workday, but given how fast the phone charges, Xiaomi will hope this will not be much of a bother.
Does charging speed trump competitors?
Simply put, if you are okay with MIUI and the size of the phone, the Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge may be worth it. In fact, it may well be one of the best phones under ₹30,000 in India right now. It’s quite smooth, has acceptable cameras, and its USP of super-fast charging does make life easier. It might be more Scania and less Ferrari, but hey, who said Scanias are bad?
Also read: The Xiaomi 11T Pro is let down by design