After capturing the budget, mid-range and even the upper mid-range segments, Xiaomi's now gunning for the higher-end segments of the smartphone market. One of these is the affordable flagship segment where Xiaomi is now going for the kill with the launch of its latest smartphone, the 11T Pro.
This new phone from Xiaomi comes packed with powerful hardware and a feature set to shame some premium segment phones too. Starting at Rs 39,999, this is a phone which promises a lot. But, before it can emerge as the true winner in the segment, it will have to fight off the competition from its biggest rival, the OnePlus 9RT. This again is a very aggressively priced phone, which starts retail for Rs 42,999 but offers a lot to like in return.
We've had both the phones with us for a while now, giving us a chance to answer the most important question: Which of these two phones deserves your money.
Let's start by comparing the designs of the devices, and right off the bat, I'll make one thing clear -- I think the OnePlus 9RT is the better looking of the two phones. In fact, not only does it look better, but it also manages to look a lot more premium than the Xiaomi 11T Pro. OnePlus has launched the 9RT in two colour variants -- Hacker Black and Nano Silver. Of these, we have with us the former, which if we're being honest, looks like a phone far more expensive than what its price tag would suggest. It’s velvety and shimmery at the back and feels great to hold when in the hand.
The Xiaomi 11T Pro on the other hand is just another good looking smartphone in a sea of, well, good looking phones. It has a glossy polycarbonate back panel that feels good in the hand, but more importantly, reminds us of the Redmi Note 10 Pro. There's nothing special going on here and could even be classified as boring by some. And to make matters worse for the Xiaomi 11T Pro, it's also the heavier of the two phones. So yeah, you get the drift.
The display department is where things get a little more interesting, with Xioami seriously upping the game with a 10-bit 6.67-inch AMOLED screen with support for a 120Hz refresh rate and Dolby Vision. The OnePlus 9RT on the other hand only gets a 6.62-inch 8-bit AMOLED panel that's capable of a fast 120Hz refresh rate and HDR, but no Dolby Vision support.
The difference between the two panels is not extreme, but the panel on the Xiaomi 11T Pro is definitely better and is more suited for consuming multimedia content -- including watching shows and movies on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Prime Video. This is because the AMOLED panel on the Xiaomi 11T Pro is not only high-quality but is also very well calibrated offering support for multiple colour profiles. It's arguably the best panel in the segment, offers good contrast and punchy colours along with very good viewing angles. While the OnePlus 9RT's display also offers pretty much the same things, the results are just not the same level as they are on the Xiaomi 11T Pro.
At the heart of both phones, is Qualcomm's 2021 flagship, the Snapdragon 888 SoC. Even for the start of this year, the Snapdragon 888 remains a very powerful chipset, so we expect a very strong show from the device in both the general and gaming performance departments.
However, there are some differences between the two devices, in RAM configurations and also heat management, that ends up creating differentiation between the performance of the two phones. Luckily for the OnePlus 9RT, this works in its favour, as the phone manages to perform ever so slightly better than the Xiaomi 11T Pro both in day-to-day tasks, benchmarks and also gaming.
Running OxygenOS 11, the 9RT feels refined and offers a fluid and lag-free experience. Opening and closing apps, multi-tasking and general day-to-day performance are effortless on the 9RT. It is also the case for the Xiaomi 11T Pro, which offers little to complain about in terms of handling tasks of daily use. However, the phone does come with some level of bloatware and also annoying ads by default which held it back from feeling as refined an experience as we enjoyed on the OnePlus 9RT.
Even in benchmarks and games, the OnePlus 9RT proved to be the winner, with the phone offering smoother performance in gaming scenarios and slightly higher benchmark scores. Despite housing similar core hardware as its competitor, the OnePlus 9RT managed to score marginally better in popular benchmarks such as AnTuTu, Geekbench and PCMark.
There were also no surprises in the GPU department as the OnePlus 9RT did better in GPU performance tests, with the device proving to be the winner in 3DMark WildLife and the different GFX Bench tests.
This strong and stable performance of the OnePlus 9RT in both games and benchmarks is likely down to the fact that it handles its thermals much better than the Xiaomi 11T Pro. A big hint at this was the phone's performance in the CPU Throttling test. Although the Xiaomi 11T Pro did well in the test, with its chipset only being throttled to 70 per cent of its performance during a 15-minute stress test. In comparison, the OnePlus 9RT significantly outperformed the Xiaomi 11T Pro here as it showed no signs of throttling even after running the same stress test for 30 minutes.
While the OnePlus 9RT proved to be the clear winner in overall performance, it's the cameras where the Xiaomi 11T Pro makes a slight comeback.
The 11T Pro offers a 108-megapixel-lens-based camera set-up, which also offers some level of versatility because of the presence of a dedicated 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 5-megapixel macro lens. The hero of the show is definitely the primary lens, which we found good for clicking pictures. The performance of the camera is generally good. In well-lit situations, the primary lens captures a good amount of detail. Colour reproduction is good, but in low light scenarios, the phone has the tendency to oversaturate colours a little. The phone's camera is fast to focus and also locks on to subjects at a tap. The shutter speed is also good and these elements come together with the high megapixel count to produce well-detailed pictures.
Xiaomi 11T Pro: Primary lens
The 5-megapixel macro lens is definitely our favourite of the three lenses, as it proves to be a nice addition for those who like Macro photography. While it may not be a replacement for a DSLR with a dedicated lens, this macro lens with its decent megapixel count proves to be a good enough addition for a point and shoot camera setup.
In comparison, the OnePlus 9RT offers more of the same we've seen on the company's phones in the past. This is because we have a 50-megapixel main camera that uses a Sony IMX766 sensor with OIS, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 123-degree field of view and a 2-megapixel macro camera.
The primary lens captures good shots in daylight with good colour reproduction. However, much like the other OnePlus 9 series phones from this year, dynamic range isn't something to rave about. But, these are still pretty usable shots as they are very detailed. This is also the case for low-light situations, where the primary lens captures some good shots with a lot of detail, especially when using the Night Mode. Although, the colour accuracy in low-light shots isn't as good when compared to the Xiaomi 11T Pro.
Both the ultra-wide lens and the macro lens appear to be there to make up the numbers, with the ultra-wide lens still faring better than the macro lens which disappoints more than it impresses with its results.
Let's compare the battery and charging of the two phones.
Now, on paper, the Xiaomi 11T Pro is the clear winner here. It offers a bigger 5000mAh battery which also comes with support for faster 120W wired charging. In comparison, the OnePlus 9RT offers a 4500mAh battery pack that supports its 65W Warp Charge standard.
Xiaomi claims its phone can be charged from 0-100 in about 17 minutes while OnePlus claims the 9RT's battery can be topped up to the brim in about 29 minutes. Now the funny thing about claims is they don't always end up being true and are often accompanied by a number of caveats.
For example, in Xiaomi 11T Pro's case, the 17 minute charging time is based on lab testing conditions, one of which is the phone maintaining an optimal temperature for fasting at the Hypercharge speed of 120W. In our real-world tests, we found the phone did not hold up to the 17 minutes charging claim and instead took anywhere between 21-27 minutes to charge completely depending on the temperature of the room.
On the other hand, the OnePlus 9RT did manage to charge completely in about 33 minutes, thus proving to be closer to its claims. However, it should not be forgotten that it is for a smaller sized battery.
Another interesting thing to note here is that the charger shipping with the OnePlus 9RT in the box did not support power delivery, making it unusable for charging laptops and other devices. In comparison, the charging brick inside the Xiaomi 11T Pro's box offers Power Delivery and is more than usable for charging not just the Xiaomi phone, but also the PD supporting laptop that I have in front of me.
Apart from this, both phones offer over a day's use on a single charge, making them equally good for watching movies and playing games without worrying about their effects on the battery life of the phone.
So, now we're down to the all-important question: Which of the two phones is worthy of your hard-earned money?
The answer actually is not that straightforward.
Both phones offer similar experiences across the board, but still, end up one-upping each other in crucial aspects. For example, the OnePlus 9RT has a much better design than the Xiaomi 11T Pro and also is better for games and general performance than the Xiaomi phone.
In comparison, the 11T Pro offers better cameras, a slightly better multimedia experience thanks to its superior display and audio-video feature set, as well as better performance in the battery department.
This split between the two in crucial areas makes it extremely difficult to announce one of these two phones as a clear-cut winner. But based on what you're looking for from your next phone, a buying decision can definitely be made. Something we hope to have helped with this detailed comparison of the OnePlus 9RT and Xiaomi 11T Pro.