Umidigi A11 review – almost better than the A9 Pro

featured image for the Umidigi A11 review

If you’re here and thinking, what’s the deal with Umidigi’s very recent release, the Umidigi A11, I’ve got answers for you. It’s a premium build, somewhat top-of-the-range Umidigi smartphone that’s meant to bridge the gap between the Umidigi A9 and the A9 Pro.

Yes, despite its A11 name, the Umidigi A11 is still a younger sibling to the Umidigi A9 Pro. It tries very hard to meet up with its older sibling and manages to do that in some areas. This review talks about where it comes close and falls short of the Umdigi A9 Pro.

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What’s in the box

Image showing what's in the box of the Umidigi A11
You get a clear TPU case, A USB C charging cable, A 10W charger, the phone manual and quick start guide, and the A11 itself

Yay! Umidigi has finally changed their smartphone packaging, the color at least. It’s now a bright yellow packaging, and I love it – small steps until we get to full-on luxury-style Samsung-isque smartphone packaging.

Anyways, in this new and stylish box, you get a clear TPU case, A USB C charging cable, A 10W charger, the phone manual and quick start guide, and the A11 itself. So no changes in the content yet.

Design and build

Image showing the front view of the Umidigi A11
The Umidigi A11 features a captivating glass sandwich build with metal on the sides and brushed glass on the back

I’m just going to say it from the start; the Umidigi A11 is an absolutely gorgeous smartphone. I mean, Umidigi knocked it out of the park with this one. It’s a glass-sandwich build like the A9 Pro, but, Umidigi has subbed the plane glass back on the A9 Pro with a much more sophisticated brushed glass panel on the A11.

Image showing the form factor and build of the Umidigi A11
Boxy has never looked better on a phone. The A11’s machined look is all shades of premium

The A9 Pro’s boxy form factor is retained here as well but in a more refined tone. I called the A9 Pro boxy in my review, but this is even boxier, and again, I love it! One look at the A11, and you can see Umidigi was going for that vintage machined smartphone look, and in my opinion, they killed it.

Image showing the Tear drop notch of the Umidigi A11's screen
A perfectly executed teardrop notch highlights the A11 6.53 inch screen

Upfront, you get a teardrop notch highlighting the 6.53-inch screen. As usual for an Umidigi smartphone, there are large bezels and the customary chin, but it all fits in well with the design and build of this A11.

On the sides, Umidigi says the A11 has a metal frame. This doesn’t feel exactly like metal, but I’ll take their word for it this one time. On the left side of the frame, there’s an extra customizable button and the sim ejector tray. On the right, you’ll find the power button (which doubles as a fingerprint sensor) and the volume rocker.

Image showing the USB C port and speaker grille of the Umidigi A11
The metal frame of the Umidigi A11 is interrupted down below by a USB C port and a speaker grille

Down below, there’s a seamless-looking USB C port next to a well-executed speaker grille. And on the back, the brushed glass is interrupted by a rather large camera bump, but again, this is all in keeping with the design theme of the Umidigi A11, so it looks flawless.

I think Umidigi realizes they’ve done a great job with the A11’s design and build because they’ve gone as far as inscribing ‘Beyond Dreams’ on the standout back panel. Beyond the wildest dreams of the Umidigi’s design team, I suppose.

Performance and spec sheet

The Umidigi A11 is powered by a Helio G25 octa-core processor mated to 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There’s a 3GB RAM/64GB internal storage version as well. The GPU on board is a PowerVR8320 graphics unit.

If you’re conversant with MTK chips and their accompanying GPUs, you’d know that this setup on the Umidigi A11 is something of a mid-power config – certainly less capable than what you’d find on the Umidigi A9 Pro.

That said, it’s still a well worthy powerhouse. The A11 executes routine smartphone functions seamlessly with style. App launches are fast, the UI is fluid, scrolling through menus is smooth as can be. The entire UI/UX experience comes very close to rivaling what you’d get on the Umidigi A9 Pro, and that’s a huge feat.

Where you’ll notice a somewhat significant drop in performance compared to the Umidigi A9 Pro is in the gaming capabilities on the A11. To summarize, Gaming on the A11 is fair enough, but it lacks the absolute punch and grit you’d find on the Umidigi A9 Pro. It will run PUBG, Call of Duty, FIFA, and probably all of your favorite mobile games for sure. But, the gaming experience will fall a bit short of what you’d get on the A9 Pro, and that’s acceptable. The A9 Pro is an amazing phone when it comes to gaming – the A11 plays second fiddle, so you can think of it as an almost amazing gaming phone.

128GB of storage on the Umidigi A11 is probably the best you can find at this price point. You can get it with 64GB of internal storage as well, at a cheaper price point, but that’d mean dropping the RAM to 3GB. I don’t recommend that – if you want to get the best out of this phone and not end up with a beautiful phone that’s plagued by lags, stick with the 4GB version. 1GB of RAM makes a huge difference.

Camera performance

Image showing the camera bump of the Umidigi A11
The A11 ships with a triple camera setup

For the A11, Umidigi has opted for a triple camera setup similar to what you’d find on the Umidigi A9. Unlike the A9, however, the main rear camera comes with an F2.0 aperture compared to the F2.2 aperture on the former.

Not to bore you with the technical bits, but with aperture sizes, you’d generally want a smaller number. The smaller the number, the wider the opening of the camera’s lens, allowing it to take in more light and produce better pictures. Usually, this, not the pixel count, is a more sensitive way to assess the quality of a phone’s camera – my Cubot C30’s camera setup has a 48MP main camera compared to the 12MP main camera on my Galaxy S9 Plus. You could never compare the photos from my GS9 to those from the 48MP Cubot C30 main camera.

Anyways back to the Umidigi A11. In practice, the A11’s wider camera aperture allows it to take some very impressive photos for the price. It’s way better than what you’d get from the Umidigi A9 and comes close to the camera performance on the Umidigi Bison.

In daylight, images were sharp with punchy colors. Color saturation was also on point, and background/edge distortion was almost non-existent. The three-camera setup on the A11 managed to capture some awe-inspiring landscape pictures that came out with more depth and vibrance than I’d expected.

The portrait mode on the A11 also churned out some captivating shots with enough background separation to create that cool bokeh effect we all know and love. Again the A11 steps very close to the realms of the A9 Pro as far it concerns camera quality.

At night there’s a minor drop in picture quality, but even then, pictures from the Umidigi A11 are still commendable. I especially like the fact that the A11’s camera setup retains the color punch and picture depth you’d get if you shot in the daytime in pictures shot at night. This is very unlike what you’d find on more expensive phones like the Cubot C30 and others like the Umidigi A9, which produce washed-out images once you’re not shooting in very bright light. Sure, there’s a bit of grain, but that’s to be expected in low light conditions.

The front camera on the Umidigi A11 is an 8MP single-cam setup, and like the back camera setup, it delivers some impressive photos in both day and night light. This front camera has an aperture size of F/2.2, smaller than the main camera but still good enough for a front camera setup.

Both front and back camera setups on the Umidigi A11 support  AI beautify, Portrait mode, face recognition, and selfie countdown functionalities.

The A11 can shoot 1020p HD videos at 30 fps. Not the best in the business but certainly one of the best among its peers.

Display quality

Image showing the display quality of the Umidigi A11
The 6.53-inch HD+ (720 x 1080) screen on the A11 puts out some very colorful images with punch and pizzazz

Umidigi has opted for a 6.53-inch HD+ (720 x 1080) display on the Umidigi A11. That’s one step down from the panel on the Umidigi A9 Pro and practically the same thing on the Umidigi A9, but overall It’s an okayish screen, especially when you consider the price of the A11.

At 6.53 inches, it’s wide enough. Images come out good enough; however, with a pixel density of 269 PPI, you can definitely make out the individual pixels on this screen if you look closely and for long enough. But that’s not something I’d worry about – except you’re nitpicky about resolution, I’ve found the A11’s screen to be just good enough.

It’s an IPS panel, but color quality and accuracy are again okayish. It doesn’t pop as much as the Umidigi A9 Pro’s screen, that’s for sure, but it’s way ahead of the display on the A9, the A7s, and practically every other Umidigi phone I’ve reviewed recently. Brightness is on par with the A9 Pro, so you’ll never have issues using this in bright daylight.

Battery capacity

A hefty 5150mAh battery powers the Umidigi A11, and that’s something of a rare occurrence. Most Umidigi smartphones with massive batteries are usually notable for just that – massive batteries. The A11 is sleek looking Umidigi smartphone with decent specifications and an excellent camera that packs in the same battery you’d find on the aptly named Umidigi Power 5.

This phone can go a full two days without needing a charge if you keep things simple enough. At the very least, no matter what you do, the A11 will last a day and then some.

Disappointedly, however, and as is the practice with virtually all Umidigi smartphones, this comes with a 10W fast charger. Umidigi advertises this as a fast charger, but I’ll tell you that it’s not. It’s a normal charger that will get the A11 from 0 – 100% in about two and a half hours. If you can get your hands on a fast charger, charging time drops to about one and half hours because the A11 does support fast charging, you don’t just get a fast charger in-box.

Extras

As with any of the newer Umidigi smartphones, the A11 comes with a slew of extras, including:

A side-mounted fingerprint sensor

Image showing the side mounted fingerprint sensor on the Umidigi A11
The Umidigi A11 comes with a side mounted fingerprint sensor that works fairly well

Umidigi has ditched the back-mounted fingerprint sensor on the A9 Pro for a sleeker side-mounted fingerprint sensor on the Umidigi A11. It’s integrated into the power button, so that’s nice, and in my experience, it works fairly well.

An extra customizable button

Image showing the Umidigi A11's extra customizable button
The extra customizable button can be mapped to pretty much any smartphone function

The Umidigi A11 ships with an extra customizable button mounted on its right frame. This button can be mapped to practically any smartphone function, and it’s perhaps my favorite extra feature on Umidigi smartphones.

A contactless thermometer

Image showing the contactless thermometer of the Umidigi A11
On the A11 you get a contactless infrared thermometer that can be used to measure both body and object temperatures

If you wanted something to show off how cool your smartphone is, Umidigi has included one on the A11. It’s an infrared thermometer that can measure the temperatures of both people and objects without contact. Even if you didn’t think it is cool, it’s certainly a feature that’ll come in handy for healthcare workers and anyone who has to take routine temperature readings.

Pricing and availability

Umidigi A11 Price
Price$189
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The Umidigi A11 is available on both Amazon and AliExpress for purchase. If you wanted to buy one, you’d have to budget about $190. That’s about $60 less than the price of the Umidigi A9 Pro and about $40 higher pricier than the Umidigi A9.

Should you buy the Umidigi A11

What you’ll like on the Umidigi A11What’s not so nice on the Umidigi Bison
Gorgeous design and build A little bit heavy
Excellent battery life
Good enough specifications
Android 11 out of the box
image showing the general overview of the Umidigi A11
The A11 is an absolute peach of a phone with good performance specifications and an excellent camera

I mean, why not? Except you want something that’s packed to the full in the specs department, in which case you’d go for the Umidigi A9 pro, there are very few other phones that provide more value for money spent than the A11.

It’s a beautiful phone with all it takes under the hood to do the basics and then some. It comes with an impressive battery and a fitting camera system and best of all it cost just $190. That’s a hard CV to beat.

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Umidigi A11 full specifications
Display typeLCD IPS display
Display size6.53 inches
Display resolution 1600 x 720 pixels
Pixel density 269 PPI
Refresh rate60Hz
Display protection2.5D Corning Gorilla glass
Display notch type Tear drop notch
Processor (CPU)Mediatek Helio G25
Octa-core
2.0GHz clock speed
Graphics processor (GPU)ARM Mali G72 MP3
RAM4GB | 3GB
Storage capacity128GB
Storage typeUFS 2.1
Micro-SD card supportYes | Dedicated slot
Micro-SD card capacity256GB
Form factor Glass sandwich
Build material Metal rims with glass front and back
Weight222g
Thickness9.2mm
Available colorsMist Blue | Frost Grey
Android versionAndroid 11
Main camera sensor Triple 16MP | 8MP | 5MP
Optical image stabilizationNil
Aperture sizeF2.0
Selfie camera sensorSingle 8MP
Aperture sizeF2.2
Battery type Li-polymer
Removable No
Battery capacity 5150mAh
Battery charger10W non-fast charger
Fast charging supportYes
Charging portUSB C
Extras Yes
AI Thermometer
Extra customizable button
Notification lightNo
Biometric validationYes
Facial recognition support
Side mounted fingerprint sensor
Price$189
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AliExpressCheck current price