Why Xiaomi's Mi 11 Ultra Has a Screen on the Back

A massive bump to functionality

Key Takeaways

  • The new Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra looks stylish but features a massive camera bump on the back.
  • Despite taking up a large portion of the back of the phone, the bump also includes a 1.1-inch OLED screen.
  • The OLED screen on the back can be used to take selfies, keep track of time, and check notifications.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 phone. shown from the back with water splashing over it.

Xiaomi

Adding a screen to the back of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra might seem silly, but it brings a few new functions designed to make using your phone easier.

Xiaomi unveiled the new Mi 11 Ultra this past week, a competitor to go up against Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra and other flagship devices on the market right now. The Mi 11 Ultra includes one of the best Snapdragon chipsets available right now, a massive 6.81-inch 120Hz QHD+ OLED screen, and a 5,000mAh battery.

The back of the phone features three different camera lenses—a 50MP Samsung GN2 sensor is the primary driver here, with both a 48MP ultra-wide and a 48MP periscope lens alongside it to help give you even more options.

The real kicker, though, is the 1.1-inch OLED screen situated next to the cameras, which experts say will let you take advantage of those more powerful cameras in new ways.

"Users of the new Mi 11 can take better selfies by aligning the phone according to the reflection on the screen,"  Ella Hao, head of marketing at WellPCB told Lifewire in an email. "Now one can use a main or wide-angle camera to take selfies and record wide angles."

The Perfect Shot

One of the biggest things you might have noticed with the latest smartphones is how the cameras continue to get bigger and offer more power.

It seems like every smartphone release focuses heavily on the camera that is being offered, and while the Mi 11 Ultra is no different, it’s that screen on the back that makes a big difference.

"One of the most interesting things about the Mi 11 Ultra, though, is the symmetrical look of the device now that Xiaomi has added that 1.1-inch screen to the back."

Sure, the 20MP camera on the front is more than good enough to offer quality selfies, but if you want to take advantage of the ultra-wide offering on the back, that screen will allow you to do so. Because of the more powerful sensors included here, you can record video in high quality with support for up to 8K recording. 

Another important note here is that the 1/1.12-inch Samsung GN2 sensor that the Mi 11 Ultra includes is the largest sensor in a mobile phone ever. This sensor will most likely appear on other premium handsets down the line, but for now, the Mi 11 Ultra gets to show it off proudly.

Symmetry, My Dear Watson

One of the most interesting things about the Mi 11 Ultra, though, is the symmetrical look of the device now that Xiaomi has added that 1.1-inch screen to the back.

Camera bumps tend to add an uneven look and feel to the back of phones—especially evident in devices like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra—and even more so when they feature multiple camera sensors packed in.

Altogether, the screen’s additional size helps make the Mi 11 Ultra look better from the back because it all lines up.

Close-up of the back of the Xiaomi Mi 11 phone showing the cameras and tiny screen.

Xiaomi

There’s no extra blank space beside the camera bump. While the bump is fairly thick on its own, the fact that it stretches across most of the back of the phone should help level things out when you have the phone lying down.

Wobbling phones have been one of the worst parts of the current designs that many smartphone manufacturers have been focusing on. With the Mi 11 Ultra, though, Hao says you won’t have to worry about your phone wobbling when you lay it on the desk.

This is in part because of the more symmetrical design of the bump, as well as the extra weight that it incorporates. 

Of course, you might also want to lay it on the table facedown, as that back screen also features a few other functions you can make use of.

If you thought that extra screen real estate was simply for looking at yourself, then you’ll be pleased to hear that isn’t the case. The screen can also show notifications when you have the phone facing down on a table or other surface. You can also set it to provide an always-on display, which features the time and additional info and even pick up calls by sliding a finger across the screen.

Was this page helpful?