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The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra’s camera bump is no moon; it’s a space station

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Not even an early demo video could prepare us for just how big it is

It’s a lot.
Image: Xiaomi

We were warned. But as is so often the case, our feeble minds couldn’t fully grasp it until it was staring us in the face. We saw the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra’s camera bump in a pre-announcement unboxing video, so we knew what was likely in store: an absolutely massive bump with three rear-facing cameras next to a 1-inch screen. But now that the phone has officially launched and we’ve seen it from more angles, we can confirm that it is actually the Death Star of camera bumps.

What’s most striking is the bump’s unapologetic thickness. This isn’t a design that tries to minimize its appearance or meld it into other elements of the phone, a la the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Instead, it’s a major contributor to the device’s overall 8.38mm thickness. It’s practically halfway to a 2008 Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot glued to the back of your phone.

Top and bottom views of the Mi 11 Ultra’s camera bump and the phone attached to it.
Image: Xiaomi

The bump’s standout feature — that little 1-inch OLED — no doubt requires a thicker design than your average display-less array. And let’s not forget the cameras themselves, starting with a 50-megapixel wide angle with a very large 1/1.2-inch sensor that’s just a shade smaller than the 1-inch sensor you’ll find in dedicated cameras like the Sony RX100 VII. That big sensor potentially offers better light-gathering capabilities than a more conventionally sized one, especially considering it’s combined with a relatively fast f/1.95 lens.

The bump is big, but so is the main camera sensor.
Image: Xiaomi

There’s also a 48-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide and a 48-megapixel f/4.1 periscope-style 5x optical zoom. That’s not on quite the same level as the S21 Ultra’s four rear-facing cameras (plus an autofocus sensor), but it’s still plenty of hardware to house.

The camera bump is, without question, enormous. But it’s not just big for the sake of being big, though. Its screen and uncommonly large main camera are potentially really useful. Will we ever see a more mainstream device with a camera bump this, for lack of a better term, chonky? Probably not. This 6.8-inch device is probably the best venue to debut these features since users already know they’re getting a big device. The rest of us can just marvel at what an astonishing technological feat it is. Truly more machine than man.