What will the next Redmi Note bring to the table? A question that keeps us smartphone enthusiasts biting our nails! Every year, Xiaomi launches a new model and somehow manages to catch us all by surprise. The influence of the Redmi Note is such that its rivals always end up copying its homework and somehow manage to fall back once the new one comes out. Last year’s Redmi Note 10 is still a stupendously good phone for the price it sells.
Hence, with the Redmi Note 11, it was obvious to expect Xiaomi one-up their game in the segment. And they surely have! Coming in after the Realme 9i, Moto G51, Infinix Note 11, and Micromax IN Note 2, the Redmi Note 11 feels like the phone that takes all the good (and absolute necessary) bits from these and offers a package that is hard to resist; especially at a starting price of Rs. 13,499.
But how do things fare when you take it out in the real world? Can it hold itself up well?
Xiaomi hit it right with the Redmi Note 10's design, offering the big phone feels in an affordable phone avatar. So why fix it if it ain’t broke? The Redmi Note 11 looks largely similar to the Note 10, carrying on the same rectangular camera hump celebrating the main 50MP camera with a large section of its own. The sides have gone flat but without making it uncomfortable to hold. The front remains identical to the Note 10, with a fat chin still present.
While the design looks fresh, Xiaomi could have done more with the build quality. I agree that the plastic unibody allows them to keep the weight under 180 grams and the costs is check but it does not feel as nice to hold as its predecessor, especially in the glossy Stardust White. It picks up scratches easily, and loves to get smudged. I miss the grippy matte texture the Note 10 flaunted, and its minimalist colour schemes. The Micromax IN Note 2 feels much better to touch in comparison.
Xiaomi makes up for this compromised build with a nice display. In fact, I can say this is the nicest display on a phone you can find under Rs. 15,000. It’s got an AMOLED panel, which means colours dazzle and blacks disappear, making for stunning contrast levels. The 90Hz refresh rate keeps the scrolling smooth and under the afternoon Sun, I was able to read text easily.
The screen responds fast to touches too. However, I observed an issue with the auto brightness sensor that struggles to maintain right brightness levels; could be a bug that Xiaomi can fix with a software update.
Speaking of software…
MIUI 13 debuts in India on the Redmi Note 11 and out of the box, it feels no different to the MIUI 12 we have grown accustomed to. Other than a few wallpapers, it basically looks the same. Then again, this is the most polished Android experience I have seen lately on a sub- ₹15,000 smartphone. MIUI 13 is fast, flaunting its slick animations and its fancy interface elements – everything is well organised.
The best part is that it is way cleaner than its previous iterations – less of the pre-loaded adware and more of Google experiences. You will still find Moj, Netflix, Mi Pay and a few more pre-installed apps but you can remove most of them. None of the apps threw up annoying notifications. Xiaomi has done a commendable job of cleaning up MIUI, thereby making it our favourite flavour of Android in this space.
Sadly, it is still based on Android 11, as is the norm with this class of smartphones. And so far, I have observed a few bugs and stutters, but this could be due to the early build of MIUI on our unit.
Inside, the Snapdragon 680 chip is present for duty and while it isn’t beastly in terms of its raw performance, it can handle the daily stress easily. Doing generic tasks such as opening social media apps, loading webpages on Chrome, doing video calls, and other similar mundane things is absolutely fine for the chipset, with some occasional pauses here and there. It is when you start to game where the Snapdragon 680 falters. Games such as BGMI and Call of Duty Mobile are best played at the lowest possible graphics settings and for a limited duration.
While this isn’t a focused gaming phone, it has got the elements to make it a solid multimedia smartphone. This is the only phone to offer a stereo speaker setup with a dedicated second speaker for the job. Compared to other phones at this price, audio out of the Redmi Note 11’s loudspeakers sounds better, with certain levels of depth and good volume levels. Audio out of the 3.5mm headphone jack is also great.
With a phone costing less than Rs. 15,000, it is unwise to expect cameras that ace the DxOMark charts. And as expected, the Note 11 performs on those lines but definitely better than its rivals. Compared to the cameras on the Micromax IN Note 2, Moto G51, and Infinix Note 11, photos out of the main 50MP camera have higher contrast and boosted saturation. It can manage the exposures well in bright daylight, and do the same at night; although there’s a loss of sharpness and incursion of grains. The Night mode isn’t as effective and could surely need some tweaking.
The 8MP ultra-wide camera is decent in daylight but lacks the dynamic range of the main camera. The 2MP macro camera is simply rubbish by Redmi’s own standards, and is best left unused. Portrait mode photos have good subject separation with seldom irregularities in edge separation.
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I also like the 13MP front cameras outputs, especially in daylight. It lacks the colour vibrancy but selfies come out sharp and hold ample facial details. There are lots of beauty filters to play with, if you are into that sort of thing.
Having the Snapdragon 680 translates to gains in battery life, with a more efficient 6nm chip making the most out of the 5000mAh battery. This can easily last all day for someone who is active for at least 4-5 hours on social media, and does a lot of calls. With moderate usage, I have been getting mostly a day and a half. And when it runs out of power, the 33W wired charging solution takes just over an hour to put the battery back to 100 percent charge.
With the Redmi Note 11, Xiaomi repeats its winning formula of segment leading specifications packed into a phone that does not strain the wallet. The phone has got a very nice display that’s smoother to interact with, great battery life, a fuss-free software (can’t believe we say this for a Redmi device), and decent cameras that should keep social media addicts happy.
That said, it is not flawless like some of its ancestors. The build quality has room for improvement, especially when Micromax and Realme are pushing boundaries for looks and feel in this price segment. The same can be said for the cameras, since the similarly priced Moto G51 and Realme 9i could outdo its performance at times. And, Xiaomi, like everyone here, is still pushing an older Android version under their 2022 Android skins.
On the whole, the Redmi Note 11 carries forward the crown of our favourite all-rounder from its predecessor. For less that Rs. 15,000, it is hard to recommend anything else that is just right for everyone at this price; unless your demands are specific. Looking for a stylish design? Take the Micromax IN Note 2. Wanting 5G future-proofing? Get the Moto G51. Want better gaming? Spend more for the Redmi Note 11S.Rating4 out of 5PriceINR 13,499/-Product NameRedmi Note 11 Brand NameXiaomiProsConsSpecifications