The Redmi Note 11 series has been launched, and these are Xiaomi's new cheap phones for the beginning of 2022, which you'll be able to buy very soon.
The Note 11 line was launched in China and India in late 2021, but it's just seen a global launch, so now we know European and international availability. The newly-released handsets are actually slightly different to their same-name counterparts in those other regions too.
Xiaomi has actually debuted four new phones, but this article is just about the new Redmi Note 11 and Note 11 Pro 5G, because they're the ones that have availability confirmed for the UK - the two others, the Redmi Note 11S and Note 11 Pro (note the lack of '5G' in the title) won't be on sale in as many regions.
The beginning of the year is a busy period for Xiaomi, and as well as its new Redmi Note phones, we're expecting its new flagship, the Xiaomi 12, very soon. This could also be joined by the Xiaomi 12 Ultra, and maybe a Lite version.
We know lots of details about the Redmi Note 11 and Note 11 Pro 5G, and before we get our hands on the devices to review, here's everything you need to know.
Xiaomi shared both a release date and price for its upcoming Redmi Note 11 phones, so we've already got a good picture of their availability.
In the UK, the Redmi Note 11 will go on sale on February 24, while the Pro 5G will hit store shelves later in the year - we don't have an exact date for this. International release dates will likely be similar.
Next, prices, and before we get into them, we need to point something out. We've been provided the cost in US dollars, but Xiaomi doesn't actually sell its phones in the US - these are just a reference point. We've provided comparison conversions below, but take these with a grain of salt for now.
|RAM / Storage||USD price||GBP conversion||AUD conversion|
|4GB / 64GB||$179||£130||$250|
|4GB / 128GB||$199||£150||$280|
|6GB / 128GB||$229||£170||$320|
So the Redmi Note 11 looks to be supremely affordable, and when we get onto the specs you'll understand why. The Note 11 Pro 5G is a fair step up from that, but it still won't exactly set you back much.
|RAM / Storage||USD price||GBP conversion||AUD conversion|
|6GB / 64GB||$329||£240||$460|
|6GB / 128GB||$349||£260||$490|
|8GB / 128GB||$379||£280||$530|
Both the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 phones look basically the same, with similar-looking camera bumps and fairly plain designs, but the Pro 5G is a bigger mobile.
That device has a 6.67-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and 1200 nits max brightness, which is a size step up from the 6.43-inch panel on the Note 11. The latter also has a FHD+ resolution but only a 90Hz refresh rate and 1000 nits highest brightness.
Weighing just 179g, the Note 11 is 23g lighter than its Pro 5G sibling, which is likely thanks to the smaller screen. Both have an IP53 rating against splashes and dust.
Unlike many cheap phones you'll find on the market nowadays, both the Redmi phones have 3.5mm headphone jacks, which might please people who like their wired audio.
Both phones have a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is something the last few generations of Redmi handset have used. There's also a microSD card slot, for people who use these, which can store up to 1TB of data.
You can pick up the Redmi Note 11 in gray, blue or a violet and cyan gradient design, and the Pro has the first two options but its third version is white. Saying that, the exact regional availability of these shades might mean only one or two are available in certain countries.
The Redmi Note 11 packs a 50MP main camera, joined by an 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro and 2MP depth-sensing array.
We've yet to be convinced by the numerous 2MP cameras that phone companies pack into their mobiles, but we've generally been impressed by 50MP snappers we've tested in mobiles, so we'll have to test the phone out to judge it.
There's also a 13MP selfie camera embedded in a 'punch-hole' cut-out in the screen.
Onto the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G, and this is seemingly a downgrade from its predecessor. There's a 108MP main snapper, like in the Note 10 Pro, though this has a bigger sensor than before, so it should be better for low-light settings.
There's an 8MP ultra-wide snapper, like on the Note 10 equivalent, but while that device had a 5MP macro snapper which borrowed the Xiaomi Mi 11's fantastic telemacro lens, that's gone here in favor of a standard 2MP macro snapper. Oh, and there's no 2MP depth-sensor here like on the Note 11 or Note 10 Pro, but we're not losing any sleep about that absence.
Finally, there's a 16MP front camera, with the same placement as the Note 11's.
Both mobiles have 5,000mAh batteries, but because of the Pro 5G's bigger screen and 5G connectivity, we imagine it'll drain power quicker, and therefore have worse battery life.
That should be no problem though, because it has 67W wired powering, which is impressively fast for a budget phone. According to Xiaomi, just 15 minutes of charging will power the phone up to 50%, which is nice and fast.
The standard Note 11 powers at 33W, which is pretty much standard for a budget phone, though we've seen some with much slower charging speeds. Expect a roughly hour-long charging time.
It's the internals which show the Redmi Note 11 and Note 11 Pro 5G's biggest changes from their other-region equivalents.
We've already run you through the various sizing configurations in the price section, but for the Redmi Note 11, that's paired with the Snapdragon 680 chipset. Since that's a low-end processor, we're a little dubious about how fast this mobile could actually be.
The Note 11 Pro 5G gets the Snapdragon 695, which is a new chipset we haven't tested before, but the Snapdragon 600-series processors are rarely very powerful. It's a curious downgrade as the Note 10 Pro got the Snapdragon 732G, which is, based on the numerical name, more powerful.
As the phone's name suggests, the Note 11 Pro 5G can connect to 5G networks in regions that offer them, which is a step up over the Note 10 Pro which was only 4G. Curiously the Note 11 is 4G-only, despite the fact that the lowest-end member of the line launched in the UK last year was the Note 10 5G - so if you want the budget model, you're actually losing 5G this year.
Software-wise, you're looking at Android 12 with Xiaomi's MIUI 13 laid over the top - this brings some stability and user interface tweaks over previous versions of this Android fork, most notably a side-bar with your most-used apps that you can easily summon by swiping in from the edge of the display.
In a media briefing, Xiaomi also made sure to highlight a new feature of its Game Turbo mode, which is basically an optimization mode that runs alongside games to minimize notifications and ensure a game gets as much processing power as possible. The new feature is a voice-changing mode, so if you're talking to strangers online, you can mask your identity somewhat.