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Redmi Note 11S review: Is this the Note for you?

Redmi Note 11S review: The Redmi Note 11S offers a 108MP camera and good performance for its starting price. But how does the phone perform? Here's our review.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Rs. 16,499
Redmi Note 11S review, Redmi Note 11S specifications, Redmi Note 11S price in India, Redmi Note 11S saleRedmi Note 11S review: We test the latest Redmi Note 11S and how it performs. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Once upon a time, the Redmi Note lineup was a rather uncomplicated one. There was the base Note variant, along with the Pro version. But things have changed a lot in the past three years. This year’s lineup now includes two Redmi Note 11 Pro variants (launching on March 9), the Redmi Note 11T 5G which was introduced in December last year, the Redmi Note 11S and the plain Redmi Note 11 (read our review here).

Given the similarity in specifications and overlapping price points, it can be hard to decide the right device. The S variant is supposed to be a slightly better version of the base of the Redmi Note 11. This also explains why the Redmi Note 11S gets a 108MP camera, a more powerful Mediatek Helio G96 processor. But is that enough? Let’s find out in our review.

Redmi Note 11S specifications: 6.43-inch full HD+ display, 90 Hz refresh rate | Mediatek Helio G96 processor | 6GB or 8GB RAM +64GB or 128GB storage | 108MP+8MP+2MP camera | 16MP front camera | 5000 mAh battery with 33W fast charging | MIUI 13 with Android 11

Redmi Note 11S price in India: 6GB + 64GB at Rs 16,499, 6GB + 128GB at Rs 16,999 and 8GB + 128GB at Rs 17,999

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Redmi Note 11S review Redmi Note 11S gets a 90Hz refresh rate on the display. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Redmi Note 11S review: What’s good?

Just like the Redmi Note 11, the S variant sports a similar design. I got the ‘Space Black’ version for review, and I must say I was relieved to see a non-blue device in the box. While the device is not too bulky (179 gram) and easy to use with one hand, the back does get covered in smudges very easily, so I would recommend a cover.

The Redmi Note 11S continues with the fingerprint scanner on the right-hand side as part of the power button. It works quite smoothly to unlock the device. There has been some debate on whether this sort of placement is ideal for left-handed folks. As someone left-handed, I had never given this a thought. I always used the scanner with my right hand instinctively. I must admit setting it up with the left hand is a pain and involves serious hand twisting. But unlocking with the left did not prove to be bothersome at all.

The Redmi Note 11S in the black colour variant. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

The phone’s 6.43-inch full HD+ screen works well for the price. Xiaomi is giving a maximum refresh rate of 90 Hz here, though the standard setting is at 60 Hz, which is better for battery life. The display is legible in bright sunlight as I saw on some outings. The device continues with a headphone jack as well and has two speakers, one at the top and one at the bottom. If you’re looking for a device to keep yourself entertained, this is a solid option.

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The Redmi Note 11S runs the Mediatek Helio G96 which is supposed to offer superior gaming performance for the price, especially compared to the Redmi Note 11. When it comes to daily performance, it gave no complaints. For basic tasks, casual games, the phone works without any problems.

Redmi Note 11S is powered by the MediaTek Helio G96 processor. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

With resource-heavy games such as Genshin Impact, the Redmi Note 11S does manage to handle it well. There was no lag, the touch response was excellent. But the device got warm after a prolonged session of more than an hour. Still, for a mid-range device, it handled the game quite smoothly. Do note I had the 6GB RAM variant, with the 2GB virtual RAM feature turned on.

The phone gets a 5000 mAh battery, which has become standard now in this segment. The 33W fast charging should get your phone to 100 per cent in over one and a half hours or so. The battery easily lasts for more than a day. I’ve used this phone as a hotspot for hours at work and it still did not drain the battery all day.

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Camera sample taken from Redmi Note 11S. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) Camera sample taken from the Redmi Note 11S. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) Camera sample taken from the Redmi Note 11S with 2x Zoom. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) Camera sample taken from the Redmi Note 11S in portrait mode. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Redmi Note 11S gets a 108MP camera, which manages to deliver pleasing pictures in bright outdoors. The colour range is not bad and it retains details very well. I also found the skin tones to be more accurate on the Redmi Note 11S. This includes both selfies and pictures taken indoors at night.

Redmi Note 11S review: What’s not good?

The camera does have some misses. For instance, with reds and pinks, I noticed that the colours were not always consistent. Also, pictures taken indoors with poor or less lightning are not as good and remain grainy. This is even with the Night mode turned on. The macro camera is again unimpressive.

Camera sample taken from the Redmi Note 11S. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

When it came to performance, the only major concern was that the device heated up when I was playing Genshin Impact at a stretch.

And yes, while Redmi Note 11S does run MIUI 13 (still based on Android 11), the notifications from random apps are annoying. The constant alerts on updating apps via ‘GetApps’ or the Wallpaper carousel are not needed. Thankfully, one has the option of turning these notifications off and I did not spend too much time trying to find that setting, at least.

The Redmi Note 11S has a triple camera at the back. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Redmi Note 11S review: Verdict

As I noted in the beginning, the Redmi Note 11 lineup is a lot more complicated now. The price for this phone starts at Rs 16,499 going up to Rs 18,499. The competition includes the Vivo T1 5G, which has a slightly lower starting price point at Rs 15,990, though its most expensive version costs Rs 19,990.

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Plus, the T1 5G gets a 120 Hz display and Snapdragon 695 processor and is 5G ready. There’s also the Realme 9 Pro, though it starts at Rs 17,999 with a 120Hz refresh rate on the display, it has the same processor as the Vivo and 5G connectivity.

So, if you are a user with a budget above Rs 16,000, the choices will leave you confused. The Redmi Note 11S’s strongest points are the performance and the camera, which will make it appealing for users in this segment. But it does have a lower display refresh rate and misses out on 5G connectivity. The latter though is not a deal-breaker in my view unless you need a device for the next two to three years.

First published on: 03-03-2022 at 02:49:47 pm
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