Users looking for a phone for less than $200 are usually advised to pick up one of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note devices. With the Note 11, the inexpensive smartphone series has also become chic. The smartphone not only convinces us in everyday use in the review, it also looks more modern and stylish than some $1,000 smartphones. We kid you not!
- Modern, pretty design
- Beautiful AMOLED display at 90 hertz
- Solid battery life
- Expandable memory card slot
- No 5G support
- Slower performance compared to the competition
- Quick Charging is too slow at 33 watts
- Camera performance is average
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 in a nutshell
The Redmi Note 11 is a real mid-range winner with three “buts”:
- You have to make time to delete bloatware after the purchase.
- Even after doing so, there are still ads in the OS itself, and…
- …you have to have a certain acceptance of Chinese manufacturers, a topic that constantly crops up among the NextPit community citing privacy and data protection issues.
Apart from these drawbacks, the Note 11 can hardly be criticized with a recommended retail price of less than $200. The AMOLED display at 90 Hertz is a delight in everyday use, the performance is sufficient for mobile games and everyday apps, and the camera delivers appropriate results for the price.
According to the MSRP, you will have to pay at least $230, but the prices have dropped significantly even in Xiaomi’s online store. At the end of October 2022, you will only have to pay around $180 for the Redmi Note 11.
Design & Display
Just under 8 mm thick, weighing 179 grams, and featuring invisible display bezels, the Redmi Note 11 is a real doozy of a 6.43-inch smartphone. The case is made of plastic, and there is IP53 certification despite the 3.5mm audio jack. It is also worth mentioning that Redmi installed a 90 Hertz AMOLED display and stereo speakers in the smartphone.
What I liked:
- Pretty and compact design.
- Brilliant display for less than $200.
- Stereo speakers.
What I disliked:
- Entire case is plastic.
- Vibration motor is too harsh.
Xiaomi’s flagships have now reached the quality level of premium brands like Samsung or Apple. And this high build quality also trickles down to the mid-range. The Redmi Note 11 looks like it is made of one piece, there are hardly any notable gaps and the construction looks sturdy despite a relatively thin 8 mm thickness.
It is typical for inexpensive smartphones that the edge under the display is a bit thicker, but the display’s bezels are sufficiently thin overall and even the punch hole has a very small black border. This not only gives the Redmi Note 11 a high-quality look, but also a modern one.
With a refresh rate of 90 Hertz, the Note 11’s display is also technically up to par. Despite the cheap price, Xiaomi relies on AMOLED technology which delivers perfect contrasts and rich colors. The Full HD display is more than enough to ogle at with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels and a pixel density of 441 ppi, ensuring that you will see crisp images in everyday use. The average brightness of 900 nits is also sufficient under bright sunlight. There is really nothing to complain about in this price range.
Xiaomi has to make sacrifices in terms ofmaterials used and the vibration motor. The Redmi Note 11 is made out of plastic completely, and the Z-axis vibration motor is too harsh for me personally. Haptic feedback, for example when typing, feels too imprecise to offer any real added value.
Last but not least: Xiaomi equips the Redmi Note 11 with NFC and stereo speakers, but one of them (the bottom one) is much louder and more powerful. This results in an imbalance when watching videos, but it is not annoying. The second speaker is especially handy when you cover the lower speaker with your hand while gaming.
Software: In bloatware paradise
The Redmi Note 11 runs on Android 11 out of the box, which is based on Xiaomi’s own MIUI 13 skin. As usual when it comes to Xiaomi, you have to remove some bloatware, i.e. preinstalled programs, from the storage after setting up the smartphone. At the same time, there are ads in some apps. The provision of updates is rather mediocre in the Redmi Note 11.
What I liked:
- MIUI offers a huge range of functions.
- Security updates until 2025.
What I disliked:
- Only receives up to Android 13 update.
- Too much bloatware.
- Advertising in the operating system.
Since we have already talked a lot about the operating system in our MIUI 13 review, I will keep it short here. MIUI is one of the most feature-rich Android versions, but it can sometimes overwhelm beginners. We have prepared a little help for you in our list of the best MIUI tips.
As always, I am bothered by the many preinstalled programs on Xiaomi’s phones, which unnecessarily fills up the storage space by the time it leaves the assembly line. At the same time, there are ads in some system apps, but you can disable them at the very least. After Samsung made headlines last year with an extended update warranty, Xiaomi tried to catch up in this regard.
While Xiaomi’s flagships now receive four years of security updates and three major Android updates, the Redmi models get fewer perks. You can still upgrade to the just released Android 13, since the Redmi 11 was still released with Android 11. Security patches can be expected to arrive until 2025.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 680 is a rock-solid processor in the Redmi Note 11. The SoC is paired with up to 6 GB of working memory and a maximum of 128 GB of internal storage. Moving beyond current trends, the Note 11’s storage is expandable via microSD memory cards.
What I liked:
- Memory card slot goes against the grain.
- Sufficient performance for everyday use & mobile games.
What I disliked:
- Minor performance improvements over the years.
- No 5G support.
The Redmi Note 11 is one of Xiaomi’s lowest-performing smartphones in 2022 and comes without a 5G modem for cost reasons. However, users who do not live in metropolitan areas and do not want to spend money on a 5G contract can certainly make do without this feature. The Snapdragon 680 SoC delivered good performance in everyday use.
Although you definitely have to allow for loading times when launching apps and mobile games, where MIUI 13 runs smoothly overall. As always, I recommend shortening the animation times in the developer settings to speed up the user experience by a bit. What is impressive from the $200 with rather poor benchmark scores was how I was able to play Call of Duty: Mobile with high graphics settings without any choppy animation.
Redmi Note 11 benchmark comparison
|Benchmark||Geekbench 5 CPU (Single / Multi)||3D Mark WildLife||3D Mark Wildlife stress test|
|Redmi Note 11||385 / 1,041||450||446 / 442|
|Realme 9 5G||609 / 1,710||1,184||1,213 / 1,165|
|Poco M5||554 / 1,898||1,240||1,227 / 1,209|
|Oppo Reno 8 Lite||685 / 1,994||1,214||1,219 / 1,209|
|Oppo A76||285 / 1,667||449||450 / 218|
The combination of Snapdragon 680, Adreno 610, and 4 GB of working memory does not deliver a brilliant performance in the benchmark. Although you do not have any problems with thermal throttling, the performance is slower than other smartphones within a similar price range across all common benchmarks. This is not a problem shortly after unboxing, but I see your satisfaction at risk in the long run without a performance surplus. If the Redmi Note 11 accumulates apps and background processes over the years, the low performance can be annoying in everyday use.
However, it is quite pleasing that Xiaomi still relies on the expandability of the storage when reading the spec sheet. It can be expanded up to 1 TB via microSD cards.
Camera: Solid but not outstanding
The quad camera on the back of the Redmi Note 11 turns out to be a dual camera when you take a closer look. Besides the main camera at 50 megapixels and an ultra-wide angle camera with 8 megapixels, there are two 2-megapixel sensors for macro and depth information. The Redmi Note 11 takes selfies at 13 megapixels and the lens relies on a fixed focus.
What I liked:
- Good pictures in daylight.
What I disliked:
- Pro model offers more features.
- Ultra-wide angle photos are blurry.
The quad camera at the back of the Redmi Note 11 is typically found in mid-range handsets. Effectively, you get a dual camera where the main camera is much better than the ultra-wide angle camera in terms of quality. With a native resolution of 50 megapixels, the main camera combines several pixels to take photos at 10 megapixels. Sharp pictures can be taken in daylight, but they lack a bit of dynamic quality.
As you can see in my image gallery, the Redmi Note 11 tends to have blue tones overall and does not match photos from its ultra-wide angle camera and main camera well. The main camera captures pictures at 8 megapixels, but without autofocus and with continuous blur from the center of the image to the edges, I would rather recommend taking a few steps back if possible.
Besides these two cameras, there are two additional lenses at the back of the Redmi Note 11 – one for depth information and one for macro shots. At 2 megapixels, the macro camera’s pictures are not really usable, and the feature is also quite awkward to access via the camera app ‘s settings.
To keep it short: Selfies are taken at 13 megapixels, but the pictures are not really sharp. Under difficult lighting situations, such as at night or at twilight, the quality decreases significantly despite the night mode feature. Videos can only be recorded in Full HD at 30 frames per second.
Overall, the Redmi Note 11’s camera is more of a stopgap measure where users who want more should take a look at the Redmi Note 11 Pro.
Battery: Long lasting but charges slowly
As usual in the mid-range market, the 8 mm thin phone has a battery rated at 5,000 mAh. The smartphone is charged using a cable, but via the included power adapter at 33 watts. However, practical experience shows that this does not guarantee short charging times.
What I liked:
- Long battery runtime thanks to the 5,000 mAh battery.
- Power adapter included with the smartphone.
What I disliked:
- Quick-charging is quite slow despite a 33 watt charging speed.
- No wireless charging.
It is always impressive how consistently manufacturers squeeze batteries rated at 5,000 mAh into their mid-range phones. The thin Redmi Note 11 achieves such long runtimes that you are not dependent on the power outlet for one and a half to two days in everyday use. The battery benchmark PC Mark claims the handset has a runtime of 13 hours. However, the value is imprecise since I could not measure the display brightness due to being quarantined because of the coronavirus.
According to the manufacturer, you can quickly recharge the Redmi Note 11 at 33 watts once it is empty. I have broken down the charging speeds in the following table:
Charging times Redmi Note 11
|22 %||0 minutes|
|35 %||23 minutes|
|50 %||50 minutes|
|100 %||2h 40m|
As you can see, the large battery of the Redmi Note 11 does take some time to be fully charged. It is typical for fast charging technologies that the charging performance decreases over time. If you want to charge the battery to 100 percent, it is best to plug the phone in overnight. If you have a wireless charging pad on your bedside table, you cannot charge the Note 11 with it. Again as with the mid-range Redmi Note 11, Xiaomi does not offer wireless charging compatibility.
With the Redmi Note 11, Xiaomi once again showed how few compromises you have to accept in the mid-range smartphone market. The slim design and the brilliant AMOLED display with its refresh rate of 90 hertz are particularly impressive. Other aspects such as the performance, the quality of the captured photos, and the 5,000 mAh battery are certainly commendable, but the competition offers slightly more here.
In combination, however, the Redmi Note 11 is particularly well-balanced and currently offers the best overall package for under $200. The major drawbacks would be the presence of bloatware, ads in the operating system, and the lack of power if you plan to use this in the next few years. If you do not have high expectations for a smartphone’s performance and do not play mobile games, then the Redmi Note 11 can be recommended without any hesitation.