The Redmi Note 10T 5G was a disappointment, similar to the bunch of affordable 5G smartphones India saw in early 2021. The phone seemed fine on paper but lacked the levels of user experience you expect from a smartphone costing ₹15,000. With the Redmi Note 11T 5G, things are looking different. Most of our concerns with the older model have been fixed and it seems we can finally recommend a 5G phone that won’t put a dent in your wallet.
But 5G is still theoretical in India at this point, with the spectrum auctions yet to happen. To offset the doubts about going 5G, Redmi has introduced it as the first Redmi Note 11 series device in India. Starting at ₹16,999, it sits just under our favourite Redmi Note 10 Pro. With a new chip, fresher design and minor tweaks, is the Redmi Note 11T 5G the phone that can make you upgrade?
After spending a week with the phone, I am certain that Redmi has done enough to convince me for considering an affordable 5G phone. But has it done enough to make you forget about the Redmi Note 10 Pro?
The Redmi Note 11T 5G looks familiar; it has the same Redmi Note 10-ish looks but with a few tweaks. The camera hump is larger and has two decoys to resemble a quad-camera setup. Paired with the lovely colour gradient under a matte surface, the Redmi Note 11T 5G is a fancy phone to behold. Yes, it is an all-plastic unibody design but the spot-on ergonomics make this a very comfortable phone to use.
From the front, it looks like any other phone from these days – edge to edge display, central camera cutout, a slightly swollen chin and a recessed power key profile indicating its embedded fingerprint scanner. Look around and the pleasant surprises come in the form of a dedicated second speaker for the stereo effect, the IR sensor, a 3.5mm jack and a USB-C port. The phone is also rated at IP52 water and dust resistance, which means it can survive a splash of water or drizzle easily.
Note that Xiaomi pre-applies a plastic screen protector on the display. The in-box accessories include a 33W charger, a USB-C to USB-A cable, a flexible transparent case, and a SIM ejector tool.
The 6.67-inch display size is common in phones of this class, especially the ones from Xiaomi. However, unlike the older Note 10T, Xiaomi has used a better quality LCD display with DCI-P3 colours. It’s not as good as the Moto G60’s LCD display (stands no chance against the Redmi Note 10 Pro) but it holds itself well against the 4G phones at this price.
Content looks fairly bright and colour vibrancy is decent. The 90Hz adaptive refresh rate helps with smooth scrolling experiences. On the whole, this is a fine display.
With the Dimensity 810 at the helm, the Redmi Note 11T gets a notable power upgrade over the Dimensity 700 in the Note 10T. The performance gains are visible on the daily basis, with the phone staying smooth. The MIUI 12.5 OS based on Android 11 takes full advantage of the chip. In my time with the phone, I did not witness any lags with the animations, or had to wait more than usual for any app, or even the resource intensive games.
Speaking of games, the Redmi Note 11T 5G was comfortable with my hourly sessions of Call of Duty Mobile throughout the day. The maximum settings I could achieve was “Medium” graphics with “High” frame rates. Similarly, Shadow Fight 4 Arena defaulted to Medium graphics but I was able to get a satisfactory gameplay experience at its highest settings. If you want to game, this Redmi Note 11T can do it, although nothing beats the Poco X3 Pro.
Obviously, you just don’t use a phone for gaming and scrolling; you live with it. The MIUI 12.5 software is right now among the more polished experiences on a phone at this price range. It has a visual flair that is reminiscent of iOS while maintaining its own identity.
The customisation options are endless; not just icon packs and fonts, most elements of the interface can be tweaked to your liking; just head over to its theme store and help yourself. For new users, there is a slight learning curve but once you get used to, this is a pretty interface to look at.
The dual speaker setup is another pleasant addition to this phone. These are not high quality speakers but for watching YouTube videos/ web shows on Prime Video, they sound loud. The quality is tinny though and you will be better off with a headphone. Plugging in headphones allows you to customize the equalizer and surround sound settings.
The earpiece itself is loud enough for calls in a loud marketplace ambience. Network reception has been strong and connection been reliable, even in my basement parking. Note that I used the phone with my Jio SIM card; your experience with a different operator could vary. 5G is the game of the Redmi Note 11T but in India, it is just an on-paper feature right now. With support for 7 5G SA bands and 4 NSA bands, it should hold fine if 5G drops in your city in the future.
For a sub- ₹20,000 phone, the cameras on the Redmi Note 11T are decent. The 50MP main camera is does an acceptable job with human portraits and close-up subjects. Xiaomi’s colour tuning is pleasant too. That said, it drops details notably when the light levels fall down. Weirdly, the Night mode takes worse photos than the standard mode; check out the urban skyline photos in the sample.
The 8MP ultra-wide camera is okay as long as there’s daylight; cloudy conditions or low light render its photos undesirable. There’s no macro camera here. Portrait mode photos look good with nice subject separation but the subject itself gets softened despite all beauty effects turned off. The 16MP front camera is performs good with regards to selfies but you need to ensure that there’s ample light around to prevent the blurriness.
On a mix of 4G and Wi-Fi networks, the Redmi Note 11T 5G with moderate usage could easily last day and leave some charge for the next morning. I subjected it to regular office workloads, which include 2.5 hours of talktime on an average, 2-3 hours of social media, an hour of gaming and streaming music – the phone ended the days with 35-40 percent remaining. For a phone with a 5000mAh battery, these figures are great. The 33W charger takes close to an hour for a full recharge when the battery icon starts blinking red (10-100 percent).
The Redmi Note 11T 5G is a pleasant phone to use and Xiaomi has diluted the compromises it made with the previous generation. The display is now decent and the general performance is now on par with our expectations from a sub- ₹20,000 smartphone. With a fresh design and other minor tweaks, the Redmi Note 11T 5G makes a good case for itself. If (and only if) you are planning to make the 5G upgrade, the Redmi Note 11T 5G is one of our top recommendations.
While the improvements from Xiaomi make me not mind switching to a 5G phone in this segment, you should still look at some of great 4G phones available for similar prices. The Redmi Note 10S has a better display while the Motorola Moto G60 gives you a 108MP camera and great display too. Spend some more and you get our segment benchmark, the Redmi Note 10 Pro.
Do you really need 5G in your phone at this point? Ask yourself and make your decision on the basis of this answer.
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