Redmi Note 11S Review: Not noteworthy this time

    The Redmi Note 11S offers almost everything under Rs. 20,000 but does it stand out in reality?
    By: DIVYA
    | Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 10:23 IST
    Redmi Note 11S
    The Redmi Note 11S is powered by the Mediatek Helio G96 against Redmi Note 11’s Snapdragon 680 chipset. (Divya / HT Tech)
    Redmi Note 11S
    The Redmi Note 11S is powered by the Mediatek Helio G96 against Redmi Note 11’s Snapdragon 680 chipset. (Divya / HT Tech)

    Every year, Xiaomi brings something new while updating its Note series portfolio. This time, it offers the Redmi Note 11 and Redmi Note 11S as the accessible models, while the Note 11 Pro and Note 11 Pro+ will soon join the rest. We reviewed the Redmi Note 11 and it proved to be a decent all-rounder under Rs. 15,000 but what about the Redmi Note 11S? On paper, it takes a step further with camera specs and performance, since it is powered by the Mediatek Helio G96 against Redmi Note 11's Snapdragon 680 chipset. Though, it will ask you to pay more. So, at a starting price of Rs. 16,499, does the Redmi Note 11S stand out?

    Since the phone is largely similar to the Redmi Note 11, I will focus here on the upgrades. You can check out our full review of the Redmi Note 11 for more details.

    Redmi Note 11S Cameras

    Let's start with the camera performance because the major upgrade in the Redmi Note 11S from its cheaper version, the Redmi Note 11, is its quad-camera setup flaunting the main 108MP rear camera on a decorated module. And the main camera is impressive -- it maintains good details, sharpness, and takes overall bright photos in daylight. However, the boosted saturation makes the pictures look unreal at times. You may like it if you prefer "enhanced" photos; if not, then colour boost can be controlled to a limit while taking pictures sans the AI mode. In night photography, the camera was able to deliver well-exposed pictures while some noise in the darker areas can be noticed easily.

    Redmi Note 11S
    Redmi Note 11S (Divya / HT Tech)
    Redmi Note 11S
    Redmi Note 11S (Divya / HT Tech)

    Besides the main camera, the other three include its 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera sensor which also does a decent job while maintaining good colours without over-saturation. Also, I liked the Portrait mode which gives you an option to customize the bokeh effect. It is Redmi's 2MP macro camera sensor that disappoints me with the incursion of grains -- you'd be better off with a digital zoom on that same subject. 

    Click here to check the camera samples.

    The punch-hole 16MP front camera takes good selfies in daylight while maintaining the right skin tone, even in indoors with an ample amount of lighting. If you, like me, are a social media enthusiast, you can consider the sharp selfies with apt details to show off to your followers!

    Redmi Note 11S Performance

    Another ‘Plus' factor of Redmi Note 11S is that it is powered by the Mediatek Helio G96 chipset coupled with 6GB of RAM that can be expanded up to 8GB virtually. It performed well without any struggle for the basic daily tasks -- from listening to music, attending calls to social media browsing, of course! Even while gaming, I have enjoyed playing high-definition games such as Call of Duty: Mobile, BGMI, and Asphalt 9 Legend without any lags and heating issues -- even after 1 hour of gaming.

    Redmi Note 11S
    Redmi Note 11S (Divya / HT Tech)
    Redmi Note 11S
    Redmi Note 11S (Divya / HT Tech)

    The Redmi Note 11S relies on MIUI 13 based on Android 11, which is easy to use with its polished user interface. From optimised file storage system to processor priority optimisation, MIUI 13 has some notable tweaks under the hood. Best part – you won't get annoying pop-up ads from pre-installed applications. Though there are some unnecessary applications residing in the phone, they can be uninstalled as per your choice. Audio performance has also been great, since it comes with dual stereo speakers and a 3.5mm audio jack.

    Redmi Note 11S
    Redmi Note 11S (Divya / HT Tech)
    Redmi Note 11S
    Redmi Note 11S (Divya / HT Tech)

    Well, for a few, 5G can be seen as a major missing at this price in Note 11S when you have options such as Realme 9 Pro, Vivo T1, and even Xiaomi's Redmi Note 11T offering 5G in the same vicinity. But for me, 4G performance is absolutely fine on the Redmi Note 11S, providing a trouble-free calling experience.

    Redmi Note 11S: What else?

    Overall, besides the camera and processor, the Note 11S resembles the standard Redmi Note 11. Xiaomi keeps the design minimalistic with a matte finish, which I always prefer over the obnoxiously shiny ones. But the Redmi Note 11S gets smudged easily -- fingerprints and dust adore the back, which makes the matte surface look a bit dull over time.

    Redmi Note 11S
    Redmi Note 11S (Divya / HT Tech)
    Redmi Note 11S
    Redmi Note 11S (Divya / HT Tech)

    Also, the 6.43-inch display features an AMOLED panel with 90Hz of refresh rate that delivers a great viewing experience as well as a fluid touch response. Even under the bright sunlight, you will be able to do all the basic tasks such as reading, texting with adjusted screen brightness.

    With a 5000mAh battery and basic usage, the Redmi Note 11S can last easily over a day with usual weekday workloads. But on weekends when the phone has to be present for you more than usual, you will have to charge the phone within a day if you use it excessively. The good part is it comes with the quick charge option with the 33W charger that can juice it up from 10 to 100 percent within an hour.

    Verdict

    Redmi Note 11S
    Redmi Note 11S (Divya / HT Tech)
    Redmi Note 11S
    Redmi Note 11S (Divya / HT Tech)

    Paying an extra Rs. 3,000, the Redmi Note 11S comes across as a decent deal for mobile gamers who still want the best of all worlds. From a lively AMOLED display to a fast-enough processor, good battery life, and a decent camera experience, the Redmi Note 11S delivers all that in a notably superior way than the regular Redmi Note 11. The cameras need some tweaking on Xiaomi's part and the fit-n-finish could have been better, considering last year's Redmi Note 10S still feels like a better built phone. The cost cutting to include the 90Hz AMOLED display seems evident with the build quality.

    But it is 2022 and the sub- 20,000 smartphone space has seen lots of potent options from Redmi's rivals. The Vivo T1 is high on performance and 5G, while the Motorola Moto G71 for a little more, offers a faster Snapdragon 695 chip paired with better battery life and a clean Android experience. Redmi's own Redmi Note 11T is another solid option for performance seekers and the cloned versions from Poco offer better value with some bold design. It is the Realme 9 Pro, however, that decimates the Redmi Note 11S at the same price, offering the Snapdragon 695 chip, a 120Hz display, and a much prettier design.

    Why buy the Redmi Note 11S then? We can't suggest a reason. The Note 11S is overpriced for what it offers and you can get almost the same experience in much cheaper phones that not only look better but offer similar features. We recommend you wait for Xiaomi to drop the prices, or else consider the alternatives.

    Rating
    3 out of 5
    Price
    INR 16,499/-
    Product Name
    Redmi Note 11S
    Brand Name
    Xiaomi
    Pros
    • Great display
    • Fast charging
    • Swift performance
    Cons
    • Dull design
    • Poor build quality
    • Poor macro camera
    Specifications
    • Display
      6.43-inch AMOLED screen
    • Battery
      5000mAh, 33W wired charging
    • Rear Cameras
      108MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP
    • Front Camera
      16MP
    • OS
      Android 11, MIUI 13
    • Chipset
      Mediatek Helio G96

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    First Published Date: 03 Mar, 10:14 IST
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